I. I think about walking and meeting people who don’t want to talk to me. Who. Who stop me and ask me questions about nothing. In a park or adjacent to a park. Someone sitting on a bench while kids fidget in school where teachers talk about nothing.
“Your skin is very dark and pale”, you say.
I move closer. You had a girlfriend you were seeing and she made you very happy. The breeze is light and the leaves crinkle under our behavior. How did she sleep? I touch your hair. Yesterday I slept on my side and thought about legumes I planted in a hidden plot near the train station. Two little legumes grew but I was anxious and plucked them before they were ripe. I spy them under my coat when no one is looking.
“I don’t like the sun”, you say.
There’s no texture in the grass here. It’s too smooth. Almost like paper that’s colored green. And the sky is the same. The sun looks like the face of a child that a child has drawn but I don’t stare because of photosynthesis. There are paintings of cannibals in the museum. Strange women with postures of gold and Persephone tincture ranging down on servings of humanity.
“I want to go somewhere with you and fall asleep”, you say.
We hold hands. You comment on the innovation of my fingers. Their slender precision. I tell you that my sleep is appealing—like the space between two branches of a tree. It breathes. The air flows through and around my sleep. Like a ballerina around a perfect éphémère. If you walk by my sleep you will feel it on your face. Something changes around me—the consistency and hue of the air that navigates my musculature.
“We can go to where my bed is and sleep”, I say.
You hear the sound of a blanket on the clothesline hanging in the yard behind the room (where I sleep). My clothes dry on it. The grass in the yard is unfinished. Dogs surface from the dust and run through the open space. I have two skirts and three probes. But that sound is the blanket and gives form to the wind.
“I just want to be quiet for a time”, you say. “There’s too much noise and without saying it.”
We are scarred and discarded by the chatter. Easier to mock but just as meaningful. There is space enough for all the wrongs in this world. Even ours. But ours is freakish and slit with rungs and the pounding of Galileo. They spit everywhere and hate us for collecting their bile. But my room is clean today. The walls have been pampered with loving and the floor by my bed cozied with and snuggled.
“You have many books”, you say.
“Yes I have many books in my room, most of which I haven’t read but of those I haven’t read my favorite is Notes from Underground given to me by an uncle who thought it time for me to broaden my horizons. I was, but no longer am, a country girl in dress and temperament. And he, in his way, had hopes of improving my lexis while I had hopes of gaining insight into the ways of the world. The book has been well kept despite its discoloration. And though it is a paperback, the spine is sturdy and bells a convincing tone when tapped against the edge of the table. I suspect the story takes place in a sewer with a single manhole that one cannot open but can see through to the outside world. I believe it to be a metaphor for the human soul.”
“Read to me”, you say.
I open the book.
”It’s enough”, you say. “It’s enough.”
We wonder about the violin player, about philosophers who search for truth in our lower vowels, and the dusty equivalent of rain. We lament that nothing ever happened to us that was big enough to connect the world. The whole nicaragua bullshit and fucked up oranges and tangerines like pornographic bible verse. You undress and the room is no longer naked. I see the flowers on the faded wallpaper, the mirror on the dresser that reflects the freckles on the small of your back, and the countless shades of evening that light paints upon your skin. You lie down next to me, press your breasts against my shoulder, wrap your leg around me, and cross into my sleep.
Outside the children argue about infinity. One of them says a thousand infinity is more than a hundred infinity. Another says he has peed five hundred infinity. The plaster on the ceiling peels above us. The bed is cold. We speak to no one. No one hears us. Our spit stretches to the universe. Slender, glistening threads formed in our bodies that lift our heads up so that we might see.
About the author
Born in Falmouth, Jamaica in 1962, Luther Blissett moved to the United States in 1980 to attend Fakenham University in Norfolk, Virginia on a football scholarship. A debilitating knee injury ended his football career in 1981, early his sophomore year. The injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he was then able to follow more academic pursuits; he first studied mathematics under the influential and controversial Dr. Nicolas Bourbaki. After a falling-out with Dr. Bourbaki over, as Blissett put it, "the existential enigma of mathematical infinity," Blissett turned to literature. He studied modernist literary theory and poetry under the academic provocateur Dr. Karen Eliot, famed for her liaisons with the radical Situationists in the 1960s. Blissett began writing earnestly his senior year and his first published piece appeared in the Italian avant-garde magazine, Q.
After graduating in 1986, Blissett moved to Bologna, Italy. There, he made his living writing short stories and poems with the majority of his work appearing in Q. After a disastrous love affair with a local singer, Blissett moved to London where he worked closely with British conceptual artist Harry Kipper. Eventually, Blissett, as he stated in a 1998 interview, "grew bored of [Kipper's] prankish childishness and lack of political concern." He moved to Serbia in 1997 where he worked with another artist, Russian anarchist D. Maver. Tragically, in 1998, Maver was imprisoned for "anti-social conduct," a blatant act of state censorship. His death in 1999, following the bombing of the Serbian prison by NATO airplanes, sent Blissett into a deep, crippling depression. He moved back to the United Kingdom, this time to Middleton, in Greater Manchester. There, he went into hiding, though numerous rumors surfaced linking him with a group of local neo-Luddites responsible for a series of mostly harmless and forgettable pranks on the newly emerging tech companies in Manchester and its environs. Blissett has not confirmed nor denied these accusations. "there" is his first published piece since 2002.
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