Dimension Contraction Scab and Sea Lion

linda tanner

You might think, considering the contraction of the dimension perpendicular to the wall my back is against, which is the wall the mirror hangs on above the very tall sink, and considering the concomitant expansion of the wall and everything in its plane, or most things at least, or at least many, a notable number of objects expanding in those two dimensions whatever the proportions, that the mirror’s height and width is likewise increasing as its depth diminishes. The problem, no not a problem but a fact, if I may assert the existence of facthood and then abandon it as necessary, is that the mirror had almost no depth to begin with; it was essentially two-dimensional, the third dimension was all perception when it was looked into, looking into a mirror is an act of faith, like I said not looking in the bowl is an act of faith, if I remember rightly, though remembering is an act of faith too; acts of faith breed like rabbits apparently; breeding is an act of faith; the semicolon is an act of faith; and though in theory these two acts occur simultaneously, the contraction and the expansion, in reality when time is divided small enough there is always a time discrepancy and therefore simultaneity is a myth and thereby something happens first, then another thing happens, then another, please understand this diatribe has next to nothing to do with causality, it has to do with the mirror’s height and width approaching infinity as its depth approaches zero in order to maintain a constant volume, but per the diatribe the depth either has to reach zero first or the height and width have to reach infinity first, and since it is well established that infinity is not a thing as easy to become or acquire or arrive at as zero, at least in a timely fashion, one example of which would be a human’s lifetime, the depth in fact arrives at zero first and the mirror flat ceases to exist.

I’m not saying I’m disappointed; it’s just what happens. Not that I can see its absence anyhow, with the tall sink and its cabinets, but seeing is not believing, which itself is not knowing. The thing is, the splatter of toothpaste and floss flingings and zit puss and errant snot rockets and aberrant child vomit backsplashed from the sink and tweaked eyebrow hairs and nose hairs and ear hairs have or had a thickness comparable to that of the mirror, and therefore exhibit or exhibited, suspend the movement of time with me for a while and let’s remain in the present even if it’s passed, exhibit a thickness, let’s say depth to be consistent in our terminology, exhibit a depth much more in proportion to the measure of its other dimensions, we’re talking of the dimensions of each individual splatter, or I am, you’re not saying much of anything, like usual, which is fine, for though they cover the mirror in entirety, each individual splatter’s volume is small and remains so as the depth of each decreases towards zero without arriving and the height and width of each desiccated splatter, each short curly hair, each piece of puss, grows and grows alarmingly large without meaningfully approaching infinity due to the original proportionality of dimensions, the proportionality of dimensions for each scum having originally been much nearer unity than the mirror’s, remember, a cube’s proportionality of dimensions would be unity, are we all together here?, 1:1:1, until each individual smear takes up a surface area equal to that of the absent mirror, and as the cruds grow they overlap and layer, so that even as their individual depths decrease and become negligible, the overlapping and layering increases their cumulative depth until they pile from wall to wall, a narrow space to reach across now to be sure, the depth of which is defined as the distance from the triangular surface of the face of my patella to the coccyx of my sacrum, for I have not changed dimension, like a scab except unpickable, I am talking of the former mirror muck, not me, and healing nothing, except perhaps the space between myself and the door, which may as well no longer exist, which may?, both the spacebetweenmyselfandthedoor may as well no longer exist due to its immensity and the door may as well no longer exist except as a handy metaphor or something obnoxious and oversaid to say from time to time due to its distance. The doorknob no longer talks except in memory. I want to say the ex-mirror crust has a pulse, though I wish I didn’t. Perhaps I can blame the drumbeat on the footsteps of the oxygenated blood coming in my ear and the deoxygenated blood going from my ear.

I think I am getting somewhere with Palo, somewhere I haven’t been or at least not in a long time, so in retrospect I’ve decided to let him go where he is going, even if it is hard to say where that is. Being alone on the mountain has done him no good; it’s helped his sanity, despite the bird on his head and raccoon inverted on his loins. So I’ll let him walk along the ocean. Let’s see what that does to him. And eventually he is bound to encounter people, bound to, they are impossible to avoid, they are everywhere, and then we shall see what society does to him. Then, if he survives, perhaps he’ll even go where he says he’s going, which is home, and we’ll see what that does to him. Remember, this is a story about the horizontal mambo and drilling for oil and making love and whoopee and fidelity and protracted orgasms as athletic or aesthetic or atheistic or religious experiences; it’s a story about exploration and transcendence and discovery and rhythmic rocking rambunctious sex, about good sex, not bad sex, not boring sex, and as such it will not be boring, it has not been boring, and it is not boring, and what else it is not most of all is a waste of time, which there is so little of.

