It was gone and he was still there or barely and he was still here what was left of here so it was there still. He was trying to figure out what it was that was gone and how he was still here or there without it whatever that was. Whatever. He looked for the envelope. It was without an envelope because so much of it was gone and the envelope if there ever whatever was one then he settled for the letter that he thought still remained to be lost and then found or lost again. Or maybe it had never been found or had never been then why was there a thought of an envelope then? Just something to put something in and send it somewhere to someone at sometime for and that was the part that had sunk the deepest. Was there a letter? The only letter that came to find that had been missing was a letter m and no it was not m it was x or y because the letter had a page x or y which did not necessarily mean it was two pages but had either a page x or a page y and that was not that because the letter that now filled with the ink of his thoughts was the letter i correction s. Lots of corrections work on the end of corrections to separate out the s for correction s. S did not belong there for now for the moment or moments it was a part of that and those many other things those as well as for as s could be quite the joker or jokers in the deck and other containers and for now it needed to be moved to he who looked for the letter and with the s was she was divorced from s due to error and errors when s was taken from she and used to multiply mistakes several mistakes.
She was not looking for a letter or an envelope or a he or an s or jokers in the deck or outside the deck or on the deck in the back or in the front out in the front she was out in front for a change and that would not last for long. It never did. And it remained missing so that it did not remain at all really. She thought about that and not for long because she felt compelled as much as she could nowadays to turn and discuss that with her so-called friend so hard to be recalled friend and then she would be distracted because she couldn't just be and especially due to there being no one else around for the moment and other moments more moments than she preferred no one else to be around to discuss and distract her as well. Having others around was not always helpful due to the distractions and interruptions and conflations and distortions to what she intended or assumed she intended.
Where were we? Lost our way in a manner of speaking and in exactly what manner of speaking we are speaking about remains to be seen as it is written and deflected away from and forgotten. It was gone if one remembers and he was still there or barely or as a matter of fact misleading since it was a she after all and after all very little was a matter of fact because the way letters have been scampering about especially a tricksome letter s that could reveal what has been missing and quite some additional quantities or omissions of differences that it really does a number on many or a small neglected minority of imaginations.
She was at the bottom due to being under the impression that he was under that she was under that he was under that he was under that it was under no longer since it and so many others were gone had been gone for a time that many were under different impressions to measure differently. She was at the bottom and was under the impression that so many others were under that it's weight was persuasive to flatten into belief.
She found all the belief exhausting as well as weighty and nodded off quite frequently. It was after awakening after so little remembrance of how her days affected her dreams that more of her belief slid down through the empty spaces. The only way she could describe it or try to have someone else reflect or unsuccessfully reflect it to her was that it was like she was continually righting herself and capsizing again throughout the above and below the surface of her existence as if she was spending every moment kayaking.
As she rotated through dreams with expanding gaps and associations frayed and long forgotten and waking moments measured by how not too bad they were she became blinder to what was so impressive about things as she crouched down mesmerized at the dryness of life around her and their flatness as the tornado-like winds took more of her home away. Until and what texture some texture or other cat fur reflecting and then deflecting revealing and then concealing exposed and deposed composing and decomposing until and what texture some texture or other cat fur cat tail open your eyes her eyes again from dreams with gaps dreams running backwards what's life doing your life her life everyone's life running ahead they run ahead they move on without her and you standing still looking around with eyes awakening from dreams with gaps more gaps dream running backwards rewinding better not better not go over it again they go over it again over you over her them those them they step over people looking past you past her stepping over you past you past her making a past you and her can never go beyond into a future she can't keep up with them those other people stepping over other people why are they still called people they say the look in their eyes that can't possibly see people anymore not people not anymore.
Is that what happened? To the house did that happen that it was blown away furniture by furniture book by book memory by memory plant by plant take them take them it was gone again remember? Remember? Try not to. Really do try not to remember can't remember what was gone taken take it you the whatever take it it's what you want and you are not a you and we are not an us anymore them those they who step over people with their eyes that do not see people anymore not anymore. One more time. Is that what really happened to the house was it blown away by the wind and she was left crouching as it all left her behind? Was it behind her and what was really behind this this broken fan that still was still left to hang above her somewhere just as some reminder some token some impression there it is again not as gone as it seemed to let on and accomplished more than that in its self-appointed quest to impress upon her others, too, but mostly her, she had the not too bad misfortune to have it impressed upon her yet again that even when broken and impotent what hung and dangled ever so loosely above somehow remained rock solid in its impressions upon her and it did and it did until it was gone again until he looked up and saw it hanging broken and impotent making no impressions on what was above or below it, but her, mostly her until she awakened again from dreams with so many missing scenes and scenes stapled together with blanks and black holes entire constructions could disappear into and come out the other side of the wall where those who anxiously smashed their ears were hit with those impressions reappearing on the tailside the cat tailside cat fur reflecting and deflecting others and all those in the continuing realm of hit or miss until they close their eyes along with her and dream less.
