Patter, patter, patter she ran and pumped and ran her breath away. Heaving and breathing and a stuttering jaw, with a patter patter patter down the road and across the bridge. Clip-clomp clip-clomp clip-clomp across the grated arc. Down the graded slope, the slant against her will over metal suspension, like spider webs embellished with steel, framed in cement and concrete crowned above the water and over the ground. Her prints, away they stagger, a line up the mountain along the road in the dirt and the dust, the gravel disturbed, without a breath to break the curve of the sprinting lane, the panic route, the trail left behind, the trial still on her heels in the center of her wake. Her drying maw leaving carbon in the air, a waft of exhalation and the scent of here blood-red hair. Toes are bruised and continue to pound, patter patter patter against the ground and against the want of her muscles to quit, the want of her lungs to breathe, the want of her heart to stop, against the faintness of her spirit to run, run and run. So run she did and running still and still and stiller (now more quiet) as an angel in flight her wings broken at her ankles, being scuffed and a scatter of feathers from her life left behind like the petals of a daisy and that was her name. Daisy, she ran and ran, down and down the mountain with blood on her hands and wind in her hair, her shins under dust and bruising. Around the bend and out of sight, like the passing of a breeze through a meadow, like the tumbling of a leaf across a window, like a lost little girl in the woods, she curved behind the green. That ragged edge of the scenic way, overlooking the river and reaching out like the suspension bridge traversing the ditch. She was gone.
Daisy is gone.
With a pen in his hand he scribbled and scraped and counted the lines on the page. Rebounding the paper against the wall and against the lamp and between the glasses of ice half-melted and liquor half-gone. Morning was coming except for all the stars above his head and below is chin and spraying out from his eyes as he imagined another world another time where streetlights and lanterns hung in the sky, where singing and chanting gave sweetness to the night. Where the air smelled of music and the spray of a sneeze was fresher than mint and lemons. Somewhere else, coming out from his mind. Somewhere else, somewhere else, somewhere besides all the chairs and couches and houses and towns, now broken and bashed. All the cities and countries and planets all bent and folded and frowning from now on. All the galaxies tossed and the reaches of heaven, the free-falling pits of hell and death, the chasing of dreams and the prison of marish nights, terrible sights. All were crumpled and incomplete. All of them piled like snowballs prepared for a snow-fight, but there would be no fight, not with this trash, not with this tinder for keeping a cold hand warm. Nothing here that could teach an old man how to be born. Something so simple a child can do it, though a mother’s love and her pain make the noise an infant can enter a room and see everything new, an infant can survive in an infant and uncharted place, another world, a “somewhere else” far from the quiet and quaint. The red inner sanctum of sleep and swallowing, breathing the same old familiar stuff. A child can see anything, everything, something afresh, without repetition, without placid knowing, with a pattering heart and with a stuttering breath. “Is it fair for a child?” Fairchild questioned with his pen in his teeth, “that all that is new will end by their own intention? An intention to discover, to explore and repeat, and in that repeating deplete the globe of unfound treasures and unknown birds and un-printed shores and un-climbed trees and untasted pleasures? Is it fair for a child?” So Fairchild thought and then he was alone again, lost in his heart, in his head, in his pen. Fairchild was gone again.
Fairchild is gone.
A Swirl of smoke. Not from cigarettes or cigars or smokestacks. A swirl of smoke like the ghost of a reed, bending in the wind like papyrus in the spring, on the banks of the Nile. Having waded in deep, having waited for the breeze to bend it over and over. Twirling in circles, the smoke. It leans over and reaches the end of the room with the window and the papered doorframe, near the clay bowl and the chair for guests. Her breathing is slow, concentrated and low, like a whisper before a kiss (but with no lips to greet it), like a snake that is sleeping forgetting to listen for dinner on brown (deep brown) dirt floors. She stops and continues every moment is forgotten as the next one comes like bubbles on a river from a fish she will never meet, to a sea she will never see, and need not worry that here she may only be ever sorry. Sorry and sick for what she cannot remember, eighty years ago though she is only twenty. She made a mistake and probably lived for it. Now she must die for it. And do it again. And die again, until she is free to be no more than a wish on the lash of a stranger’s eye. But she stops and continues forgetting each minute. Desiring nothing but now because the past is unchanging, the future unseen like the inside of a palm while its fronds are still a deep, luxurious, dew-gathering green and the now, oh my: oh my, the now, oh my: the now oh my. Oh my. Ohm. I Ohm. I Ohm… I Ohmm… I, the now, am so small a thing. I am no more, while my continuum sings a dirge of nothingness, a song without hope, for no hope is needed when songs are sung. No strumming of strings, vibration of sounds, no harp or flute, no minstrel to play and pluck a mandolin. And Amanda-Lynn needs no music. Amanda-Lynn’s mind is empty, so full of emptiness, no desire can fit, not even she has a place in the pew or the pulpit of the clearest and whitest, the purest and most barren now-year, now-day, now-hour, the now-time, the no-time of her mind. Now is such a small sliver of history, such a slim cut, such a slender piece that nothing can fit. No ghostly reeds of incense and there’s certainly not a place for Amanda-Lynn. So contrarily, she stays and yet, well and unwell she goes, like a stone cast into the center of the sea she has never seen. When she sinks she is sunken and gone.
