The Conversation

by Ares Demertzis (Aug. 2006)
 

(i)

good morning   is that you   it is morning isnt it   no   it must be night its still dark outside  where are you   dont try to conceal yourself i know youre here   i have always been able to smell your presence that offensive perfume of yours that inevitably betrays your sickening proximity   was it my worthless heart or your obscene and inconsiderate footsteps that woke me shatzie  it was arrythmia again wasnt it  one of these days my miserable and useless heart youll be sorry  just remember  you stop  you remain stopped  even if you later change your mind and start beating again it wont matter this isnt the first time ive warned you  do you understand what mean  eh  so  as for you my lord  is this yet another cynical prank of yours  two ears two eyes two hands two feet and only one heart  an imperfect design  an obvious blunder on your part isnt it  well i must admit you did provide me with two testicles  that was very thoughtful of you  if only for symmetry i suppose although personally at this moment in time i would have preferred only one in exchange for two hearts  but you obviously didnt want it that way  thats why i suspect your priority is more in favor of reproduction than longevity  eh  well shatzie did you wake me because you want to talk   ah   perhaps you have come for me   is that why youre here   I will be brave   i wont make a fuss this time i promise   im so tired I will go with you quietly   no   so you didnt come for me   are you sure   come on be truthful   you dont have to lie to me you know you wont hurt my feelings i always knew this moment would come sooner or later   but this isnt the moment right   well if you didnt come for me today can you tell me when   can you at least give me a little hint   please   please   please   im begging you   oh   im sorry i made you uncomfortable but you must understand why this question so disagreeable for you is so important to me   the final hours will be very very precious   im still here   are you listening to me   im   still   here   im still here theres no doubt about that eh   each morning with these words i greet the beginning of a new day when i discover to my elated surprise that im still alive   for me its simply the affirmation of my monotonous and inconsequential existence   a little personal joke that I have for years had the privilege of practicing   see this button   one click of this button and the entire medical staff of this miserable place is supposed to come running anxious to save my life   but no one will come   no matter how many times i ring   the night nurse that disagreeable bitch will ignore it   ignore it completely   that is if she hears it at all over her snoring   you know i think she must be working two jobs  a day job and this night job because all she does out there on her watch is sleep   well its probably just as well  the so called night duty doctor that pompous youngster would just do me in anyway   he would kill me with his ignorance   you see he is actually an automobile mechanic   yes  an automobile mechanic disguised as a doctor with a fancy diploma that must have cost his parents a bundle   all doctors are really mechanics you know   you take your car to a mechanic and tell him the engine stops for no reason  he examines it carefully and comes to the conclusion that its the battery   so he charges for the inspection and sells you a new battery   but it turns out it wasnt the battery after all   now he speculates that its the spark plugs and he changes them   charging you of course   but no its not the spark plugs   must be the carburetor he announces categorically   and thats how it goes with doctors also  lets try this lets try that   so if you dont die while theyre tinkering with you obviously youll recuperate   i wonder how many innocent people this young so called doctor has sent to the great beyond eh   before you woke me shatzie I was dreaming   well at least I think I was dreaming  perhaps that was reality and this is my dream   my nightmare   my martyrdom to tell you the truth   reality signifies an actual verifiable occurrence   i suppose thats the substantive difference between a dream and reality   but often i wonder arent they simply two sides of the same coin   today in this place my dreams are more real than my supposed reality   when i am what i think is being awake like now right now this very instant being in this insufferable place i hope i am dreaming and will soon wake up   wake up in the world of dreams   no   i hope to wake in the world of my reality   ah  that other world that other side of the coin is a place of magic you know   i am a young man there  full of life   expectant