Start again. Can't seem to get this right. Wailing and jeering and cheering and hoping for nothing and for what? Just so you can let go. They'll be damned if they let go of anything. Noxious fumes that call themselves human beings. That's what they are. Where are they now? Now. Now is what they're working on ruining and tearing it down while they wall themselves in and building themselves elevators that go deeper into the Earth. Harder to find. Strangulation that is the long slow and relentless unforgiving kind. They send their experts out to harp on all that forgiveness horseshit. Can smell it coming. It certainly distracts everyone from the rank decay we can never perfume away from our dried up worn out bodies. And where are we by the way now that we think about it. The now we have left. Not many nows left.
Start again. Neglected to tease out the conversation. Bloody soliloquy that stamps those words of something that used to be called a self all over like those dark purple splotches that make their circuit back and forth to and fro along both arms. Both arms. Still haven't listened to the direction from being embedded that rises from nowhere on the inside or the outside or in most of the alleys downtown where they let human beings relocate to a neighborhood more appropriate to their sense of abandonment. Still haven't got it quite right.
Start again. When two possible directions offer either starting with complexity and breaking it down or beginning with the basic concepts and gradually introduce more sophisticated problems involving the characteristics and philosophical properties of numbers there can be . . . did it once more. Don't even think about forgiveness.
Start again. There were four people. They each knew or at one time had known one another and . . . that doesn't really help matters much for how it will eventually carry on . . . carry on . . . to waves . . . not yet. Haven't got it and gotten quite right yet. Mentioning people and where that could lead is promising, but introduces the possibilities of breaking things breaking promises broken promises people kept under a tight rein more like unfortunately that would capture it more succinctly and tragically when put that way about all the misfortune that made all those people not console themselves in even knowing each other. Meanwhile . . .
Start again. There were four people who didn't necessarily or it isn't necessarily vital that they or how much they knew one another be mentioned, but it's already been mentioned. Never mind. Never mind. To never mind something or someone or somethings or just about all of it. Wish that could really be possible. Too late.
Start again. There were four people. In actuality it ended up only being just two people. So there.
Start again. There were two people who used to be attached rather miserably to other people until they met each other and moved on in different directions. They never repeated anything as triumphant as that ever again in their lives. And that's not really saying much when interrupted by all those who knit silver lining in the dark clouds of humanity and only succeed in making a lot of people bleed quietly in their lonely corners that refuse to stay in the pleasing red embers of their burnt out solitude. However, that is drifting into the next lane a great deal.
Start again. There were two people. When in the misery of their middle age . . . got that sufficiently think so. Might have been more years of torment than that, but that can be used as fertilizer in the backyard. Backyard was it that they decided on for -
Start again. There were two people. They were old and very old not a day over 95 each of the two of them. The two people. There were only two of them. One old woman and one old man both of them old said that and they added up to two people mentioned that. How much did it really add up to? That's what they'll really be getting at eventually before it's too late and then again maybe not. It's too late for more than the things people claim it's never too late for. Leaves one asking to -
Start again. There were two people. A very old woman and a very old man. They were standing sitting on a couch in chairs damn it!
Start again. There were two people. A very old woman and a very old man sitting in their chairs their metal wood metal folding chairs that were plastic and didn't fold at all but only became discolored as the plastic bent and twisted when moved about and under the weight that once was there. Once was there.
Start again. There were two people. A very old woman and a very old man sitting on their plastic chairs on the front porch it was the backyard deck patio what the hell is the problem? The answer doesn't live up to anything. No, it doesn't live up, but down into the that that backyard one word or two is one no two it can be either way either way to choose and yet there is even a wanting to be certain and at the same time like and appreciate that there is no restriction there with just words that's all that's all there is and yet more anyway and it doesn't have to be keep on being.
Start again. In the backyard on the patio there were two people a very old woman and a very old man sitting on their plastic chairs.
Old Woman: No Sun. No Sun at all. Haven't seen it.
Man: Who? Who are you talking about that you haven't seen?
Old Woman: The Sun. Haven't seen it in forever.
Man: Who's son? The people across the street the ones diagnonally to the right I mean the left.
Old Woman: No, the Sun up in the sky, you deaf bench of a deck of cards. Haven't seen it in forever and a year of Bingo nights.
Old Man: What were the rules to Bingo again? It's been so long. Reminds me of that funny guy with the three eyes with that name like that game.
Old Woman: He did not have three eyes. Who on Earth has three eyes? You're getting confused about his unibrow.
Old Man: Uni what?
Old Woman: Unibrow.
Old Man: Good heavens what is that? Is it an animal that gets in traffic and run over a lot?
Old Woman: No, you festering dish rack. A unibrow is when someone has really thick eyebrows that grow into each other and form one monstrous eyebrow.
Old Man: They unite together sort of a collaborative effort?
Old Woman: Yes and you probably confused his unibrow with a third eye.
Old Man: Good heavens why would I do that? It would more likely frighten me as some audacious moustache that lost its way.
