He's expanding something, how events are more cherished in retrospect. Lethargy is a wise precaution in such a closed-circuit. He reads one aloud.
Unslept in the tap room
bleached wall apposite
across the drop
crumbling daylight through a small square.
The compound is ringed by a palisade of rough-hewn logs. It's good fortune I happened by or nobody would understand what he's saying. Even the sick are made to mark their watch. They rename him using a shortened form. Six runners pass through (one is real); this is the signal that he has no end. A new lexis is adrift in the manor—structure here is a mazy thing (unlucky to run through more than nine times). In the darkness of the day he recites from memory an essay on libation, and a long list of names. I love the feeling that comes with excision. He's now little more than a thumb-sized stump, and wears a strap across his forehead for carrying burdens or hauling. His fingers are held in a big white hand. Blue rubber pipes settle in a shallow trench beside aerosol legends, the body of fact and fiction gathered about to case the flesh.
She is full of reptiles. He's out celebrating his new eyes. Let's get these versions ready, fragments of the original fabric, courses of small blocks punctuated by bands of light. He demobilizes; I sit coiled up on the cool verandah and watch calmly as he breaks off small pieces of himself. A large flap moves up and down—warm air swells gently into humid sheets of space. I've been cast from the loop, am no more than a factotum, a quote of a quote. A few of us guess at the outcome: through the agency of chance they accustom themselves, harden into a tribe, and enclose the map of the parish. Some kind of hawk has clamped itself to the arm of the local iremonger, a dealer in eggs. An eidolon, you see, is a kind of phantom, a confusing reflection or apparition, a fracted image, the interpretation of a word by reading it into oneself. We have plenty left for a fling, the last of the pyres is still smouldering. And he says, After thou sendest them summer, shall we then quit.
He's the habitual insider, with disputed transactions. To the recess. Shiny air in the interim. He has a constant, mean density. The chance when it comes is good, and his use of it better. When there's a gap in the proceedings I come in like a ghost, and exit meat. He's explaining some affectionate riddle. A desiccate heart is pressed into the palm of his hand. He splits open the shrunken pump.
Ex marks her spot, and his reciprocity. Never say you'll never be there for sure, harbouring an abnormal desire to return time and again to a familiar place, the nostalgia for mud, sheltering thieves. We have had to bury him thrice—are you happy now. Not all of the organs are situated in their anticipated cavities. It's been a modest evening by most standards.
He once troubled years in the version, before the irrepressible drift upriver. He carries dispiriting epiphanies of grain, halfhearted islands barely swelling above the mudflat. A meal of stones is sent on a journey, my life above not I. It comes through the skull, boiling noise. Something jackalish leads out in tiny boats that glow in the dimness, upon a river, also a street. He gets his samples out, his residua, the scattered remnants of a theme once voiced.
You realize the absurdity of what you advance?
The process in the mind corresponds to the process on paper; I've done the multiplications in my head. He incorporates written accounts from a much earlier date. These function as wicks. Let me explain.
Nerves are shot. I remember a boon time: filaments vibrating in the breeze of an electric fan, a beam striking out like an arm. That's much better—we have a last minute test card for you. It has to be tomorrow. The other will come, she's had her fill of missed opportunities, the carrier scar. She needs the reward (battered suitcase, left luggage lockup). Are you looking forward.
Are you joking?—plucking away at my neurals.
The other says, how long must I be with you, endure.
Just one hour more and we leave them to themselves. It's a shame, we could have made an incurable team. Keep one eye on the weather, keep one eye out on the water, bobbling at the oily sheen. I cannot suppress. He proceeds on his way. He is forever young; he miscreates, breaks up into individual events. It's his detachment—he illegally occupies time, flares off the page like a curse, voices from the whirlwind.
Ever in shadow down here, for all our sakes, she overcomes. Are we two. We've already agreed between us what must be done. Then he says, do you want to be freed from it, and I say, no, not yet—this is the best paid, if the hardest of posts. And she says, signifying the kind of death: I'll withdraw myself back into myself.
That's understandable. This is how the future was laid out before them that day.
