Stepping out onto the wet street, feet grab at the wet leaves that lay tranquil, pronouncing upwards their morning breath -quietly spiraled plumes of steam. They smell all coffee, nyquil, garlic, mud, rubbish. Soaked clovers in the park. Everything wonderful. 1 slows here, (a loose fenceline once scratched bare his spine), stops, smells the sun arrive. He breaks into a soft run. He smiles. He is all smiles. A heavy hiss preceeds the slow pass of each monstrous station wagon, followed by the rumble and half roared squeal of metal gears wincing long the rippled backs of their neighbors. The piss of last nights drunks gurgles as it vanishes down, the vein memory of the nameless avenue.
All at once four million conversations dribble along the twitching ears of 1, who is focusing solely on the crescendos, the lilts, the cadence calls of the cityscape. He filters and considers, predicting each approach of cymbal and timpanic gong. The terrors of one million windowfront reflections cleverly averted by a narrowing of his yellow eyes. Careful reflection of the weeds flitting the sidewalk cracks, investigating the cracked red paint fire hydrants bled as birds rise. The rusting metal barriers separating street from society. Shoes approach and spin, sway, polish the sidewalks and caress the curbs. Sometimes stepping back to greet a slippery step a second time. Rounding a corner he is Argus, tacetly taking everything in, exhaling steam. One eye on each twig which scratches smooth windowsills, each infant squawk bound in red shoes / matching hat, dropping crackers over a squat stroller’s beveled edge.
He knows everything there is to know. Hes been everywhere. Hes the amazing sky, God.
1 is watching 4 approach, mesmerized. He is almost run down by 5 in a pungent splitsecond scream of paintrubberwater. In an blindwondered instant 1 realizes all senses subsumed in observing 4: a set of vinyl pants power-walking chords and crowds of high-heeled novelty sandals, ankle bracelets and stroller wheels. Such speed, such insistence, energy! 1 looks upon 4 as the apotheosis of all things wonderful, an insistent direction, compulsion, concentration, a vision. 4 is all-engaged, theres no hesitation, isn’t a glimmer of contradiction. Only certainty, conviction, clarity, consistency.
He appears almost to be a perfect plastic, like a large sphere spiraling perfectly along the sidewalk. 1 licks his lips unconsciously.
Across the street, 2 watches 1. One million glimmers of the nineteen-nineties flow o’er the helm:
songs, paper birds, yellow newspaper clips, quotes movies ripped from novels, fights and kisses from old girlfriends or big yellow aunts and their kids, life and death, the position of the sun. all, all the trash of a life on the run
1 seems a better observation target than the jalousie-shutters which had until now served as direct object. 2 peers about- utterly nondescript, amazingly manic, schizophrenic. Lacking any solidity. 2 is internalized, a black hole. 1 had narrowly escaped 2 by slipping across the road, watching the surrounded light and sound vanish into the hollowhole eyes of the latter; 1 knows better. 2 loves 1 instinctively. 2 would also never dream that 1 adores 4.
2 is drinking coffee, or rather, being intrigued by it. His flitting eyes take in each stripe of blue pink that prance playfully lower, across the black moat– watch rings of soggy sediment streak circles along the white porcelain cups, the hot tart taste that teems the human structure– the cups clattering behind him. He observes too many things, and still far too few. 2 is a whirlwind of empty thought and reflection. 2 is contradictions, smelling everything, touching the merchandise at every shop display, feeling all and ne’er ne’er buying.
He is obnoxious, the shopkeepers shake their heads. 2 is contradictions and lies, relativities and misunderstanding. Poor, standing. He almost never moves, only sipping in the spin of things.
2 is mephisto, nobody, nobody.
Is a fern. 3 sits, shoves, slips against the wind. 3 is in love with 2 because 2 twitches in the breeze like a fern.
4 is an amazing businessman, a professional, a man among men. He glides with a plan and principles, with deadlines and obligations, with a girlfriend and a secretary- recently become a lover. Yesterday he’d fired her from his company after a coworker asked difficult questions.
The most prominent feature of 4- a massive metallic yellow wristwatch.
It glitters all the treasures of the Underworld.
