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// one // The boy has many scrolls of things to express to her and most of which are horribly sensational and a great portion of that, if texualized, will bring his reputation as a cynic and an arbiter of logic to infinite ruin. But then, he thought, what great structure in our modern Republic has come to greatness without first crumbling back to the crust of the Earth and what creature or machina through the folds of history has arched against the violet haze of dawn in rebirth without first being or resembling the likes of cowardice? And its this exact sensation of dread that one overcomes by swallowing in volume and without prejudice, at least for certainly, a finite measurement of time, days perhaps, before collapsing beneath its inexorable pull like the physics of a collapsing star, and this post facto achievement of realization might in itself be the story of it all. The boy and his lover were remarkable if she could only recall such coupling in that decade of their youth, when he first acquired her name from a distance not particularly great but mentally barring, and now burnt to nucleuses into his memory like plates of protruding landmass on a great atlas. That night the boy was speaking whimsically, perhaps ignorantly, about the theatrical quality of Gatsby or something other and he saw across the livingchamber the girl’s expression of anxiety over the absence of somebody he hardly knew. The boy hardly sensed a flicker of care for that matter except he was preoccupied with the grooves of her body and moving on her in this instant of weakness he at once bold and unashamed. Thus it happened that in their first encounter they shared their first mission to solve the puzzling disappearance of the girl’s dear friend who witnesses claimed had departed for the labyrinth of Culver City’s suburban housing works, a vast and diverse forest of cement stacks emergent in a crushed grid of black asphalt. The boy remember well the night’s discovery of his lodestar for her presence announced to the boy the interdiscipline of his own cognition, both broken with absolute surrender to an alien nebula that commanded his speech and gleaming with a frantic and jungle-wild urgency. Outside the air was brisk and thin and it came delivering fresh sulfur from the sea and onward it continued to walk the land gathering particles and perhaps returning to the magnetic north where it was first born. Faint blurs of traffic could be heard if one knew the sound of speeding rubber and a trio of black crows perched idly above the streetwires and they eyed down the crown of the globe with not much but a glancing interest while the boy and the girl strolled at a measured pace underneath and when he tugged at the car doors the creatures jerked to alertness and flapped away toward the great Pacific Ocean. The boy’s calf stiffened in a controlled manner as the engine fluttered twice and the car curved and rolled across the thin intersection gaining speed and looking broken, mostly pathetic, to the gaze of a boy walking his animal and the boy tried his best to make smooth the acceleration so the girl might be as comfortable as possible sitting in the passenger side looking his way. But the girl’s eyes and its watery pebbles of dark amber and silver were not for him in particular and soon those very eyes swam like laps in a cooling pool this way then that and her neck glided forward then out like the moon in its orbit inquiring the bends and the thinning darkness and the darkness beyond that. The boy witnessed from the girl a caring reminiscent of antique heroines from fables whose efforts to humanity were unmatched and unrecognized by the small gods at play. The girl wondered where the friend could be walking at this hour of all hours and whether the boy was leading in the right course but he was staring at her sitting by him and the boy had other intentions of which he felt selfish about in the days that followed. Some hour passed but the boy did not notice time’s traveling since he has already flown into a vacuum of madness and the only dimensional space he was brought to awareness was the space between his being and that of his lover. The car had reached the end of a road and beyond that existed an outer space whose wild fixtures of earthen debris and foliage was a strange beauty to them both. The car stopped and they looked out shaded glass to see a concrete riverbed trimmed right through the uptown lands of the city where the fortified bank once coursed water for an alluvial river and fresh water streamed freely across the ancient flood plain of greater Los Angeles before the land was named such a thing. Presently only thin lines of water flowed down the middle of the riverbed and the riverbed itself diverged wild vegetation from their natural growth and many of these species have settled along the deep cracks of an unused railroad track that stamped along the riverbed for a while before vanishing under a bundle of dark shrubbery to the north. The boy’s left hand gripped the dry leather of the wheel and his other hand fumbled against the music basket and he pushed a disk to the split in the machine to set a mood of his choosing while he waited tentatively


