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MARK YOUNG After Heine Tagebuch, Totenbuch. Afraid of being accused of melodrama, he starts instead by describing the evening around him. Warm, coming into Spring—though elsewhere it could easily be an evening in early or late Summer—clear sky, lights of a plane heading south, the raucous noise of kookaburras arguing, the shreiking of a peacock wandering the environs of the Botanical Gardens. Cloudless, moonless. Solar lights bright from the day. Leaves brittle from two months without rain. The wind breaks them off, then rattles them across the path. The stars. He looks for ciphers, alternative interpretations, mis-explanations, finds none. Lights come on in the surrounding houses, some stay on, some are turned off. People continue to move, purposefully, randomly. The stars move in fixed orbit. It is a warm evening. He feels cold. Die Bücher His first act every morning, before pissing, before having breakfast, was to run his entire life through a gas chromatograph, to see if the previous day had, in any way, changed the makeup of his life. He was looking for subtleties his senses couldn't pick up or were hidden behind something else; a spike or trough in some immune function, a plethora or a dearth of chemical. Futile, he knew, because his senses were attuned to any nuance, had picked them up all the way through, had given the gestalt—symptom, time, day, physical &/or geographical location—a name, in much the same way as that creation of Borges, Funes el memorioso. Some people might call it hypochondria. He felt no need to debate them.

Die Apotheke Pharmaceuticals were tempting, but, unlike Oscar Wilde, he resisted temptation. Better to be aware of each nuance, though nuance resembled a feather rather than the whole bird he was confronted with. Retreat he would save for later. So, too, planning, pre-emptive strategies. Reaction rather than proaction. That was how he had lived his life—why change it now? Die Lorelei He feels like a non-person pretending to be. He felt. Therefore he couldn't be. A nonperson. Tense. Turned into stone. Pretence. Turned into stone. The memory of myth, the memory of a song. Die Luft ist kühl, & es dunkelt, & ruhig fließt der Rhein. Siren. The myth of memory.

Mark Young