It’s May. I’ve decided. For how short a time Palo was in the cabin doing what he did, it took a long time. And all his walking, which is good for him, his health and that. He should slow down. He is walking too much; he needs to sit down, or squat, it doesn’t matter, on his haunches, and smell the tulips, which don’t smell much, or the hyacinth, which do, and relieve himself. Nevermind that where I live May is often not a beautiful month, rather February or July more bespeaks spring. It’s the idea that counts for whoever’s counting. It’s been a while since I’ve used the word god; I should again, but I don’t want to; I want to talk about May. The word May bespeaks spring regardless of the actualities of the month, but even here May hides the powerlines in leaf and bloom. The difficulty is in the sunlessness that dampens birdsong and mutes the sweet candy color of petals opening, anthers extending, and pollen bursting forth. Nevermind, just keep neverminding, all that is outside and I am inside, having escaped the seasons and the advance of time they lord over you and the sensations they demand of you, the productivity and torpor of summer, the resignation and belief of fall, the despair and anticipation of winter, the joy and joy of spring, oh who wrote that, who can imagine feeling just one way or even two for an entire season, other than tired, among other feelings the seasons make you feel hot and cool and cold and warm in that order if you start with summer and live in the northern hemisphere, the Coriolis effect is too weak to affect the direction the waters swirls when I flush and do not think I flush but it means my hemisphere has no effect on me, I live without hemisphere, without sphere, without here, with a hard pencil and a soft notebook, with a hard brittle broken pencil with soft lead within to be spread on a notebook that is neither soft nor hard but has profound tensile strength in one dimension or two but not three, maybe the fourth, in order that I may share with you what’s important to me, namely the scum building in my bathroom. It’s where I live. We have a relationship to suckle, and what relationships are suckled on is honesty, or at least an effort at truth, or at least a pretense if we agree that truth is a soft plastic thing hard to define, and so I cannot continue to tell you what you want to hear, if that is what I’ve been doing. The difficulty is I also have a relationship with Palo to maintain, not to mention others for they are not pertinent, a relationship that is not going well, or it is going too well. He appears to be leaving me, though it is hard to say because he does not communicate well, never has, though he’s always listened, always except now, and, and well, that does not feel good, that being the feeling of him not listening, the sensation of him going, the realization that our relationship is starving, the pity that he is losing his mind, the sympathy of his decline.
I’ll tell you then what I don’t want to hear, in the hopes that you will not want to hear it too. I don’t want to hear that I hear the door talking to me again, or perhaps still. I don’t want to hear it because it is not useful in my endeavor to produce something useful, something of value, something that says I am not still here but have gone somewhere in the metaphoric forward direction, something worth the while of the bathroom and Palo leaving and you not loving me.
Let’s go for a walk, Cole, the door says. To breathe the air. It’s beautiful out. The sun is shining, which is so rare. You must be stifled in there, and the smell, surely. The mildew fumes are going to your head I think. But I won’t explain it, I know how you hate explanations. Let’s go for a completely unexplained walk, a walk that will mean nothing. We’ll walk. We’ll walk forever. Allen will watch the kids and himself and we’ll walk. We’ll walk through the woods until the land begins to rise and we’ll continue walking. We’ll climb a mountain without even meaning to and find ourselves on the summit overwhelmed by the world, the sheer breadth bursting our chest cavities as we become our proximity to the sun, our presence in the sky, the folds of the earth, the eagles flying below us, the flying ants riding air currents zipping over the crest and down and down we will go past bear and elk and mountain lion until we find a horse, two horses, bridled and saddled because we will ride for a long time and riding bareback for very long hurts and you have no control unless you’re a cowgirl and we’re not cowgirls, no, bridles and saddles on the ground and the horses are cropping grass but we bridle and saddle them swiftly and mount and ride slowly. We ride to the other coast over rivers and plains and other mountains, through prairie and wood and we encounter no one but ourselves and more of it is miserable than not but when it is done the misery and suffering is not what we remember or think about, but the sea infinite before us. We sail across it on a boat because we know how to sail, we sail into the wind because that is how you sail, sometimes we sail with the wind too, we hoist a spinnaker, we sail every which way, on a sailboat, past hammerhead sharks and humpback whales and bottlenose whales and great blue whales and seagulls and terns and ducks and flying fish and state-sized regions of swirling sea trash and whatever sirens or sea lions or leviathans live at sea. And again we suffer and starve and dehydrate and hate each other and the wind always the wind at first exhilarating and then oppressive until it is gone and we pray for it so we can move and survive and arrive in Scotland, which is where we arrive. You’ve always wanted to go to Scotland, to play golf the way it was meant to be played, next to the ocean in the wind and wild grass and whatever heath is and dunes and big rocks and small mountains by your side.