and when the sound finally came it was not the amplified voicing of an artist but a single hoarse soprano from the rolling hills beyond the blackened tracks. When the music began the boy tuned down the sound that became a distraction to the terror of the outer dark. The boy sat motionless and he looked at the girl who looked less terrified than curious and little by little bit his courage crawled back and he felt bound to ensure the safety of the girl he so admired. The engine purred softly to the night but no reply was given or heard "Turn off the car," the girl whispered without turning her head to the boy. He hesitated for a moment and glanced at her realizing she was thrilled to discover the dangers of a wild thing in the lands of a suburban city. "What do you think it's out there?" she continued on. "Whatever it is, it does not sound nice," the boy said. Then he shut the engine and pulled the key but not before the inside of the car lid up yellow and he realized the girl had already hopped out. She Going up a track of a road throu the quary woods where all about lay enormous blocks and tablest of stone weathered gray and grown with deep green moss, toppled monolith among the trees and vines like traces of an older race of man. …. The girl paused to observe his doings and then looked beyond to the outer blackness as if to discover her trail from the pebbles below. “She couldn’t have gone this far,” the girl finally concluded. The boy leaned out and looked around one more time before nodding his agreement. “I guess not.” “Let’s go back again and try the other side,” the girl said. And that was what the boy would have suggested. They returned to the car and curved alongside the riverbed and waited for the green light so the boy leaned a bit to relax and he didn’t realize his physique was so tensely woven. “There is an aesthetic quality to this,” the boy blurred out. There was a pause. Then the girl turned quietly and said raised her expression. “The river,” the boy pointed a finger vaguely in front of them. “And the concrete, and look, the tracks over there and the greens that cover it. It’s all very attractive.” The boy thought the river’s artificial bedding gave it a fantastically beautiful look like the metal plating of a cyborg-human wired with synthetic energy fluids that streamed down from a powerful source, and when enhanced, the thing in its whole would burst with zeal, but he just said nothing. The girl swayed back to let her eyes gaze at the form of it all and her head leaned against the seat in defeat, “It’s getting too dark, I can’t see anything.” “Maybe we can come back some other time and explore around,” and that to the boy was more than a speck of bravery on his part. To award the boy or to dismiss him, the girl smiled at that. Later that night the boy led the girl around another block and that was after the air had softened around them and the roads have stretched far enough and another song drifted away to its end and he was only slightly wary of the time that passed and did not pass at all. The world around was lustrous with orange tan that was from above where two columns of lamp towers flanked their movement and the asphalt beneath and hunched over them like the forgotten arbiters of a lost goddess at once passing judgment on the acts of her creation and empathetic still to the cause or motivation of it all. And out of this world the pair of mortals with no apprehension of godly beings fled east and there they escaped not only the gaze of transcendent beings but the treachery of judgment. And it was there in their travels that the boy spoke to the girl of his childhood and the affairs that were his alone to remember. The boy talked truthfully if with doubt that the girl did not truthfully accept that which was told and the two talked until they rolled past a small field where no glows were yet their insides were illuminated. And the girl then motioned the boy to look and the boy tipped his eyes heavenward and he looked and looked and their gazes must have crossed paths and where they crossed they witnessed the leaves of ancient oaks glide cross the brisk air in a waltz of sort and between the dark foliage nested an even more ancient sky dotted with star systems from galaxies so strange and monstrous like our own and the stars themselves rippled with deep precision that addressed no being in particular like tiny white splashes of ink on a deep blue canvas and each single burst of silver must


