Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Dylan Hock

from killing columbus

It's a sort of openness and respect for life that makes me a
continuous ass.

THE BEGINNING LASTED ONLY A MOMENT, but the end stretched and
pulled into a mad uncertainty. Fate had gunned me down from behind a
mask and left me flipping my gills for breath—it was an autumn morning
just shy of winter.
Ostensibly, there was also the vague promise of redemption lingering
over the horizon as a thin hope, a starting over in the clean air and
warm sunshine that breeds the vague rainbows of the heart. It's only
that, in times such as these, I never see further than the gloam.

And, I've always been tangled in dreams, kicking myself into the
nightmare knots that bind me further and further from the open eye,
where they consume themselves as they expend their energy and pass
through the catalytic mind. Dreams are always aware of history,
working through twisted context and an omniscient sensory osmosis,
pulling forth image and story from the farthest layers of consciousness
in hyperbolic detail and subtlety—I've thought about all that
but for the
life of me, I can't figure where and how these twisted narratives arise.
It is in this manner, if you’ll allow an occasional perhaps, the coma
patient lives, a fetus grows, and a life dissipates into the light and
energy of the horizons. Imagine, being all twisted up in a dream as the
last surge of life drains away, the random distinction between heaven and
hell, or, making toast for no good reason in a strange kitchen, purgatory.
Life is always, only, a series of what ifs.
Ever since the flooding—the hurricanes, tsunamis, monsoons, the
never ceasing rains that fall constant as breath and thick as fog: the
gulf swallowed, the east and west coasts slipping away—and all of us the
world over—the survivors—traveling into the unknown on this muddy ship,
we've been caught in a daze, stricken with the captivity of the unyielding
future. We've all separate dreams that carry us through, most so complete
by now we hardly notice the rain and the ceaseless bobbing on the waves:
every one of us, by now, has grown sea legs sturdy enough.

And against the gray screen of the horizon, our dreams have projected
themselves all the more real, as if all we needed was a blank slate, until
we all are looking around us, and interacting, in completely separate
realities. O, the mind can tear the bark from trees and burn it to
cinders when it pleases. Each of us burns with a separate fire that keeps
us vivacious with warmth from one moment to the next, without it, there is
only the dapple of the rain, and the lapping water...

You see, I’m always talking to myself. That’s one thing you’ll find
with a steady mist in your face, you’ll get to cursing the weather. Even
those who kept their chins up—optimists—it didn’t take much longer for them
to throw in their two under-breath-cents. From there you’ll start to notice
your internal voice that never shuts off, ranting over the steady beads that
leak down from your hair, and you think the only relief is slumber, to while
away the dismal time dreaming of your sugar plum youth, but then the dreams,
even your dreams are invaded with the rain and the water, until you are
hopelessly submerged at every level, every plane of identity, washed out,
filmed through a filthy pewter.
It all started anonymous enough; New Orleans was back under water...
I don’t know of another time in history, maybe Atlantis if you want to
get mystical, but I don’t remember any such major city being totally engulfed
in water—just swallowed up in a matter of hours—and here this was the third
time now bureaucratic red tape had kept the levees from being amply repaired,
and now there was really no one to hold responsible, nowhere to riot; New
Orleans was only one sandcastle encroached by the incoming tide.
Truth be told, levees would have been of little use this time, freeing
up only an extra hour or two, allowing a greater percentage on the already
dreadfully overcrowded boats. Instead, to put it respectfully, many perished,
and I am one who made a vessel. What good has it been?...

SO MANY LOST EVERYTHING; so many their hearts and cores that, faced with
such fierce denial, entirely incapable of fathoming the extent of where they
now stand—their lives today—instead of typical fantasies for wealth, power,
fame—they went on living their everyday lives: walked the dog, went to work,
made love; it was only occasionally they found themselves an ant in a dark
puddle, helpless on a fallen leaf, wondering what the wind would bring. Why
not? I dare say my life has grown much more meaningful to me—I’ve never
relished it so thoroughly. What would I do today? What would I say? It’s
the first time I’ve ever been in control!...

I chewed on the end of my pen and stared off at Inage and the inner-space
horizon. P. was getting lost, I didn’t know what to do with him and worried
that maybe I was tapped as a writer. It was amazing I’d written a novel at
all—even though I’d always dabbled in it, I didn’t consider myself a writer by
any means. The problem was, everything I thought to put down seemed washed up
already. Every idea, twist or turn, I worried whether I had unknowingly taken
it from past readings. It manifested in my feeling like P. himself was
resisting my direction, as if he had a sense his existence could be locked down
with every keystroke. He’d begun resisting scenes, acting bored with the
routine of outlandish groupie sex in jelly tubs. It followed quickly that I
started drawing blanks with P., whole days of staring at the white screen,
afraid to move a finger, like he was deliberately staring me down from beyond
the page, stationed in the heart of a battleship. I tried to ignore the
flickering thought that, perhaps, P. no longer fit his role as a succubus for
pain and energy, that maybe falling out of The collapse years ago had left him
with boils and over-the-hill groupies and he was finally growing tired of it
all. As much as I wanted a modest career in the sex market, my mind was pulling
me in another direction entirely, and the flame was burning my fucking house
down. Thing is, I knew there was really only one way for P. to reach the
Grecian pinnacle I felt he needed so much: he had to die; senselessly, a lamb
without rhyme.


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