Eyes are a mouth with hands that are somewhere out of the frame. Seeing is reaching and just moving around. Perhaps nothing of the kind less kind these these days flirt with stranded canoes. Fell into it for giving up and lying down when the mouth either leaks bitter spit or starts running some tape stuck with the negative glow of shadows on another retina didn't know it was back behind the tabled or discarded or queued for deletion or tuna can lids from that visit to the platform and its cancelled departures running a larval picture show. Pillow wrapping around the nape and tucked into the corners of the peripheral voice lollygagged into indifferent steerage. Shouting not shouting being picked up by some tape stuck. Stop right there.
"Shouting? I wasn't shouting."
"Who said you were shouting?" corrected the thick-voiced man chewing on a slice of green pepper.
"Perhaps I was too emphatic."
"Nothing in bold, nothing in italics, nothing underlined or capitalized. Who said you were saying anything at all?" corrected the thick-voiced man who sounded more narrow after a slight correction chugging on a tall as well as wide silo of soda.
"I just thought maybe you were thinking there was a slight peak in inflection somewhere in there might have distracted you from what you were doing."
"Have you heard the one about the actresses backstage during an intermission of their play?"
"Is that the one where they have some chess players join them to solve some mating problems?"
"No, not even close. Distant, in fact, from what's, in fact, being conveyed as if you've been, in fact, unawares all your life while the rest of humanity has been finishing and refinishing things while you let yourself, in fact, stay in the kitchen in the heat, in fact, taking it lying down, and, in fact, getting swept into the drain while, in fact, the stopper is placed rather snugly. Making stoppers more snugly recently to prevent the likes of you from making a comeback, in fact."
"I thought one of the chess players helps them figure out a mate in 5 or maybe it was only 4."
"Are just imaginary numbers imaginary or all numbers? Aren't numbers made up to represent amounts of objects? Who cares? Is it just those who made them up or those who are following along or those who are just following? I think I indicated that before or didn't I?"
"I don't quite follow."
"Of course you don't. Your holes are riddled with tab strokes taking you down another rabbit hole that comes out onto a misty and prematurely ended scenario on a hastily erected walkway over a desert chasm. Or, in fact, perhaps, your riddles are holed up in some unkempt room unjustifiably oversupplied and thoughtlessly undermaintained where imagined pain is oversympathized with while it is unimaginably sliced from my pie, in fact, I can feel the slicing. Like a spiral-cut ham packed for leftovers upside-down. All the slices are on the bottom. To slime these hands and to have to stoop to more slicing. In fact, my pain requires the much needed redirecting of witnessing other people truly make their way through genuine obstacles as they are buffeted about like objects and come to a much deserved rest in pools of foam. And do they take it lying down? No, in fact, they don't even bother with wasting their time waiting on orientation to show up, and they re-emerge into the spotlight of the however many minutes (and I will forego a number here, in fact) of fame that has been made increasingly affordable to stimulate participation. Who would have thought that better discounting would result in so many staying put to be involved. Now that's entertainment!"
"Thoughtless. That's all I will say about it. Thoughtless. In fact, come to think of it, those weren't my questions at all. The actresses backstage during the intermission of their play which I recall was about a lesbian bakery where they stick into the dough either maple leaves flattened between pages of an out of date medical dictionary or, in fact, if I recall, it might have been just body parts. Despite the seasoning, they are all startled backstage when one of those theater masks thumps on the floor. Don't ask if it was the tragic or comic face that fell. When people are kept in their place they see less of the ocean and the waves and its refutations toward the sky and everything else. If you have to extend your intermission for whatever excuse or complaint you have regarding this melancholic existence then maybe you are demonstrating that you were destined for the backstage. The fallen mask instigates dialogue between the actresses about lost loves and dreams. I am trying to summon up how the discussion was allocated but it was not evenly I can assure you. I can't stomach when one person monopolizes all of the conversation. The enormity and volume, and particularly, quality of their voice makes my organs start to fail. One of them speaks as if shouting yet not shouting."
"Nostrils," one of them backstage said, "who would have thought," she said, "that looking down at a dirty backstage floor and into the abyss of artificial nostrils would make me think of all the tissue that was shared between us and how it was the sickness and tears that at least pre-empted all the shit we told ourselves with silence. Each took turns in its own moratorium in a relentless diarrhea of programming. From then on, every relationship was characterized by more flights of fancy and by that I mean more and more time consuming video clips of stage mishaps. A larger and larger percentage was taken up with actors and actresses taking turns being whipped around their imaginary worlds, ripped out of their beds, crashing into walls, and colliding into windows and doors that were supposed to open. They improvised their scripts to where they saw flying as a destructive activity and countered any encouragement to an adventure with sarcasm. Their only speculations left to them was more sarcasm muttered in the dark on a stage where the latest collapsing wall had to be impetuously reinforced."
"I don't remember if any of the others said anything else. They probably did or probably didn't. It's hard when thinking of attempting to consider any of the others, the others backstage."
Seeing is reaching and just moving around. Perhaps nothing of the kind less kind these these days flirt with stranded canoes. Fell into it for giving up.
- Max Stoltenberg