Flare

28 03 2007

*Note: this piece is for “mature” readers.

They believe they know this, that they have accepted it, but I have watched them die, they smile sometimes you know, but I have seen them with the candles out.

Our windows were like shadow spots, through them I could see nothing but storms ahead. Beneath the seas and swift currents of our delusions I had once investigated a reality, but now this reality beyond human experience was to be experienced, a poisonous secret shared and drunk. As if the plane were not crashing imminently into the blackest sea imaginable, and as if I would remember this time before sleep eternal — we pretended. Life stretched out. A voice spoke clearly into my very mind, “I want to die now, cut my fear now, save me, kill me, kill,” and somehow parsed between the virulent screams I could hear, carved out from the crowds, a silence. “Somebody take me, strip me, I don’t want to die a virgin. I don’t mind, even here on the ground, in the aisle, sex,” pounded away at my sanity — by some other, younger more familiar woman but again the same silence. Voices cried hollow from shapeless creatures that preyed upon aisles and passengers like animal cries from the birth of time. I could feel that they too were human, but I could not see their humanity; I could see that I was human – a body at least. But a body for what, a life passively resting only to die. Life and living and being seemed to dissociate all at once; I could see that I was but that I had only the most mean and brutally short life.

Pushing aside the trembling old woman who was a soul lost to religion, praying her way to an imaginative salvation, I wandered. No, I fought … or did I really hit that hard … through the sea of people trembling all at once, the forceful dying children of savages. I wanted to find that voice and distill it from all of humanity, conquer it and make it mine. She was an experiment that I could watch and find. It was sensual, sure; I placed her moaning voice immediately, I could feel its quivers and tense sighs pulsing through humanity’s soul, resonating in mine like an art. She was wearing only a opaque lace bra, her body trim and shaved, all of this giving me the most relentless power to observe. Her virulent pleasurer had come as commanded, manisfested itself to please her. Strange it was, how ready she seemed, how she looked at me watching her in this public display of a private need born from a public desire. Her blue eyes seemed not to cry but to lavish upon me, teasing me onward. The man seemed not to notice me, I watched his body, untamed, unkept and human push in and out of her. She seemed not to ask for privacy but instead for more pleasure as if the experience had betrayed her somehow. Insatiable virgin. She was made, made, made for me. After the man had finished, I immediately took my place and took back what was mine. There was some savagery in me too I suppose, but I was careful with her, she was my own; but how sick I felt at the thought of the other man’s, no I cannot say it. That I suppose is my weakness. Was it weak though, to continue on, to finish what the human heart had called out for? I had overcome my weakness or succumbed to it, and I enjoyed it. Darkness pulsed underneath my eyes; I was alive, passionate, viral, looking inside at the depth of gods, all pooled into that hollow darkness that cannot know itself. She could feel it and taste it but god, she could not look into it and there in that moment we gasped like we were dying and we knew and we understood.

I could breathe yes, then. There was a hatred hungering within me, strained and forceful and I could see, buried beneath those familiar eyes, a strain for hope and my old reassurances. I tried to lie away the familiarity, you know, the frustration with myself, that familiarity that could spoil lives. To give in to such human tendencies. I have a wife and we’re in love, married for the interminable length of twenty-three years. She is a writer who does not write, a mother who does not mother, and a love who I doubt loves. But we put on the pretence of love.

Quite suddenly, as we were suspended upon that most delicate of rivers, the air, a most frightening image of a red, bloody father writhing under necrid pain, holding an innocent’s head above shadows, but of course the head – the most harrowing of all – was his own, scarred and welded all the same. Such fantasies were strung together by my most incoherent mind. I was four or five people speaking, shaking all at once and I or some other I was trying to discern amongst them. I could be calm, and then in that momentary pause, that cessating breath, I could see the world for what it was. We cannot afford these breaths, being so still relative to the city’s relentless flow. When we stay still like this, god, we see, and we see too much.

I had in me this most suppressed, unconscious desire to kill, but we would not say so in these parts; it was a desire that was born into me, inscribed and dictated by the grandioisity of the city. There was blood in me then. The sangrous taste that darkness itself might feed on was for me merely the manifestation of hope. I knew it then like the expectation of a particular dream. I don’t remember killing him; only what led up to it but I would not excuse myself with those pretty-boy lies of temporary insanity. It was deliberate, every hacking inch I drove into his skull was unavoidbly precious. He tried to take what was mine, mine, mine. I could not believe my luck, to have the door safely locked, to have the pilots incontrovertibly incapacitated, to have them safe from harm only to be killing us crashing us, and to share in this primordially immediate dilemma. To think that I found a knife on an airplane; to think that I, such a once tame man; to think of the unbelievable and believe. Hatred was a vicious force until it met mercy, then violence became justifiable: a death is a death whether sooner or later. A life is life whether lived or not. And the wonders that the mind of man can rationalize. I suppose the wonder of man is not in his vice but in his virtue and in the wondrous, silverly delusions we can glassily wish into existence. From the metaphysical air we draw in spaciously, we exert out a tangible thing – such is the power of modern man.