Amanda-Lynn is gone.
A sway in his step like a dance with a lover and a lover has whispered the crux. The crux of the matter has come to the surface and pulled down, pulled under, stepped over and won the break and the sprain, the fracture and the friction of the distance and dying pain. With all the rags of a living and a habit of dirtying daylight with darkness, he posts his knees to the grooves in the floor and sets to the burn, the after burn and the extra hot burn of a rocket-packed, tether-strapped harness. Like frothing wine his petitions flow for the thirsty drunkards inside him. Like a staff in the sand on the beach in the night were no one will see that at his command the waves bite down. Poseidon himself bites his tongue and purses his lips and looks at the ground in the presence of this beggar of brandy and licker of wounds, this dog at the foot of the bed. But the bed that he mounts and the bones that he counts are divided by three long days. One day in the bed would have been enough for a flock of gulls to cease flight and lose sight of the shore in the far-reaching heart-searching prayer-hindering haze. Two days beneath the gravelly sheets could have driven the swine (instead of to the mud from which dirt can be washed off again) to the edge of a cliff and a squealing fall for filling a lake with hooves and mold and hair-covered ears and meat. Three days did this, they did this and more, they made cages from mud-brick homes, making traps of dinning rooms, hideouts of houses and possums of those who once were wolves. It trapped the rays of the sun, under bated breath and myths of hopelessness. But that morning when Raymond, for Ray is a name and no more than a name to himself, that morning when Raymond pulled back the shade of his coffin, love and life and water, alive like music poured in. Like a milk-bathed rat he writhed in the light of blue skies and lime colored aloe-vera plants. From the grave of a pig and the pit we all dig, Ray climbed and is nowhere in sight. He leapt from beneath and he’s gone.
Raymond is gone.
As they run and recite their prose I can hear them. I can catch them. As they rise and forget and do it again I remember them and repeat myself to them again. Blood on their hands. Feet on their path. Breaths taken too quickly. Pens in their teeth. Ice in a glass. Melding truth to conform with belief. Empty times. Quiet doors swung open to whoever is passing by. They reach for nothing and nothing doesn’t hesitate to reply to the runaways and those who run into themselves and the young who want to get lost in the grandness of empty promises, like condemned hotels or broken faucets. Like desert mirages or being thirsty and adrift in the salty sea. They are turning doorknobs attached to trees and ringing bells made of linen. They are shaking hands with wheat-grass and asking stones to be bread.
Here I am: I Am. I am alone, with both my hands. My lips are to, my hands are on a megaphone.
Their mountain roads are down, down and away. Their freckled faces and bruising knees are mine to kiss and mine to heal. Their thinking games are like Christmas Eve which never seems to end. Their tired tries and crumpled lives are mine to unfold, to stretch, to author and to scent with new feathers and a welcoming grin of gleaming dawn. Their curling stems of escape stop short at the ceiling. Their empty lungs and stilted houses of paper words and cardboard wisdom are mine to fill with sweet breath-smoke and to destroy and rebuild in flesh and bone.
So take a name, like Ray. Be gone, but not from Me. Be gone from the road you’ve sprinted. Be gone from the dreams you’ve invented. Be gone from the hopeless white room of meaningless heartbeats and mechanistic mentation. Be gone from your bloody skin, from you’re tooth-dented pen, from your crumpled-up, nothing-new tries, from your nothing-more-than-now-seeing eyes. Be gone from it all and be not alone. Because when your petals drop like those from a daisy and the unfair end comes to you child, when the mandolin plays and sweet sun’s rays grace your coffin while your family cries… You will be gone from somewhere. For wherever you are, you are. And you are gone from somewhere else. Right now you are gone from me. Don’t fool yourself.
You Are Gone…