Intelligentsia

by dschapman

Blue tile; treacherous manipulator, dishonorable intentions; the water glowed from below, where the lights grew out of the tile and disseminated into the waves, the unpredictable movement of waves around bodies and walls; in the spring, in Europe, I slept in a room overlooking a street in the market district and I whistled at a girl, who laughed at me. A family from Florida moved into my room. The old man got drunk and I stole some money from him and then left, pre-dawn, on the first train out of Brussels. Two men were playing around on a bench in the moonlight and slept in the sand with the reeds rising over their heads. Covered in sweat the simple children struggled up the hill, into the cave, where they carried their statues over the head past the bridge and then out again. Green vinyl kept the cats away and barbed wire hung over a tree in the woods. But the water was perfectly blue and the waves unpredictable, and as she combed my hair I put my hands on her waist and drew her close to me. Preppy striped sweaters and golden-tinted sunglasses stolen from the mannequin in Atlanta. I put a camera in a the eye of the statue and set the statue on the mantel, and then I blackmailed the people in the room with my reels upon reels of raw evidence. In a symbolic gesture I printed off my life’s work and burned it, but I have other copies in the cloud. Very wealthy children have sex together in the cellar. “Cellar door,” said the whore, with her foot in her mouth, trying to read aloud poetry; blue lace, warmth leaking out of the cotton, moisture gathering; a heat, it is easily felt, it is animal; and then there is nothing, the world creaks and moans; wind slips into the cracks, bodies respire their gases, worms digest dirt as they dig through it. In the evening the city is very warm and the lights come on early, the moon comes out fresh-faced and pale, and the gold gives way to blue, the eternal fortune rolls and drips like a languor. Cello in a white room. Black man holds his hand to the wall and leaves no fingerprint. Panels after panels fall from the wall, their backing adhesive drying out from the radiation in the air, men kneel on the mahogany floors and make love to their reflections, half in prayer and half in denial, the guilt of the green flags reminds us of nature, the presence of furor, the history of grass on the mountain – berries, crystals, ghosts – the orange paint covers it up. The aesthetic breaks and an analyst in upper Manhattan ends her life with good reason. The drive is just too far away. I am crying now. Naked photoshoot, she is very embarrassed. Like a girl being manipulated by a man, and objectified. Her underwear disappears under the bed. No one can believe what they’ve seen in the papers. People are closing their eyes because they’ve been over-exposed. Feedback loops and innuendo; she spits a cherry pit into the face of a dragon. Long, red velvet robes draped over the back of the elegant citizen, his face hidden under a hood – it’s exploitative, he slips himself inside her, she is wet and hungry for it; backgammon, a tall glass of water, an oft-repeated phrase and breasts the size of softballs; white fences keep the buffalos in but the foxes sneak in and they nip at the ankles of the beasts. A socialite living the perfect life is framed and then raped by the intelligentsia; a child laughs and then plays in the daffodils. I got hot; I shook; I expanded, I filled up the room; someone hunted me. Sterling silver tray of maraschino cherries. Post-coital reflection. Cryptic markings on the wall of the cavern, they are lit by candles because electric light is too strong for them; like the purple flowers that grow vertically around the base of the monument, or the hull of the ship covered in algae as it rocks in its mooring, snow falls to the ground and a young man stands alone in the cold, feeling inadequate, insulted by his fellow men. Imagine the dog curled up peacefully at the foot of the bed, the fire burning in the chimney. Imagine the perfect sterility of the iron golem. The steel cable, the tinge of morality. Embarrassment. The dog with his tongue in the bag of the trash. I read Doctor Zhivago aloud to the dog while he watched me, eating rice. I was there at Penn Station when it happened. I drove the antique Rolls-Royce through the cemetery, lost along imperfect lines in the rhetoric. She was last seen wearing blue, leaving the bookstore on Nicholas and Richmond. I adjusted the tie of the man standing outside the club and he glared at me. Inside a chandelier crashed to the ground and started a fire, burning the curtains first, and everyone barely survived. Someone was jealous. They listened around the campfire to the stories of the angels he had seen. In a derelict old building the androids decomposed. I felt nothing. I was not alone. I’ve been reduced to a thoughtless imitation. My princess isn’t dead yet; she picked up the phone to make a call but I stopped her. I knew what she would do to me. I had to save what I could. I rolled the old leather chair off the porch and into the valley. The heads of the dolls were compacted down into the earth. Repeating damask pattern in silver on blue with white trim and it looks very garish. She still believed in love and romanticized him. He could not live up to her ideal. They abandoned him.

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