In Technicolor-rich sunset tones of sapphire heavens and gold horizon
glow, on the set lot’s Coppertone sands, on the eve of the binary code’s
sweep of the genes, Analog Man privately swoons to a love song
spiraled onto a spinning black vinyl moon. I see him now, that final
solution of ethanol tumbler’d in ice lifted again to his lips to smooth
his wince, while the digital wind picks up and electro-lyses him down
another layer of skin, the scene’s colonnades already stripped of acrylic
looking more authentic and ancient unpainted. I see him smile a bit,
he’s gotten the joke Narcissus never woke to laugh at, and he lights up
his last smoke, his Synchromesh vision getting the picture, the future
he isn’t in, letting his face take the peel, letting his race be hurricaned
to a kneel, losing his animal magnetism, kissing the icebergs
farewell in his glass, the roots of his hair uprooted. I hear him croon
his harmony with the shadow of Elvis, how only fools rush in. I see him
steal off into the night’s soft lightning of monitor flashes. End of reel.
With the Gambler in Little Forever
The gambler arranges his nobles and numbers, his red and black suits.
No one can see through the cards but we all try. Our eyes bathe his hands
in soft lightning, the ice-and-glass tinkling of tumblers of rum and the boiling
rain on the tiles above us the drumroll while nothing takes its long while.
The ebony table’s awash in the hot spray of a bare hanging bulb, and another,
a prehistoric gleam off the fern and palm fronds, floods in from just past
the garden of lava stones. For now we’ve forgotten we’ve each flown in
from some other home. Here a warm wind sweeps through where windowpanes
might’ve been, and strokes our necks, so we’re soothed in our suspense
while the gambler, our man in the game, that quiet electrical hurricane
whirring about his hands, ponders the chances, advances more chips,
and whispers his pitch. The smoke of our various calmatives continues to drift
like a cloud of resurrected dead hopes, the ghosts of our damnedest wishes,
to the chug and purr of another pontoon plane ushering still more souls
in on the harbor. This is our little forever, before the cards are turned over
and all of us lose again, this the thump-and-twitch instant we win.
After the fact, all the light went steely with a cold actuality.
We learned, with no thought about it, to steady the diaphragm, to prevent
our sobs, to shadow the faces of our supposed loves, to remain
safely lonely, attentive to clouds or the twitches sparrows cause in the shrubs.
After the fact, we had a mind, a set of strategies for extracting
comfort without the contamination dangers of eye contact, and the current
running under us was the after-quake of the fact, call it dream
or memory folded into its Mandelbrot kaleidoscopic origami of what
the fact will ever after be. We were touched, it was only by several
fingers of one quite familiar hand, and was the shock that divided
all time’s land. After the fact is a country, where the fact hides
behind every tree. A stroke of tactile sensation, transduced to an animal
striped with a white intensity that will constrict our pupils and leave them that way,
leave every other visiting angel dimmed in a narrow aperture like Leonard’s
woman…in her darkened door, dimmed by the permanent lightning, fact
after which all touch is aftershock, all cracks in the sidewalk bottomless.