The table fills with words. Count them as they arrive. Attention falters, memory fails to enumerate.
What lurks in the arteries and veins so gathered? What scenes crafted after midnight? What desires transmogrified and safely stored otherworlds. I guess at the shades that stalk the pages from these hands.
“Dos Vedanya” the Slavs say, a guttural parting. Will we meet those characters again? Will they be known? Those strangers that have fed, fought, frozen and fornicated for these friendly folk?
The eyes flicker from their conversation and buzz around my face. I blink. A dead philosopher hangs on the wall behind you. At his side an abstract I cannot confirm. I blink again and the images blur into their reality. I avert my eyes from their inanity.
The conversation roars around me, just below panic levels. I add another block of ice to my suppressant and dive back into the swell, surfing the conversation as best I can. Here one speaks of thunder. There, talk of ancestors and antecedents. Words merge and converge. The undertow of confusion sucks me in. The generous one rescues me with his sincerity.
I escape to the room of relief and suck in the silence as I expel. I sing from the song running in my head.
“These points of data make a beautiful line,
We are out of beta, we’re releasing on time.”
I pray to the gods of Monday that this will be so.
A game begins. Thor and the mage address me. We speak in the abstract of characters – lying as only writers can, with sincerity and accuracy; with eyes cast up as they envision.
Thor announces his cat and his calamity. The mage stands under the judgement of his God. I feel two minds I have never known. Their formless forms drift past, caressing me gently.
Max’s misshapen and malformed being announces himself to this small part of the world. All the empty pages beg that he be made whole. The blank man looks at me from the wall. His invisible hand writes: “You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.” The stranger from the pages bears me no malice. He only sits in judgement. Who am I to beg for mercy?
“Your character is a scary man,” one tells me. Max grins, “Of course I am, you made me.”
“Whereof we cannot speak, we must pass over in silence.” I vomit out an unnecessary truth.
You mop it up with “Is that what you are doing now?”
Why did I say it?
“Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question
Oh, do not ask, ‘What is it?'”
I am a disjointed man. He who claims social insecurity has nothing on this awkward inebriate. My mind plumbs the depth of a play pool. No deeper.
“Not that final meeting.”
The angels attend to the soon departed, swapping seats,
Last rites are said with smiles
The sergeant at my arm barks out the humor I do not know. The philosopher on the wall preys, my mind be gone. He says this disconnection will do for now. “It is done,” he chirrups as his smile fades into some artisanal art.
Again the eyes, but this time they linger. A moment of repose offered. Words happen. A pained smile reflects my exhaustion.
A throwaway remark lands, jolts a synapse in my brain and explodes in to inspiration, or something like it.
Other I, the I behind the I, sighs
and wrestles not with the angel,
submits simply to the unintended provocation.
Ask again “what is it?”
Numbers land on the table. We congregate to asses their import. The throbbing pain in my temple prays me pay attention, that this soon be done. I calculate the loss and expend accordingly. I stand, awaiting the judgement. Afraid that some scoundrel has short-changed the commons.
But is this what I stay for?
Or do I await a moment?
The child in me still Believes “Against one perfect moment, the centuries beat in vain.”
It is done.
The philosopher’s arms extend, cruciform.
I raise again the face that launched the 50 000 words. She still smiles that pleasant smile.
I know that you were woman,
that I AM
and have been in this place.