have warped fast across alien planets much like earth where their natives saw and pondered about things so far away and things within. The boy tried to sit tall without the hood of the car blocking the view and if he knew other ways to appear grand and unafraid of the skies he thought he tried to act those out as well but a moment later his calf itched and the itch was grazing up and he thought there might be an ant there searching a path out of its own tiny universe failing to comprehend so many things including the ground it treads. In a moment of weakness the boy forfeited his composure to scratch the skin and most likely have murdered the little creature and he at once felt less eloquent in front of the girl as he might have dispensed the aura of romance snaking around but perhaps the girl forgave him or perhaps there was nothing to forgive. The boy sensed she was cautious about him, and years later the boy would come to terms with that when he became more patient. But at that particular instant he willingly misunderstood her for no good reason, and no doubt, all of that was to the boy’s detriment. He supposes there has always brood within him a kind of barbaric logic when the girl was the issue, and that is, the boy could not love himself if she did not love him to start. That night and the days and nights that followed, the boy held back not a single quart of predatory intent because the placement of his soul depended on how and to what degree the girl was to love him. Even though he might chuckle out loud at that for its absurdity, he did not. But truth be written the boy was not as vicious by nature as any dozen young lads his status and he could take some victory in knowing that the girl understood and began to appreciate this very fact later in her own life. That night when they parted from the field the boy drove with more grace than the afternoon he qualified for his driver’s license on his sixteenth year as a boy but that the girl could not have known. She must have known that every acceleration and break that followed was timed masterfully for her alone and when they were fruitless in their search and the girl admitted such to him, they finally returned and he parked the car across from the house they came and when the boy saw her smile at him in thanks she had dimples on her cheeks and beneath those fleck of silt her cheeks themselves were flushed like earth’s moon and the boy then saw her eyes and once again on that night, her eyes rekindled his vitality. A small candleflame and its dark peach tone against the side wall flashed about anxiously when the girl pushed on the wooden door and again when the boy pushed the knob to shut. A warm air that was familiar enveloped the two and the girl commented on it in a way that had the boy step to her and take her cotton coat but then the girl stopped and he stopped as well and for the moment he was ready to apologize for all matters of things he was not responsible for, then he too saw the girl’s friend sitting cross-legged on the couch sipping a red drink from a large glass. She appeared to be in leisure and when the girl approached with the boy right behind the friend looked up with her bright owl eyes and read the girl’s gaze that told several words and understood everything as if she knew all along what had transpired. “Oh I'm really sorry about that,” she said and she looked at the girls and the boy both. “I was told you went to search for me.” The boy smiled his best smile at the friend hoping the girl would catch it too and said, “its alright as long as you're alright,” and he knew there it was not the brightest of all thing to speak of and he turned to hang the girl’s coat against a gray wood peg above the coffee stand decorated with holiday lights and weird plastic animals and he did not want to release his grip as if the girl would not permit him to touch any object of hers again. The girls forgave his stubbornness and smiled too at him as if saying all is well so you can let go now and at that moment someone at the kitchen slid on a mitten that was brown at the tip from overuse and pulled out a batch of spacecakes from the oven and a sugary aroma rippled across the living room like a shockwave of electromagnetic pulse and your smile grew all the sweeter for it. Someone announced there was not enough so everyone had to share but the boy vaguely heard that. Drugs in his body was not an unfamiliar concept nevertheless the boy did not want to be intoxicated before the girl but neither did he want her to be sober enough to judge him harshly so he debated whether to offer that they share a cake because sharing is a signifier of intimacy or encourage her to eat a whole one and finally the boy asked, “hey do you want to split one?” The girl seemed to panic and even that was perceived to be graceful so the boy was not bothered. She held a tone of caution when she said, “I’ve never smoked before, let alone eat marijuana.” Then the girl paused and said with encouragement, “But you should definitely.”