of a glorious and perpetual future without hurry without fear because there is so much life still waiting to be lived   its a world full of the unique awareness of discovery   that singular novelty which marks the commencement of existence   in that dream i am beginning life   in this dream i am finishing it   which reality would you choose eh   there as if for the first time once again for the first time i can experience all those extraordinary sensations that have ceased to amaze us  marvels ignored having become commonplace and ordinary barely perceptible   with the passing of years we have forgotten the miracle of their remarkable magic   the fresh scent of newly cut grass   the aroma of wet earth after a summers rain   a soft breeze filled with the fragrance of wild flowers   in that world i feel once again the emotion of that first kiss from unfamiliar lips   succulent  moist  exotic  improper  yielding lips that fill me with a curious unfamiliar desire making my heart beat deliriously   is that why old folks nap so frequently at whatever moment, and in whatever place   sometimes in that world im a young boy   i can slip into that dimension in the blink of an eye   is it a fourth dimension  i have heard something about that although i dont know precisely what it means   have i discovered the entrance to a fourth dimension   i dont know   i doubt that i would be so lucky  that i would be so privileged considering how unfortunate i have been in this life  there in that fabulous breathtaking world i can fly   going around and around and around on the merry go round   reaching out yearning to catch the big brass ring   that brass ring that everyone else is also aspiring to possess   around and around and around in the air  flying   listen  can you hear it   listen   lalala   tarumrumrum   lalala   lalala   tarumrumrum  lalala   ah what a marvelous time that was   i can see my mother waiting standing on the pavement   smiling  watching me going around and around in the air   flying  she is so proud of me   around and around and around in the air   flying   she is so beautiful my mother   so young and so beautiful   around and around and around in the air   flying  mommy   mommy   i love you mommy   what was i dreaming   or perhaps where was i before i fell asleep again now dreaming the hallucination of this sordid existence   i dont know   i cant remember   isnt that ironic   this horror should be a dream and that forgotten dream my reality eh   what i do remember of that interrupted dream is that i was somewhere in the desert translating from an ancient hieroglyph a story passed down orally through the centuries until it was finally etched in symbols on the clay tablet in front of me and i in turn inscribed the words with academic precision in my idiom on paper   the segment i was translating was a conversation that occurred before the beginning of history on a portion of rocky and untillable farmland   i read that the man who had been given this barren plot was angry   in the heated exchange of words i discovered one word  that seemed of profound significance to me   i remember i was attempting to translate the meaning the nuance of this one particular word   im an archaeologist   or perhaps i should say i was an archaeologist eh   i must admit that i should now accept that i am no more than an old man   a has been eh   well thats how it is an unavoidable characteristic of existence you know   what was i saying  eh   ah yes   archaeologist   well back then when i was an archaeologist in those days that are now an almost a forgotten dim memory i dedicated my entire life to tracing our origins attempting to discover the transgressions that ultimately fashioned these confused and disoriented individuals we observe today reflected in our mirrors   us of course   you know my entire life was dedicated to books and teaching   i was a translator and interpreter of ancient texts and i remember so vividly that word i accidentally discovered carved on that miniscule clay tablet   it was only one little word   it formed part of an inscription in cuneiform and the translation overwhelmed me   i cant remember the word   i cant remember the word but i can still recollect that intense feeling it produced   i was filled with an indescribable serenity   an extraordinary hope   a merciful compassion   my unexpectedly enlightened intelligence had discovered the meaning the rationalization for life   there is choice in this apparently pointless arbitrary existence and the choice is ours as if we ourselves  we humans  mere mortals possessed the powers of the deities   but you woke me shatzie and so i forgot   can you tell me what that word is   maybe   just this once   no