I found nothing in the air, the air, but nonetheless something dissociated from me and without warning, I was. In one spartan moment where nothing could be misunderstood, where life could linger but not meaninglessly, where small enchanments threw minds into disarray, I simply became. Was it some deity judging us blindly in that supreme moment — or rather an incarnation of death, some grim reaper — that so drew the falling aircraft to the harshly solid ground.

It is not a difficult thing to die. One becomes so morbidly afraid of it in life, but at the moment you peer over into that unquenchable abyss, you learn that it is only one long breath into the black. You see all the world and all your actions, then the story is complete — it fades out, with nothing but your pulse to listen to. It is tasteless boredom, the pathetic few words trying to escape from the moronic mind of death. You listen with life and vigor as if in those frivolous words some hell might be pardoned, but alas you find nothing but rivers of blather.

And I watched them die in droves. Yes, there were limbs in the water floating ashore, people crutching over the bodies of loved ones. I could see vacations torn, families that had hoped only to return home. They too dealt with the guilt of knowing too much, something in the stillness betrayed them — perhaps it was some share in humanity that our dying afforded us.





The Wind

28 03 2007

[In a Car]

My vision blurs as your distant words echo on,
My face did realize far before I knew, that this was over,
And you closed the door, our future children waving,
Disappearing into the crack of a light,
Like a wish stored as a dream never remembered.

My heart has a hand with which it reaches to grab you,
My mind has a way to stop these things
And yes, you’re right with the door,
Today it hardly matters.

My driving’s skewed as the road curves strangely,
White lights ahead flash and confuse me,
I can see that foreign creature comforting you,
Inside a car that likely as not is coming at me,
Today it hardly matters.

[Photograph]

Inside a picture there is a handsome man somebody captured,
Looking at it I peer into myself,
Oh, how pretty I may one day be.

[Voices, Children]

Softer the voices cry telling us not to separate,
More quietly they chant about fidelity,
Doubt springs quietly to drown them,
The voices themselves choking children
Not knowing how to swim.





Deborah

23 03 2007

PART ONE

I have spent the last twelve years of my life attempting to understand the events that unfolded the day my daughter, Deborah, disappeared into the Sargasso park near our home. The difficulty has always been in tracking down where she went in the short, unforgiving interval of an hour between picking her up from school and our late-lunch, early-dinner. You must forgive the rather straightforward speech that this text will put forth. I promise that it is not due to the coldhearted prose of a lawyer but instead caused by three years of crying myself to sleep. Years filled with prayer and wilting hope, a heart that has met a cold end, one that I imagine is not unlike Deborah’s.

She was ten years old. She would be turning twenty-two this coming seventeenth of April. She was born during a storm, the largest the state had seen. Hurricane Jamie tore apart the downtown hospital, they sent an EMT to our area to provide relief. Our basement was, as I had designed it, perfectly safe; still we had to abandon it to run over to the mud-covered ambulance. In my wife’s diary was a note: “We were almost hit by a tree the day Jamie was born.” We were considering the name Jamie long before the hurricane, but after a few discussions we settled on Deborah, my father’s mother’s name. This was the first time I correlated sirens with Deborah.





Leverett House

22 03 2007

This is my new house for next year. I’ve officially been “sorted”Leverett





Every Song from 1993

19 03 2007

like a dawn that turns off the lights

I was writing a page in a book that would never be read
Only to think (or dream) that you or me might
Have fallen in love that night on my bed..
We talked for hours about our problems
Trying to forget them through a glass of wine.

My diary reads something about how we
Debated the existence of destiny, and that you won.
I wonder what I meant when I said that
All of us die watching a movie or reading a book,
Because that night I felt so alive,
I canceled a flight and we made love.

Five more minutes of insistent speak,
She crumbles and yells, yes I’m listening,
She’s nameless anticipating my casual refusal
Because while I’m not much to look at,
I’ve been there before, Tom,
And I’ve written too much about Anna.





The Author

17 03 2007

Kevin begins talking, he looks upwards clearly in a deep state of thought. Where do you think our thoughts and feelings go after we say them out loud?

Maddy responds in a similarly quiet, meditative voice as if they are aware that their conversation was scripted. I think they get said and immediately they become a part of ourselves again. When we share a feeling that is a fleeting second or two of what we feel right now, and then that moment kind of passes you know. And eventually, when the time is right it gets said again. They are said because we need to say them; there’s this compulsion inside of us that makes us say these things. Desires, wishes, feelings all of them coming up to the top and when we need to say them we do.

So it’s kind of like breathing or heartbeats.

Maddy misses the small verbal hit. Yes, it’s a cycle. We say it and it comes out and we swallow it back in though we try to share it between us for as long as possible. Kevin, I love you. I say that because it it’s always there brimming at the surface, waiting for a pause in conversation or a dull moment so that all else an be outshined.

