I don’t believe the clouds are really this low. The fog comes from the inside, however.
Fragments move toward the surface, work their way out. That’s the way I’ve always been told it was. But I never really believed it…I guess. Always thought those fragments were buried deep enough to stay put. Did you have anything to do with this or was it my falling in the snow?
It doesn’t matter, they itch now and I can never put them back. They belong down there you know. They’ll bring up all that extra stuff. You know, Stuff. Stuff that was always supposed to stay where I put it.
I have to close the blinds. Never want them looking in, you know. The best glass houses are really mirrors that nobody knows about. All the neighbors think I’m them. That leaves me alone to deal with the slivers of evil that are working their points to the surface.
I’ll have to be careful not to touch someone. The scratching, itching, sharp things would let them know where I am. God! What if some tried to break the mirror! The goddamn cold air would get me quick.
It doesn’t matter, you know. I’ve bumped against people before. Little woman, lots of destruction. I guess I shouldn’t have pissed her off. That’s the trouble with living in Mirror House, I never know what side someone’s on. Just a minute, have to push those fragments down.
They cut my hand all the time. Cut my heart once when I didn’t know quite which way to push them. They’re small little pieces though. I collected them somewhere I’ve never been, actually had to go back and get them. It’s funny how you can forget little things like that.
And what about the other women, you ask. Some knew about the fragments and some didn’t. I don’t think it really matters. And that is what really bothers me. I think I can take down the mirrors and no one will ever see me anyway.
I tried that once, a little experiment. It took a long time for me to discover that people have these little mirrors in their eyes. But I really don’t believe that. I think maybe I’m made of glass instead.
Why, you ask. Because when I looked I couldn’t see me either, couldn’t see the fragments that I felt. So now I can walk around and look out at others. They’re not there. There’s no one to protect from the fragments in me. There’s no one here but a glass me with black steel fragments working their way to the surface. And they’ll break me some day with no one there to see me die.
I sit here in a room where the names of death march across my walls, issue from a hundred lips, lodge in my heart. Connections form and break. A tearful man sends his pain out to be absorbed by the sponge of my brain matter. I soak up some of the blood, some of the smell, some of the fire, and they go away thinking that they have connected with me in some sense of humanness.
But, in the truth lies anguish, for I merely absorb; cat litter on the ground of human suffering. There is no real dialog. Presence exists for me in the space I stare out of, the hole I have made in the world. I am backed into this crevice of civilization, where I can suck in the pain and drain it into the soil. It doesn’t drain. Where are my human connections? Where do I distribute smells and screams? I scatter them through the distant parts of my brain, the desert places that I infrequently visit and yet, I visit them often. I turn a corner of thought and a film begins. Short clip of sudden death, a man blown from the hatch of a tank returns down in blackened detail. Flesh sheds from his shoulders as a friend desperately attempts to extract him from his pain. Before long, he extracts himself and his pain passes to those still alive. He’s always there around the corner of neural matter, stuffed back into the far reaches, so that my surprise at seeing him again is only less frequent.
I go away from my head-space, reaching out to contact. My eyes show people places they never want to know, so they look away. Every time someone looks away there are reflections returned from the back of my cornea, reflections of desert places. The pounding reflections bounce back and forth until issuing from my eyes they pierce the soul across from me. Dialog. Stamp the visuals down. Break the old celluloid images until only the sprocket holes remain. Open my ears. Listen, listen, LISTEN! I’m so tired of listening. My giving consists of absorption.
I want the purely physical. I want to cry down into a trance and feel the stroke of soft fingers that take me only to my skin, never to thoughts again. I want to give up. I want to give up all control. Take the viewfinder from the back of my brain. Rejoin the me-watching, me-listening, to the one me-being. I want to be engulfed in my body-physical. I once though that I existed in passion. What a fool I was! I thought passion and now know that to think is to deny passion. I, who thought I existed in a world of doing have been electric shocked into the real me of abstraction. I walk through my brain as others walk through their gardens, but I never smell flowers in my head, I smell jellied flesh and diesel fuel. No one can save me. No one can know. No one seems to care to know. Yet, in the final act I know it is me that must find a true connection somewhere.
I drove across the Golden
Gate Bridge with the top
down and two sweaters on.
Engine heat whistled through
the vents, warming my feet and
hands but it was not enough.
The sunsetting sun fell below the
passenger window. And San Francisco
rose from the road bed.
Fisherman’s Wharf (seven years ago):
Waiting on thronging tourists
dressed in shorts and t-shirts,
dressed in some other place,
dressed for some other place.
White chowder in a bread bowl
here you go, and he’d
rub his arms trying vainly not
to purchase a tacky fleece pullover.
Even still I’d pack shorts for visits
to Sunny California where nine tenths the national
supply of avocados grow, not for Bay Area
microclimates: the turbid Twin Peaks
fog and the Pac Heights unending
gale. Swim trunks for the golden
beaches I knew you needed
a wet suit to swim in.
The Market Street crazies
propositioned me with sex then with
drugs then with two hundred dollars later for twenty
dollars now. “I’ll get it to you when I
come back from the Tenderloin Y.”
I’d seen another guy shit between
two parked cars, but that right
there was more offensive.
Still, I kept the convertible
because I wanted to
look cool, but because I always
forget how cold it
gets in San Francisco.