Grotesqueries

I
I dream of time, then, a paper strip twisted in on itself, doubly looping. And time in my dreams is colossal yet tiny—a single glance is a million years, a close examination exactly half a second; I do not want to wake, for in dreaming time I can make time bend to each and every one of my unconscious wanderings. Is there a morning when I finally choose not to wake?

 

II

Watch the skies closely, just before the morning peeks its head around the corner and the end of night is tailing off into nothingness. Perhaps a star or two will blink its eyes at you, carefully, being unwillingly hidden by the swooping spectre of shadow wildly careening across the skies.

 

III

The girl on the bench quietly sits, waiting for the summer breeze to pass her by. Riding on it will be her lover, a god as gentle as the feather on a day-old chick, and he will tend to her fancies: he is her drug and her solace, and she his most faithful worshipper. In sleep they lie chastely together, her scroll and flower tucked under a nearby rock even as the children play in the meadows, and laughter is their blanket and the air they breathe.

 

IV

The oranges melt in the heat of the marketplace. Every other fruit, however, remains unharmed.

 

V

Grass. Steep hill. Wind, clouds, sky as smooth as a baby’s hair. Lone figure climbing. Horizon acquiescing to the bold outline of the hill. Grass, step by step yielding under weary feet. Wind rushing by ears a strident timekeeper. Peak of hill. Lone figure stretches arms, and laughs: a laughter of loneliness.

 

VI

…tum tum tum the drums go, never resting for a moment, trying to speak their own language with syntax and meaning through their harsh-edged lips. We can almost understand, in the primitivity of it all but they have no tongues, and our liquids and approximants turn into plosives at that surface of the mouth we call a drum; what is language to them is only music to us.

 

VII: Recollection

There is a mist over the entire scene in this room, but it is warm. There is light from one corner, a warmth in a strangely bluish yellow, offsetting the shades of the wooden furniture and the whiteness of the sheets swathing the bed. The windows set mutely in the wall try to keep out the night but it seeps in and wafts like the scent of a kiss—

                —you are lying and never facing me, reticence showing along the length of your spine and the sultry curve of your ribcage and waist, nude and grained like the aroma of wood floating on the clouds that hang about the room. Sheets cover your legs and hips. The glowing light flickers to lick at the shadows in the ceiling and the penumbrous contours outlining your back solidify; a series of lines spreads gradually through the darkness toward you and onto your body and suddenly, you start to sing.

                I am also naked and I sit on the bed with you, by you. Meditative, your body is as my prayer yet your face is never bestowed as a gift to my eyes, and only your shoulders and slender neck are turned to me, silently refusing the teases of my sight while your sinuous song draws my hand to you, as if I should turn you over. But then I see the strings forming slowly out of the lines of your back, and all such thought disappears; then you sing the pitches I play with my fingers as my hands gently smooth themselves over your back, your spine, and the quietly delicate line of your waist, laid out before my eyes.

 

VIII

What is music to us is language to them: in dreams they speak and wend their way through arches of melody. But they have no bodies, only souls, and when any creature enters their world the sounds embalm its body and yearn to take it to hold the fragile soul of the voice, the voice softly caressing our minds to make us sleep each day.

 

IX

In a mute certainty the world of reality is always interchangeable for the world of dream, for sleep is waking when dawn calls and the first shreds of sunlight divest us of our vestments of slumber; then we must refrain from believing more than half of everything we feel.

 

X

Feel this silk around your body, your majesty: the purples and reds offset your countenance and the solemnity and weightlessness of the fabric are as the wash of colours at a sunset where your body is as the sands of the beach. Feel this silk like the waves of the sea, then, because you have stolen the blood from your people to make the reds, and the blue of the sky no longer visits your land—the tears of birds are awash set these colours in the lightness of your robe.

 

XI

This is a cup containing a storm. Give it to who you will, and bid him drink it; or imbibe it yourself, and let the power distilled into this absolute essence stream into your veins and toss and turn your body and wash your consciousness aground on the rocks of indifference. There will be no aftereffect and the entire experience will have been as a dream, a shining beam of happiness that brushes against your cheek for a second after the storm blows over, but the loss of that stark happiness will be the haunt of your soul for the rest of your future lives.

 

XII

Two worlds pendulate around each other, separation and togetherness their gravity and their bond. The gods will watch and interfere as they deem fit; but for now, snug in the knowledge that such an apocalypse is far off yet into a future they do not care about, they drink, laugh, and make merry while watching their clockwork creation dance its two-step.

 

XIII

I can see the entirety of time spread out before me, a single line thinner than the hairs on an angel’s back, and I am standing on the spot where I sleep. In front and behind stretches literal infinity, strangely curving upward at each end: and I know that we are all caught in a loop, forever going around in the same circle.

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