I'm still not sure. Say something. My stomach is bitter. It's like honey, thick and gluttonous. A sudden squall, then a sonata, built into the structure while still a living tree. One of the contestants can fly faster through space than the rest. Tomorrow's planters arrive. Out, and the dazzle of a sea, crosswise shadows closing in to build a lattice. Hang on to that image. I loved her, and she me. Our love was an irrevocable farewell, for ever in the shadow of the western stand, the clock end.
He twists his body slowly to face the glass door. Don't reach for it now, memory is fading. Hushed expectancy is followed by a curt gesture. He demolishes. It's dead on seven. The territory's her satrap, yet still he's inclined to boast of his blood. On the day of battle, fought in lists, one of them is talked to death at the base of a cliff:
the expanding cloud of gas
being the remains
prayer-beads scarlet and black
a loamy concretion in the stomach
motion sickness swaying sideways
growths on the sole and palm
to sink the oar too deeply and fall back into consequence
Everything is cocked with flavours, the taste of sienna plumage, tail feathers black, white and scarlet—wooden bill, bright eyes set brown, tamed by benignity. A single gesture, and everyone present takes on the form. I've had a bad night of it all my life. You're not safe anyone. They come in the night. Sometimes you wait a quiet age. They hold back and say, well, he might be the exception. That's how it happened the way it happened.
Discovering a convenient gap in her face, she swallows the anaesthetic eye drops that she carries about in her sack. They sting her throat. She's a master of the non sequitur. No one's going home until.
I see, everyday, in the market, a legion of changelings. Those useless little codas he enjoys are taxed on to the body. Just say no, wait until you hear my voice.
Sit. Sit. It reminds me.
Sometimes it helps: her pale blue gravegas, miles of ears, miles of porches. In this neighbourhood the letters don't feel like letters. She looks and feels older than she is, old and demented:
The which he lacks
to repose, provoke in him many simples.
I spend all his money, but gently—research the local search.
The voice is the voice of the undependable narrator. We exchange visas, yet without understanding each other's tongue. He unsheathes a sword. No one knows where he found it—he didn't have it with him yesterday. He presides over metals, shipwrecks and storms, as if rising from the mouth of one diseased. He refuses to begin. His hair flies about in the wind like a flock of tiny birds.
Their cult spreads. It has the value of a head, a hat, a capstone. It's of secondary, even tertiary importance. They clear the dead. They clear the field before rising to the surface. Expel all their oxygen. Portermen lug rubbery white vials, spirit levellers, egg sacs strapped to their bodies with gaffer tape.
Explanatory note: remove the minute hand of the lock first.
See what it does now, how it grows, the way in which it moves. Old calumniator, just leave it there. I've been passing a deal of shattering windows lately, shimmering populace, whisperers of the time. He demands from her to hear a page of the score, filling the gaps in memory with improvised material. For a second and a half he's stunned, and then he goes, down the rust chute and into the sea. The mood is such that thrownness gets closed off. I can't anchor down the time, close in the body of one already parted. Musicians play along as best they can. This isn't worth too much of me (there's been a run on money). A head rocks in the wind at the base of a cliff.
He's all day in harness about his investigations. The first ear is supple, it bends well. He hammers in a new nail. The wallpaper changes colour. Teeth turn sour, despite our willing hood. Acid fumes invade the room. In old chemistry, a name is always given to dull or black compounds, a severe and quiet base for a severe and quiet age. Never get off the road. Never get off the boat. Dead letters are traced across the crown of his rheumy sound box. The ship pivots about a point, in swift arcs upon a circling current, listing low in the water. Shall we reach port, distance carved from a headland, and will they be hostile. We find ourselves back in time. Customs. Iberian clarity of heat, and the pressing ranks of his austere shades.
An inch from the ground, his events more cherished in retrospect.
