The hush of steaming eyes grown cold and still in the growling darkness; retiring out of all sight into the dim and drear alcoves and interstices of voluminous artistry. To wit: when the curtain draws itself apart and all the mechanics and industrial gears are exposed in all their shrieking, clanking, everyone hides their ears for shame and clutches them so carefully still to keep the hard sound from entering. A small child hides among the clacking, spinning gears. Why isn?t she crunched and mawled by those biting teeth? Why doesn?t she bleed and break from being bit and torn by metal? Why doesn?t rust coat her back and head? She is silent; she is still. All the metal teeth just pass her by. I lack the words to describe the shade of calm which shines out of her pale gray eyes; to pin down the smooth caution with which she leaps from giant metal tooth to gleaming spinning geartop. Mighty as they are, they cannot touch her. They do not fill her with dread or deep despair. She does not fear them for they are unaware, crunching out their timefilled metres.
But what do these others think as they stare out from the darkest dark? With their pinhole eyes shining from the projected-then-reflected light? Is that a tear strolling down a wide expanse of cheek and chin? In the darkness, there are coughs and chuckles, groans and creaks from ancient chairs. Eyeglasses further refract and focus the light. Where might anyone stop these days when all the phantom hands reach up to push these spectacles up the slippy noses? They must be sad; a deep sigh breathes forth and all are caught among the tines of it. What makes them sigh so? What makes the woman with the feathered hat weep in the stillness of the night? What dark neurochemicals wash over her brain or explode in dire unseen brilliance to keep her staring, waiting? What makes the man with shaven head scratch out his name a thousand times into the waiting bark of all the parkways elms? What timeless loss does he fear when all his names are dust in ash in the unforeseeable future? In spite of these brief glimpses, no one seems to make any sense at all, just whirling around in their prefigured roles. What cold comfort does this bring to us, as we sit in darkness watching light?
And still this girl, this elfin spritely figure, leaps from gear to cog. Her teeth glash in the metallic, artificial light. She?s got the works mapped out from car to ear and down to the depths of all the ropes and pulleys lurching deep earthstuff from the bowels of it. Her feet are barefoot too, covered with deep red rust. Her red prints pattern her past journeys. What will they watch when she vanishes? When a tearful gasp tears me away from my pondering, staring solemn at back of chair, I look to see her swinging from chain to chain. Her thin arms and fingers seem too thin to keep her from spiralling into destruction. A dark ululation arises from her mouth and I can feel them tensing all around me, even as the chairarms press hard beneath my fingers. What could she possibly gain from such folly? Her cry reminds me of a falcon?s cry when it spots its running prey. I imagine its cold dark eyes seeing violently and cringe.
Time turns upside down. All the clocks are running down. All the clocks in the world are pouring their lifesblood into this test of folly.
when all of september crashes around
a dried up pinata shaking loose its days
i can’t find the words
this pirate map keeps pacing off
catching me athwart the deadly traps
and pitfalls–watch the tiger!
false starts and budding catastrophes
ah, that pillow’s warm
collander dreams, they hoop my own sweet dreams and strain them back from tumbling, mothlike into a caldera, a boiling cauldron of fire. these are the things which make my heart weep. if there’s a key dangling from a tree (a mechanical outspurt to unlock mechanicalico devices, doors, namely) what does it open? It’s been there for three days, and three’s a magic number, so what’s it open? it certainly doesn’t open the tree, trees not made for it, it certainly doesn’t open a volovo station wagon (trust me, no plastic top): what then, what?
to besure, froozazzle: nup.
I usually quite enjoy Professor DeLong’s fictional(?), philosophical/historical dialogues. This dialogue on the current state of the Union and the character of the “Founding Fathers” may be his best yet.
I mean: Hello! The Ghost of Daniel Webster! That may be the coolest thing I’ve read all week.
even when the laddios are drowning in cardboard boxes, there’s hope that some kind of preserver will be tossed off the lot and thrown about some place. “Quick! Unpack the box labelled ‘IN CASE OF EMERGENCY!’ who packed that, anyway?”
but all this change has led to a, what’s the word, gradual slowing gown of linguistic verbiage and gnatter flowing from the old cranial goo. hey, i’d like to say that the old brainclock was laser-like zeroing in on the things needing doing… but, alas, not so. instead, there’s a grand mushiness about the place. a feeble onceler that ‘wakes’ each morning with a grueling lack of it. and the dreams just get strange, but in a really uninteresting way. ho hum, what was that dream about the closet door. opening the closet door. which had all the things the closet had, anyway, and nothing even remotely interesting otherwise. yup, the coat’s still there. and the coat from years past. (should that be year’s past? is it possessed by a single year, anyhow?)
even now, witness the slow trainnova of typing this typing represents, watch the same words repeat and then watch some more as this one scrambles for his clock. or something.
can’t even get it together enough to write NONSENSE (admittedly, not always the easiest thing in the world, but O!, remember when those words just slid out of oneself like melted butter roiling down those stairwell handlebars) but hey, maybe all this nonsense is just indicative of me not remembering the right tommyhat (i mean word) at the right time. it’s all about the right word at the wrong time and wrong word at the right time (probably the latter, resulting in, as it were, more amusing crunchyhooligams)
but whoah! and what’s with the nightmarish family news, anyway? that’s a dream from which the waking must occur! but probably not…
Now, I’m not normally that interested in the “coming-of-age” novel, but The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon–with a huge, stove-pipe-sized tip o’ the hat to translator Lucia Graves, without whose effort, sad monolinguals like myself would be bereft of much beauty–mixes up a delicious stew of 1950s fascist Spain; bibliophilia; multi-generationally destructive love triangles; fantastically loveable (and loving) supporting characters; and, eventually, tacked on almost as an afterthought, “coming-of-age”. (I’d leave it off if I could, but it is a pretty central element.)
The mystery revolves around a book discovered in the “Cemetary of Forgotten Books”, a labyrinthine warehouse of lost and discarded books, by ten year old Daniel. A book which opens the boy’s eyes to the magic of the written word. A book whose author has died under mysterious circumstances and copies of whose books are being methodically destroyed.
A more subtle theme, perhaps, is the struggle of children to make their way in a world which has been structured and stifled by the generations which have come before. Again and again, Daniel finds himself powerless in the face of adults and their secrets. Just as his father will never speak of his wife’s death, so, too, none of the adults in the book will speak openly of the Spanish Civil War. Throughout the book, a story which spans 12 years or so, Daniel wanders darkling through a maze of secrest which he does not understand. The only thing Daniel has going for him is a youthful persistence and (naive?) good-faith in human nature.
I think I could probably write a lot about the way children are forced to make their way in (the often) crippled reality that their parents’ generation (and beyond) has created for them, but my brain’s beginning to hurt thinking about all of this… Maybe I’ll write more about this later.