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Claim Your Void

March 3, 2009 by · 6 comments

James Vincent

Photo: semihundido

The fortune read, ‘Accept the next proposition you hear.’  I found the familiar white rectangle outside my office around quitting time. Odd in these troubled times that someone would just leave a fortune laying around.  I wasn’t sure it applied to me.  I didn’t eat the cookie, I didn’t tip the waiter.  I was peering into someone else’s fate. 

I’m always suspicious of advice.  Fortunately fortunes don’t give advice.  They give comfort.  There is comfort in knowing the déjà vu I’m going to feel came from somewhere.  The world is beyond my control and I know that and the frustration I feel is the price I pay to live in such a luxurious sphere.  And my frustration may be assuaged in moments like these when I remember that the world is not going to be anything other than what it already is.  

The aforementioned proposition came electronically.  A friend suggested composing on or within a void, so I followed the rectangle’s admonition. Was this a proposition or a challenge?  I can’t tell the difference these days, suggestions blend.  

I ponder how a void could exist.  If space were empty how would you know it was even there?   Don’t we live lives of quiet relativism?  Where is the relativity in a void?  I think of these things when religion fails me.  Religion: I mean if you’re going to give your heart and soul to a book club, wouldn’t you want to get more than one book?  

While I type, I wait.  She covenanted to contact me in my abbey.  She may.  She may not. I wonder if she’ll accept the next proposition she hears.  At this point I’m merely curious to see how it all turns out. I’m a historian and I take a historian’s interest in the future. 

She’s been drifting from me lately; I’ve been drifting from me, too.  Voids encourage aimless movement. (Can a void produce its opposite?)   She’s got her life and I’m not sure why I’m in it.  Am I in her void or she in mine?   If voids merge, what is the outcome?   

I had a dream recently that I slept through work on a Monday morning.  It felt good, it felt true, as if my void were something I could simply not show up for.  It felt like my blondie was trying to communicate with me.  But I’m never sure what she means. 

She told me I was a ‘daydreamer’.  I like that.  It sounds much better than ‘delusional’.  There’s possibility in dreams, though I’ve found much the same in delusions.  Like Shroedinger’s cat, my blondie lives in both worlds, dream and delusion.  (Is quantum mechanics a lovely notion or a treatable condition?)   Worlds drift back and forth, worlds blend.

I can smell her even now.  After all these weeks her smell, a potent mix of sex and lip balm, comes to me when I look out the back door.  I wrote her a poem of longing.  I’m generally pretty good at longing.  When it turned to a poem of self-pity, I tried to explain that it wasn’t a sad poem, it was a sad poem

She likes poems, she finds promise in poetry, even mine.  I find only voids that elude my lexicon, delusions that become all-encompassing, smells and friendly greetings that remind one of younger times.  But then again, my poetry is wilted like flowers too long from the truck that brought them to me.  Under the sun poems turn from longing to desperation.  From self-expression to self-loathing, selves blend. 

 I tried to tell her of my previous lovers but she cared not.  I told her anyway in gruesome detail.  She feigned interest.  But I could tell she was just feigning her feigning.  She took notes, she calibrated my words to my agility.  She had her suspicions—now that I think of it, that’s when she called me ‘daydreamer’. She probed my habits feeding only white lies in trade.

She spoke of promiscuity.  She spoke of long nights of ‘Murder She Wrote’ with her auntie.  I suspect the truth lies from one extreme to the other.  Her fingers came to mine before we parted and all was the way it always should have been.

 Her body was the color and shape of crinoline, an antique piece equally comfortable in debauchery and lady-like-ness.  The skin was lace, it was tissue paper one might wipe icing from.   The breath that emerged from within was salty sweet.  Her spirit is earthy but her mind is dirty.  (I must confess a predilection for dirty minds, but dirty mouths are of little use)  Her body was free from what I thought I would find, no roadmap of misdirected conformity but a newly fallen snow. 

I can’t help but think that there is a formula for our conjunction, a ready made plan courtesy of some helpful magazine.  She knows the angles better than me and this, unfortunately, does not conform to the formula.  I was never much of a reader.

 Pretty baby, you’re missing out.  Don’t you see me here?  I thought I’d put on my dad’s Johnny Mathis records and maybe I could feel you up on the couch. 

Ah, high school romances seem so uncool when you’ve just graduated, greasy kid stuff quickly outgrown.  And she’s moved on to a higher education.  She thought she wanted a man but really she just wanted a boy pretending to be a man, so that she may pretend to be a woman.  Youth is full of pretending and shouldn’t I have taken the opportunity to pretend to be young?  It was my fault. 

She’s done all the things she was supposed to, made herself amenable to typical requests, built up the necessary immunity to Johnny Mathis and teenage kisses.  It was I, in my vacuum, who could not muster the requisite appetite.   I left her, didn’t I?  It wasn’t the other way around.  I’m a historian, I only find the past when it’s past. She looks forward and can’t see me anywhere.

(Are there voices in a vacuum?  Can soundwaves penetrate?  Sometimes I think I hear voices)

The sun is dangerous to romance, I used to say.   I used to say that only in moonlight do lovers look the way they should.   But that was the way of my youth.  Ah yes, I was younger than my blondie supposed.  Now I see love in the afternoon, with a hint of coffee or smoke.  During the day the beauty of conversation turning to other things has become apparent to me, even in this season of bare trees and slaughtered bulls.   I need no spring to be renewed, I have a new to make me anew.

This proposition has borne its fruit.  Time for me to return to my crypt, my palace of wisdom down at the end of lonely street. It’s tough when all you have left is what you’ve forgotten to give away.

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