untitled (how it begins #1039)

the beginning is not the beginning, this is how it starts but this is not the beginning, the beginning was before, the beginning was before that time, that time was a new beginning, that time was a death and a rebirth, the beginning was the beginning, then there was death, a death, the death, followed by a slow re-entry, a 40 year birth, during which time, nothing, except dreams, except nightmares, except hallucinations, except paranoid dreams, a long exception,

ring ring ring is, what a phone sounded like, nobody home to hear it,

flashing red light is, what we saw later, flashing red light is, how it starts, then a beep, a long slow beep of recognition, not memory, not yet, just, foreboding,

this is how it starts, hello, this is we brother, this is we brother, Tom, we have a message for we, and, we better be sitting down, we knew at that instant, not who but what, a death, not we death, not the death that time, we brother death, we other death, we new death, we knew death, Frankie is dead, we killed we-self, now we knew who,

death at that time, death now, always death, death not death,

before that time, was this time, this time became that time, that time became this time , it’s all the same, the same time, we must stretch the time, to see it,

we walked from this time, into that time, into a death, we push it away, we pushed it away, we walked from that time, into this time, which becomes that time, again,

we death that time, we death this time, it’s all the same,

that was how it started, this is how it started, that death, this death, two points, on an imaginary line, only one point, on a circle, a clock,

walking in this time, walking in to home, walking into a long slow beep, walking into we brother, Tom, walking into we brother, Frankie, walking into death, walking into the start, walking in to, not memory,

walking into a familiar feeling, into a sense of it, a recognition, the same that isn’t the same, walking into it, walking into that time, but from a distance, still, not ready,

many times, we was not ready, many times, we stumbled, from the dream into, that time, many times, we were close, without knowing, without memory, that time, was always close, has always been close, is always close, will always be close,

we are not ready we screamed, from the nightmare, back into the dream, we move between them so often, we don’t know which is the dream, which is the nightmare, we are not ready we screamed, we have always been screaming, because we didn’t scream, that time

September 27, 1959, 10:39 PM

A welcome would have been expected. A welcome might have been expected. You would think. One would think. One might think. If one thought about it. Might have made a difference. One might have thought. So.

There was an expectation. Certainly, there was an expectation. There might have been an expectation. There would have been an expectation. Must have been. One.

Nonetheless the event happened. It is known to have happened. It must have happened. Clearly, it happened. It could not have not happened. It conclusively happened. Of that there is no doubt. That it happened. As opposed to not. Happened.

The date is not in question. There has never been a question of the date. The date has never been contested. Nor would it be. Nor should it be. Nor has it been. The date is certain. Known.

The time is not certain. The exact time is not known with certainty. The time is different from the date in that it was not as unique. The time was not as clearly recognizable as the date. The time is probable. The time is possible. Assumed.

Exactly what happened is not known. The details of the event are unknowable. There has never been an inquiry into the particulars of the event. The precise actions or inactions are not known. The actions are unknown. The inactions are unknown. Unknowable.

What happened is known. The birth is known to have happened. What else happened is not known. The ancillary events are not known. The birth obviously happened. The details of the birth are not known. The events preceding the birth are not known. The events following the birth are not known. The ancillary events before and after the birth are unknown. Unknowable.

The number of participants in the event is not known. The total number of participants is not known. There must have been two. There would have been two. Two is the minimum number of participants possible. There might have been more. There should have been more. Could have been more participants. There might have been more. People.

The mother was there. The mother was a key participant. The mother had to have been there. Of that, there can be no doubt. The mother was required to have been there. The mother could not have not been there. The mother had to have been. There.

The doctor was there. A doctor was there. There was certainly a doctor there. There would have been a doctor there. The doctor must have participated. The doctor had to have participated. It is certain the doctor participated. A doctor must have been there. Working.

The father may have been there. It is probable that the father was there. The father may have been a participant. The father is a probable participant. The father is thought to have been a participant. The father is surmised to have been there. Present.

Others were there. Other people were there. There must have been other people there. There would have been other people there. The other people may have participated. The others may have been participants. It is probable that others were there. Participating.

A welcome would have been expected. A welcome might have been expected. You would think. One would think. One might think. If one thought about it. Might have made a difference. One might have thought. Welcome.

The day I was born. The day of my birth. My birth day. Birthday.

My Echo, My Shadow, and Me

I am a sixty-one-year-old white male of English and Irish descent. I have a genetic disposition for acne, baldness and depression. I am taller than average and slender. Clothing rarely fits me well. I was lied to as a child and things were done to me that should never be done to another human being. I kept that a secret for most of my life. I am great at solving puzzles and I can readily spot patterns in the world around me. I have recurring nightmares and lucid dreams. I have a keen intuition and I don’t like being hugged. Children tend to like me. I am devoted to my wife. I’m not a good long-distance friend. I am often sad and quick to cry. I find comfort in that.

Running A Way

1976.

I run into Mark in the Cap’n Kidd.

I believe I have to die, I say to Mark. We’re drinking Bud long necks at the bar.

We all have to die, Mark answers.

Of course but that’s not what I mean.

What do you mean?

It feels like I have to die in order to live. I say this to you and I’m not sure what it means. But everywhere I look I see my death.

Yet here you stand.

Only because I’m afraid to face it.

Aren’t you facing it now?

No. I always run away just before it happens.

Maybe it’s just your ego.

What? I take a swig.

That has to die.

What?

Mark puts his empty bottle down on the bar. Ego death. Maybe that’s what you’re facing — the dissolution of your ego identity.

I don’t know what that means.

Maybe it’s the way out.

Out of what?

Whatever it is you’re asking me about.

Mark signals with two fingers to the bartender.

You Couldn’t Have Known

Every time I imagine telling the story I start with you. It’s as obvious a place to start as it isn’t. You came into my life almost 30 years after it happened and only stayed a little while. I don’t remember your acquisition the duration of your time in my home nor your departure. Your physical attributes were and are irrelevant. You held no significant or symbolic meaning for me. Your purpose in my life was utilitarian.

If the full gravity of this one interaction with you—the one that I think of as the prologue to my story—had occurred to me as it was happening you might have met the fate of so many of the other objects in my life; destroyed flung across the room pounded against the wall leaving only pieces of you on the floor and another patched hole in the drywall. But it would take a couple of years for my brain to make the connection between that day so long ago your brief role in my story and my break— down? Through? Either word fits.

This is how it begins every time I replay it in my head; the flashing red light the beep. Then “hello this is your brother Max. Call me back as soon as you get this. And you’d better be sitting down.”

You couldn’t have known how awkward that would have sounded especially to anyone who didn’t know Max. You couldn’t have read between the lines but even if so you couldn’t have intervened. You couldn’t have edited his words to be less stilted less dramatic or less revealing to me. You couldn’t have known this was a message I had long been expecting. The only question in my mind was not what but who.

You couldn’t have known that anyone else might have assumed it was about Doug. You couldn’t have deduced that with all his years of accidents arrests and hospitalizations he was the most likely to have added another episode to our family’s litany of dramas. More than that you couldn’t have known by intuition by subconscious inference by a gut that you lack that it wasn’t Doug but Frankie — the brother with whom I shared a secret — who had killed himself. You couldn’t have known any of it. You were just a machine. You did what you were created to do. You did it well.