Coming home in the thick of pre-summer fetid nightfall, Austin's breath hazy and corrosive over the asphalt, to stare Paul Jackson, Jr. in the eye as he declaimed his ineffable, outspoken zero-language, the parsing of odds over empty ciphers, he a "good nigger" as William Percy (my who' said the chauffeur) would let his lantern on the levee chin drop in approbation, all angels and white powder, dreams of satin over magnolias, and feeling once again that bitter cocoon-pall suffocation of buried dreams and dead-end streets, melting tires on evaporating concrete in the still hours, wishing - what? Well? To walk home. To not feel this way.
Anything but this.
So, earlier as I waited and waited by the dimming street and the onrushing lights of shadowed criss-crossing destinies (all en route to nothing, to the silence of shallow graves) the screams broke out angled, discordant, rubbing alcohol raw like the squeals of broken birds...and they, angered and squawking in earnest defiance, feeling the upward-rushing dark force of cell-selfishness, nature, cry out once, to test the atmosphere's absorbed waters, poisonous and pure, and then repeat that startling rip and tear of walking sleep, that rape of propriety. There is the quiet half lying hidden within that wants to claim chorus and trill harmonies in wretched, crucified awkwardness, feeling that levee finally give way in grim satisfaction, and then the superego, ally of white marble, streetlights, forests of steel and glass in shadowless sunscapes, the white paper and the printed page, He of stainless handcuffs and blood shed in dripping sing-song below ground, away from view, away from what can and will be. In the meantime the scream splits the ground beneath my feet once again and I can only look away.
So floating now in this land of what should be, what I lost, that world that exists beneath my reality and which I suppose others walk through every day, being able, at times, to pierce root and trembling, hesitant, outstretched hands beneath the giving signs of my world, feeling in the dark for another surface, another cellar, another foundation beneath my own - one, perhaps, that will finally put its hands over my eyes and feverish head and cure me.
Or snuff out the life that plagues...
Two years, at the very least, spent in this world before. Halfway between senselessness and the light, halfway between dreaming and desiring, wishing for an awakening, at a median point, torn in two, not knowing where to believe. What is real? Paul Jackson, Jr. is real, says the world. Paul Jackson, Jr. is the mediocrity of secured supremacy. His is the fluency and outspoken effusiveness of those who whisper empty as the wind, logorrheic, insistent, and a surfeit of substance that fills all mouths with an ironic emptiness. In saying everything he says nothing at all.
Willam Percy knelt before his silver-backed mirror and felt the shrillness of an unclaimed heroism, his father swollen before him. My two lifeless years in lovelessness (and five or six in bondage between) filled my third decade with enough sorrow to almost make life interesting (meaning it approached fiction), and I wouldn't regret that bitter pill which would remove it all for a Mephistophelean self-murder. Since memories only live in the mind, I have destroyed all the evidence...and so, living newly again like an innocent, wrinkles of laughter and brooding creases between my eyes besides, I can fall asleep now without worrying about wakening, about the asphyxiation of double lives, of living beneath the shadow of what is supposed to be. The freedom of being able to forget what is meant to be!
There is too much meaning in the world, so here I am half-wishing for a funeral to lay to rest, once and for all, the anxiety that woke me from satisfying dreams for the last seven years. An outpouring, an outspreading of essence, of interpenetrating essentials, imagined intertwined fates, memories, loves, dreams, deaths, emotions overlapping and transferring mingled identities, a loss of integrity - to be sure - but what joy has there ever been in integrity anyway? Some would say...a democracy of disease, a proletariat of flesh, an absorption in the other, but that other is just a mirror which I use to reflect myself. Indeed I can not penetrate it unless it wears a mask of my own face. A doppelgänger projection, self-willed, filled with the walking, loving ways.
In the meantime there is always the screaming...U. Amtey
Dedicated to the pain of May 9, 2004. May it be forgotten.
Published 10/05/04. 02:00 CST.