A tap at the window pane. I've never seen anyone do what those two did to him. We'd none of us say so much as any pass back then in my short life. What is there, where's your grudge (The Stash). A few drops will take care of the wrecker, the logger, on the crest of a distant headland, roots of white fibre creeping through his slow-curdling brain. The raid is only a small raid, but the threat is clear if momentum's lost. I extricate myself by saying. She is now accurate upon the field of play: nothing is explicit, nothing explained. I notice rays above her head. She's described in the almanacs as a mixer and a voluptuary, a wordpainter. Whatever happened to grace. And so I lie. Come on then but above without my mind—with rage at the collection of helplessness.
She walks in. She orders. Cut it out, spleen. He dedicates sickly flowers. Reluctant locks are pried apart. It seems impossible to go beyond this. I look around me at this seance, and I think, that's annoying: be precise—we have more chance of survival if we place ourselves There. She carries a small book in the crook of her arm, is evidently a stray. The hopeless drill of such a task, to invent an ensign, a mark, a call—a few words spoken at the recollection of some loss. She resorts to the homonym. As the day draws on I feel no better. This is a good time to quit. Give me a signal—semaphore—bang my head against the incontrovertible. The part of her that's left behind convulses. She's waited a long time for this.
Then he says, the dome of her head. And I say, no—it's a cupola.
Or rather I didn't, merely thought it, for I lacked the prettiness of mind that day, as if rising from the mouth of one deceased.
Fast, book insignia of vein.
For whole days we don't exchange a word. Use a coin to scratch away the grey surface: Not going to my father now the state calls a half-going No.
Buried through into the beamish head, she's drawn with irregular hatching and restless contour lines—she's one for the byroads, you can see that. She's been bitten by one of her own animals. The plot is lost, spread out face down arranged in matching pairs of memory. Snared before a poised next, she undoes at night the work made by day.
A denticulate settlement, grim where proud skin flaps on the stalk of a solitary, a figure generated by the revolution of a circle. The emblem this day is a discharge tube shaped like an anchor, a coil or transformer of that shape. Small swellings are set at intervals. A sedimentary animal is attached to the socket of the antenna—thorax to abdomen—a whiff of paraffin, and it's all over, tracts of cilia in the scan, narrow processes linking tumour to tissue. Despite this, she tells the story exactly as it happens. She doesn't leave anything out, and she doesn't leave anything in (we're set to make massive savings). She both instincts and amuses, muzzle flecked with spume. The light begins to fade. There you are at last; I lie down beside you and think about how we might escape. My pillow is a smooth, furrowed rock. I recall that it's a leap year. Fuck: we'd been comparing it with the previous one. Don't blow the bridge until the attack starts, the forwardflung, backwardspinning assault. A blush invades his forehead. He insists on saying the same thing over and over again.
Attack is call off I blow nothing.
I'm returning all the names, positive and pristine, if a little scratched. For butterfly read an airborne polyethylene bag. And I have eaten the stones, the whole length of net and bag. They indicate that we can. Unlike the first he has no ancestry, the trail runs cold, lifelines severed by fugue and migration. Pace yourself, the footfall that postpones articulation. At the crux of two motes in the eye he slowly expires, wears out all too well. What will they think of next: a hazy young man eating a watch. Consummation isn't everything.
The whole bulk of the snow, a ruined abbey, through a film of light.
Hang on to partition. King bowel. Giant insects at the window. He must pursue in zigzag fashion, ever without reaching. This chapter is without a vignette in the recension. I talk a little; I break a little, brittle sound at innermost the ear, and therein I make an important discovery.
He pulls on a finger, then another finger, coughs up a conjuring word: spelled out gibberish, a frame in which to shoe a fractious man. If you think about the others too much you lose yourself, in a tale of buboes and embalmed cocks, the fight hand to hand, the jackals, back pressed flat against soiled hay . . .On clear days you can make out the neat horizon and the tourist ships, but today is over cast. Two men at the head of the column force him apart. Go to Spur G, my enterprise hub: pumping raw material, barrack bunk rumour, impromptu surgery in the wilderness, a trepanation foretold. Scumbled blacks bridge the plane of the picture. I'll stop here, being thus out of trim.
Stabbed bowing to leave with a swig from his glass. I can't see that changing the numbers. Never pick it up by the scream.