Kevin begins talking. And does not stop. I think … when we say something … that what we’re thinking or feeling – it goes to the other person. They own it, it becomes theirs, and we lose control over having said it. And these stores of words representing emotions and thought decay on their own. It is by repeating it that I can make what is said meaningful. I think of love, right, and I see it as this finely tuned garden that I want to maintain. Not just any garden but a Zen sand garden, and there I am with my rake cultivating my sand. My energy goes into it so that the sand and the texture is well-defined, so that the words are clear and the meaning vibrant. I know that what I’ve said to others will erode, but what efforts I make to maintain this garden, this is what defines me. And maybe that’s a part of the reason I don’t tell my friends I love them often enough is because when people meet me I want the them not to browse but to see this one singular part of me, this spectacularly ornate design I have not only managed to make but to keep up. So some of these things I say often so that they never fall apart, so that they never even for the smallest second escape a perfect understanding. Maybe it’s somewhat routine, but there are other things, like telling you how beautiful you are, things that should be cultivated and aren’t. I bet you’re sleeping by now, aren’t you? Maddy is not sleeping, she is smiling, crying quietly with her back to Kevin perfectly still. He begins to stroke her hair carefully with a face that looks up and down trying to recall something. He moves to lean to look at her face; sensing this, she responds:

No, I’m awake. I’m about to fall asleep. She does.

Kevin begins thinking out loud or talking to himself, he can’t decide which and he knows one sounds worse. Why do people concern themselves with profundities? No one is capable to answer anything, only to produce a working model of an imagined solution. An imititation of something imaginary. I need to be in love, or I need to be laid, or cared for, or have a respectable job or degree. I need a family or a few more friends, yes I should spend more time with friends. I should write more, get a novel published. At some point, other people will want to write about me. There’s enough going on in life without contemplating the why. Fuck. The what is enough.

I want to know what it means to be American and also why everyone can lie so much. Or be hypocritical, I’m not sure which is worse. Everyone claims to be American but even though we praise ourselves on the fact that we make ourselves, that this is the closest meritocratic experiment .. whatever, this .. this is boring philosophical things. I should be seeing the bigger picture, getting business cards passed out, being known if not popular. Who cares about popularity. Well, if I want to do politics, I should care. But I’m not charismatic, well. Maybe I am; what about law. You need law to be good with making laws, but then look at Reagan or even that fucker Jackson, both of them weren’t lawyers, though they also weren’t very good people – funny though them not being lawyers and all. I shouldn’t say fuck. It’s out of character. Why do I think of myself as being in or out of character. I am. That’s it, there is no not being me when I’m doing something. Hell, this is the fucking epitome of being me. I need sleep. Or maybe a good movie. Damn this is probably boring the hell out of my roommate. Why do I think out loud?

He opens a computer. The screensaver is an image of a field, vast open, with a small house featured. All is perfect except that there are bloody handprints on the roof. No explanation. He opens a chat dialogue with a “Rebecca.” He begins to type. Maddy turns over and snores semi-loudly. He turns to her and takes a deep breath. She seems to be lying to him. He sends the first real message (after a few hi’s and hello’s).

Kevin: I feel like when she’s sleeping her calmness is a sort of lie. when shes awake shes basically the same.
friend: do you let her sleep enough?
Kevin: she’s not under my mind control, you know. and I don’t mean she’s sedate when she’s walking I just mean she is always calm
friend: so what’s the problem, you’re lucky boy
Kevin: I just don’t understand what that’s like, the security of being loved like that.
friend: you’re sure she’s not just content knowing she loves you. I mean you’re not exactly the reasurring type.
Kevin: you should have heard what I said today. any girl would have fallen in love all over again if they heard that
friend: but you didn’t write it down did you, you forgot, then you complain to me that you’ve got nothing to wirte about
friend: *write
Kevin: let’s talk about something else
friend: okay, about that poem you wrote, the one on your website
Kevin: i write many, be specific
Friend: the one with the tom and anna references
Kevin: maddy i guess in a way
Friend: hmmm
Friend: expand
Friend: please
Kevin: debating the existence of desitny most fitting
Kevin: destiny being real to maddy and not real to me
Kevin: one day though in talking it out with my roommate i figured out that my frustration with a lot of what happened is that i either want the relationship to have a sense of cosmic destiny or i feel it already does
Friend: ah
Friend: i see
Friend: so to you destiny is much more major than perhaps just what meaning you find/are going to find by the end of your life
Friend: but rather
Friend: it going beyond that
Kevin: i feel that destiny has more to do with taking away my ability to excercise free will .. i mean something so special should be pure because it’s the best choice not because so paternalistic deity thought it best for me
Friend: i agree
Kevin: though considering i more or less equate God and love .. i guess having love pick who I fall for isn’t the worst idea

He closes the computer. He flickers the room’s lights repeatedly. He shoots himself. No, too messy. He drinks every ounce of liquor on the fourth floor and dies brazenly holding his beloved copy of Hamlet. No, too pathetic – it isn’t real enough. He falls asleep next to his girlfriend. There, real. Natural, calm. He thinks of something to say to his audience, that burgeoning crowd inside his mind expecting a finale but ultimately prepared for disappointment:

And so the street, being blind, ceased its endless flurry of footsteps for one moment as if it knew that because they shuffled by quietly, a young boy would be able to rest his weary mind; a casual nap, a lenten vacation, a small sanctuary from a long day.





redesign

16 03 2007

redesigned kevinverbael.com