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Little Did I Know





  Days and days, it seems, like before, wait, has it been that long, I can’t be certain, since I slept. I remember now, I think, I remember, I think, I’ve confused myself, let me go back to the beginning, it was all wet and cold and angry, and vengeance, its vengeance, against which I have no defense, nor the mind or stomach to anyway, I know, pursues me, hunts me, daily, nightly, I watch and listen for a sign, why would you, why, always why, and then the silence, maybe coming over that mountain ready to cross the lead-gray sea, twenty-nine miles, only for the sake of causing pain, mine, vengeance, I wait for its arrival, coming filled with cruelty and venom and bile, wondering what it will look like, how it will feel, but there was a balcony, dirty dishes, and scented candles, and the sea, a harbor, and mother’s worst cooking, like unseasoned vomit served with pure silver, on lush, richly decorated, china, every color and precious stone and everything luringly precious, everything that sparkles, twinkles, and distracts, right there, arrayed before us, I think, then a departure, the enigma of departure, when did I decide, I keep trying to remember, who will, who has, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what's the verdict, warmed that briefly abandoned, smells like me, perhaps not, feels like me, maybe the mold would have a glove-like fit, grieves like me, no, not like me, who is this fool who takes himself for me, once warm and soft and thrilling, spot, of mine, my place in the world. I heard them talking in muffled delicious hatred, yes, I know, yeah, I know, you're right, I know, as though it were some code no one but those two could hear or understand, all for one and one for, please raise your right hand, go forth and prosper, thrive, loyalty, failure to thrive, betrayal, how does all that feel, come on, think back, there must be some fragment of memory, all the while imagining me to be as they are, as though I would ever, or, wait, it might have been me they spoke of, until they laughed, then I knew it wasn't me, it couldn't be, I don't think, sick, enjoying each wonderful moment of delirious hysterical, wait, what is it in French, let me try to remember, il est quelqu'un que vous aimez détester, yes, that will do, even hatred sounds better that way, but French was not allowed, aucun Français, there was much that wasn't allowed, smothered under a mountain of rocks and rules, again the mountain. Believe in me, wont you, someone, someone was talking, it should've been me, believed in, this empty autumn night, yes, hard on the land wears the sea and empty grows every bed, all but one, and the sea, yes, a walk along the shore, near the sea, and never for long that one, the hush moist morning air, I remember how it felt, on my face, in the dark, as the road, paved in the black ash of everything that burned, turn a blind eye, before my eyes, when was that, rolled away underneath me. I remember, no, I can’t say that I do, really, I wish I could, remember every tiny detail, remember, how long it’s been, it’s just one, maybe two, but no more, yet it feels as though it was all so long ago, just one long floating sleepless dream, broken with soft snoring, laid out with terrible precision in that cloud of hot breath that smelled of last night’s wine, every morning, shallow breaths that carried, surprisingly, so much, wait, wait, think this through, alright, mythic retribution, since I slept, next to her, tell me, please, that it wasn't the, you fool, you dolt, last, no, no, now, hope springs eternal from all cliches, the words, followed by a laugh, a straight razor dragged, slowly, powerfully, deliberately, horribly across the neck, until, they relented, each in their own time, the skin, the muscles, the tendons and ligaments, the veins, the arteries, free now, I’ve decided, I’ve, finally, decided something, pause, I must have more time to think, to wonder, is there a book they come from, all those now indecipherable words worn smooth by the chill dripping winds next to that little church in Kent, nine hundred years ago, how do they, who, maybe, decides what to carve on all those headstones worn smooth with the silent generations who walk, thoughtfully, through the tall wet grass on hushed mornings when all those birds decide to wake, all at the same time, right, again, the mornings, every futile misstep on that creaking staircase, the guard dog’s tail knowingly wagging, with anticipation, late at night, while you slept, dreaming, wine on your breath, of things left unsaid, held, hoarded, for another moment, for another, never to arrive, why wasn't I told, I would sit up wishing you would, just once, come down and keep me company, but there wasn't enough, ever. Still, this ghost-like journey, haunting, long ago, tired, nearly beaten, what, here by the ocean, with duct tape and spit, stupidity and audacity, the audacity of hundreds and hundreds, seen anew every moment of every sleepless point on the calendar, wishing you'd come down and talk to me. Perhaps they are chosen at random, devoid of selectivity, anything to ease the fear and the pain of loss or losing, of being, finally, alone, those headstones, standing crocked or fallen in that wet overgrown patch by the church, nine hundred years old, the words worn away, so it’s come to this, until, finally, utterly, they are left to fight their own battles with the chill dripping winds over there in Kent, remembering every creaking groaning movement through the landscape, walking, for a time, like an old man, a cripple, a fool, as beautiful as a rodent, wait, slow down, choose, yes, a gopher, the face of one deserving, or a damaged gimp, hobbling, falling, again, and, again, through the landscape, I'm sure I remember, I heard tell. But wait, stop for just a moment, I think I'm lost, again, I’m not even sure I know how to continue, lets go back to the beginning, no, not again, maybe I’ve already exhausted all the possibilities, so, now what, if it’s all been already exhausted, every possibility, the fatigue, days and days it seems, it feels, up from the desert that terrible hot wind that no man could ever hope to quell. I still want to know, how do they decide, one from each of three columns, A B and C, a menu of insincerity and deceit, but too just, it was right here, next to this lighthouse which no longer guides any traveler, the bell down in the harbor, the slap of small waves on the beach at four in the morning, once they led me to sleep, now, did I say now, I don’t even know when it is, there is just a ceaseless churning in the stomach, with bread and wine, the harvest of youth. Best to sit here quietly and indulge myself, like de Chirico, day after day, sitting sick in the square. How common, no, how ordinary it is, everything, wait, I said slow down, breathe, where was I, best to just indulge myself, for once, forget about everyone else, for once, like that night, sitting on the bench, waiting for that train, south, I believe, it was bound, yes, that, and perhaps only ever that, I’m almost certain, was love, at least offered, even if not reciprocated, unlike it could have been, yes, I know, time to sit and be quiet, nothing to decide tonight, but, later, I read it, wait, I think it’s here somewhere, give me just a moment, in my head I mean, I read, in her letter, about the enigma of departure and separation, just like now, alone just like us at that gate, do you remember, do you understand, where Tannhaüser stood looking down into the earth, worshipful, yet ready to explode with pain, and all those flowers and blossoms laid at your doorstep, while mine, remained barren, not a single written word, left to wither and die, and be, finally, thoughtlessly, uselessly, discarded. Rhyme and wonder, that’s what she called it, rhyme and wonder, that night at the train station, even if not in English, aucun Français, phew, wasn't that a long time ago, okay, get ready, only a few more words, like those on the headstones in Kent, worn away with time and corpse goo, now, tie the thread back together so that you might pretend, to sleep, it would've sounded the same, only better, beautiful, if only you had been there, you should've been there, yes, in my head, all of it, flowing down that cascading fountain filled with time, yes, all time, each and every moment, each and every word, relived in each sleepless instant, all time, noise, and fury, and tears, yet one more precious cup of Ophelia’s tears, as a fountain, it’s made me his fool.

Ocean Grove Lounge, late night, Trinidad, California, 30 October