The stars swayed as though viewed through a spring tide.
They gave me a crown of black seaweed then buried me head-first in the mud.
The voice says:
“Reality is a commonly agreed state… We mark its borders with shared and contested language. Conflict fastens it like colour to the world.”
We begin again.
An ever folding moment, fine and thin as Japanese paper. The dirty glow of yesterday seeping into the brilliance of a morning without edges. I write my name in an unfamiliar script and the gnarled hieroglyphs become small, dark animals which scatter like broken shadows. In a state of possession I try to reclaim the lost moment but I don’t have the words, only animal grunts and YouTube videos…
Back then we lived in a little house where you always had to pass on the stairs (even if you weren’t changing floors). It was so small we didn’t need a telephone, just tin cans on strings. Before I left the city I gave every friend a can of magic beans and asked them to keep in touch. Back in those days, we used to eat rainbow ice cream for dinner and were too busy dreaming to ever paint the walls.
In the basement of the house was an old arcade window with heavy red velvet curtains, behind which artists would put on shows. I was always disappointed with the standard and their (as I considered it) unnecessarily aloof attitude but we were just so glad to help. Occasionally, at night, the garden would unfurl into a beach, pegged down at every corner by humming conch shells. There, on the beach in the amber light, I would meet my sister and we would stretch out under the warmth of the moon and write the names of everyone we loved in the sand.
His bejewelled face was that of a gaudy religious icon, hung low, marble eyes ever dancing along the geometry of paving stones.
I stuffed the crumpled stars of rocket flowers into my pockets and tried to grasp the songs that floated hotly in the evening air. We found ourselves, back again, trapped in the brittleness of youth – a greasy café beneath a concrete overpass – between us the red-and-white-chequered-tablecloth, cut glass salt and pepper pots, and love – like an embarrassing stain – spreading on the table between us.
I didn’t tell him about the dream. He wouldn’t have believed me, anyway.
I didn’t tell him about the green giantess with stars in her seaweed hair, who turned her face down to me and said without speaking:
“The answer to your question is the question, itself”.