06.27.2008

C.

C.c. He is one whose command of words, he is another whose command of words and music, I never find unmoving. I sit alone, tossing horseshoes. Outside the horses gallop down the middle of the streets, or run wild over plains, their long dark manes, banners in the wind, sleek rumps rising, falling, magnificent animals drumming in my ears, before my eyes. And I toss horseshoes, looking for horses.

And he and he measure out their lives in cubic centimeters, measure their horses under the metric system. Both bespectacled, the short and long of it all, second-hand ties and jackets, t-shirts, shorts and gym shoes, these two, he and he, unknown to one another, live their lives mounted on horses, horses without reins, horses without stirrups, horses in snow, in grass, on mirrors, on coffee tables, on albums and greenbacks.

And you, c.c., my cubic centimeters, never tire of dreaming of your horses back in Kansas, the horses back on your foster parents’ farm. You were made to ride horses; it’s in your blood, your heritage, the riding of horses. And so I see you now, a born traveler, thumbing and jerking your way across this country, you, a lover of these unnatural horses, these semis and trailers, bouncing along in a hundred cabs. And you in those cabs are once again on horses, horses in the snow, which you always fall into, falling from horses. And I wonder as you ride and dream so high, I wonder if you ever think about me, me back here, unmoving, home, tossing horseshoes, looking out through a window unfilled by your horses or semis or dreams.

c.C. If he and he and you ride horses, then you three ride through snow. And if you ride horses through snow, then you fall into snow. And if you fall, you are cold. But in my apartment with my horseshoes, I am warmed by the riding. Though it takes you all far afield, a magnificent centimeter just on the other side of the pane of my cubicle.

But then I was near New York, and I was in Dearborn, and you were with me. For a while. Those times together without you: I woke up from a couple of dreams. In New York I saw a broken romantic, living from beer to line, wife to mistress, swagger to stumble. I saw a woman whose love wore the wry grin of opportunism, children next to whom their father seemed but a caricature of a child, an elaborate half-vacant fortress that could not defend the household. And now amid rumors of separation and the inevitable parade of girlfriends and boyfriends, lawyers and accountants, I see what was for me only half-human was in fact hardly human. The man of music and words remains alive. It is the man behind the man that hovers like a ghost of a ghost.

And near Dearborn, I set upon, sat upon, art deco, nursing a high and a drink, in league with monomania. And I know that obsession is, for him, the index of sincerity. He is one I consistently over- and underestimate, a man destined for a fate from which I dare not sway him. Perhaps in a few months, or a few years, I too will understand the absolute fidelity of single-mindedness. I too will come to despise those rare moments when the fever relents. And one day when I’m unable to move from my bed without a cold one, perhaps he and he and I will be able to finally sit down and really shoot it up.

C.C. Cadence. Music, it is said, is an art because there is the possibility of an encore. Thus it is theatrical. Music must be staged. And the kaleidoscope descending the staircase can always be followed by another geometry. And no sentence need be the last as long as there is forgiveness. But out here, outside the concert halls and museums and libraries, I too play out a sentence in the form of a stroke. I am incapable of starting when the phone rings. It will not have been you in any case.

Tyrone Williams (© 2008)