He looked back at the oven as the tray of cakes were carefully scooped out and told her it was alright and that he didn’t really feel compelled to eat it either and he realized that he really had no desire to consume the snack if it meant venturing forth without her company. The boy was, by all accounts, an adventurous marijuana smoker and he had craved for its taste earlier that night. He had thoroughly intrigued himself for feeling no desire for the cakes just then and wondered how his mind could fluctuate so steeply from one moment to the next as if there existed no qualities of predictability or coherence or orders of natural law as if he has, at the peak of his youth, become erratic, if only inwardly so. That night various boys conversed with the girl with varying degrees of success and many of them for the first time, and in their observable lust for her the boy saw his own ambitions, which might have been an attribute to aggression or love if he ever fancied to comprehend such things even as he flung the word around wildly. The boy tried his best to linger close to within touching distance from the girl to protect her when he knew she needed no protection and when the girl smiled her smile at the boys staggering witlessly by it was unclear, or rather, all was too clear who was a victim in this social phenomenon and so the boy simply was there to watch even if he felt not there at all. The girl was approached and she lingered and turned and lingered after that like she followed a nameless tune in a living room waltz and always she was beautiful and said this or that politely with a chuckle of musical quality each time giving breath to fresh notes inconceivable before that moment of utterance and if only she could see the evoked interests from the shameless beasts that gnawed her way uninteresting themselves and boggle-eyed like a toy line of clown-in-a-box one plastic face cloned mercilessly like all the others grinning but contrived and unsightly and beaten and to think maybe the boy was himself just another clown in his own box of horridness springing infinitely into plague and self-pity. The boy shuffled down the hall feeling sick and shook his features over the handwash mirror and when he looked up he saw growths of bags beneath his eyelids and he saw hollow cheekbones rise far and wide and his nostrils swelled once like two deep pools and his lips parted and he didn’t know what to say to that dark reflection so he bent but his eyes did not leave the mirror and the boy slowly drank water from the faucet and when he swallowed his throat coiled back and then forth. …to the kitchen where more cakes were brought forth from beneath the lower levels of the baking oven and the boy picked up a cake still steaming and it burnt his fingers just before he threw its body through his face and he chewed hard despite the burning and then the boy ate two more cakes. The boy wiped his mouth of crumbs and grease with the back of his hand and stood a moment to hear the conversations around him but none of them intrigued the boy. Somebody said something loud next to him that was like the piercing tuning of a radio when all the stations have been knocked dead. The boy believed his changes with her also died some point during the last hour, but perhaps the odds were simply low when he recalled their time together earlier that night and that alone drove him mad with fervor… The boy sat back again over the couch and he smiled a quiet smile and others noticed but the boy cared not a fraction more than he should. … The hour was late into the next day's morning and wild winds came and they journeyed from the ocean crescent to gather in phalanx and in waves and they reeled mightily against our encampment of bricks and wood and the people of all this land would whisper about its intentions or the duration of its stay days on end. A family of untiring sparrows trilled from oak trees westward as if denouncing the features of that morning and their solos engulfed the livingquarter where the girl sat quietly rubbing away that waking haze. Her friend, presumed lost only hours before, was sunk in the couch and rolled half a pace to the indent of space the girl had left a moment ago and she murmured like a lover pleading for the heat of a body. The girl ignored her friend and shuffled to the kitchen and drank deep from a cup. …slid through a hung jacket and said goodbye. The boy took and held her arm just lightly so just before she passed at the door and he let loose an instant after that. “See you later.” The girl stopped. “Bye,” she turned and she released a smile. “Thank you.”


