Saturday, February 24, 1996

February 24

The days and then the weeks of blindness, brimming so full of the correction of lies and their reverberations. Endless tale, endless. More horrible than the event itself. More merciful than deserved. Scattered flowers and aromatic decomposition. Diseases, night, the penury of goods and substances comforting the fallen woman.

My voice has crossed the line. Heart to a loveless cynic being eased aboard the train. Guilt about such acts a comfort in black days. Cruel, but not unfamiliar. To burn from the inside outward. What is extracted from mines, torn away and washes the dead. The broken teeth and polished boots. Already half-lost honor pursued by hatred and overtaken, more of a coward than anything else.

Breath in irons. No tongue flutters in the mouth-cavern gently just above the open book. A smooth and weightless death’s head, a covering-over of scattered relics, a hovering over corpses, the old atavistic reflex, as at the end of a long journey to the city and then to the prison, the terminus of the narrow-guage line.

Get up, light the fire, and make them breakfast. Serve them cabbage soup when they stagger from the train onto the disturbed earth, the stars hollow and weighed down. A flock of birds, and darkness crowning forests, mountains, borders with interchanged or telescoped details. The movements of the living like wedding rings in the darkness, taken up their beds and walked onward slowly, eyes averted onto the ground, so heaped with papers, from beneath which protruded pale steel gleaming. This excursion through the sewer, with the paintings and grand pianos, other precious items, so carefully packed for just such an emergency. Scraps of her childhood lessons, education and loyalty, her one friend in dark days, roads fizzled out. As dangerous to take them back.

There are windowless rooms available.

This selfish prayer would adjust, by a fraction, the ashes in the wheelbarrows, the movements of the living. Apocalypse and ornament in one. The pallbearer’s stumbling is an omen, a human, understandable sound stretched out on a voiceless ecstasy, circling mournfully in the dense expanses, only one strand in a universal stream. From the beginning the whole story hovering over the vestiges, a smoke that falls to the ground in the middle of the civil population, white figures burned, drowned and reburied in stone and rotten wood. Lay down on a ragged bed inserted into the masonry at regular intervals. Possible to wake from them, converted and unconverted, smiling sadly, to be ushered into an endless extent, like an avenue through clearings in a scrub pine forest, converging into the soothing embrace of the tomb of sweet air.

To hear sounds in the silence, ambushes about our hearts, and trees like naked corpses amid white fields. Sullen, refusing, as when a peasant becomes a customer in the effort to survive.

Night arches over a dying man, surprised by that failure.