I’m not sure what’s worse. Whether us not remembering what good was in the world. Or choosing to forget there actually was some good in it. Mankind retreated to some preternatural state, where violence is the one universally accepted currency. I feel ashamed to admit I have dealt in it too.
Tonight, I lay her down on a bed of black orchids.
To me, she is the most dazzling flower of all, despite the solemn black garb she favors so much. She has always been at home in the limelight and on the red carpets winding through thick crowds and leading up to grandiose palazzos. Drawing all the gazes, of both men and women. She is nameless – she could become anyone she wanted at a moment’s notice. All she ever needed was a camera pointing at her and a few deft touches of kohl.
The target is acquired, the objective within sight now. All senses engaged and in overload, despite his mask of calm. The polyrhythmic drumbeat in his ears is the blood boiling under the surface. The woman in the red dress approaches with a slow, measured gait, as if she was walking a tightrope over the chasm still separating what he wants and why she came here. Her stiletto heels produce a sharp click with each step. He will compartmentalize the sights and sounds for future remembrance. The sequence has been initiated.
There is a door at the end of the corridor, the gateway to a secret place. It’s a door without key or lock, the combination for safe passage guarded closer than a dragon guards its fabled hoard. Only the white neon light filters through the gap under the door. Inviting. Menacing? It has been flickering annoyingly of late. It’s due fixing. There is no space for imperfection where the door leads.
We had a great run. A string of sold-out shows, nine months on the road. Traveled across three continents. Up the coast, down the coast, across the pond and back again, until our ears buzzed, and sleep had become an afterthought. Venues crammed with people, their hands held aloft, singing along to our tunes. Or screaming at the top of their lungs. Or clapping off beat, maddeningly so, as folks tend to do at a live gig. Belting the lyrics out better than we did, or so it sounded at times. We were having a blast. Felt like we were on top of the fucking world, y’know, and there was no way to go but up.
She refuses to be possessed. Still, you should be wanting to possess her. To conquer her. As far as what man can accomplish, not many moments can topple the exhilaration of reaching where you by nature’s design shouldn’t really be setting foot.
Man and woman sit on the opposite sides of the same table. Close, an outstretched arm’s distance away from caressing each other’s cheek. Yet the distance appears longer. They sit in silence. Unable to talk. Unwilling to take the first step. Unknowing, perhaps, how to bridge the absence of sound. Or have they exhausted all possibilities?
There is a place where the thousand fragments make a grander whole. Like a mosaic, collected and punctiliously pieced together over many years. Today I found it is missing a tile, however. The flaw is barely visible, holding up to even the closest scrutiny. Not to mine, though, but of course I know where to look. No matter how many new pieces I glue in place, expanding the whole, the shard gone missing is irretrievable. And like any such previously lost tiles (for there have been many), it is irreplaceable.
At night, the world shines at you differently. Leaning against the balcony of my apartment terrace, I can pick out the ingredients of the spell it throws at me with my eyes blindfold. I inhale the mixture of light and sounds. It’s intoxicating, in its own neon way. In the artificially lit dark, what you choose not to see during the day takes on a whole new, sharper form. Perhaps I see it precisely because I’ve always been a nocturnal person.