Thursday, September 16, 2004


Moment of universal rousing. As is routine, I arrived home last night after work around one. I stumbled out of bed this morning before five, crunching out the final linguistic chomps for a response paper due at nine. I get out of class at noon. I walk home. I mow Uncle Mike's huge lawn. I cook a lasagne. I give my roomate a massage once he gets home. I crash around five, wake up two and a half hours later, feeling completely refreshed. The conveince of a power nap is that it avails your whole body, all of your over-taxed organs and jittery caffeine-addled consciousness to momentarily dunk itself into a pure stream of timelessness. To subconciously brush up against the elusive shores of oblivion and to wake up with a startled, excalmatory feeling that you have traveled during your sleep and that now, at this initial moment of rousing, you have arrived at that port. That place in life where you feel you need to be....

I wake up feeling alive, my body baptized by the dormant position of the matress, my staticky short hair applauding itself from the box seats of my skull, a feeling of being lulled by the Pacific Ocean, a feeling of being relaxed, and then I realize that every October since '98 I've lived in a different building. A different house, a different apartment. I realize that every October since '94 I've harbored different hopes, different ambitions, different loves. Different vices, different proclivities, different jobs. I'm always broke. I'm always lonely. I can't write. I'm writing all the time. So much I have no clue of what I'm saying. I'm getting some left and right. I'm reading stale yellow love letters from Harmony Dusek, girl I met in London in April, 1993. The girl I used to read TS Eliot to over the phone. The girl who got married my senior year of high school and invited me to be in the wedding, quoting that I was just such a vital and integral part of her life, why couldn't I just put my personal feelings for her on the back burner for a moment and be happy for her on her special day, even though we were dating just six months earlier, even though she hardly knew the guy she was marrying, even though her her mom called me back prior to my last flight to MUNICH and told me that she had no control over her daughter, that she had no clue if her daughter had lost her virginity prior to making the vow before God, the promising palms of her husband clutched in her own benevolent hands, connecting their bodies, standing before a pastel altar connected by the grip of a bony umbilicus.


I wake up. I wake up in 2002 and find my dad located beneath a pitching mound of dirt. I'm working 80 hours a week. I'm coughing up what looks like motor grease from smoking all the time. I live off of fastfood and camel filters and Starbucks diluted with a shot of Jack Daniels or Baileys. I come into work, my caffeinated libation half-doctored. No one says anything. This is routine. I can still be charming. I can still be witty. I have long hair that augers well for my image and sexual prowess. I ferry around a novel I call my "two and ahalf year old." The novel's huge. Parts of it intentinally don't make any sense. I refer to the novel as my daughter. I refer to how fat she is at only two years of age.

"Two and a half years old and we're already shopping at Lane Bryant." I jest. "You outta see her mother. It's like if Dante had Carnie Philips for his Muse."

Writing a first novel is like pecking your way out of a shell. You peck diligently, chisleing away incesantly at the blank mirror of microsoft word. You peck and you peck and then you realize that you were outside the egg to begin with. That what you were thrashing your emotions against, night after night, like a sea captain submerged in a tempest, was nothing more than your own ego. Your own grandiose perception of yourself. Your own mangled Mara, which you find, in the morning after the storm, drowned, lying face down in a puddle of your own expired tears.

Speaking of Muses and Dante, I remember reading once that Dante only actually met Beatrice twice in his life. Once when she was nine and he was eighteen. Once when she was eighteen and he was twenty-seven, my current age. Dante claimed that she was a nine because "Her roots were erected in the trinity." The scholarly paper that informs me this shows me a mathematical rendering of three cubed.

I think about Dante's first book, La Vita Nuova. I think about love being something divinely ordained and orchestrated by the concourse.

Then I think about how Dante had a wife at home who he never wrote about. He had a wife, he was married to for over twenty years. He had a wife, a faceless female he slipped inside of in between inky first drafts of Hell and Purgatory, pressing his Ventian-exiled akward limbs inide of her, all the while thinking about young Beatrice, thinking about Beatrice manifesting herself as the countenance of God in his arms, leaving his nameless wife a moment before climax at the welcome matt of Heaven and frolicking into the pubescent limbs and fair-forehead of Beatrice.

I feel bleesed. I've had muses who I've seen more than once. I've had enounters with beautiful females who cave paint the interior canvas of my dreams with an unclassified color that shines. I think that perhaps this is the way it works. You can't have her, you write a book. She still doesn't want you. Then you wake up one afternoon after a surging powernap and you find her behind you, find her above you, find her in the bluish reflection of your windshield as you make a left turn, find her breath in every song that weaves out from the lobes of the stereo.

Find her always being there, always being there evey moment, every second.


I go into work. I'm charming. I answer startled customers compliments who still haven't seen my hair. I deal with my annoying co-workers with a feigned smile of encouragement. I make jack shit. I pay student loans. I go to bed by myself. I wake up refreshed, head-banging everything inside of me onto the page, into the computer, into the lives for a muse who will never come back to me, into the taut breasts of a reader I have never met.

I make ends meet. I drink lots of coffee. I do what needs to be done in my life.

I shine.


Joe Propinka said...

Have we met?

Yes, in chambers, red-velvet walled, tubed corridors involuted on themselves between them, thorn-sided moaners pressing in on those giving boundaries and letting their wounds breathe for them, exhaling the common cardial liquid that flows thick, clear, then slows to Chagall-blue glassine viscosity, taking its time, expressing the epiphenomeon of a suffering encountered through its own light-slowed azure.

We have met between the white flecks of sacrificial tobacco and the frost-edges of the splintered shot glass’s cobwebbing, in the Fibonacci ribbon suspension of cream and sugar in water burnt black and shot through with the ‘drine-sub spirit of caffeine on a Sunday morning when the heart has eaten the head and is bleat-beating marks time with spliced-in cuts of that long low moan of the pierced trunk, the torso’s violence after motion.

We have met in the stretchmarked shadows stippled by light in weekday gutter-puddles, aswim with fine-furred protozoa, flagellates, the primordial percolating stew that swims also in common rhythm with vesicles, with tumescent sunset, sign of day’s ending that surpasses the sleep it’s meant to point you towards, instead an ember that doesn’t die till morning’s only action which is overcoming itself qua dawn. We hav met at those crossroads where words jut from words, where language is the shared wound and the wound only can save, in the apocalypse of meaning’s other brother, that one true saint.

We have met where grey-streaked beards do the speaking for baby-smooth faces they adorn, teeth clacking, tongues slapping palates, all in the clumsy effort of catching what it was that Smith-Corona and Jim Beam bottle pinned down for an instant before releasing. Shadow and act, voice and speech, in these interstices we have strolled past each other humming along to the same song, finding, always finding the words for….

We have met.

David Von Behren said...

I insisit you tell me who you are. Your prose is wonderful and is a pleasure, but in my blog I always have my testicles in my palm. I'm naked and vulnerable and open. As a curtesy (Kris? Vanessa? Dave Thompson?) please g-mail me and unsmask your identity.

It would be a pleasure to see what monument casts such a glorious shadow!

daku said...

and brightly at that, mr. D. dazzlingly brightly. dazzlingly brilliantly.