I was so crazy tired that I said the word ‘slumberland’ under my breath & it took on the charge of invective while it also made a hoop which was like a golden face awake in the fraught & blissful bedroom where meaning is developing constantly in consort with the dark. I had to jump through the hoop which wasn’t smooth, yet wasn’t rigid, but was moving while it coaxed me with all of these infuriating prompts that would make something dilate inside me while another thing would shrink & I hate the economic symbiosis that I’m in with the imaginary ring of gold that hates me. When I get the jump wrong, I don’t first of all, land, & second, don’t sink, in the generous unformed feel of new sleep, which I prize for its precipitating feel of life to come. On the whole I sleep, I’d say, fairly lightly at first, & then deeply in the end, as the golden hoop exhausts its flirty will & liquefies itself into a rich narcotic wave. Despite all of that I’m pretty easily awoken, & all night the cat plays these great, indiscriminate games, batting hair ties across the dark floor for endless hours, & eating from the fern that’s been wasting away for several years becoming a brittle, & starving cascade. So these games of hers wake me though I keep my eyes shut & they make up this loose, percussive repertoire of play that goes on in the negative space where I make a pretty picture, mixed, on most nights, with the residue of this or that dream, so, in the sadness of finding it inert there’s relief in the sounds of her play which I attach to the tatters of my dream so it moves into the world & finds expression in the sounds of happy cats. A nice thing, indeed, & strange that these sounds don’t ever bother Sarah who sleeps with the depths of a vowel meme in Keats having met the drowsy awe of inaugurating down. Sarah is, on the other hand, great at coming to gracefully just at the hour appointed by work, often in a mood of affection & without any meanness or resentful behaviors that sometimes, in those pre-dawn hours, are drawn out from anyone, taking the days demands, daily life here, into full consideration, prior to the sense of some pleasure, still nascent, or suspended in a silver lining frail & mercurial seeing as our hormones are its entropic cloud, then the velveteen rabbit of something like spirit?, for their sudden flood into the dried up canal where they splash & make the charming little brook we like so much, then in turn we form pre-apprehending smiles to order on our faces an advance of the happiness the day withholds & gives, a sunrise exhibition of the middle-distance future mirrored early in melt-away crescents. Here’s something else about pre-apprehending feelings—Sarah’s mom was saying last night over dinner that really, by now, she expected to have died in a nuclear war, & her metabolism, emotional & otherwise, behaved a certain way, because she’d conditioned her body on the basis of, & surety in, that horrific expectation. For her the doomsday clock had made an object of biology, & really it was super long past midnight for the body, so her response to this for years had been laissez-faire, I guess they say ‘boomer,’ consecration of indulgence, where acquisitive desire felt religious. This distinguished her body decisively from all the younger bodies at the table that achieved their maturity blissfully free from this one existential threat. Were our bodies truly different by these lights? Had our pubescent hearts & minds structured & absorbed a massive shadow that for her was a brute exteriority, looming over everything, & much like the most sunless parts of the sea, had principled, in that dark ecology, a physical development resilient & extreme? It seems like, to me, apocalyptic feeling, has, along with oppressive violence, been, as Raoul Vaneigem predicted, ‘transformed into a host of reasonably distributed pin-pricks,’ especially for subjects who are, on the basis of different particulars, privileged, & don’t experience this violence as directly as others who are left to be rather more bluntly, its prey. By this theory (incomplete as it is), our bodies had been formed by a series of pacific, though malign, hypodermic infractions, accounting for the surplus of holes we exhibit, as well as our dense post-millennial henna, & then of course there’s what might be called the Hellraiser model, where the pins are accounted for & visible in faces, each pin expressing different tacks & casts of power as they pierce through those early morning smiles that find their correlation in the days most charmed designs. So now the end of the world is a prickling life-blood, relentless & diffuse. Anyway, for Sarah’s mom, the fact of the bomb had receded in a way that her attempt to find deeper cathexis in ‘stuff’ lacked its previous, dire momentum. As such, she decided to give away a fair amount of Fiestaware she had collected through the years, generously giving lots to Sarah & I, & to Sarah’s brother Charlie & his terrific partner, Erin. So, after a really large Mexican meal in the mid-winter twilight, & wow I’m really tired now (a docked blimp blown apart by the softest grenade), we go to Sarah’s mom’s house in that drowsy state, & load up our cars with plates & dishes arranged in precarious stacks where the space between each is cushioned by a single paper towel. & Now after all of the talk & the bomb, & baby-boomers, & acquisitive desire & existential fear I feel like I’ve drifted somehow into a passé & silly sort of novel where Fiestarware is fired inLos Alamos or something, O the badly managed metaphors are everywhere! I mean, think of the rattling plates in the back, their relationship here to mass extinction & then, my nervous slow driving to protect them, hairpin turns taken at awkward, glacial speeds, upsetting the brisk pace of this or that street, & then the fluidity of driving on expressways at night coming in for a severe deceleration, (this too had the quality of some aggrieved sleep), & wasn’t there a fucking little trope or something here? But I did, finally, after a lot of kid-gloves kind of driving, get the plates home in tact, & carried them up to our house in their bundles, after which point I went out to meet Charlie & Erin for a drink & we had the most golden conversation, liquid gold, about everyone we knew & loved & why. It reminded me of the golden hoop of ‘slumberland’ I’d later have to jump through, which, despite its general obscurity seemed related to our talk, drawing its presence from some collapse of ‘friend’ & ‘sleep’ that could only find a binding correspondence in a dream, or a poem with a strange & inwrought logic. This fragile reasoning drew me along until I finally reached the top of Winter Mountain. & I guess now I should talk about the Winter Mountain theory I developed years ago, where winter, as a figure of subjective time & feeling, begins on Thanksgiving morning as the base of a mountain, at that level pleasant, vaguely balmy yet cool. & Of course one is fated every year to have to climb it, up past the base-camp of the holidays & various birthdays perfumed by tequila & important in the way that they surpass a plain endearment through the ecstasy of knowing a beloved still persists. Then on, to the summit, it’s Super Bowl Sunday! which is incandescent with an awesome & secular radiance that swallows every view of nascent spring but delivers instead this other scary revelation which is shining with the prickling light of innumerable, oxygenated pins that are daily acquiring a carbon integration with the world we experience as breathing so the air is very thin & sweet & hurts although it’s regular & even. Up there it’s high noon for the fairy-tale glissade as it steeps in pre-orgasmic suspension that augurs fresh legs. Will they ever come true? Though indeed from that height, when I finally get home, & lower myself into bed beside Sarah, so terribly tired that ‘slumberland’ becomes a demanding sort of protest, & I find it hard to breathe in neither kissing her nor talking, I lay there & wait until my breath can’t catch its needle & is, instead, wildly distributed in broken jumps & sighs, in delicious exhalations which have the natality of truly new life, & this tempo, one of breathlessness, is prosody appended by the skittering sound of the cat batting something across the dark floor, & I wished, because wishes have a vacuous candor that excels as years ago dark rooms excelled at developing pictures indelibly timed, I wished that she were playing with the single little pin that had fallen from the sleeve of a newer blue shirt I had just cut the tags from that morning.

(for David Brazil, after his great October letter)


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