. . . . . . . Supervalent Thought

The Game (3)

3. What is the wish of the dream?

I open my hand and a small cluster of people peer up at me out of it silent and bug-eyed. I draw them out of my palm like taffy, but there is no snapping sound and no lost teeth. In a minute the crowded room buzzes harshly, wondering why it had bothered one more time to show up for nothing but an exhausted optimism. I was lucky to be the dreamer because the dreamer never stops being interested. People know when they haven’t said enough, that’s why they dream. Or that’s not why they dream, but why they continue loving.

When I met him he was raking leaves, in his tiny yard; usually they’re across some table in a room. And what of the very bald one who practices his Foucault Face™ in the mirror each day? If I try to write the story of someone who worked hard in case he showed up to work, what is the plot? She played touch tag by saying a thing then running into a field of noise. The delay architecture is so deliberate I can feel the shot-reverse-shot, the voiceover, and the signs of truth tattooed on my often-entered vagina.

I am experiencing a novel now–not really reading it. That’s still a big ambition. I knew she would write “debauchery.” Was it because it followed “Hollywood?” Then near the highway there was a high pitched hill–a “steep embankment”–so steep that the squirrels had more bad luck than you’d predict, tumbling down from a vast misreading of how hard the dirt was packed. Or was it scrambling up, as on the way to the wedding–their wedding?–the lovers’ car had broken down and a taxi had to be flagged? Hitchhiking ensued, as in It Happened One Night.

A location shot does not ensure realism; nor does the strong, bared leg; nor does the drama of mass unemployment. Full of souvenirs of specific blunders, reenactment doesn’t solve the crime. It would be great if the fossilized air in a bubble rereleased the history it floats. The cat on the bathroom floor welcomes the cool without being grateful to it. The fly darts out of the cracked window you make without sending a thank-you note. Three things remain: her voice was hideous, she extracted herself from the phone, and she said, “I’ve gotta go. People have to eat.”

Should we show the body? She’d smelled something burning, but that’s not evidence, although the stench of hair was unmistakable. She’d run from a killer who’d reached for her “cunt,” with which she’d momentarily thought about bargaining, if you can call scrolling through scenarios “thought.” When there’s no other room to run to is when we scramble or get committed. This is what people will do, desperately: anything to induce sweat and a conceptual opening. Now I’m forced to leave the room whenever I hear, “Each time it’s different but what’s the same is how moved I am every time.”

(Barbara Browning, Aimee Mann, Kate Lilley, Gil-Scott Heron, Katie Stewart)

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