Archive for August, 2008

Secrets onto Paper Airplanes

It wakes me up again, a question that will not answer itself. You open my hand on the street in front of a bar that is covered in graffiti. You mark a black X on my palm and tell me that tomorrow it will mean something; that this is inevitable, and that it is also necessary for me to be confused.

The world presses on me; the people, the things they say, all so repetitive, all so alone. The cars (where are they all going?), the ads, the signs all screaming at me to pay attention. To what?

In a better world there are longer, greater distances, there is wide wilderness and anarchy. The city becomes a tiny speck, fragile as an outpost in the north, and the next city is a five day flight. But instead, this is the world we’re given (or that we’ve made)—crammed with people and even more crammed with symbols.

I want to kiss you in a riot, slip a piece of rubble into your pocket, from a wall they are tearing apart. When we meet again, it will be in a desperately crowded dance club. It always is. I will think you are dancing, I always do, but no, you will be fixed in the middle, barely swaying, almost standing still. I will go up with you to the roof, we will locate Sirius, Arcturus, Vega, Capella, Rigel, Procyon, Betelgeuse, Altair, Aldebaran, Spica, and Antares, all the stars the city, with its own blazing lights, will let us see. By then I will have planned an escape, complicated and unlikely. All that will remain for us to do is run, run and in our mindless, thrilling haste give it every chance to fail. We will post our secrets onto paper airplanes and watch them coast down to the street, wishes that must never come true.

Without Ever Planning to Meet

I want to meet you without ever planning to meet, just happen to be beside you on the subway the moment you choose to grab a stranger’s hand and change your destiny.

There’s a toymakers’ convention in town. It’s off the green line, a wrong stop for us both, a place neither of us has gone before, and therefore immune to our preconceptions.

We need to change our clothes, so we buy some second-hand stuff, but without tribute or irony: anti-definitions. Moving through the alleys, we find a cat that wants us to chase it. It leads us straight there.

It would be easy to crash this event—we could simply walk in. No one ever checks. But it isn’t sneaky enough, it lacks the spirit of crashing. We enter through a service door. At the end of a tile corridor, we’re in a city of lego. Around the floor are the best tricks of digital technology, of magnetism and mechanics.

We take photos. It’s impossible to capture, exactly, such places, such inventions, because the camera only picks up what struts the imagination. Even children know this. But we do what we can. In the hotel’s print shop, we make them into postcards to slip them under the doors of the guests. A postcard is a false memory, an imposter. So we label them that way, falsely.

Late afternoon, we return to the loop. We find a protest, teach an anarchist to sing. No revolution will succeed without its song. We break into the SPCA with toys for the animals. It is negligently managed—no one is even there. We find two gentle dogs they are about to put down. We set them free.

At sunset, we ride a glass elevator in the financial district. We share pies on the street, run in the park until we puke, find the oldest, cheapest apartment that we can, run up the stairs, shower until the water goes cold, with our clothes, a bottle of whiskey, and kissing to keep our lips warm. We vow to get ourselves fired for our honesty, to live on selling whispers.

We need new names, but won’t know them for at least a year, and we will refrain from our own voices between sunset and sunrise.

Lovesick? Lovelorn?

There is a new section at Secret Vespers, called Lovesick. It is devoted to the passionate moments and affairs you are doomed to lose forever, to the desires you can barely name. It is devoted to the crushing realization that there is nothing you can fix, that there is no way to get that feeling back, that there is a world of dreams never to come true. And that they are all beautiful.

Lovesick is a series of confessions to the Internet. Each one is posted live. Each one attempts to capture the loss or impossible fantasy of a lovesick, sleep-deprived character.

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