Wednesday, November 10, 2010

moth's powder

--(some fiction i'm working on)--


dear moth's powder,

i am on a hinge. i swing back, forth / swoosh, swoosh / door. i go in, and out. i cannot make up my mind. i determined this morning, while running on the treadmill, that i would write you to tell you not to expect to hear from me again. but then, i realized somewhere down the line, in the midpoint of my early morning routines of emails, text messages and internet site viewings, that we do indeed have much in common, much too much to simply let fizzle and waffle about, without closure, opening ever-expansively into open-endedness. well. but i did remember this one thing: there is an inexhaustible store of great people in the world. no. you are not the only one. neither are the two or three over which i have ever obsessed. everyone is a genius. everyone has something to give. and when i remembered that i connect so easily with others, i determined that to try and keep this connection that is nothing other than silence is to rummage in nothingness.

well. but would that not be nothing other than denying connection that is not so easily maintained? even if they come easy, they do not stay. so maybe the determination is about fear.

that is all i have to say. i am certain i will not write you anymore. and i had to write you in order to tell you that. i am sure you expected my writing. right? if you would say something then i would know that i should not say anything else. am i waiting for your permission to be done with it all? is the abeyance my opportunity to act as if silence is not what it is? of course, i read some Foucault this week that said something like silence as repression is not absolute and that we must attend to the "alongside" of silence. are my letters the alongside of your silence, do they act as call and response, constantly revising each time i hit send and you withdraw from response? or is it that you recoil? your silence is improvisational, it seems. it could be for any reason at all. i know that you wanted me to write you and i have maintained my end of the deal we made so many days ago. maybe you are maintaining yours as well, not as with me, but as with some other person whom interests you.

well. i fear and feel that maybe i have said too much, assumed too much. truth is, i have no idea who you are. i know that you and your image, once grasped, immediately lose coherence like so many grains of sand. memory is pestle to motar: we have but few days left.

do not expect to hear from me ever again. this is all i can say. for now.

until then,




dear moth's powder,

i had another one of those dreams again last night. but, as with each time, i was able to feel just a bit more last night which, it turns out, made me even more upset with you. it's like something i read recently...i can't locate but i'm sure it's in one of these books i've had to read. it said something like each new word in a sentence revises it, gives a new meaning. so i keep having this recurring dream but last night, it was revised again with another scene. and you were in it, so of course, providence would have me write you again. i swore to you last time i wrote that it would be the last time but the declaration of a last time is always a ruse unless the last time is really the last time and i thought it was the last time but indeed it was not the last time just the first time me saying it would be the last time in a long time. well.

it was that same dream i'd have as a kid about me being some sort of black Superman - no doubt because of the sheets my mother had for the twin bed, the sheets that were a shade too thin because they were a bit too old and faded, and had been hand-me-downs from some such other boy who would have slept on them. well. at least she washed them with care, though she loved Tide we could only afford the store-bought brand and so that is what she used. but she cared about making me feel good and would tell me time and again, "when i get a new job, i'll get me some Tide." of course you know, she died before she ever got a new job. but that's not what this dream was about.

oh yes. the sheets, i think when i was a kid, pretty much had me sleeping on images of a white Superman - i guess, the real Superman - with all of his musculature twisting and the word ZZAP! written on them. three different images of this Superman: one with him in a white cloud in some such would-be attack pose, as if in hiding, waiting the right time to surprise the enemy, no doubt Lex Luthor; another with his body twisted, mid-action as if he were about to be hit with something, right arm over his head, left arm as if he were trying to push some something away; and the third with him flying directly out of the sheets, looking at me, smiling a bit, almost erotically. i'm sure the latter was my own libidinous bullshit or whatever. the point is that i slept on these sheets all of the time (i won't get into the Pound Puppies sheets i had; i did not and do not ever have dreams about puppies, no matter how cute and cuddly they are).

and so from an early age, sleeping on these sheets, i would have faux race-conscious dreams where i, the black Superman and real hero would fight the evil one on my sheets. we'd twist and wrestle with and against each other. things, of course, are a bit fuzzy and my recall of these dreams is not that great. not because i didn't have the same one last night but because they've always had some noise speckled in during the fight scene. but anyway.