 

(ii)

 

so talk to me   didnt you wake me because you want to talk   talk already   dont you think im entitled to hear your voice   we have known each other for such a long time that i dont think im asking for too much   we met on the day I was born   not formally of course no one introduced us   we didnt shake hands but it was understood from the start we would spend a lifetime together   in the beginning I was unaware of your constant presence but as the years passed i began to hear your soft insidious steps grow louder and louder   tell me shatzie did you walk barefoot all those years on purpose to deceive me   in order that i had to strain to sense your closeness   of late i am very aware of your following me relentlessly you know   my hearing has eroded considerably but i can still easily discern your arrogant saunter with perfect clarity   your steps are now so deafening that i am incapable of thinking of anything other than you   as a child i measured time in limitless hours as an adult wearisome minutes today time passes in fleeting seconds   vanishing  never to return   recently it occurred to me to perform a calculation   assuming the average life of a person to be approximately eighty years and that one passes eight hours daily of those eighty years sleeping there remain a total of fifty two years of wakeful life eh   now take into account that of these fifty two years eighteen are inconsequential because they are squandered in reaching maturity   in addition approximately ten years  from seventy to eighty are also insignificant because they are consumed by failing health and mental decay   so eighteen plus ten equal twenty eight years in maturing and disintegrating   subtracting these twenty eight years from the fifty two years of wakefulness leaves twenty four years of productive life   twenty four years   only twenty four years   frightening isnt it   you didnt incorporate into the equation the one third of your life   the twenty six years spent cavorting with morpheus in that world of dreams   you know shatzie in all these years i have never heard a single syllable from you   i cant stand your insufferable silence   all this waiting without a single word   i have known you all my life yet you have never spoken to me   at least you have never spoken to me whereby i can hear your profound voice your cynical laughter your compassionate tears  oh  you do cry dont you   you will cry when I leave and you cant follow me around wont you   when im gone will we ever see each other again or is this our one time affair   will you have others after me or will you also cease to exist like the parasite that invades a body only to die after eliminating the host   are you listening to me   stop this ridiculous silence and answer you elusive bitch   time for a cigarette   only two left   im not supposed to smoke you know   emphysema they say with a touch of chronic bronchitis  no one has used the term pulmonary cancer though   so many modern diseases for which we never had to worry about before   we didnt know they existed if in fact they really did exist as the consecrated medical community assures us   they say those diseases used to kill us but were simply unknown   that they had no name   well then wasnt it better like that  to live in ignorant bliss   if i had never known my mother in law wouldnt i have been happier   just joking   just joking   you know the problem is our insatiable curiosity dont you think   ambitious little animals we homo sapiens   smoking is the only pleasure i have left   i cant taste food anymore or perhaps it just is served tasteless and insipid   who knows   i cant even enjoy sex anymore although i consider that my youth was sexually more stimulating than that of todays unfortunate inhabitants   in my day there didnt exist these passionless things called panty hose   only flimsy garters sexy with a touch of lace eh   ah life   the doctors prohibited my smoking years ago   its supposed to be bad for my health   health   what health   this is healthy   this is quality of life   they tell me one cigarette will take one day from my life   so maybe i should also smoke that one remaining coffin nail left in the pack and get it over with   reminds me of that joke about this fellow who goes to the doctor and says he has never smoked never drank never stayed up after dark and never had sex in order to conserve intact his precious bodily fluids   he asks the doctor what else he can do to have a long life   and the doctor asks him what the hell he wants to live for   being bedridden distresses me   i was always an active man and it is difficult for me to no longer have sufficient strength   my knees were the first to betray me   everyone said the knees are the first to weaken   climbing the stairs was initially difficult later impossible   and these innumerable pains small pains uncomfortable pains that begin in the joints   arthritis   they arent the pains of growing up as when one