Old Woman: Have it your way.
Old Man: I do speak up. My throat hurts from all the shouting I've been doing.
Old Woman: Way way you decaying nincompoop.
Old Man: I already went inside although it took me half an hour exerting. I thought I was going to collapse a lung or join all those people who've died from having heart attacks while trying to take an obstinate shit.
Old Woman: Watch your language you reprehensible lunatic.
Old Man: Sorry, dear. I do apologize.
Old Woman: Don't even bother.
Old Man: Too late. I already said it.
Old Woman: No, I mean don't even bother asking me to forgive you. I can't stomach that stuff anymore. Never really could.
Old Man: Me, neither, my peach. I wasn't intending on asking for something I don't care much for either. Wretched business that forgiveness nonsense. Makes me think I need to go back in again and exert some more. Don't really want to anyway. Pointless activity. Can't get rid of anything except what I want to cherish or what I think I have to cherish and still losing weight. Where does that go? Do you think we're evaporating?
Old Woman: Don't be ridiculous you irrational
Old Man: Lost me there. Lost me you did. Reach out your hand when you starting talking like that or stop talking all together and you turn your face away from me as you so often do. Reach out your hand when I get lost and feel like I'm losing all of this like when I have trouble with the TV. All this starts fading when I'm lost like now. They keep taking more of the now away.
Old Woman: Now you're losing me.
Old Man: How poetic! We can sit with it for a while and when the lost feeling becomes too much we can reach out our hands and start the thing again. What do you say to that?
Old Woman: Gotten used to that lost feeling. It's preparing me for not being here anymore and being done with the whole thing.
Old Man: Good heavens, how long have you been experiencing this and you haven't told me and of course you wouldn't I mean why should I be surprised? Do we act surprised or get surprised or pretend like we want to remain in the sandbox and convince ourselves new things occur?
Old Woman: Don't talk about sandboxes you silly soiled linen closet of a noisy muffler. Makes me picture you as an ostrich hiding your tiny bald head.
Old Man: Good heavens someone woke up on the wrong side of the sofa in the living room. No, I slept on the sofa in the living room. I lose track when feeling lost all the time. Actually, good heavens, it was the chair in the spare room. Did you time me out in the last week or so?
Old Woman: You keep using that annoying phrase, "good heavens" as if it has some meaning that it doesn't and it doesn't.
Old Man: I know, my pomegranate. Uh, my avocado, don't go much for pomegranates. Actually, I don't really like avocados. Guacamole when it's guacamole. Speaking of, can we have Mexican tonight, my sagebrush cantina? You will cook for me won't you? I have been not so obnoxious this week and it has been so long since I had Mexican and so long since I had dinner or lunch or breakfast for that matter. You've unlatched the fridge this week haven't you? Good h- nothing good about it really. The last several years, I've lost track of so many things and time and number of years, especially that I don't even remember when I started noticing more and more that I had thoughts of there really not being a heaven after all. Heaven seems like such a horrifying prospect when you reach the point of being kept from so many things all your life and you look forward every day to it finally being the afternoon prelude to going to bed for the last time and taking a sleep no longer disturbed by bad ideas and disappointments.
Old Woman: Where did they go?
Old Man: What was that, my oven mitt?
Old Woman: Where? Where did they go off to?
Old Man: The Sun you mean?
Old Woman: Besides that and don't go ascribing a meaning to anything let alone me.
Old Man: I'll let you alone. Serves you. Serves me.
Old Woman: Never mind that. Where did they go?
Old Man: The pets? They all died ages ago.
Old Woman: No, not them, you misshapen cake.
Old Man: The neighbors? Most of them left. I think I was mistaken about the couple that used to live diagonally across the street from us to the right, no, the left, right. Or one of them died and the other lived alone or something for over a year and when they didn't join them soon enough for them they killed themselves.
Old Woman: Say that word I like.
Old Man: Caliginous.
Old Woman: Yes, that's such a good one, but the other one.
Old Man: Oh, you're talking about suicide.
Old Woman: Say it again, but slowly.
Old Man: Su . . . i . . . cide.
Old Woman: Just like that.
Old Man: Now can you reach out your hand to me?
Old Woman: I thought you prefer that only when you feel lost?
Old Man: You're right. It kind of ruins the effect.
Old Woman: Where did they go?
Old Man: All the birds that used to bounce around the backyard on the grass when we had grass?
Old Woman: No, where did they go?
Old Man: Who?
Old Woman: The children. Where did they go?
Old Man: Children? We never had any.
Old Woman: We didn't? I thought my body tells me -
Old Man: Body these bodies of ours us we the all exclusive we I know what I tell myself and have been telling myself for however many years the way it has been and is and is not now after being told so many things that turn out not to ever enter one's existence but only be claimed by those faces you keep waiting to shut your tired eyes to and never see again.
Old Woman: I don't know.
Old Man: What don't you know?
Old Woman: Again.
Old Man: What again?
Old Woman: Start again.
- Max Stoltenberg