23 Scenes From The Surface*


Two men meet on the street; they shake hands with their right hands, exchange a package with their left.  After a few words they depart.



The first time I saw it was the first time I spent the night.  It was surprisingly uniform in shape, like a small pink worm that ran from the center of her sternum, to just below her clavicle before cutting a stark right-angled turn towards the indentation of soft flesh just down and to the left of her right shoulder.


I find great pleasure in placing my contact lenses in their fancy bubbly cleaning apparatus.  My eyes ache for both the cool of the lenses in the morning and the gentle sliding off of them in the evening.  My soul is soothed at the visage and the thought of those tiny bubbles silently scrubbing their surfaces for six straight and silent hours, in the dark, next to the sink, while I sleep.


Whether or not to insert a hyphen, whether or not to call it a dash, whether or not to capitalize, whether or not it is the time or the place for propriety.  These are the inane and mundane preoccupations of a writer with highfalutin aspirations (see: too big for his britches).  He had seen Dostoevsky use the term highfalutin, so had decided it was acceptable; he had realized at the time of remembering that he had seen Dostoevsky use the term highfalutin that it had been a translation; he had only realized that the two-worded spelling was the alternative to the one-worded variety when he finally looked it up on the internet.


“There were two of them, of course – you can’t have a duel with only one fellow… well I suppose you could have a duel of sorts with three or more, but not in the, you know, in the formal, traditionally cultural practice of dew-ullz.  Anyway they were wearing tights and blouses and everything.  Their hair was long, greasy and stringy and their goatees were far too perfectly trimmed.  They were best friends or something and one had been engaged to this beautiful woman who the other had fallen in love with and when the first one found out he started the fight and, well, yeah anyway, the guy – the one who’d been engaged before his lady fell in love with his best friend – the guy ran the other guy through with his rapier or cutlass or whatever.  It was actually really sad, when the fellow realized what he’d done. Horrifying, actually.”

* From the archives, slightly revised, and toward the end of some sort of experiment in hermeneutics / participation in the (muffled?) conversation or polemic surrounding just what it is we do, or should do, when “reading” texts.


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