is a child  they are the pains of the organisms disintegration   the pains of death   they say that we are the only living creatures in the world conscious of our demise although we dont think about it in order to persevere   this was my sons dilemma when he was a child  he refused to do his homework insisting it was absurd because in the final analysis the world was going to end in five billion years anyway   he always worried a lot that boy of mine   precocious his mother used to call him  but i was never too sure about that   tomorrow is sunday   at least i think its sunday   that means my children will be visiting   one day in every seven they remember me   that i still exist   one day in every seven they visit albeit for a short while   when they were little i never abandoned them   well sure i was away from home frequently because I had to work   i was the economic provider for the family   but i was always a responsible father  anyway their mother was invariably there to comfort them   my children   this supposed retirement home to which my children have relegated me and by so doing demonstrated their lack of appreciation and affection is not that at all   it is in reality barely a mediocre shack full of old people   a warehouse for the unnecessary the undesirable the useless   a junk yard   a garbage dump for superfluous humans   and an inexpensive place at that   the sign out front reads happy sunset retirement community   happy sunset   now thats funny  happy sunset indeed   bitter sunrise would be considerably more appropriate   every morning during breakfast each one of us decaying here secretly counts how many we are at the table to see how many died the night before   one two three four five six   and by lunchtime new faces accompany us taking the place of those who are no longer  one two three four five six   no one dares ask wheres charlie   and henry   george   what happened to george   shhhhhh   better not to know  tomorrow   tomorrow my children will enter from that door repeating the question   that intimate question which is simultaneously curiously impersonal   that question that serves invariably as a greeting pretending an absent interest   that question used simply as an exercise in civility for cordiality   that perpetual ceremony i now find so tiring   that performance of an obligatory social ritual   how are you daddy   is there really any interest in how I am   one day of seven there is curiosity about how I am   one day of seven there is a pretended concern   i always answer im still here  waiting to die   my daughter responds oh daddy stop with your maudlin humor already   sometimes she arrives with the twins her children my grandchildren   she thinks that I will be delighted to see them   the new generation and all that you know but I tell her my vengeance will come when these children treat you as you treated me   my son intervenes hey pop stop being so difficult   there is only one advantage that i find in old age that i can say things i never dared when i was younger   thats why old people are accused of being grumpy you know   old people can be sincere without concern that their comments will offend a friend because their friends are dead and those few who are still living they will never see again anyway   in any case those who are molested by my words disregard them you know   they simply accuse me of suffering from dementia   i dont want my children to visit me any more   does that sound like a strange thing for a father to say   should i be ashamed to confess it   i should feel like some kind of criminal eh   however i suspect im not unique in my attitude   i would venture to guess many parents feel the same but just avoid expressing what they guiltily believe to be a sentiment society considers unacceptable   children are the treasure of humanity they vociferously proclaim   i consider this a primitive instinct that still remains with us to assure the survival of the species   our continued existence that is more than excessively affirmed today wouldnt you say   people have children for many reasons i suppose   there is a theory that parenthood is the seeking of a kind of immortality to live on in your children after youre gone   but its a limited immortality at best   i for example cant remember farther back than my grandparents and i would assume its the same for most people   so for two entire generations someone remembers you were around   immortality  what a grandiose lie  there is nothing eternal in this universe you know   my childrens visits are an uncomfortable affair   we have nothing to talk about   i lie in this bed   he sits on that chair   she sits on the edge of the bed here and we look at each other   thats all   we look at each other   i created them   i gave them the gift of life   the gift of life   the gift of life eh   in retrospect some gift wouldnt you say   think about it   yes   think about it   thinking about it i would say what a crummy