Aught, no. 2 (1998)

Lenny DellaRocca

Absolute value is only for the dead

More and more there is value in what I thought I could say. Something for the end of the world. A microscope to the past. Peter Hamchuck collected rocks. It was like kicking the world. I tried to say it but it "wound up" starting the car instead. We went into the dank basement to listen to Beatle records. A phrase attaches itself to a brain cell. The pond once  disturbed sings forever. His father's Playboy magazines were piled two feet high. It was the first time we saw tits. Mica, Peter said, is a rock that bends. What is loose usually is not worth catching. It's like painted wind. A dream is everything that never happens while you're awake. Obsidian made me think of death. You know what will be said later. Somehow you said it before you knew you could. I thought "sandstone" and there was an "Indian in the corner trying on my clothes." For whom fire makes a god of wooden things. Throwing it into the water serves no purpose. We hurt our feet in winter the ground was so hard. Flesh had a yellow cast. My first car was a `64 Chevrolet station wagon. The engine blew at 4 a.m. in Manhattan. It was our first blow job by a black woman. Except maybe for Chester. When you're awake you dream about everything. Like the time Michael and I smoked hash on New Year's Eve. Weaving in and out of traffic with a car full of kids. A microscope for a rear view mirror. Something I didn't say stayed with me. Everything that could have happened is a dream. The aperture is tiny but it takes long clear pictures. You can see forever if you never fall asleep. You can hear the dead talking if you stay up all night listening. It was the day Paulie burned the Christmas tree in the backyard. A horn honking from the end of time.

The Theatrical Reconstructions of Hysteria Photographed by
Doctors in the Asylum La Salpetriere

Look at this woman:

convinced her seizures are messages from Homer,
she believes she is an Amazon. All the papers she keeps under her

bed are conversations with the mythological author. The black bauble
at her forehead is a gift from someone she met at a seance

The stone keeps the magician out of her dreams where she says he can
rape and sodomize her.

Each Halloween she removes the gem before going to bed.

And this man who calls himself Franza says that what he says is
a rewrite of what he has already said. Rants on about something he

calls "machine language." And because he is just repeating

he has ever said, he says, he says nothing. Photography he wrote in
a notebnook, only confirms his belief.

This girl Tabitha, her real name is Angelina, dresses in the
clothes of former inmates who have died here. Rags, bloodstained,

urine-soaked rags. She howls much of the night to keep invisible
mouths away from her. Here she is removing one such mouth from her

thigh now. Look at her eyes. The large brows crossed and the
her red face dirty.

Copyright 1998, by the author. All rights reserved.
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