Only the Living Are Stranded
——Themes, topics, lines of thought that I nurture, and coddle and keep coming back to, like for updates and revisions, are the scattered parts, some no doubt quite essential, of a long running report, to someone with whom I can’t pull off a direct interview, or even find their address. In fact some of the material I feel belongs to them, and I am, as it were, collecting it for them; like I’m entrusted with the contents of a safety deposit box, unmarked by the owner. That is the way it looks. With such dubious directives, everything I walk by, or end up staring at, in this stage-set city looks ripe for use. It is all cameo shots in a mangled script. Here are flora and fauna, reflected and set waiting for placement in a drama. Here comes the occasional passerby, who glances at me, as if longing to talk, or audition. The errands I run are nicely repeating, ad nausea, insistent, like they had sheer meaning. Though it is impossible to keep always on course, so maybe I detour in the lobby, or take one of those aerial walkways.
——Only the living get stranded! You see, it hits me again that only the living are stranded here, trundling into the daylight. The great majority are gone by, and cannot see what is happening. We are not the past achievers, but the desperate rebels, seeking an outside line . . . Drastic consequences will ensue, when and how this idea freezes your ability to interpret, and mediate the weird panels, hoisted up right in your path. I am virtually whispering. The world is tied so strictly, to changing scenery! It dies on a footfall, it regales me with a reappearance right in sync-blasting all meditations on the death of others who passed this way. And all of panoramic history too–which is the now engulfed province of what has passed away, and sweeping possibly therefore into its crippled imperative the land of the dead. Where could what has passed away possibly be? Nowhere imaginable. All that is imaginable is right here! And threatening to vanish, if you stand at attention.
——What is here is proof that there is another place, because it so utterly excludes it–that other place, where my meditations go and fearfully try to link up. But what is here is fearful proof, also, that there is no other place at all like this. These summations coincide. I live in constant suspense, as if life were unbearable, not answering any of my direct, though faulty inquiries, which then must be filed away. The floating scenery, ideally chanced upon, always behind windows, seems irretrievable, just as I study it. This is impossible, so you walk on, the skittish meanings established, they are non-refundable. Absurd in any other world. What a way to put it! Is there even anywhere else? Not for you, it is closed loop, your experience, and your imagination suffers . . . total fatigue. Once I question the broadscale mystery, the locality reaffirms it twicefold, and I am telling you I have learned that repetition is the most constant excitement.
——That’s why I seem to be the last man appearing in person, in certain places, to perform nearly obsolete transactions, at the various payment windows, for instance, where I am kidding with the secretaries . . . Ah, the gloriously polished marble floors, on the way out, induce a great, misdirected sadness. There should be music piped in, I think, and then I hear it, faintly. Doubts, each of them, carry the form and is the vessel of a missing truth, and slogging guilt is nothing other than unplaced appreciation, I remind myself. If I hadn’t learned that much, I would forget the next errand, and the street where I live.
——The crowd of buildings is in place, but it’s a ruse, they are only scaffolds for the snow and light, temporary markings of time without which the buildings would collapse, for lack of use. The most idle witness is feverish, waiting for the party . . . The darting eyes are invested, watching what incriminates, stage left, or whirling, stage right. The scene where you belong, or have arrived, can be stripped down to simple elements, aching for recognition. Childishly, I break it down, haunted by a sense that life is a mission, and what is standing before me–is always there both as warning and offering.