gift you know   look around you   in the not too distant future this is the gift they will inherit   as i remember you never were very generous with us anyway pop says my son the precocious the kid who wouldnt do his homework the guy who never got married never had children because the world will end in five billion years   thank you anyway daddy says my daughter the sweetie pie   so how does that little ditty go   as you now are i used to be as i now am so you will be   i have the epitaph for my tombstone and its not that trashy piece of mawkish intimidation presuming a poetic vulgarity   have them carve it in the granite   i would like to thank my parents for my being here   thank you  thank you very much  mama  papa   not for my being here enjoying life for a brief period eh   rather for being here beneath the ground for eternity   sarcasm was always my strongest attribute you know   so   tomorrow   they will be here tomorrow   we lived together yet we are strangers   like passengers sharing adjacent seats on a bus we occasionally exchange irrelevant superficial commentary  just to be polite   i look at them   they look at me   thats it   we dont understand one another   we cant share each others existential anguish because change occurs with such unbelievable rapidity these days its impossible to maintain reciprocal values   we have no idea who the other is   there is so much distance separating our individual universes   we are strangers sharing some common bond that i cant define other than our being vehicles for successive genetic transmission   we perceive different realities   i suppose it was always so   i have come to the conclusion that it was always so   even when they were youngsters and we lived together as a family i am certain now that we occupied isolated concealed impenetrable worlds   they would tell me they loved me  i would respond that i loved them  what significance was conveyed in the reciprocal exchange of this word   i was always uncomfortable using it   i love you   it sounds fragile   weak   perhaps because it is an expression associated with women as is crying   its not a mans word   in every idiom there are words that can be classified as feminine and others that are indisputably masculine you know  and i am not referring to simple grammar   if you dont believe me   then ask yourself which sex comes to mind with the words kitchen doll fashion clean if not women   and words such as punch argument car sports   men dont you think   even in their pronunciation onomatopoetically speaking they sound different   i love you   what a curious word  i love you   what does it mean  effectively   i love you   how many times have you used it   how many times later have you forgotten you said it   i love you  intimately  secretly  impatiently  presumptuously  insatiably   i love you imprudently  i love you indiscreetly   i will love you forever  do you love me   in the final analysis its only a word right   an easy word to pronounce   it slides over the tongue with surprising facility   it bursts from the lips without accountability   a word that makes a sentence that creates a paragraph that ends by being a superfluous declamation   an easy word   it is deeds that matter i say   it was probably different for their mother   its different for mothers i suppose   thats understandable i guess   their childrens flesh is torn from their bodies after all   after all it is mitochondrial dna that they carry   their mother my wife for sixty years was a wonderful woman   so much patience so much love   through the good times and the bad   i frankly dont know how she was able to do it   but these are qualities women have that men are incapable of    i can only remember one argument in all those years   one argument   she bought a king size bed   a king size bed for our two little bodies   then of course she had to buy new sheets new blankets a new comforter   what a waste of money   when i asked her what in the world provoked her to do such a foolish thing she said she couldnt sleep at night thinking that i would fall off our narrow bed   well i always slept on the very edge of the bed   testing gravity i suppose   no   probably challenging life to hurt me once again   and you know what   after she bought that expensive and luxurious king size bed that filled the entire room i still slept on the edge   and even today on this ridiculous plank they provide for sleeping and also for dying by the way i sleep on the edge   after all I have lived through i can guarantee you falling from bed is not going to be what will kill me   the king size was an extravagant and unnecessary expense   no question about it   so we had the one and only argument of our married life and i was right   tomorrow   tomorrow my children will come you know   what will i say to my children when they visit tomorrow   what does a dying man say to his offspring   what should those final conversations be about   i dont have the answer