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He leaves his steps behind. Where is he going? Down. And beyond down? You can only go down so far before you come out the other side. You evince a belief in geometry, specifically the geometry of geography, as well as the geometry of the sphere, as opposed to the geometry of existential Christian ecology which clearly states that the possibility and trajectory of despair and resignation is a limitless and infinite and necessary digging down into the truth and self, ascetic solipsism for the good of the people, or at least a person, lord help us, let geography be not our geometry, let the sphere know no bounds, let it be from this inner place that we take a great leap beyond ourselves, let all this decline be of some use. Or else let it be social anxiety disorder and let’s medicate. Where is Palo? There is a cat hole. It is too small a hole for Palo. Perhaps it is a foxhole. Are you implying he used it? Or it could be a Judas hole. We should examine it for signs of life. Or it could be that we finally discovered the straining butthole of the world, see how it dilates, like an iris. I mean for signs of Palo. Which would explain the smell and our presence and its largeness. I’m going to poke around. Don’t use your finger. How come there are no sticks? Don’t fall in, this is an end of the alimentary canal, though it is impossible to say which end, we could say if we could measure the pressure, there is a positive or negative pressure within, the one to ingest the other to expel, if there are distinct ends, it is entirely possible that both ends are one, in which case the hole is used for both in and out because the contents of the hole cannot be constantly added to or evacuated, can they?, and are we inside the hole or outside of it?, but to more pressing matters which include not asking unanswerable questions even if they are the only kind worth asking, if this hole is both ends, there must be both positive and negative pressures within, which means we, or the hole, we and the hole now that we are in and of the hole, in the hole without passing the hole’s threshold mind you, we are in the hole without passing through it, if the other side of the whole is out and this in then we are in between, if the other side is in and this out then we are in between, we are on the rim, on the cusp, no in the rim and in the cusp, let me say it, we and the hole are in either an impossible state or equilibrium, or both. There are no signs Palo used this hole. Isn’t the sky blue? Except this. That’s a word. I know. What’s it say? Walk. What’s that supposed to mean? It means Palo was here. Did he write it? Has anyone else been here? Ever or today? When did today start? Was it written today? How could it have been? There are no sticks. There is a stone. Where? Under that mound of pink blossoms. I get it, he wrote Walk with a rock. It’s a stone. I’m not going to have this discussion again. Then we should Walk. Why? That’s what it says. That’s no reason to do it. Do you have something better to do? Better? Do you need to use the hole, for example? We are using it. You know what I mean. Not while you’re here, not unless you leave me alone. I’m not leaving you alone. I’ll go with you. Come on, I’ll help you out of there. Thanks, which way? Down. But which way down? Follow his steps. What does it look like I’m doing? Stay close. Wait, I’m getting distracted. Don’t. There’s another set of steps. Two? We are walking over two sets of tracks. Well he has two feet. I think he’s being followed. Who would follow him besides his other foot? A bad guy. There are no bad guys. An Indian? Are Indians bad? Nevermind, there are no Indians. Sometimes little boys wear goggles as masks and aprons as capes and carry sticks as swords and imagine they’re bad guys. A cowboy, then. Maybe the tracks are just the jingle of Palo’s spurs. Nobody wears spurs, not even cowboys, if cowboys exist. Look, the second set of steps are much smaller than Palo’s. With claws. I fear for Palo’s safety. No you don’t. I fear for my safety, which is the same thing. You are not Palo. I fidel our fears. You are not allowed to make a verb of fidelity. Nevermind, the fear is sublimating. Why, or I mean how, or perhaps, converting, what are you talking about? Firstly, my fear sublimates because fear wasn’t the right word; secondly, my fear sublimates by turning directly from a solid to a gas, just like anything sublimates; thirdly, I’m remembering. Is that the same as sublimating? Don’t stop, come on. Let’s go, walk. What do you think I’m doing? Follow his steps before they sublimate, like you.