I check between my legs for my progress, which is also little. The waterline remains the same, as demarcated by the pinkbrown ring. Below this line, submerged, on the porcelain bowl grows a yellowbrown film, thicker near the siphon jet. Above the line, candycane pink fingers streak down in a swirl pattern from the water jets under the rim, which is itself camouflaged in graygreen growth. Life carries on, good, as it should. The unfortunate thing, or perhaps fortunate, no, no perhaps in this case, the story is from my point of view god damn it and my point of view is decidedly unfortunate: between my legs in the water I see me looking at me. I look away but I don’t know if he does. Or if I do. The other I. And the moment is so awkward that it requires conjugations of the verb to do that do no exist, it being virtually impossible to write, If he, or I, does. Or, If I, or he, do. There is no cohesive subject for my verb; there is no verb conjugation for my subject; there is no clear way to write what I’m trying to write. I don’t know what I’m trying to write, which is perhaps part of the confusion. But not all of it. Another complication is the seduction of words, which seduce me into the seductive belief that I can say what I mean to say and convey what I mean to mean, whatever that is, I who don’t believe in belief, I who believe words are just inanimate objects that when properly used become tools, I who long to be seduced, though so too is that not all of it. The explanation of the seduction of words is itself a seduction. All this is still not all of it. Far from all of it.

* * *

The man approaches the sea lion. The sea lion is feeling neither ferocious nor fearful. The man keeps the sea to his left. The sea lion knows this man. The man wears a grouse on his head, a raccoon on his loins, boots on his feet, sunken eyes in his skull, and an emaciated disposition. The sea lion knows this man as well as a sea lion can know a man, which is to say he is familiar with his presence if not his soul, which are perhaps the same things. The man carries a hatful of rocks which could be weapons. The sea lion does not know any of this in the conscious sort of way that one means when applying the verb to know, for he is a sea lion, but it is a means of explaining the sea lion’s general deportment toward the man and his unaware awareness of the man. The fact is the man is hungry and it is written all over his face. The man is cold and it is written all over his body. The sea lion’s general deportment toward the man is recumbent. The other fact is the sea lion is made of meat and fat and warm skin, all of which the man lacks. The sea lion watches the man approach without much watching him. There is the crunchy roar of the rocks and the muffled roar of the wind and the background roar of the sea. Though the man is dressed somewhat differently than normal, the man always carries rocks and wears these boots when he comes by and so nothing has significantly changed, which makes the sea lion happy, or at least maintains his recumbency. As he comes abreast of the sea lion, the man’s eyes are seen to be yellow or sallow or fallow or fellow. The sea lion’s eyes are dark brown. They look each other in the eyes. The man says, Hi. The sea lion barks. The man keeps the sea lion on his right. The sea lion keeps the man between he and the sea, which pretty much means he maintains his position, which from an outside perspective is a bad idea considering his lack of escape routes. The man does not stop moving. The sea lion does not move. The man recedes, striped tail dangling between his legs. The sea lion does not have his head bashed in. The fact is the man cannot eat anymore until he eliminates. The sea lion is not grateful; he never considered his consumption a possibility. The fact is the man likes sea lions and if not for his Reb and the kids would sacrifice his life to save a sea lion and so did not entertain the notion of braining the sea lion for food or clothes, no matter his misery. The sea lion continues on with a sea lion’s recumbent state of mind. Beyond the facts, there is no indication the man gives a second or first thought to the nature of the creature whose life he spares, no, does not spare because he does not even consider eliminating it, but passes by, bypasses, though he did say Hi, and it is unclear what is to be made of that. The sea lion watches him go without watching very hard, which is to say dispassionately, which is to say he is aware of his having gone. An example of a second thought from the man would be his looking back over his shoulder, which he does not do, even if he were to then continue on, which he does. The sea lion, tired of stones and perhaps hungry, scoots and grunts and heaves and generally writhes on a slight descent and finally flops its enormous meaty blob of a body into the salt-chocked sea, where it gracefully disappears. The man, with the ocean to his left, disappears. The beach is empty, save of stones and a fine mist and the ubiquitous and unmentioned seagulls looking for droppings and leaving their own.

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