Monday, August 30, 2010


I am on a ship. I am in a room. I am trapped in a cup. I am the torn underside of a roti. I am in a room somewhere, lying on a bed I do not own, on a patch of land not my own, fed by hands that don’t know me. My bed is smooth, the white sheet has streaks of grey. I did not make them. Am I alone or are there others below me? Above me? Speak if you can. There are no windows—am I entombed? The earthen graves are burning, burning with a strong blue flame: a guide for mariners and bored insurance agents. Make me a grave, my son. Let the shovel dry, then make your mark and swing hard. The bones are first to break, the skin shatters… and I am standing alone—in my room—with a little white shirt bleeding hard. My room is empty. I am not in it. I would—if I could—have a bird at my window-sill; something to look at, and something to look at me. Even through the bars. Even through these rough bricks. I look around to see if I am still here. It’s always dark—I can’t see my shadow. The latrine poisons me and every morning I strengthen its poison. I am a ship ploughing the acid seas, with the timid whales wailing far below. A screech! From where? Perhaps I am slowing down. Aging all alone was Cain’s curse. I am cursed by all. The toothbrush strips me everyday of a bit a skin, and the soap softens my bones for the final blow…and my shirt? Each day it twists me into an unknown shape—a marvel of infernal symmetry. My wife? I dare not speak of her. I built my home on the shores of Hell. Oh why were you born my son? You were sent to us without a soul: you slept eighteen hours a day, you did not speak, you did not move. You were born dead, my child. You see? And now the world spits on my face. All I did was to sever the thin cord of mucus imprisoning you in this earth. I did it to free you. I did nothing.
I am slowing down. I noticed this a month ago. It takes me longer to sleep, and I sleep longer. I am hardly awake. It must be something in the air down here. Nonetheless, I have much to do. A petty thief was knifed today—such a frail thing the human skull.

I lost my glasses today—remarkable!

Time to rest. The bed tolerates this cold bag of bones. Is it noon? Night? November? I cannot know. They are softening me for the rope. I see my arms glowing in that rarefied air. At last, I have become what I had never wanted to be. I have become a guide for mariners upon their acid seas. I will sleep. I am no more.

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