New Revisions

by dschapman

This is the way the world will end; without a bang, without a whimper, edgeless into the void. An ending which, like a ripple through standing waters, begets endings; endings upon endings, which in turn beget endings, begun again by endings. It is not for me to say who will still the waters, or if they in time will still themselves. I have heard good things, however; I have heard hopeful men singing, given in to hope; I have witnessed full pastures, I have tasted good fruits; fruits whose peels are too precious to toss, and so I toss them to the pigeons nesting high above my stoop, roosting high upon a steeple, here in this city, here in this ancient array; the wide-open eye of my consciousness. A scenic, mysterious picture, like motorcycles dripping oil in the desert, diamonds in their fuel tanks. I watch while the window-washers fall from their scaffolds, crashing through the roof of the conservatory, landing in a bed of lilacs. Their over-alls rip and they stain with the color of lilacs, white and mauve and violet. I wonder did they say farewell; I wonder what they thought of, as once I too did think.

Some people are standing around doing nothing. Others are working their skin to the bone. Some people pray, and others peel crayfish, drinking Johnny Walker. Some people are standing around by the bus stations, change in their pockets and pencils behind their ears, smoking joints, salvaging tobacco from disused cigarettes. Some people stare at other people, and some people rarely open their eyes. I try to keep my eyes open. They were closed for far too long. People used to call me gifted; no longer do they call me gifted. I wonder whether or not I have a gift. I wonder what I could have done to deserve it. I have committed no virtuous deeds, because virtue just doesn’t exist. I have turned my back on the world, declining from their laws, refusing to follow their ethics, their confused and untenable ethics, as though there were a they, as though there were ethics. And so have I let go of the ropes that bound me – I have fallen weightless through the void.

I am coming onto you. I am wrapping my legs around your waist, pulling you closer. I am exhaling softly on your neck, whispering poetry into your ear, quoting Rimbaud, telling you stories. I am dislocating my jaw and gorging myself on your head, on all of your organs. My wings have sprouted, and they form a shell around us, within which pulses this sinful pulp. Feel my tentacles; they tighten around your neck. Feel my scales; they cut into your legs, into with ease your soft and tender legs. Taste my venom; it trickles down your throat and seeps discreetly, easily,  into your bloodstream. Forgive me, forgive me, for I am in heat, and I am not controlling me. This is not me. I am not this. I am an animal of mere intuition, and sometimes my fingers tighten their grips, sometimes my skin begins bleeding. Sometimes I turn into a monster, and words flow from my lips like fire. I apologize once more, and then I swallow you whole. 

Forgive me, I feel compelled to say, obliged by a false obligation. When did everything become so difficult? When did the world become so unreal, so unworldly? A baby with beautiful eyes, beautiful doe-like eyes, a child perfect, profane, setting his sights on the propane tanks, watching the coming explosion, the soaring diffusion of light and time, in splendid candor; watching the stoplights flickering yellow to red in the midwinter flood of frost and ice, like the lumber trucks on the interstate, the steel and the wood in midwinter. Everything is only getting worse. Whether or not we’re through the worst of it, we’re surely through the best of it. A difficulty, making itself known in the middle of night, keeping you sleepless for weeks on end, hanging fatly over every passing second; pangs of fright, strikes of total hopelessness, a sense of being soiled. Difficulties, growing worse and worse, lighting the cities on fire. The cars – they are coming for you. The monsters – they are looking for you. Bar up your windows, lock up your doors; only a miracle can save you now. I may just be gifted, but I am no kind of miracle worker. I am strong – but I am hardly an angel. Only the strong can survive. And I have lost my strength. I am weak of heart, I am unchivalrous, and I have lost my will to fight. I am beginning to forget who I am again. What is that wonderful smell – is that a rose, or a honeysuckle? Do roses have a scent, or am I imagining it? I imagine many things. But I could never have imagined this – I could never have dreamed up this new duality, this collusion of weakness and strength, total helplessness and total power. A beast in the belly of an even bigger beast, a sex, a double sex, in the stomach; I am flailing. 

If I begin to flail, then do not intervene; allow me to flail. I will flail about until I’m too tired to flail any more, and then I will fall asleep; and then you can fold me up and put me away. Dispose of me, or take me with you; I will wake up, flailing, either way. Place me in bed and forget about me; I will go on alone. I need no protection. I can sleep with one eye open. I can keep a pistol under my pillow. I have seen good friends, but so have I seen enemies; so have I seen distractions, discrepancies, difficult things. Obscene and perversive things. It was once my job to fight them; and once, with guns, I fought them off. But I do not fight them anymore. Only the strong can combat them. And I have lost my strength. Friends, enemies, subjects of the compass of heartlessness, following directions through directionless voids. They think they’re so powerful… they think that they’ve won! Perhaps they have. It is not my place to judge them, to fight them, it is not my fight anymore. My skin has turned to stone and my teeth into icicles. I have flown to the darkest point of night, and there I have stayed, am I staying. I crouch like a gargoyle amongst gargoyles, ticking off time with the passage of saints through the windows of the windowless cathedral, the doors of the earth or the universe, sound asleep in the shade of the craters, the womb of the moon. Forgive me, for I am merely an observer. I have no stake in this war, I am hardly a soldier. My words are no contention, I am hardly a contender, I am hardly a man. I am a gargoyle, a decorous gutter set against an ominous skyline. A gutter, yes; no more do I drink from the water of life, as once, when human, did I drink. I guide the rain into rivulets, coursing always through me, the water of life flowing through me, undrinkable.

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