Late in the day we expected the day
to have no history and thus unhinged
we’d find true home someplace we’d never been—
there it was: clear shining space
in which we had new being because our
been had been excised till suddenly old
pain recalled old injury and we sensed
the phantom tail we dragged through those old worlds
we thought ourselves free of, then even the
memory of it encumbered all direction
till we faced forward only by default, how
we still felt the way we’d roared the burden
of it, the suffering of the finer selves
we’d finally become, when what we’d left
was all that was left, meager water holes,
dense foliage, volcanoes, steely sky.
People are always passing through the perpetual room, looking different, being the same. You don’t know what you’re missing, you’re not much troubled by anything. It’s always noon in the perpetual room, without shadows you cannot tell demon from friend, but there’s no time for caution.
You don’t know where you go to sleep, you dream of objectless yearning, swamp lights, threatening mail. You wake up in the perpetual room surprised to find that you yourself are always passing through, one side of the door no different from the other: you’ve been here before, you’ll be here again, you’ll have to go out when you want to get in.
Always on your way to other places that somehow always end up being here, you cannot fully appreciate the beauty of the perpetual room–its transparent walls and soft landings, its finely calibrated air, the narcotic effect of its ambient music, the spectacular near-misses of its perihelia. Nonetheless, you surmise that all this passing through is what keeps the perpetual room perpetual: zero, one, not being in the same place at the same time, not being.
At some point you discover you’ve been navigating all this time you thought you were just along for the ride. Now Saturn scares you, so cold, so colorless to mortal eyes, so damn close to far away and where you’re going. Always too late tomorrow, never too late yesterday.
Early on the dog seemed more like home—no animal ever had black spinning things behind a face, that relentless hum in every room of things that weren’t words that everyone’s mind was always shouting, things I never could unhear. Even now in every grinding place without an exit, I play here-there with things I’ve turned to empty objects in my mind. Down every hallway some dark engine rushed toward me or behind me, every house was a cabinet with a mirrored front. Always alone in days or evenings that didn’t begin and didn’t end until the mind just packed off to the side, but by then I’d already seen too much of everything.
After a while, you didn’t have to keep moving all the time, you were already unrecognizable in how you managed it, a border with a life on one side open to any vantage point, on the other side the one that always smelled of paint and turpentine. The one saving discovery: that you could show invisible things with a pencil or brush on paper, paper that you could go into like a house no one could see. Later on, every time I stretched a canvas, I was building a house behind it, a place I could breathe in behind the scrim of everything else.
There was just entirely too much seeing, seeing that would not stop, one Continue reading