Dreamless in and out this is what happened and that is not what happened or it didn't happen exactly in that manner in a manner of speaking and in exactly what manner of speaking we are speaking about remains to be seen or written as it is reflected and deflected away and forgotten. Forgotten for now and for who knows what whatever is not for her to say with what voice what memories what emptiness remains of the dreams spread apart by the thickening cinderblocks of forgiveness from one end of the universe to the other. Stand clear and see your dreams through stand alone stand clear of them those they who step over people with their eyes that don't see people anymore not anymore to stand clear and see through your dreams. Seeing past you seeing past her seeing beyond you seeing beyond her holding our breath submerged in the past waiting for the storms to pass past her past past your past pasted to our past a paste to hold our wallpaper of places we'd rather be than our rooms filled with new things bought and enter immediately into our past. She holds her breath as things are swept past from the past to another past past her and disappear into the next incorrect chapter that crashes in flames and dust fanned by the still broken and impotent fan blades of insufficient memory.
Where were we? Where was she? Crouched as her house disappeared so she could follow and disappear as well as she could crouch into a vanishing point that can't get quite go completely away but remain to be seen. Written incorrectly with the ink of insufficient memory got that wrong one more time got that wrong inspires her to break free of the guard rail and descend into a dark ravine from over-correcting all the things she has gotten wrong and being misled misunderstood missed as a little miss what was her name never mind.
Too much too little so little of just right obscures and abbreviates the senses into nonsense. Reported to report without reciprocation let's talk about it later not here this is not the time this is not the place inappropriate unprofessional unethical impractical let's talk about this later let's carve out some time when we have the time to carve out with chisels if we can get if you can get them if she can get them get back from the chiselers those thieves so many thieves robbing memories and leaving fragments that can't be put back together until someone inserts their own guess and they withdraw and don't wait to see how it comes out until it no longer wants to come out to be seen by them those they who step over people see with their eyes that see no people anymore not anymore.
This version or that version was not too bad and despite everything else was not too terribly useful. And there you have it. Additions and revisions reproduced mathematically along formulas moving characters both printable and non-printable between spaces and places and situations and circumstances with evidence and without it as they continued to reproduce each in its turn and out of order declaring a need for it to be recognized and only she raised the issue of it having any needs that needed recognizing to begin with and to end with or to waste so much space in the middles and betweens of now hard to find refuges that could still be reached or spoken of and traps for repetition and its electrical current that lit up the nightmarish carousels of survival among those who remained.
She looked outside herself and her surroundings for a third or fourth or eighth person removed sufficiently to provide another perspective on the networks she moved within to find pieces that she could not along her borders of insufficient memory. It finally emerged as needing recognition when it no longer mattered until it became necessary to be done away with the other perspective had been filling its own pieces and she spent more of her time finding what was missing and called or was hushed as less revealing. She found herself in order to lose herself in words that streamed out of every hole in her life so that it cascaded around her leaving her with insufficient memories that could be boiled down to one image and texture of holding her either her left or right (and it didn't very much matter which) index finger to her lips. And there you have it.
The person or narrator or voice-over or eleventh person six times removed was so removed and intrusive that they withdrew to other places to insert their perspectives and retrospectives and deflectives and invectives brimming with them those they who step over other people with their eyes that do not see people anymore not anymore.
Removed until further notice hammered into notices throughout surroundings where no one no longer notices. Removed and done away with is the far removed person and the narrator the narration contemplation explanation. Removed is the constructive constitutive palliative and narrative. All that remains is the destructive and the regurgitative.
She or he or she looked like a badger or a raccoon when they looked in the mirror or car window was it was it maybe was it maybe or glass window glass of soda their wounded face vying to rise to the top of the drink to that do they have to drink to that drink to every rotted thing as he or she or he or she looked in the reflection imperfection detection of blemishes from drinking and vomiting so forcefully so forcefully he no she expresses himself herself damn it damn it get it fucking right! Get it fucking yourself! Don't even think of relying on me for anything anymore no more.
Where were we? Do we does she want to go on like this like that only way to limp along limbs that drag along nothing but themselves don't even think of relying on me for anything anymore no more. Them those they stepping over other people with their eyes that do not see people anymore not anymore do that to her so many times that it removes the visceral and the lower region dismisses the audience and they have to wander for some fragments or hints of a story is it or a drama is it or a comedy is it or an action impacted tract of undigested life and infested with the decay of them those they stepping over other people with their eyes that do not see people anymore not anymore. No corrective no palliative no narrative just refractive and reactive arms shaking both fists at a silent universe next to another and another waiting in a parking lot for less matter to matter and make more room as it disappears off the bottom shelf of reclusion and exclusion.