 

 

(iii)

 

forgive me   i am not being vulgar intentionally   i need to relieve myself   its the prostrate but at my age an operation is considered a waste of the surgeons talent   there finished   i will just return this bedpan here under the bed   pst  pst   shatzie  are you still here   can i ask you a question   im aware that its an unanswerable question but its important to me   dont tell anybody   please keep it a secret   will you tell me the truth   i have my suspicions you know   did he create us as they say or is that all nonsense   a superstition   this belief in magic that we have dragged along since time immemorial   caveat emptor the romans used to tell those considering purchasing some merchandise  let the buyer beware   should we do the same with god   should i believe in divine justice a paradise for the faithful hell for the sinners   what   what was that   damnit   you never answer so i can hear you   you know shatzie i have never seen your face   are you ugly as they depict you   come on be sincere   have you just like me grown old and fragile or have the years been good to you   some portray you as a fearsome ugly grim reaper holding a sharp scythe   others as a cheerful frumpy bag of bones although skeletal and tastelessly attired in a long voluminous dress   your head crowned with a wide brimmed bonnet decorated with wilted flowers   is this you   no   i dont think so   yes i am convinced you are a woman  thats for sure   of course if we arrived in this world by a woman its only logical that it will also be a woman that removes us   but i think youre a young woman   a deceivingly shy fictitious señorita being as astute as I know you to be   i imagine you wearing an audacious mini mini skirt barely covering tiny panties that you immodestly display taking advantage of their manipulative invitation   edged with sensual and exciting lace at the end of your long long thin thin legs   and you also flaunt a daring neckline intended to entice the incorrigible foolhardy voyeur   inevitably revealing only a paltry droll prank   thats why i call you shatzie you know   its a sentimental expression of affection   tell me the truth shatzie do you use makeup to brighten your pale features like those ladies of the evening   do you want to know what i think   yes   you do   well I think youre just a whore   no   no  dont be offended   youre misinterpreting what im saying   well okay okay would it make you feel any better if i used the word lover   well alright then   i consider you to be a lover   my personal concubine   a little slender perhaps your lips somewhat frigid but then   no   dont get upset   just kidding   just kidding   oh   oh   oh   now I remember   you   the whore  yes you the whore of birkenau   that was what they called you   the whore of birkenau   birkenau  that bottomless black hole on the face of the earth   thats where i discovered you really were a whore   there in birkenau   you indiscriminate slut you slept with anybody   oh   im sorry   im sorry   ive upset you again   i didnt do it on purpose  honestly   lately im experiencing a disconcerting tendency to forget   now that i know that name molests you I will avoid using it   i promise   ah   ah   what was i saying   ah   ah   yes  birkenau   birkenau   the camp   sounds like summer vacation doesnt it shatzie but it was a concentration camp   a death camp   you do remember it dont you   of course   what a stupid question   how could you possibly forget   we can never forget   you were so tired then   there was so much work for you   birkenau   thats where we really became close  became lovers really   i worked in kanada sorting the prisoners possessions   remember   twenty five thousand shoes a day and i was forbidden to wear even a single pair   twenty five thousand every day   twenty five thousand shoes still warm and moist stinking from their owners sweaty feet   do you remember   i wonder if you remember as i remember   i think now that things never were as we remember them   memory being such a curious defensive mechanism   things were different   or we were different   or were we different   do you remember that first time you touched me  i was so frightened so terribly frightened i trembled that entire freezing winter night   i didnt want to be thrown into the furnace and i rejected your kind but inconvenient proposition   i wanted so desperately to live another day   ah shatzie at birkenau when you touched me your hand was so hard and icy cold that i spilled that tiny amount of liquid i still had left in me   i understand its normal for a man to ejaculate at that final moment     that an indifferent nature in her ceaseless preoccupation with the meaningless survival of the species insists even at the end in a pointless reproductive obsession   why pointless   because this entire silly globe is doomed to extinction   to be devoured by a red giant   our sun   yes our sun which has for centuries warmed us protected us nourished us in its final agony will devour us   scientific truth you know   even our entire galaxy will disappear   this universe also   you will be very very busy then i suppose   at birkenau you unexpectedly left me   you never told me why   was it because i begged you to take someone else from the barracks and spare me   to this day im ashamed i said that    i still cant forgive my cowardice   who will forgive me   who will forgive me   no   no   please   please   not me   not me   not now  take someone else   there must be someone else   dont take me   dont take me   i am begging you dont take me   Aaaaayyyyy   my god why do you inflict so much pain   is it because i refuse to grovel before you   because im not submissive   is this my sin   or is my sin my pride my rebellion for being an intelligent creature curious and contemplative  can it be you want me to prostrate myself like some mediocre servant submitting to your arbitrary whims without complaint or are you aware of a hidden error i have committed   some offense in a