A moment passed and the boy was locked in that moment when the universe did not moved and they stood close to each other and the boy wanted to dabbled about their time together but he held his tongue and nothing was said. The moment passed and the girl turned to go and the boy finally opened his mouth a bit, “Do you want to get some breakfast?” The girl kept her grin and shook her head, “I’m tired. I’m going home to sleep for a long time.” The boy shrugged like that was the right thing to do but he cared a great deal more than was let out and he turned his gaze away to a tall table where an empty jar of spice rum lay on its side and beneath that some ping pong balls rested in a green ashtray. The boy heard the ruffling sound of clothes and the harsh creek of the door being pulled back. Light beams glazed inward angling across a night of ash and debris and seared across an old portrait of Hal from 2001 A Space Odyssey. Outside a raspy engine started its hum and slowed to a smooth tune. The girl floated away onto the street and arrived at her friend’s vehicle where she was already inside picking at her eyelashes over the wheel against a small mirror and the girl didn't look back but the boy was looking at her back and he was standing there still with feet unmoved looking when she disappeared in a roar around the road bend like a spirit fading from a world of dreams. //two // Days passed without incident but I was a mess inside my head and I discovered that I could not focus on school work so instead I took the time to idolize you in great strides and the more I succeeded in doing so the more I failed in other more ordinary things. Then the warm morning I was on campus you called to me from afar and I turned and waited while you approached and I thought quickly about my dress attire and dismissed any regrets about this morning's opportunity to style more decently and now thinking back I don't even remember which shirt I wore. Next to that abrasive library in rust and molding alongside the ridges of its glass shadows I must have appeared fresh as a young colt and a line of similar cheers fed encouragement in a sustaining way before you came to stand in front of me. “How are you?” you spoke. I smiled like a fool, “I'm good” and that was not quite the truth of it and then I said “I was thinking about calling you, to see if you're busy this week that is.” I think I fumbled that one but I hoped you thought that cute and not think less of me. When I looked up again you seemed not to notice and if you did you did not ponder much on it. “No, not really,” you said and shook your head to affirm the statement. “I just finished a paper and if anything, I deserve a break.” Given this opportunity I folded inward and didn't know what to say. If you had slapped me on each cheek I would have felt better about myself instead I emerged flushed red in the moment of awkward muteness when I could have expressed myself in flirtation. You smiled widely and before I knew we were walking slow against a gang of freshman on skateboards and as one sucked viciously at a orange straw he eyed you in lust so I moved closer to you. “Pick me up tonight,” and you gave me details to your home. Many hours later you turned to me and said “well lets get going.” “What are you in the mood for?” I explored. I pressed on the key and we both sat in the car and this was the second time you left me with a sense of surreal excitement before the night even begun. You suggested Swingers and I knew what that was so I decided on the hummus platter before we even left and I said, “ok, I haven’t been there in a while.” We stood in traffic waiting to ride up the road ahead where a thick stream of slugging metal curved across the land like a vast serpent in slumber and as its torso stretched into the rolling hills pealing aside the vegetation, red and orange streaks of merging traffic coursed into the mother body feeding it into shape. I turned to look your way and your skin reflected the bright glows from beyond the windshield and I thought to cup your chin with the fingers of my palm and kiss your face and I thought better and thanked the belt across my body that held me in my place. We halted just past the diner to park and I pushed open the car door to a cloudless sunset above. Later we sat by the window and both ordered the hummus platter. We ate good food the waiter brought from the kitchen,


After the sun had diminished beneath the silver sealine we walked side by side westward down the narrow path as the chilling air raced by and ruffled our shirts and cut into our hair and our hands. There were other figures about us walking to no destination and walking like their bodies were drawn together by powerful forces or sitting close to one another sharing secrets across a short space between their noses and taking delight in that very thing. Beneath them squirrels paced fearlessly from one tree to another on a line of freshly cut lawn and one of them who was overweight paused and tipped his head sideways when we passed and squatted there looking for a moment before scaling the shadow side of an old and ailing palm. We reached a soiled wood plank where a concrete platform ceased its existence and the fine pebbles of God’s making stretched before us to the shores of the sea and beyond that to below the tides lured by the full moon's pull. You leaped down with bare feet and I followed you even as my head was spinning with the blood of