Antoine reaches for a smartphone from his back pocket. As he reaches and twists his right shoulder he says: “I don’t know why, I don’t know…why, but for the past ten minutes I’ve been thinking about survival…in a way I’ve never thought about it before.” And more so than the thought itself, Antoine, after sixty years, wonders where or why the thought never thought before took so long to be thought. All of a sudden; ten minutes ago. For the past ten minutes and for next 83021 hours he will think in this way about survival. A semi-permanent shift; until the next shift occurs. “Survival,” he says while reaching & twisting, “survival…for some people survival is food & water, meal to meal, and shelter. But for us, the highest privileged, survival is getting that time to read a new book… for the people who live in ready abundance, survival is the possession of infinite choices & not-talked-about-limited-time to spend however they like. In a way, a large population living right now has transcended the needs & requirements of life, because of the abundance, and will either live to advance the universe’s knowledge by creating or live to detract from the universe by dispersing their life’s energy over time through a short but full series of breaths in the pursuit of take take taking from the earth & each other for luxury & benefit by All The Things. Twisting, “It’s incredible, really..”
The other day she like, forced me into saying it. I didn’t want to do it. I was embarassed. I turned red in the face before I even knew I was embarassed, before it occurred to me altogether I was embarassed about being embarassed. They were just words. Logically contradictory. That adjective or adverb is how I felt for a period of time, a short period. The emotions of the period passed into itself, in a forced kind of way, like I said, because it was forced–she forced me to say them. But only to the point where it would be understood that she would not give it a rest until I went ahead with it and said the thing she wanted me to say. And after it was done–it felt so unusual I have no words left in my vocabulary to describe–she made me say it again, and again, and again. As you & she * I expected it would or was or should, as we expected saying the words drew less & less energy to force them out. There was less hesitation. Now don’t get me wrong: none were easy. There was just less strain. The two corners of my mouth unfurrowed from their point of misunderstanding, as it was said again & again, they turning into nervous smile, shame then hope, perhaps curosity as a constant undertone to the entire event, and I’m only guessing here (it wasn’t filmed or documented, only recollected much later inside a storm of entirely different material) but maybe the eyes had a dilated look to them with lights hitting the pupils just right to create a choice-based observation of reflection or incredible absorption (into the pupil). And the being carrying the eyes is kind of, or was–if you trust my ability to recollect, then you would just know, damn belief right we’ll save that for religion–frozen like the kind of slow motion high-emphasis moments in film, the thing we talked about it earlier remember, and this emphasis so clearly, with a choice, is to the impending moment of judgement, when I or he or she would or did finally give in to her requests to just say the words, to say them outloud: “I am a good person.” We were embarassed at first for it being so difficult. Then the embarassment for being embarassed kicked in & we knew we wocltsof iumclne otherwise perhaps a major breakdown would be seen, perhaps walls or delusions or illusions or memory would be unnecessarily nuked. If it were walls, let us go with that the metaphor is easier, then we knew quickly there was a door and all we had to do was open it. To just open it & go ahead with it and go through. There was no gvn. Just an act of will. And courage. Encouraged. “Just say it,” she said, and so we did, five or six times in all, and it like worked I think kind of.
Jobe’s ears were constricted by a new pair of large headphones. Both lobes squished partly out the bottom, and the cartilage lining the tops of his ears reddened by the pressure of form & music. He lay on his bed with an open book face-down resting on a stomach breathing slowly, to the slow beats of his chosen music. The pain of his ears and the music of his device together gave him a freedom he would count on, day-after-day, many days & nights & mornings–whenever he could–to escape or assimilate or cope with the changing environment of his home & of his friends & of his body. “There is no control here–I have no control of anything, I never did…” Posters & magazine clippings, drawings & report cards, calendars & pictures of all sizes, of all sizes of everything, were carefully assembled with double-sided tape to hide the white walls underneath. Once put up, Jobe never took what he taped down. In a sense, there in his room with two focuses, legs crossed at the ankles, hands crossed & intertwined at his chest, open-book being temporarily finished rising & falling to a slow pattern of breath, he simultaneously existed in the accumulation of his past with a sharp pain in his lobes holding him hostage in the present, all to themed music, which he controlled with a flick of thumb. A barren, light brown desk vibrated to three computer fans, caked with years of dust, cooling a computer that hummed at its best & displayed graphic pornography at its worst. “To feel pleasure, to feel it now & now I do not want I do not know, I am in love but the girl does not love me back,” we hear from Jobe. He’s young. An older brother has grown past this stage of Jobe’s in a room adjacent, yet both are in their rooms, “for one’s own space is necessary,” Jobe’s older brother replied. And he too played music, from a stereo. His sounds rang out & vibrated & hummed against the painted walls, underneath the half-inch space between door & low-rise champagne carpet, into the hallway, down the kitchen, into bathrooms, into his brother Jobe’s room who had his own interests. The proof was there, on his walls, the words from his book, the way he crossed things together like his ankles & hands, his eyes when he shut them, pain & music thematically played to passionate, pulsing love heating his body for some current girl to ease the stiffening bone below, nothing more, but Jobe doesn’t know that yet, “he will,” his older brother replies. Somehow we’re all together in this, somehow.
Carl reached for his wallet and adjusted the toothpick in his mouth. The toothpick . His eyeglasses shimmered briefly as he turned his head, and adjusted. The skin of his face, now surfaced with small craters like the moon from childhood acne & post-puberty ciggarettes, glimmered from the light hitting his natural oils. His hair is cut short, like a military-style kind of cut, one that would be described as such from someone who is or has never been a part of the military. Carl at this time in his life looks like the older brother of the villain from the movie Terminator. His glasses are very thick but not thick enough to prevent his chararacter from reaching from the past & pulling himself into the present, so to speak, and well, here he is. This is Carl. Say hello Carl. “Hello.” Carl, how are you, how are you doing in the most general of ways. And, if you could, for us, answer this question in the most specific of ways, not as to blend the two.”I’m , I’m not sure what you’re really asking but I’m doing well. It’s my daughter’s birthday today & I bought this here cake for her party. She turns one today, and it’s been the greatest year of my life, & I guess her’s too.” And as Carl finished his answer, specifically that last bit, the glasses shimmered, the face wrinkled, his teeth parted with this grin that was timeless. Like in the movies, how they slow a scene down, they slow the framerate to allow a moment it’s greater worth, well that happened here. Everything just kind of slowed down, almost frozen but not quite. Carl, are you still there? “Yes, I’m here.” Good, I thought I had lost you for a second there. From now on we will speak telepathically, I understand your lips may be hard to move a tthis poiint. I understand too that you’ve got places to be & I sleep to be had. I have to work tomorrow. Do you work tomorrow? “Yes.” Okay, not to get this convaluted with sidetracking, I just want to express my appreciation for the moment we had, though it was more like a witnessing of a moment you had, me being the witness or facilitator to the event. My role being to ask the question, or create the dialogue; your role being to be transparent, at some level of guard down, to access some of the deeper shit going on in your life–then, together, you and I, our role is then to create this partnership of creator & creation, & we discover & share & witness the isolated event and commit it to memory, if what we’ve done or will do is worth it, and as you’ll agree I’m sure, “it was,” it definitely was. Thank you Carl.