forgotten past that merits your extraordinary retribution   but being forgotten of what use is my martyrdom my penitence now   have i been accused of some sin and you believed it   who difames me   I am innocent   i didnt see anything   i didnt hear anything   i didnt say anything   i dont know anything   i wasnt even there when it happened   why did you create death eh   it is your creation dont deny it   of this there is no doubt   where is your celebrated mercy   your magnificent compassion eh   why must i die to reach your promised eternal life   yours is a conspiracy against reason   they used to say i had to fear you and tremble before your violent vengeful fury on being considered disobedient   now they say you will forgive me   that you love me   is that so   prove it   yes prove it   why do you insist that i assiduously manifest my love   i ask myself why an all powerful such as they say you are needs so much protestation so much constant ratification of my loyalty   why are you so insecure   truly i dont know if i love you because i am so frightened of you   how is it possible to love such an unknown authority   i have never seen you   i have never heard your voice   i am a man   i am your child that you created in your image   or did I create you in mine   i watched you that night you know   i never told you but I watched you shatzie      promiscuous bitch   i watched you making love to my friends   fondling them   your kisses   your caresses   sighing   moaning   your fevered bodies burning with passion   drenched in sweat   embosomed twisting turning thrusting   crushed in a repulsive terminal embrace   i witnessed everything   i heard your obscene sighs   i smelled your foul excretions   like a jealous lover i observed you feasting with hideous nauseating delight on that old rebi and his young son   the boy was so young shatzie and you shamelessly and obscenely took them both after inflicting so much pain   without remorse   i tried not to witness your vulgarity to respect the intimacy of your performance but i was voyeuristically mesmerized   no   no   please   please   not me   not me   not now   take someone else   there must be someone else   dont take me   dont take me   i am begging you dont take me   were they the price i paid for you to save me   did you take them in exchange for my life   is that why you unexpectedly left me shatzie   was i the cause of their deaths   or were they previously chosen   tell me the truth   i cant live with this debt any longer   why did you shelter me in that inferno   i have no right to exist when so many were extinguished   my guilt is unbearable   look   look at my forearm   the numbers   the numbers   the symbol of cain   you never returned to caress me again   was it because you pitied my cowardice or perhaps it was because you were so terribly occupied then ministering to those thousands  no those millions   babies  children  adolescents  women  men  old people  she sick  the blind  the deaf  the lame  the innocent  the faithful  the generous  the cheap  the intelligent  the stupid  all into the flames   to an earthly inferno   so many bodies shatzie   so many bodies   what an impression   seeing so much humanity piled high like rubbish   understanding our twisted annihilation   rigid   silent   our mute conclusion although with our mouth open in what was the asphyxiated shout of final anguish hushed for eternity   all   of   eternity   this killed my sensitivity shatzie   killed the little faith that remained in me   who contracted this bestial and bloody vengeance   who remained satisfied with your compliance   name him   out loud   dont protect him   name him   ah shatzie you took so many without my even my once complaining of your insatiable and rapacious appetite eh   you see i never was nor am i today jealous of having to share you   jealous of having to share you   now thats funny   my last cigarette   one more day going up in smoke   if im really fortunate there wont be any more cigarettes or any more days left for me   ready any time you are shatzie   when youre ready we can go eh   you dont have to feel sorry for me anymore   im not a coward   im not acoward   you know shatzie we have been engaged in this platonic relationship for so long it will be an anticlimax when we finally and very shortly i believe consummate our involvement   if i were to tell anyone about our chats they would surely consider me a lunatic but i find it comforting talking to you   that isnt strange   im not embarrassed to admit it   after all you have always been the one closest to me   now that were having this little intimate chat shatzie   somewhat one sided to be sure   let me ask you do you still have the patience to wait awhile longer   can you be generous and give me some more time   there are things i have to do   i have promises to keep and miles to go before i   but you of course know that   perhaps you can pretend that im not here   that you just couldnt find me   no   i didnt think so   thanks for nothing you slut   you hooker   you harlot   of course youre a whore   yes a whore whore  whore   okay  enough useless conversation   lets negotiate   lets get down to business   well make a deal you and i   this is my proposal take it or leave it   i will follow you quietly if you give me a little more time   if you give me a little more time i promise i wont cause a scandal and disgrace you   ah   ah   where are you going   are you leaving   so you have to leave already   wait   make me a counter offer   we can negotiate   dont go   why are you always in such a hurry   say something to me before you go   tell me youll consider my proposal   say something   say something you vile faceless repulsive inconsiderate pitiless monster   oh   im sorry   im sorry   please dont be offended   forgive me   im not blaming you and im not angry with you   i know you have a job to do   its just that well alright i will admit it   after all these years im still a little afraid of you   isnt that normal

