Sparì nella luce dello schermo.
Tirò fuori il telefono,
si asciugò le guance e gli occhi.
Quasi quanto lei, in fondo,
aiutarla o confortarla sembrava fuori luogo.
Nessuno aveva il coraggio di chiedere.
Forse a lasciar passare le lacrime,
si sedette un po’ in disparte,
partita, forse da casa, forse più lontano.
Ci diceva che non era poco che fosse…
– qualcosa nel passo stanco –
non capivamo da dove venisse.
Era arrivata che stava piangendo.
They were huddled in the same room, as if in a crooked nest, some scribbling away, some, admittedly, were typing on small keyboards. At seemingly regular intervals, they would silently squabble as if their worlds mattered more than any of the others. It was a peculiar circle, with more sharp angles than you might envisage – you could feel the tingling tension zig-zagging around the table. There were some lights, but their warmth felt unsure, tentative, even scared of shining too bright, as the shadows would only grow deeper as a result. The trickling noise of tapping on the tables, the clicking of pens, keyboards, thin fingers scuttling across the surfaces, was only interrupted – almost as if on a loop – by a peculiar but all too familiar moan. It would hang in the air for a handful of seconds, haunting all present company, lingering just enough to become uncomfortable, only to slowly dissipate into the incessant scritching on paper, the constant clicking sound of keys.
No eyes looked up, no contact made between the figures in the circle, no movement other than what required for the production of more work, more words, more paper, more screens, more, more, more. Lines building upon lines, stories stacked up precariously and vanishing to other rooms, to other – much wider, much louder, much livelier – worlds.
Outside the building, in the growing chill of that autumn night, people passed by, entirely oblivious to the figures inside. It was as if they weren’t really there after all.
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Satisfied, satiated smiles.
All the time.
She watches them run through the pages
the images flowing beneath them,
hands touching the story.
She reaches out, a new
tenderness rushing through her skin.
She watches the ink singing
on the paper on their fingertips,
plots swirling under digits
lines spoken without sound
– she stops.
She plots, weaving into the
chapter this reading
this flowing of paper trails
and cuts to new scenes.
She is a reader, and can flesh out
characters only perfectly flawed
on the page, turn them into
whatever she can imagine
until they adapt to another vision.
She knows the twist turning in the wound
she sees the knot in the thread
the heart of the matter
and lets it beat.
She knows a book can end
as inevitable frames close the scene
lines are drawn and quartered
covers tucked in for an early sundown.
She knows a book can hold
lists and how-to tips and a universe of
suggestions and revisions and pages upon
pages upon pages of the kind
of words that are meant
to help and heal and soothe.
She knows all this but also knows
that none of it really helps
to turn a new leaf
start a chapter anew
and read further than the words
Except for her to pick up
or the same book perhaps
turn it round in her hands
and begin, again.
Here I trace the first line
as straight as I can go,
a moat between grains and glass
separating what comes now,
what came then and what comes later.
Here I move inside the first contour
as light as I can go.
A face, hands immovable moving
timed reactions framed in
blank spaces, words will come later.
Here I draw the second scene
as quiet as I can go
the sequence scuttling along
fed by salt and sand and more.
Another scene will come later.
Here I stand back for a second
as the story before me
sits, crashing and roaring
washing into another page and another
after that. More will come later.
Comics are the supreme fiction, madame.
Take the literature and make a frame of it
and from the frame build a page. Thus,
our reading is converted into seeing
like bleeding brushes, sighing for sequence.
Do we agree, in principle? Is it clear? But take
the visual art and make a blank gutter
and from the gutter project a reading
beyond the pages. Thus, our knowing
unbound by words, indulged at last
is equally converted into seeing
girning like growlixes. And seeing for seeing
reading for reading, madame,
our origin story unfolds.
(After Wallace Stevens)
Sing to me the stream of acid
and the lead in my lungs
the shadow of a bicycle
on the other side of the river
sing to me of a football flying
between me and my son’s smile
sing to me the ill stars
that I saw from the window.
Because I didn’t know.
I didn’t know how many things were happening
and took them like promises
of something bigger and truer
now I know they were my Story.
That afternoon was the only one of my life
but only now can I say that.
That wound will stay
my deepest scar.
That was the only love
and the friends I waved to
that time really left.
I was happy, but doubted it
those pages were my book.
For I have been
more than what I am, and will be.