Wednesday, February 04, 2009


The peep show divider comes down, the house lights come on; everything seems to be boiling beneath the surface in the acidic, garish light. The patrons, marginal characters and outright perverts, seedy sorts and vulgar youths, slumming yuppies and middle-aged men whose faces unintentionally plead for lifting the weight of years of disillusion and regret; all squint and cringe in the hostile glare. We are the uninvited of the great bacchanal, the unrecorded casualties of the revolution, homeless in the ensuing tyranny of gild and gluttony, staggering and limping about unnoticed. We all shrink and lower our gaze in the light's exposure, seeing no one, as if to be seen by no one.

Time for you to go too, friends. Use one of the doors to the right, or go out the way you came in. No one look at another. File out in furtive silence. You pass a slotted paybox on your way out, stuffed with expired coupons, slug nickels, greasy notes and scraps of old newspaper.

The ancient doorman is as still as the stained and eroding stone-front of the building, into which he appears to be, no you're sure he is, fading, like a mineral pocket dissipating into a greater mass. He looks at nothing and sees everything. Behind the dull, insensate eyes he records it all, like a meter mindlessly ticking through an infinite number. He's always been and always will be there, even after the body is gone, after the building is demolished and replaced, demolished and replaced again, after nature's reclamation of the spot; always the impression left by this blip of sentience in the cosmic mass, will remain in some form, a spectral smudge, eternally fading but never going away.

Back on the street you expand out and up as we disperse; your spirits lift. You think about someone at home or someone in the past; you stop, looking about at your fellows. Each seems to trail a bit of light behind him; you marvel a moment at this illusion of light and psychology. There is a twinge you don't recognize, a pull inside of an icy grey hand upon a silent bass string. For a split-second you are utterly disoriented, your history and identity vanish, lost to you entirely; you don't know who or where you are. Something is revealed, something you always knew but never considered, something overwhelming. The shudder of displacement passes so quickly you're not sure it happened. You pull your collar up around your neck, which feels exposed and vulnerable on the street. Already you're forgetting the queer sensation. Home beckons, comforting temporal echoes of its warmth and familiarity reassure you; someone is there now, you're certain, waiting; before moving on you take one last look at the others, all shuffling off beneath the alternating red and white of the flashing sign that reads,

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