Heat waves mirage in front of me and allude to water. Mirages are purer than water nowadays, since corporations have justly done what they do best with things that have even a veneer of purity: raped it, consumed it, and turned a nice profit.
There are moments in a life abstractly selected as important, mirages if you will…. They're etched forever into your mind and form your identity. They show you who you are like some supernatural mirror. Every second in her presence was like that, only more so.
Still, you can’t outrun a curse; I felt alone, as good as alone, in the sewage-filling metropolis air, breathing what felt like death in and out, I remember things I want to forget; dream nightmares you can’t help but remember; imagine things I can't control. Imagination is the genus of curses for the truly afflicted. I got lost, step after step, even in a warm moment in winter or a cool breeze in July, with an angel’s palm keeping mine warm… I’d lost a kilometre, two, three, forgetting I’d been walking.
Every man considers himself a charming gentleman, even if all his actions, thoughts, memories, and beliefs are the complete opposite of what an angel would deem as gentlemanly.
I laid down next to her on the couch, wrapping my arms around her and trying my damndest to fall asleep; I didn't even want to ‘bang’ her like the movies brainwash you to, no, shockingly…and unbelievably, I didn't want to have sex with her. I would've wrote her a sonnet if I was a poet, a serenade if I was a composer, a deceptive contract if I was a lawyer.
I wanted to sleep together in the most sophomoric sense of the phrase: to watch her sleep, sync my heartbeat with hers and listen to her breathing. Even to myself, even while it was actually happening, it seemed like a fantasy too far, and the loneliness I felt, even when I was with her, was so hard. And finally…more realistically, things stopped happening the way they do in your head, or in my case, worked out exactly as I thought they would; the unabiding, ruthless truth darker than my heart: I was rugged and she was gorgeous, I was hopelessly ineloquent and she was endlessly captivating. I was irascible and she was tranquil, but above all else, she was gone, and I was still here, even if I didn't want to be. So I walked into the bar and collapsed on the stool, thinking that if people were music, I was a Chopin Nocturne and she was Vivaldi’s Spring.
As the scotch burned, but then simply warmed my throat, I was reminded of an argument that Dickens once had with Poe: that the art, is to write the ending first and work backwards, trying to demonstrate that Poe’s writing was mediocre and overdone.
“What are your requirements?” Dickens barked at Poe.
“40-50 lines per page—standardized publication, 150-200 pages,” Poe responded, a little drunk or high, or maybe even both.
“Motifs? Symbols? Themes?” Dickens whispered.
“Okay, so points have been established, we consider the chorus,” Dickens jotted things down in his little leather notebook, “A storm, whistling of trees, a bell, the sound of pattering raindrops on the concrete, snow, flowing water.”
Poe leaned closer, waiting until Dickens was finished writing…whatever the hell he was writing, “Repetition should be brief if not original. Consider my most famous work, using one word that repeats throughout the narrative: ‘Nevermore.’
The difficulties of any writer stem from the belief that words must be spoken by a human. Naturally then, I had the idea of an unreasonable creature…able to speak, and immediately, I thought of a parrot. This however, was soon replaced by a raven, as capable of speech, and as a bird of death, infinitely agreed with the tone intended.”
“Ha,” Dickens chuckled, moving the bottle closer to himself in the burning candlelight, “Despite the sadness in you, do you deserve a drink of this scotch?”
“Who knows?” and Poe took a big swig of the bottle, wiping his mouth with the drool of the liquid courage that flowed down his lower lip.
So did Dickens, “Apologies for the interruption, please continue,” his pen hovering over the paper, waiting for the words of wisdom he could reject.
“And so I wondered, ‘which of the melancholy tones according to the understanding of humanity, is the most tragic?’”
“Death,” Dickens answered after little thought, his pen slipping out from in between his fingers and rolling on the wooden desk.
“Mmmhm,” Poe nodded, “And when, is this most tragic among all the melancholy tones, most poetic?”
… Dickens leaned closer, pushing the bottle to the side of the table.
“When, again, according to the understanding of the way humans think,” Poe whispered, “Beauty is involved. And ergo, the death of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world. And undoubtedly, who more able to develop this poignant truth than the man who loved her?”
“And the repetition?” Dickens asked.
“Ah,” Poe smirked, moving closer to the candlelight then immediately leaning back, “Combine, if you will, these two ideas: a lover complaining of the loss of his beloved, and a raven, constantly repeating the word ‘nevermore’ in a poem, of only a hundred lines. ‘Nevermore’ is the end of each stanza of the poem, or chapter if you like, as the actualization of the melancholy tone most heeded.”
“Okay,” Dickens nodded, reaching for the bottle, “And how do you find the ending?”
“The story is tragic,” and Poe blew out the candle.