Throw a glance at where all the furniture is pointed at and the room gravitates to an old TV. It could have died a quiet death long ago, but it lived to see it self in indignity, dusty and having the furniture under it sag ever so slightly.
On the screen is a face, we cannot tell if this is man or woman, youth or elder but the pose marks a quiet resignation. A stillness that comes with defeating contemplation. The mind wanders, soon the memory of a fledgling town where it eases into night, faces peering into a house to catch a glimpse of a TV. They stand outside and are colored in festive lights.
Somewhere unnoticed the memory morphs, turning from wondrous capture to little threads of other people’s stories guiding one through an ever changing maze. These stories begin seemingly vital, great tales that must be heard but seem to end in some dull and familiar cliche. Was there meaning or just color? Too late to say.
Slowly a mindless routine eases in, treading a well beaten path. It was too much to ask to begin unraveling the noise, the senseless broadcast that ends with a despairing figure. Grey expression on a grey screen, un-death on an old frame. When was it that its time passed?
In the cool of the morning
Open a bottle of last winter
The drone of traffic
Icy, black trees sway like the sea
Far from earth, a feral season
Dead winter grass
Clutching her winter fan
Dragging my knees
A sultry morning survives
As an empty shell
Heavy from his feast
Through 3 years of letters-
I don’t usually write requests so I’m not sure where this is going. Graduating is a weird thing, so weird that I feel awkward even writing about it. I’m not really sentimental but it’s really been eating my head.
I went to a college interview today. It was boring and I had plenty of time to mull over it it, realizing that I really was graduating. The thing about Joseph’s is that it kinda feels like no one has any lives outside it. It was nice having the two of you around because I might have gone crazy otherwise. It’s funny how most of my best friends from Joseph’s are people who graduated long before I did.
In fact I think the only time I ever saw you in college when I was trying to figure out who was whistling at me in the PG canteen. A warning of things to come. I told Mel how nice the sun was and your eyelids looked like the wings of a bird about to fly.
I hope you don’t mind if I hijack this response for allegory.
People go on and on about how everything used to be great and meant so much to them. Well to be honest life is usually just mundane. Eventually you have so much mundane stuff to do in other places you forget why you cared about a college or friend so much. One day you see seniors eating near the ground, then no one eats there and then you realize the college hasn’t had much of a ground for a year now.
You can always keep your friends but they’ll never be the same people to you. The college you talked about was uncanny. The same thing but smaller, with emptier places, and thinner teachers. Nobody in your stories behave how I think they should and I have a terrible suspicion that maybe things used to be better in the college. I’ll be sure to say we’re better than our juniors at least.
Stupid posturing aside I’ll miss the three of us, the endless arguments about TW and Maoism, my stupid batch-mates and friends I spend too much time around and the fishbowl Joseph’s has been.
I guess I’ll have plenty of time for nostalgia later. You said it best- “Thank you for all the memories.”
Like bare branches in the wind.
What a lovely morning it’ll be
With the sun shining.
What an evening to dread,
While we’re graduating,
Far from and free of
There is something weird about trying to draw like a kid again. You have these themes you seem obliged to repeat again again. Stick figure people and box houses, stick crows flying towards the sun etc.
This one was always one of the more unusual ones I’d try to draw. I don’t know why I needed a house, trees, grass, pebbles, streams, mountains and a way away from it all. I would never complete the drawing because something about it would distract me. I wonder where I could have wanted to go.
Ah, there she goes again. Curious little creature. And its’s… 8:30 now. I have a feeling she’ll be gone for a long time.
She’s got something about her. Maybe that’s why I can’t paint the woman. There’s this whiff of destiny- look at that gait- a bit of fear too. Perhaps it’s time I offer a bit of help. How long has it been? Half a century? Maybe more. Back when things were still different. I think I spent months working on my painting. I wonder what a young and virgin eyed version of myself would say if someone told me I was going to paint the same thing every year. Maybe I would be happy, happy about knowing.
Who was that other girl? I think I remember her. The one with silky,yellow curls who pranced around in her apartment when I was young. I can’t remember her name. Years. Years I spent looking out through my window. they say the world changed. All I see is another woman at the window, in shadows where my dreams paint in the blanks. I wonder if I really want to know who she is. But Amelie seems so permanent.
Like the woman in the painting, captured on canvas now and forever. That is of course, only if I manage to paint her. To copy the window, that seems to have her preserved forever. But first my bones of glass will have to carry me far. to understand her I must tell her all I know. Tell her not to make my mistakes. To look through no windows.