Entranced in the changeable cage of our own rhythms we become other-than, unbeknownst, what had once been a total block is split apart as such into splintered formations, all home to more or less varying degrees of smoke, circulating throughout the tunnels or blown out the spout-end of a complex network of glass tubes, hovering suspended above ground covered with linoleum diamonds, no moisturisation could halt the spread of red-blotches, nothing other than a new coat of skin would be the solution, but now there is no way to become immune, no way home, walking the tedious heated pavement all along the length of the wide road, allowing for the safe passage of unseeable carbon into the flawed respiratory system, that pink and soft capacity to intake oxygen, organs soft and pink as the inside of a dog’s ear, the onlooker took flight crunching against the pavement unripe plums with inedible hard stone pips, the remnants, brick-head, chest-stain, glass bottles without liquid, to think these words at once, ‘less than empty’, how could there be less of something that was nothing to begin with, the nothing that was something only briefly comes into contact with any of the senses, the arena for their interaction is the world-flesh, without audience, the erratic conduct of undomesticated animals, darting in and out of the adjoining offshoots, they screech such that no voice can respond but all understand its import, the fangs that hunger for something other than refuse, as the theatrical drapery closes on yet another performance, everybody shuffles at their own speed out of the exit, across fallow land, now the tickets are null and void, no longer permitting admittance, mud stains on the floral carpet, dead trees along the avenue, buildings only half-built, lost lanes where the tarmac splits, bifurcating, hairline fractures, in a postcode that was and wasn’t, drawn further and further into the midst of the non-present, nothing other than fragments.
* * *
The roll-of-a-dice gesture, singular in itself, echoes past iterations of which it forms a sequence, complications of hand movement, turning the neck, chin fallen touches the collar, another, alike but dissimilar, choreographed activity, limited and yet free to move within possibility, then again, the body falls back into the familiar routine grip, the reprise of the sigh, shoulders curling inward, shoulders forward slouched, going backwards, you had already seen yourself perform a near-identical act in front of a disinterested audience, eyes that watch themselves in the looking glass, that clouded lens of judgement took note of imperceptible differences in conduct, following the gestural life-cycle from beginning to endpoint, only the endpoint is but another link in a chain or web of reflected gesticulations, sliding abruptly back and forth between motion and inertia, seen from over here, where little sense can be made, the gesture can only gesture toward a meaning difficult to decipher, little use there is in that, no function to speak of, except to indicate that there is something to express that cannot be moulded out of speech, that cannot leave the lips except as the intimation of vomit, the faint understanding, trapped like gas in the gut, of an urge to regurgitate and mimic, for the signs that the audience, you yourself, understand are already ready-made, in certain conditions, when the frayed twine threatens to snap, a question arises, as to whether it is possible to coordinate the limbs, stance and face such that it forms a shape never before seen, a signal in another language that would be immediately understood, before quickly reverting back to a varnished inscrutability, the face as blank and uncomplicated as a wall of bricks, this cumbersome means of signalling never proceeds without error, it stalls and drags its heels along the street, it jars or else moves too quickly for intention to be glimpsed, and what can be said of intent when the nerves release an electric charge that predates any conscious thought, adopting a posture without any indication of what form it would take, except that it would repeat a movement already retained by the muscles, going from this to that and back again in a procedural loop, tied in knots, you roll the dice that does not come to stop, speaking in tongues the alphabet of a foreign language, the cyclical hand tenses and goes lax, waving greetings and goodbye, always repeating but never alike.
* * *
Polaroids of decaying melons, curved mirror, a blip on the blue radar, repeat, no way out, no way in, long gone the short stretch barren life, his face a dry rock erosion, desert expanse, a neutral mirror image reflected back into yesterday, muted suburbs where the blinds spasm, there is always something already underway, dream speech behind these balaclava eyes, empty sockets of the polished cranium, soft pungent rind, the finger leaves behind an impression, if enough pressure is applied, it bursts, the fermenting peach-fuzz splattered pulp, juice spurt, all it takes is a slight concussion, lift the lid on that and you’ll find his belongings, a gleaming pair of nail-scissors, a cat’s whisker, chewing gum and USB wires, a tangled knot of separate things that cannot be undone, our connection is inconstant, you could spend your entire life a barren experience in the computer light waiting for the dots to connect, young again alone waiting on the platform for the underground train that will not arrive, problem with the line, track malfunction, faulty electrics, out of service, repeat, image of himself lost face first decade of the century digital camera cold pixels closely packed, a red disk replaces the eyes centre, bright flash, repeat, freeze, now copy and multiply, nothing new, reflected files, flattened image of them sat motionless the Italian restaurant his hand bringing up to the mouth a large cup of coffee, obscuring the face in the photograph, that’s all it is, an incomplete repossession of yourself, hidden whispers, by who and by what, no answers, except a ringing in the ear, there is no one there, only her possessions scattered on the floor, artefacts of childhood years, nail-scissors and USB wires, the old game of dress-up new identities provisional visage, cursed ticking at the end of my wrist pulse, no watch, no time, no way out, no way in, grey road, a dry erosion his pores, the face, wide-screen, flakes of old digital camera in the suburbs the world where the blinds twitch, walking a three-legged dog around the car park of the supermarket, images of fresh varnished fruit slogans, my footsteps, brightly lit empty aisles, repeat, freeze, copy and multiply, all we know now is the space left behind by deleted files.
Sam Glover is a London-based writer whose work has appeared before in Ligeia Magazine and ergot. He can also be found on Instagram @abrupt.encounter