He is wearing a heavy woven wool sweatshirt and designer athletic pants. His pants feature a subtle, elegant design in vinyl and cord tracing. They match the sweatshirt, his shoes, the hair, voice and eyes.
4 has a broad chin and a broad chest. He enjoys to bellow alternating vocalizations of “Pa” and “Hiss” as he races away the crowds of regular people. He wears slender white cords- nestling his ear canals, connecting a small plastic box on his forearm.
These electric snakes whisper encouragement and affirmation, plans. Crafted by a leading medical methodology expert at the head of his field and game. A metal rectangle upon its upward surface presents 4’s last name etched in an elegant script.
4 is thinking about wine tasting, his father. His new fitness regime. Glances at the car-makes, or watches his legs.
Kicks through a fern,
“pa,” and “hiss.”
“pa,” and “hiss.”
He blinks his eyes, circulates his blood- pants & plants his feet, with each whispered compliment.
5 is a young mother in heels and furs.
Her instinctual fear of dogs! The near crash has set her on edge. She kisses 6, fixes her hair for the fourtieth time, adjusting the absurd laces of her three collars, wiping the scuffs off of her childs shoes. She has bought a box of macaroons for the child. 5 then fixes her makeup again in the mirror, pinches and slaps her cheeks to create a simulcra-pink: o love, o flush, o surprise!
(these film starlets.) She crimps and clutches at her curls, drowns her breasts in an obscure french perfume. She has piled enough varietals of foundation powder upon her face to justify an archaeological expedition- should some curious fulbright scholar someday wonder- about legendary bare cheekbones.
she is a vision: a simple one, but amazing. she carries an elaborate fan, a soundtrack orchestra is on-call, 24/7
She is the girlfriend of 4. She adores and fears him, with all of her limerent soul.
She fears she is losing him. She unconsciously resents 6, though she could never admit it to herself, for creating a liability- in her web of seductive potentiality. She is accustomed to being an enchantress, and she fears the onslaught of age and deminishment– above all other existential factors. She thinks about runes and waterfalls, ferns and gems, dusk and magic. She has no want of money, but it is of primary concern in her recreation of the starry-world’s constellations every night; as she rests her head on a pile of pillows, perfume and concern.
She promised to meet 4 at the apartment here, this afternoon at this time. 4 is nowhere to be found, and she fears -with no prior evidence- the possibility that he has found a new lover. Her hands shake, and instead of acknowldeging fear- she is angry. She resents 1. She cycles through her memory, looking for every injustice perpetuated by a dog. She looks about for evidence of 4- and prepares to leave, desolate. As she climbs into the car she catches the roving eye of 2, and is inexplicably annoyed by his inquisitive, smiling stare.
6 is a child of her mother, left in the car. She is a brilliantly beautiful, precocious child. She has no idea or concern about the fact that she is beautiful. She watches the dog from the window, she hadn’t breathed since he was almost hit, and gasps profound relief as he gets up and trots idly after a boorish-looking man of affairs. The child is on her way to a music lesson she doesn’t want to attend. She loves the thrill of a waltz that has fallen out of control under its own weight, and hates all concepts of control and order. She stares at the man slumped over a cafe table across from a car, who scribbles and watches the dog, some reflections, his coffee. She knows that all adults are mad, and hopes she will escape.
She listens to the radio, left on by her mother- wonders about archetypes. She hears these things every day, love, devotion, infinity, collapse. She only knows the artifacts of her mother’s whimsy- star charts, lamps, bangles, tapestries. In her mind she reconstructs all the exoticism of a thousand lifetimes, across the chevron patterns of the seat in front of her. She is marking her reincarnations against the folds which bend against her nose when she leans forward, reenacting a horseback rider traversing all of time. The radio swells and it is Johnny Cash, surrounded by an amazing yellow fire.
The child wonders about Jesus and Truth, and connects it with all the things the dog fears, gongs, meteorites, infinity. She thinks of the things children think of, waterfalls, magic, frogs, princes, mortality. She thinks of her mother who is returning to the car, blue like undersea through the glass pane seperating them. She thinks of her mothers hand, handing her the macaroons, heavy laden in rings of a million colors and textures. She thinks of her dead grandmother, who died, she watches the fern blowing outside.
