Charles Freeland

from Against Memory / Rabbit Fever

After the event, a bitter let down sits silently in the middle of the chest like an onion, and no matter how desperately you claw at it when no one is around, you can’t get at it. Can’t open it to the healing properties of light. And when it morphs it does so silently, slowly, until it has taken over all but the soles of the feet and begins to cast shadows. Small birds live under the eaves of the house and follow those shadows to the place at the end of the street where someone once shot himself because he couldn’t think of anything better to do. He had accomplished every goal he had set for himself when he was a child and he thought there wouldn’t be enough time. Better to keep the list relatively short, to gaze occasionally at the moon before it disappears altogether. I hear the same suggestion when I go to the store for cream, which is not very good for me. It turns the lining of my stomach into something like a tree, and I talk to myself so as to withstand the pain. When that doesn’t work I practice the coronet because I’ve grown rusty. But I know it’s just a matter of letting the required amount of time pass and then everything will be as it used to be again. Problem is the required amount of time keeps getting longer and I am afraid one day it will stretch out to infinity just because it can. Just because infinity is a real number, or at least something more substantial than a concept, which is how I first internalized it. The rain plays at the window and I can see slow streaks from where I am sitting, the light, what little is left of it, bent round against itself and the objects on the other side tortured out of their familiar appearances. Then again, perhaps it is the sunlight which does the torturing and it is only on days like today when we are given the true look of things, when we are admitted into the bosom of reality because we have been patient, we have not let our minds be corrupted by the inertia of the everyday. You can still see stains on the concrete where the suicide’s life ebbed away, though I have my suspicions sometimes that the deed as it has been told to us was never actually performed here, or anywhere else for that matter. That it arose from our overpowering instinct for myth the way toadstools arise whenever there’s sufficient quantities of moist soil and fallen tree trunks, that it worked its way patiently into the atmosphere where it could be snatched up at random and consumed. And then suddenly the cosmos makes perfect sense for ten or twelve hours, it circles around above our heads, perfectly behaved and sensible down to the last millimeter. Of course, the effect is temporary and soon we are left again to fend for ourselves. Headaches ensue and the rings of Saturn seem so far away and alien suddenly, they might as well be made up. They might as well have never existed at all except in the pages of comic books or epic poems where the only real damage they can inflict is limited to the illustrated spacecraft that stumble unwittingly into their midst or the souls of the terrestrial dead plucked down there (instead of, say, purgatory) for the sake of the grim story someone decided need to be told and where they complain, just like the rest of us, about the bitter cold and the monotonous view and the almost total lack of human contact.

Charles Freeland lives in Dayton, Ohio. Recent books include Albumen (with Rosaire Appel /https://archive.org/details/Albumen), Eucalyptus (Otoliths), and Variations on a Theme by Spinoza (red ceilings press). His website is The Fossil Record (charlesfreelandpoetry.blogspot.com).
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Blogger rappel said...

Where is the 'like' button.... Rich language that isn't decorative but actually conjures images, the whole thing unexpected - I like I like I like

9:40 PM  

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