the wild and I felt my jeans tighten and against that a stronger breeze swept up suddenly from the north and sank just below the circus pier and up again into the open sky. Then you took strides in such balance like a crane in the hunt toward the blackness of the world and the flush of city colors paled and was then sucked further behind our backs until it all became a distant hymn. In your gray coat you gleamed at the sea and the great gaze of the sea stared blankly back and far in the distance a shadowy dot or a lazy cargo boat leaned dimly from the dark surface. We sank upward onto a low ridge dune and when you approached the tip of the dune with me half a step following, a spectacular net of star systems fanned across the open sky and such sight was a match for the stars of our first encounter. My mind crumbled to pieces in that dazzling atmosphere and all that I have known fell away to reveal the body of you and the intoxicating scent of your skin and your hair lightly striking on my shoulder. I heard somewhere on that crashing shore a female tune where no singer was and I walked out down the slope of the earth which alone was right side up and no soreness to it and which cradled our bodies and ascended them up into the universe above so that we were among the great constellations of Orion and Gemini and we were powerful to do as we pleased like demigods of eons past pondering worlds for the making. We sat and drank water from a chilled bottle and I smiled a private smile not for you but for myself at the absurdity of this film scene where I felt pressured to make something of the night. I looked at you and I liked looking but I failed to be courageous so I failed to kiss you that day but I know now that you wouldn't have minded if you experienced two lovers' bond to one another on that night at the mass of sands when the swirling stars carried us away. You would not have minded at all. Days to come we sat side by side ear to ear without conversing the story of us but exploring the curious scenes all around us and those topics left me with content. One day we sat as we were against the face of an unknown windgap just hovering the northern cliffside of our school and your lashes lifted in their elegance when you glazed my way to bury the broadside of your temple on my left breast and the expanding of my breathing pushed and pulled on you in a gentle manner. I looked over the quiet marshes where dark yellow wheatstraws arched slightly under their seeded tops and their stems glistened silver and white under the morning sky. A still flowing stream came by from an unknown source along the crest of the country first lingering long to gather and soak in the depth of the earth then went further westward toward the rim of the sea. Beneath the campus bluff a great portion of Los Angeles was visible to the bare eye that saw but on that brisk morning a mass of clouds ran through the Earth's troposphere many leagues beyond its reaching shadows and lingering lifeless just below that, weak currents blew without purpose then slowed then vaporized to nothing at all. “How many people down there are alone?” You said. I clinched at the back of my head and lowered the gray hood to a ruffling pile just below the hairline. “A number of people I'd imagine,” I studied the roads below. “And things change too I'd imagine.” “How so?” You snuggled deeper. “Well, I’d imagine some are alone now but when they discover companionship, others that once had someone become alone.” “Maybe there is not enough lovers out there for everyone.” “Maybe,” I whispered. The weight of heat stirred early in the season like the awakening of an ancient wyrm from beneath the blackness of a tattered earth and seared ablaze the campus roadways where no trees were and


beside that, a child of nonchalant parents stepped through the dust where strips of lawn used to lay, her fleshy fingers gripping a blond haired doll by the ankle and she swung forth and back her limb and the doll bent up then down like some grotesque extension of the motioning child. A moment later her mother called from afar with concern in her voice as she struggled over to the child while dragging a large bag behind the hip. The mother approached the child breathing heavily and lines of wetness pulsing vivid around her neck against the afternoon rays and the child paid her no heed but struck down the doll with force and the mother yelped in a brief note of pain. “Stop that!� the mother commanded of the girl and roughly clawed at her shoulder and the child flared in torment and whaled an obscure sound then began to cry in dramatic gestures. From a distance a blue truck jolted to a halt and a grimacing older man stumbled down the driver chair landing heavily and with a moment’s hesitation as to his exact whereabouts or the day that was and he slid a glance at golden clock hour that paced and ticked on forth against the flat of his wrist and he nodded. He scooped his chin slightly forward and saw the world with a pair of dark unreflective orbs that settled for the unsettling then he recognized the face of his child and the bearer of his child and still he expressed not a fleeting moment of warmth. The mother dragged the child by her pale limb and they both shuffled forward and onto the vehicle and as the father drove by where we lay resting he was wordless and seemed unfeeling to the family he had come to make. When I came west



a story about a boy and a girl