somehow, i'd end up: at, at a, at a white, at a white house, at a white house with, at a white house with a, at a white house with a picket, at a white house with a picket fence.

well. you get the idea. each time i'd have the dream, i'd arrive to one of these new concepts, each one accruing on the other until, finally, i realized that i was fighting white Superman over some living space. but last night, the newest scene, and of course, you. i was fighting him...for you. well. imagine my surprise when i finally opened the door to the house - with my keys - and walk in, and the kids - our kids - ran up to my knees and screamed "Daddy! Daddy's home!" and you came out of the bedroom with your glasses on, eyes a bit fatigued because you were reading in the office, or typing or some other such thing, and the faintest hint of a smile dashed across your face because - even in the dream - you realized that it was me who you were waiting for...and not Superman. what does it mean to go from the first dream - knowing i was at, that is, i was somewhere but didn't know where that where was - to this latest episode where not only did i know where that somewhere was - with you - but that i knew who all the hoopla was over - again, you? no. i still don't know where this where was - chicago? san francisco? new orleans? who knows? who cares? - but i know that where only means something with you.

we left the kids - our kids, what a thought; left them in their beds with their superman sheets, the same ones my mother cared for because i still have them in the basement of my house waiting for some kids to use them - and we went into the bedroom. and no need to tell you what happened there but i never knew you had a birthmark on your inner thigh until last night. and please, don't tell me you don't. let me live in that dream for a while. and if you do. well. serendipity? (this is, to be forward, one of my favorite "new" words.) a message of (or would it be from) provenance? well. i guess i don't need to tell you how we had a good time in that bedroom either. but what i do need to tell you is this: i did not want it to end. i wanted to stay there because somehow, in the faint smile you gave me that was real, i knew that it was a dream. wait! i forgot to tell you that i carried you - i am not strong, and you are not heavy, but still, a feat to be noted - i carried you around the bedroom, over the threshold into the bed and scooped you up again and then put you back down. i wanted to carry you out of the dream and i awoke while you were still in my arms there. well.

i have been reading all sorts of Jimmy Baldwin lately (and what is the relationship between Jimmy and James; of course, they both begin with the letter j but there must be something more two it; from one syllable to two; is Jimmy the melismatic version of James? why am i asking you? because you know, of course!). and Baldwin has all these great things to say about being astonished when white people are astonished because he actually likes his mother. two astonishments meet. like us? you were astonished that you could meet who you thought you wanted and knew you felt until you felt it and retreated because it felt too...sublime? and i was astonished to meet someone i could carry over thresholds because i had always wanted to and you were large enough and small enough and great enough and humble enough and loving enough and selfish enough to let me do it? well. we retreated in two directions, me into you and you away from me. and Baldwin was simply astonished that someone could be astonished at what was quotidian to him, that someone could exist in conditions where liking one's mother wasn't even a possibility, let alone a desire. and here we are. at some sort of impasse, me promising never to write again - but maybe sing a song or play a tune - while writing again and again.

the dream was revised - right before i picked you up a final time and i awoke with you in my arms - when i went to the armoire, opened a drawer that you had not yet seen with all of the letters i'd written to you and never sent when we were before dating. i just wrote, hoping to one day collect the letters and put them in a book and give to you on an anniversary or some other such time when you needed to be reminded how much you were thought of and appreciated even when you couldn't conceive of this as an idea. well. you cried and i'd never seen such happy tears. but the thing about the entire dream? the entire episode from white and black Supermans to thresholds and drawers and carryings? there was absolutely no sound. nothing at all. not even a hum or buzz in the background. i - we? - felt things, intense things, great things, scary things, longing things, hard things, tight things, round things, rough things, intimate things, lovely things. but there was no sound between us, or from the universe into which we were deposited and through which we acted. that silence, of course, said something to us about us and for us. but who is to know what exactly?

well. i don't want to belabor the point as i've written far more than i ever imagined in the first place. as my buddy N.- might say, don't expect to hear more from me in the way of words ever again. but maybe in dreams?


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