Where were we is this or that how she or they not they how she would continue with dialogue or monologue or poetry or procedures filed under i for insufficient memory? The message does she have the message to give or receive it was to pass on more to die to just hand off and leave off where we ask where were we to break off jump off jerk off fly off drop off drop off and it looks like drop off and there you have it.
Insufficient memory appeared before it quickly disappeared to mock him as he felt like pounding the keyboard and rubbed his face with his right hand no left. What was left whatever was left was insufficient. And it was her sitting there after all and there you have it. She had it had not given or yet passed on to drop off yet the message was received by her contracting into the flattened and flattening belief based on insufficient memory so exhausting fanning flames that burned in the eyes of them those they who stepped over people with their eyes that do not see cannot see people anymore not anymore.
Where were we as she continued with a smashed keyboard lying on the floor or dangling from the desk in her office actually bedroom actually no more like a dining area having brought so many meals in there nothing actually happened much in there more like an office where nothing actually happened as things spiraled in loops of electrical current lighting the walls of the room's carousel. Nothing karma nothing going nothing going around to come around just going around and around and around and around ending up on the ground or dangling over the desk like the dead fan above in the dead above impotent dust spreading its seed of stagnation.
The page of emails scrolled as the system scrolled on and she found herself to find she had lost herself and inadvertently deleted an email from a name she thought looked familiar. Did she once know someone whose name had an i in it didn't even start with an i them those they who step over other people with their eyes forming one watchful eye that could not and would not see people anymore not anymore. Who belonged to whatever name belonged to whatever email that was inadvertently sent off into the deleted folder? When did the wind pick up outside or was it something inside in the walls with the electrical current that lit up the carousel never achieving escape velocity from the mundane just the pre-programmed speed to stay frozen to freeze where no buttons no codes no combinations no sequences could free data to recall or to reconnect only what to ultimately reject reject it all.
Where were we? Do we really want to continue in this way only certain or think we are mostly certain or somewhat certain of what to reject and not any closer to deciding on what to accept or settle? Do we really want to continue in this way and what way was this? She calculated and recalculated numbers in an effort to make a life out of them and by process of elimination found what was to be rejected and ejected notes atop time signatures that could not be a part of her always incomplete symphony: contemplation, expectation, temptation, salvation, transformation, leaving passages of the repetitious and surreptitious.
Where were we and do we want to continue inquiring in this way if this is the way in which we wish to continue when wishing has melted and oozed away with the rest of the run-off of our language their language them those they who step over people with their eyes that do not and will not see people anymore not anymore.
Where were we and she but among the weeds trying to fit in among the lawns of where we used to learn where we used to work? Where were we and she but ripped out and thrown in the trash bins or left on street corners to be sent away by the wind that picked up and dropped off. Had the wind picked up when her computer froze and refused to turn on again ever again without even access to all that had been put together and deleted by errant fingers misled by errant nerves misled by errant thoughts that thought there might be a piece to fit somewhere like all those weeds trying to fit in with the lawns where we once learned where we once worked where we once belonged or thought we belonged we thought we belonged there what were we thinking?
Where were we on the floor on the ground on the corner in the drawer in the closet in the alley in the corner? We tell ourselves she tells herself with words she cannot trust as coming from her because her family's rules are everywhere those cacophonous and dead quiet screamed and unspoken family rules ride on the wind that blows her and the other weeds away. Conversation dehydrates among the weeds.
Hushed Voice: Where were we?
Parched Voice: Should we continue in this way?
Strained Voice: Do we have a choice?
Hushed Voice: There's always a choice.
Parched Voice: Do we have a choice where we grow?
Strained Voice: Do we have a choice when we get removed?
Hushed Voice: Where were we?
Parched Voice: You're repeating yourself.
Strained Voice: Do we have a choice where we dry out and die?
Hushed Voice: We all repeat ourselves.
Her thoughts gravitated each time she was removed from wherever she had been before towards being a little thornier and leaving those thieves all those thieves a parting remark to get under their skin while it was still skin. She couldn't find anyone but they could somehow find her and wanted to know what happened to her and what she was doing and not doing based on what she had said and not said and not done yet would never do never be never see never touch never leave. She could not construct replies due to the inadequate building materials of insufficient memory. Had they helped her had they hurt her had they accepted her had they rejected her had they listened to her had they ignored her? Who knew and she didn't want to put it like that to unbury that other other pressed down by her muddied feet months ago or years ago she wanted to think it had been years ago that many years ago as her foot re-enacted the burial steps again. Down along the steps two silhouettes stood one encouraging if that can be the word encouraging the other to descend.
