Friday, January 22, 2010

Crooked Lust

---Based on "Crooked Lust" by Bowerbirds---

            I keep reading these short stories where nothing happens. This last one I read- it’s about this couple. They move into town, the woman eventually leaves and the guy keeps waiting outside for his mail. After he gets this letter he leaves too. The end. It’s from the perspective of the postman.
            I do everything I’m supposed to do. I write 1,000 words a day. You’re supposed to do that, right? I do it. But nothing happens in these stories. I read some short stories of another guy from the late 1,800’s and nothing happens in his short stories either. Okay, in a few something happens, but not all of them. There are movies like that too.
            I’m young and I work very hard. I work hard enough. I have known you for the whole time and we’re on a first name basis. I sit there on the last page and sometimes I read the last paragraph a few times but I swear, nothing happened.

            Will you please tell me if I become a hack?

I was born a ghost- an apparition. Filled with holes and contradiction. And I fear I’m the only one. I know what you’re thinking. And you’re wrong. I don’t think he’s a hack- the one who wrote about the postman. He’s not. If I said he was I would quite literally be ex-communicated. I’m not protecting myself- I’m just telling you.
            Half of the time I’m joking. Half of the time everyone’s joking. The other half of the time you’re supposed to think I’m joking. But I’m not and I get away with it, don’t I? I do. And sometimes I feel guilty. So I wake early, watch the leaves quake, and the first light braise the trees. I hide myself in a secret place.
            Five hundred pages. Nothing happens. I mean, the plot line runs for three inches. But it’s not true when I say nothing happens. Everything happens. All three inches of it. Do you know what I’m saying? I’d try to write one of my own but I can’t right now. Everything has been pushing against itself-pressing itself into a big mountain. It doesn’t stop, either, and I don’t know how to sort it out. Or stop it.
            I’m a sycophant. A wheedler. A beguiler by trade- blanching the faces of those I prey upon. But I’m not preying on anyone. I just do it. When I think about it I see myself from the outside. And right now I’m outside. Here I know my heart, I know it’s careless.

            And I need you to be honest. Please tell me if I become a hack.

            I want to climb to the top of the mountain, maybe plant a flag. Just to say I’ve been there. It’s built out of me from bottom to top but I feel like the top is foreign- tranquil. Up there nothing happens. I swear nothing happens.
            I rise and fall every day- I imagine my body looping around and around as the month passes. Supine. Alarm. Rise. Work. Prostrate. Sleep. And you are always there. You stop to talk to me, and I think you know better, but darling, you seem like you’re fearless. And maybe you’re my perfect fix.
I keep coming back to the stories. I find the movies. Not the comedies, not the romance flicks. Those don’t do it. Too much happens. I keep coming back to the stories where nothing happens. I need to keep this mountain together and I don’t even know how I built it. It just rose up. I spot the fissures but they’re only fissures. Not very deep. Everybody’s mountain has them. Some try to patch them up. Some try to ignore them.

            But I am only worried about one thing. Please, please tell me…

It always starts the same, and believe me, it will end the same. That’s just how it goes. I don’t plan it. I write so I don’t have to think about it. Then I realize that I am thinking about it. I’m writing about it. Then I feel it. I hear it. It resonates everywhere. My conscious is an avalanche. Majestic, bewildering. And wholly careless, crooked lust, crooked lust. My conscious is an avalanche…
            It is majestic, too. Crumbling without a way to stop it. Maybe I’m shedding something. Maybe I need this. Maybe I need to fall apart so I can hold myself together. And all the while I am the animal on the side of the mountain, watching the mass speed towards me. It’s made of the tiniest, most harmless bits. And I made it. I don’t know how. It just looms over me. I began mistake the shadow of the mountain for the natural shade of daylight.
I can’t make sense of them if nothing happens. I never read them twice and I never think about them too long but I always want to know. I have a list of things to do every day. Silence imprecations. Avoid paroxysms. Stretch. But the one thing that should be on my list isn’t on my list. And I feel it now. My conscious is an avalanche…
My body loops and loops. I breathe and eat to keep it going. I worry, God I worry. And we all do. Everyone says we need to worry less, tossing it out there like a bone to the poor emaciated dog. I am not that dog. We all are. We all worry. Even if we tell other people to worry less. I know the truth.

            So I am not out of line if I ask you to be honest.

I live with the tides. I live in reverence. But do I live these days? I think about it and know the days are endless, endless. You used sound happy, but darling, you seem like you’re anxious. My conscious is an avalanche. Aware of the deadly flakes. A mountain made of crooked lust. My conscious is an avalanche…

No comments:

Post a Comment