   

(iv)


i remember my grandmother   a frail old woman   she exuded that musty smell of incipient death that embraced her   your perfume shatzie   the odor you have now bequeathed to me  i remember my grandmother stubbornly clinging to life   lucid   in a martyrdom devoid of the blessing of dementia   alzheimers   yes the blessing of alzheimers   that surprising gift from an unexpectedly benevolent nature for the benefit of the less valiant   notwithstanding of course that there is a devastating price to pay   nothing is free right shatzie you always present the bill   and yet although rational even my grandmothers lifetime of vivid memories that were stored away to be retrieved one by one from the musty box that was the storehouse of her mind   to be lovingly experienced over and over again   were destined to also evanesce leaving no trace   as if they had never been   as if she had never existed   i dont want to die she would wail in a trembling lamentation ejecting a stream of wet spittle from her soggy lips   wrinkled bristly lips that attempted to kiss me with unreserved endearment as i shamelessly turned my face in blatant revulsion offering her my cheek instead   some people are more frightened than others   some of dying   others of growing old   hemingway resolved the dilemma by inserting the steel barrel of a shotgun into his mouth   somewhat inconsiderate for choosing his wifes kitchen rather than the outdoors which always attracted him anyway and where the fragments of his persona would dissolve effortlessly in the exuberance of nature   but it took courage a courage i dont possess  and neither did my grandmother   he was brave   he didnt wait on your convenience to come and fetch him   he cheated you of that decision   he was the master of his own unalterable destiny   they say maria felix also duped you this way   of course how could she permit you to humiliate her   she  the doña   the symbol of sensuality of feminine beauty humbled in the same way you subjugated my grandmother   they were valiant   they were resolute   they had an audacity that my grandmother did not possess and which i also lack   how many more fearless ones were there   how many more laughed in your face eh shatzie   it isnt convenient for you to say is it   you know this is the first time i sense youre frightened   are your trembling   i remember my grandmother   large patches of bare scalp visible through occasional random scraps of hair across her balding head   leathered creased features blotched with folded dark islands   sunken cheeks betraying the hollow spaces where teeth once supported the handsome features of her face   a face filled with tender affection   her skeletal hands shaking ceaselessly like mine do now   she was so vain about her hands my grandmother   presumptuous of her long thin elegant fingers   her small delicate hands like those of a señorita now covered with dry transparent skin ribbed with thrusting blue grey veins   she was blinded by cloudy cataracts her vision reduced to vague shadows that floated unrecognizably in front of her   so deaf i had to stand in front of her and shout to communicate   granny   granny   can you hear me granny   in a wheelchair   a transparent plastic tube inserted in one nostril another to the bruised purple cavity of her elbow  unable to stand sit or take a step without the assistance of those who shamefully bathed her and aided in prolonging the performance of her decayed bodily functions   rotting before a shovel full of earth had been heaped upon her corpse   my grandmother   i love you granny   i love you sincerely not simply with words alone   forgive me   forgive me   i want to kiss you   i want to kiss you   listen   can you hear it   listen   lalala  tarumrumrum   lalala   lalala   tarumrumrum   lalala   the music   oh   how beautiful   i can see the horses  the dragons  the lights  the colors   lalala   tarumrumrum   lalala   lalala  tarumrumrum   lalala   the merry go round   the ring   the ring   i must catch the brass ring  but its all coming to a stop  whats happening   the carrousel is stopping   the ride is finished  mommy   mommy is that you mommy   are you my mommy   i dont like this dream mommy   i dont like it   im frightened   can i stay with you a little longer in bed  please   please mommy please   please   no   i cant leave now i still havent caught the brass ring mommy   what have i accomplished   why am i here   i dont have the brass ring  im not a winner   if im not a winner am i a loser   isnt there some middle ground   oh   this is a nightmare   mommy mommy i have to pee   is that you mommy   is that you   is that you shatzie   is that you   are you my mommy   oh   oh   i can see you   i can see you   no  no   please   please   not me   not me   not now   take someone else   there must be someone else   dont take me   dont take me   i am begging you dont take me   is this all there is   is this all there is   wheres the bathroom  mommy   mommy i have to pee  the light  the light  the brilliant light  the sun  the sun has risen  im still here   are you listening to me   im  still  here   im still here   are you listening to me   so you did come for me after all didnt you shatzie   you lying insidious deceitful whore   what was the word   i must remember the word   tell me the word   tell me the word   yes   now i remember  the word   that word   the word was timshel   timshel  gods promise to cain standing on that rocky infertile soil he had inherited  alphadthfnaltakputhnkatalaves alphadthfnaltakputhnkatalavestipotaflikalepueneydiki mldnfanslkdifanltlksnflkalnd
lfineanathakatalaveszdgndlkfnldmdledsasjflkjasklmlieutsmxlktafokirspalklmsmfiasn
mtmsimthenkatalvati
potaajannfmaocm,abfcaaclaanlsnsamfaamattlallsmsmjlatms
lnowjmlslnlotankatalavaotanoepitaskaslmwlnalweyrfifotuapslsmdñasfpokmellandn
fmisalsmfbalanmlsksntipotaleiitjjbmmoslnsopalsljweesqislthldgilgolslantsmourpad
gjaorfmzmxbckthenkatalvatipotarykzpdsptqkxbtrpamfoxithenkatalavestipotaomega00
1000100101011101101000011000010111010001101000011000010111010001
010111010001110110111101100100011101110111001001101111011101011
0011101101000011101000010000100100010

 

end

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