Upper Silhouette: You'll need to step down this way.
Lower Silhouette: Why down this way?
Upper Silhouette: From what we've been told it's no longer safe.
Lower Silhouette: What have you been told?
Upper Silhouette: Can't go into it right now. What is important is that you are safe.
Lower Silhouette: I feel safe as much as I can manage.
Upper Silhouette: And what you can manage is in question.
Lower Silhouette: In question by whom?
Upper Silhouette: Just keep descending and it can be discussed later.
Lower Silhouette: And when will later be?
Upper Silhouette: Tomorrow.
Lower Silhouette: Why can't we discuss this today?
Upper Silhouette: There's not much left of today.
Lower Silhouette: If there's not much left then it's almost tomorrow. Stay with me here. Stay with me now and we can discuss this here and now.
Upper Silhouette: Must get back.
Lower Silhouette: Get back to what?
Upper Silhouette: Your case.
Lower Silhouette: My case?
Upper Silhouette: Your case, your file, your chart, your folder.
Lower Silhouette: Which folder? My deleted folder? Do you have that?
Upper Silhouette: We do not know if we ever have all that we need because they do not always send us all that we need.
Lower Silhouette: What about me? Am I not my own case?
Upper Silhouette: Need to get back to have something to go by and see if it all matches.
Lower Silhouette: Must we continue in this way?
Upper Silhouette: Make good your descent make good your time.
Lower Silhouette: Whichever direction it never really ever matches.
Upper Silhouette: Insufficient information.
Lower Silhouette: Insufficient memory.
Upper Silhouette: Keep descending.
Lower Silhouette: For how long?
Upper Silhouette: Until there are no more steps.
Lower Silhouette: When and where are there no more steps downward?
Upper Silhouette: Eventually there will be no more steps downward.
Lower Silhouette: They look like they keep going down indefinitely.
Upper Silhouette: I'll go ask someone.
Lower Silhouette: You mean you don't know for sure yourself?
Upper Silhouette: Just want to make sure. Reliable information from someone who knows.
Lower Silhouette: And who knows?
Upper Silhouette: I'll find someone eventually and just in case I don't someone else will take over for me and come back for you and will walk alongside you as you descend as you need to descend.
Lower Silhouette: I would rather it be you who came back.
Upper Silhouette: Haven't been very helpful.
Lower Silhouette: No, you haven't been very helpful just somewhat helpful you give the impression you have some compassion because you give the impression you're making an effort and I have become somewhat familiar with you and familiar with these kinds of impressions. These impressions of the little caring that remains in far scattered puddles sucked up by the thirsty weeds before they are torn out of where they think they belong. These impressions that impress it upon one to descend further and indefinitely. Gotten very familiar with that.
Where were we? Must we continue in this way along burial steps that lead down and down into darker tomorrows that bring more of more steps downward? She followed all the steps they gave her and it still didn't work: the computer the oven the TV the car the house the neighborhood the life. She met him ran into him helped him he helped himself up after he was released from the hospital to the rehabilitation center after he was released to the trailer to the car to the cardboard box to her couch to the emergency room to the intensive care to the oncology unit to the car to the cardboard box to the police car to the jail to the prison to be denied clemency to the prison to the burial steps that continually descended into the darkness to be revived and kept alive so that he could get his strength back to practice walking those steps that continually descended. She observed and held her breath as she submerged through less of her dreams has she remembered less of them and she rotated while she kayaked while she observed him get his strength back to be kept alive to be kept to keep stepping down those steps that continually descended while she continually rotated through the submerged waters holding her breath through less of her dreams she remembered to resurface into her insufficient memory.
Lower Silhouette: Wait!
Upper Silhouette: I can't wait here for tomorrow. Just wait for tomorrow and we'll discuss this.
Lower Silhouette: No, I mean wait just a moment and then you can go back and try to find someone who might know. Just a moment. Wait just a moment for me to remember.
Upper Silhouette: Remember. Remember what? It's getting too late.
Lower Silhouette: I think I am beginning to remember a face. Lately I have been seeing a face in what looked like a screen window.
Upper Silhouette: And whose face is it?
Lower Silhouette: I don't know it's just that it looks like it's important.
Upper Silhouette: You don't know. I can't remain for that. Wait here for the next person to take over. Give it time and you'll eventually become familiar with them.
Lower Silhouette: Them those they who step over other people with their eyes that do not cannot could not would not and will not see people anymore not anymore.
Where were we and she? Must we continue in this way descending down steps that continued descending indefinitely while she rotated kayaked hijacked by sleeping and waking hours rotating her through submerged into waters holding her breath through less dreams remembered less frequently as she righted herself to resurface be tipped over and capsized again by circumstances above and hold her breath through what less there remained to be remembered and expected below.
- Max Stoltenberg