She knows all things are forever. Illusions, are just that
The fountain in a pond billows against the deep blue sky. The horizon is a thick red resting on yellow. The tree branches arch their backs back to observe the beautiful scene, the laurels and hues spiraling through every season in a single moment. The heavy hiss spurts infinitely. The fountain is.
8 is an old man on a bench. He sits with his hands crossed against his knees and looks forward, from noon until four pm. He does this five days a week. He comes to this park and watches the fountain. He knows all things are forever. Illusions, are just that. He thinks of his wife, her glowing eyes gleaming in the yellow light of this very same fountain twenty years earlier. He comes her to watch his very successful, ambitious son jog past.
He never makes himself seen.
He has come to understand the fountain. He watches the dog, watching the world. He watches the beautiful women bustling themselves about, languishing, triumphing, remembering and forgetting, suffering and rejoicing. He watches them in rapture and regret, in all ways. He is the fountain and yet distinct, he hasn’t much time.
9 is a woman studying english on a temporary visa. She is looking for her dog.
She has -until recently- served as a secretary to 4. She lost her job when her lover rated his career above her well-being, threw her out of bed and life without warning. She is not certain whether she should be heartbroken, or should have expected this course of events.
Her heart has been broken far too often. In short, she’s found an amazing panopoly of terrible men in her short stay in the nation. Shes an idealist in spite of everything. Every day she wipes her bangs from her blue eyes and steps into the road without hesistation, into each new interview. Each new story and disaster, she breathes and steps.
She perserveres without regret or comprehension: understanding that entropy is limited, chance and fortune aren’t.
Logic isn’t real, reality fronts.
She looks over mountain tops and longs to see behind mists. She is infinitely curious and alive. She doesn’t stop.
She believes in neither rules nor in archetypes. She hopes, and wants to be warm. So she will be.
But first, her dog- her soul and song
She careens through the yellow light at the close of light, towards the fountain. The dog is drawn there time and again, she has little doubt that she will find him there.
10 is a drama student with a journal, making “blocking” notes. She watches from a tree to the left of the fountain as a semi-circle forms at twilight. She is trying to understand the architecture of humans and interaction, each new art form is just “a universal excuse to ponder at endemic social helplessness” she tells herself, melodramatically, quoting from an arcane book she reads. She then laughs.
She is a beautiful woman. She’s trying on her looks and brains for the first times… young but intelligent, quick to learn, ambitious, eager. She is recovering from an immature romance that died with a seasonal change. It has made her stronger. She is starting to question time, space and such concepts. She loves music, but loves people, primally, above anything constructed. She doesn’t trust 2, who she sees jumping after the shadows of birds– sliding across the ground- no, he is obviously mad.
she doesn’t trust 4, he is revolting. she can sense that he has nothing to pass on besides the inutility of his code, the insistence of his cardboard being. perhaps his watch
she admires the dog, who is gnawing on what looks like saliva-covered tendrils of a fern.
the dog looks free.
she watches the young girl as she tries to climb the tree above 10’s head. the girl looks alive, admirable. when she laughs with joy at a blinding sunbeam, 10 rates the girl as amazing. the girl falls, the woman observes her.
the girl laughs in the grass
through the glow 10 sees 5 sobbing, staring across the wet gurgle of the fountain at 4, the man who is holding somebody other than 9 in his arms, and now, leading her towards his car. 4 is throwing his head back as he laughs, and the dog hops joyfully behind him and his hissing pant legs. His wristwatch glints yellow in the setting sun.
The fountain hisses, the dog barks, the child laughs.
The old man checks his yellow pocketwatch, and gathers his coat.
10 watches 9 recognize 5, and, eyes heavy, turn her head away, towards 2 who is madly sketching patterns of bark from a tree, to the old man 8, who is standing and will walk home, a somnabule finishing a long ritual, spiraling.
Finally, she watches 6, the laughing child, climb down from the tree and smile after first the dog, then the fountain.
She strokes the child’s hair and smiles. The wind hums a tune. The dog barks. The fountain gurgles.
The yellow reddens.
The child smiles.