by Jesse S. Mitchell
Sit at my desk, let the air blow around me…
I can see nothing but I know its all there.
A bit of Milton’s blindness
And I am lost but I can still feel the air
As it moves my hair…sitting at my desk
Perched above the ocean
Ocean and sky, frozen together in a point
Frozen apart, just a line carved in the breeze.
Sitting all alone, a picture I cannot see
A picture of beautiful things
Pretty perfect things…
I let the perfect stay pretty and the pretty I let be.
In the closet in my head, Skeleton man
Rattles his bones and clatters his teeth,
I am just a dead man waiting to happen
In the bony grins lies my key.
Sitting at my desk, letting the words fly
Flying out in order to fill up
Some empty person’s
Just a stray line sketched in the sky.
There beneath a canopy of yellowish green leaves sat a swaying blonde head. Under a stick straight sick grey tree Millicent sat in a daze. A million words flying by her ears and a thousand souls strolling before her eyes, all completely unnoticed. The whole park alive and she sat in its very center, a pin point dot, a speck, a mystic, a guru silent. Her hair pulled back tight and falling loosely down her back. Her tight sweater looked to be as old as she was, green and so far out of fashion that it cut a very flattering profile, black skirt and short black shoes, eyes glossed over and broken. No one really lives there anymore.
“I am writing a song, Jack.”
“Yes, the words that is, not the music. The air supplies the tune.”
“So it does.”
“Can you hear it? There is an F and an AM and a C or a G, I am not sure. I watch the wind blow, fast and then slow and then not at all. That is how I get the tempo.”
“Hmmm, try a Bm or a D, huh?”
“So you can hear it too?”
“No, not really.”
“It is for the Dharma Raja…in Bhutan.”
“Nice. So Millicent, did you walk down here?”
“Yes, how did you know?”
“I didn’t see the Citroen.”
“Yes, the car…Henri took it with him when he left for Brussels.”
“Millicent, Henri has been gone for two years now.”
“No, I mean, what? Yes, so he has.”
“You still had the car yesterday.”
“And, Henri could not have taken it with him.”
“Because he has been gone for more than two years now.”
“Yes, yes he has…no, not so long, it has not been so long. He will be coming right back, you know.”
“I know why you are here, Jack, but I don’t have any here with me, I am afraid.”
“Jack, I feel so naked but not alive…not naked and alive but more like naked and all blue and dead, all pulled out, oh like some pagan sacrifice…oh I am on fire, yeah but so cold, do you know what I mean?”
She reached out and touched my arm. People walking by began to slow down and glance our way.
“So where do we have to go?”
“You have to go with me.”
“Fine, that’s fine. Let’s go.”
“I think I would like to be called Minerva in another life. Oh, when the clouds are not so dark as they all are now. Do the clouds bother you, Jack? We could make them go away but no, no, no you like all the rain don’t you, yeah? The rainy rainy skies and bitters, yes, that is what you like. I remember. Oh, Jack, yes and I have painted your picture you know? Would you like to go and see it then? We have to go there anyway.”
“Where is it?”
“Where I do all my painting, of course. And where I keep the tea, yes…come on, yeah?”
“Yeah, lets go see. Can you even go back there?”
“Why of course, why wouldn’t I?”
“Didn’t they shut you out, board it all up and everything?”
“No, no not yet. Not until later, later.”
“Can you get all your stuff out then?”
“Yes, yes, come on come on, later later with all of that, yeah.”
“Okay, yes I am coming.”
We walked lightly along. I tried my best to follow her weightless steps but I could not keep up. I could not understand whatever spell it was that she was under. I could walk with the same kind of melody. I could not see the landscape in front of me in the same animation. We left green and growing things behind and put our feet down on the hard surfaces of commerce and city. And with wide eyes and dinosauric disappointment I thread my way though certain crowded spots of street and let fall my heavy heavy bits of heart and step. We walk slowly and then Millicent’s pace will quicken. She reaches her hand out and grabs me and pulls me close to her as an old man on a bicycle floats by me. We come to a hidden little alleyway between two tall grey rotten windowless buildings. We stop in front of a large iron gate halfway down the alley. It is black and spotted with rust and has a sign above it that reads neti, neti, neti, neti. Millicent leads me down the pathway hidden deep in the alley to a small abandoned building that appears to be made entirely out of glass. Large windows make the front and large windows on the side and large windows on the roof…just everywhere big clear glassy windows, some cracked, some completely broken out. I have been here before, many many times. This is where Millicent works and as far as I can tell, this is where Millicent lives.
“Here we are again, Jacky, the star chamber, huh? Where princes and potentates discussed the fates of politicals, enemies, friends, good horses and mistresses…yes. Jack, now be careful, there are cracks here and you may fall in. I would never hear from you again. There cracks above too, you know.” Millicent waved her hands and arms up in the air madly. “There are cracks above us, in the sky, in the ceiling and up we will fly, gone, gone, forever gone, Jack. Wouldn’t that be grand?”
“Everyone does eventually, right?”
“Oh yes, oh yes, they do, Jack. Marilyn Monroe is dead. Did you know that, Jack?”
“Actually, Ali said something about that but I didn’t know for sure just what he was talking about. But okay, I get it now. So, Millicent you got any weed here, then?”
“Yes, yes I do…look over there and you will see my painting of you.”
“I see a lot of paintings over there but I cannot tell which is which, I must say.”
I hand some rolled up money to Millicent and she hands me a wad of brown paper bag as she dashes by me.
“Is this it?”
“Look for yourself.”
I hesitate to unroll the paper bag, as I am sure green bud and pieces of leaves will fall out everywhere, so instead I hold the brown wad up to my nose. The smell is very strong. It is definitely what I came for.
“Good, good…look this is the one, look.”
She points at a large red painting with a giant pale yellow moon in the corner. A small stick figure stands next to a childish drawing of a car, it looks like the Citroen, and stares down into some water…a river maybe, and watches as a bunch of bodies float by…it is a very strange painting.
“So this is it? Well, very nice, thank you.”
“No, thank you…yes yes, thank you…she said, yes that is what she said, I think.”
“Danken, hmmm, what is it…”
“Don’t speak German, Jack, no.”
“Your German is terrible. I cannot stand to listen to it. Only your French is worse.”
“Okay, well, good day then.”
I walk out of the building and down the path and through the gate and away I go…a bit disturbed but glad to have my tea.