hat comes first is the heavy weight of a signal. No. Scratch that. It's only the interpretation that makes it through. The signal itself never came. Never made it all the way past the webs that lie for perception. Never pierced the act of comprehension. Got turned around in the ongoing arrangement of its composition. Got lost along the way like an off-buried worm twisting away in the wrong direction.
     It had an impact though. A slight of effect that carried over. A feint of twitches and tics on Monday. A warm funny feeling down there today. And tomorrow there'll be a string of cuts and nicks from shaving when it subtly bleeds through once again. But when it happened not a thing, not a thing at all. No sense or reflex action, not even the slight turn of the head or raised lift across the brow. And whatever it may cause by the way of aftershocks it never becomes anything more than just that. Not now. Not yet. Like the cicada it'll need a great many years, perhaps the whole bloom of old age, before it finds it's way back into the fresh air and the ripening of fruit. Coming back to him in a blossom full of wonder and 'what was that' surprise as some lost childhood toy found in a passed down family antique. But by then, of course, it will all have been too late. He, having gone his way. She hers. And it falling back to the floor like a stone of forgotten melancholic regret.
     They say it would never have happened anyway. That the odds were too great in the first place. Greater then that of a chance pheromone floating through the air, subject to all sorts of backdraft and current, surviving every manner of humidity and contamination and finding its way into just the right receptor. One upturned at just the right degree, hooked over the incoming vector at just the right angle and synchronized in just the right cycle of breath. And even then, on top of that, needing to land softly on the nasal pit with only a hope that it holds the correct chemical key. The component that connects and sends a signal able to bypass the cortex and shoot straight into the hypothalamus with a rush. And not even that would be enough. But also the taking of it up like the lost beads off a broken string and much more then even that would have to be undertaken too. Much more then any mere turn of the head, to some tickle in the lung and a strange feeling, neither bad nor good, indeterminately felt everywhere.
     And much more then even all of this according to those that speak on things they have never seen. Much more then you could possibly imagine they announce having not even witnessed the near miss. Not allowing their own minds to view the potential of the crash. The possible quorum of hurled bodies and fragmented mass, of smashed orbits cut up by broken glass. Not having even seen the starting point of what might have been. Having only turned their heads after the fact, at the hearing of an odd word, or the sad sound of a slip somewhere far off. Never staying on until the end when it will weigh in at its full measure. For them it is all uninvolved. The signal an incommunicable anomaly, removed of any responsibility. Just one more worthless addition to the trash.
     Whatever was there that might have had any worth, universe raped and looted long ago. The big bird of prey that is on the newborn the moment it leaves its egg. Spreading its wings like a quick dark cloak. Drowning out those first gasps and screams. Whatever you may have heard, actually made out, just a sound garbled through the vocabulary of dreams and death. And all that is left is an indeterminable mess, something best abandoned and forgot, left with the rest to fade away by way of rot.
     Never giving it the recognition it deserves. Not even the honor of a drop that falls from the dry desert heavens and manages to find its way through puddles, ponds, creeks and streams. All the way to the great rivers as one of the few from afar that by luck and chance and days and months makes its way to the sea beyond the beach and its wide lick of blue tongue. Never rising in cheer at the grand feat it might have achieved, nor the grace with which it skated the line. Ignoring it altogether how it kept thin between the fat of subjects, never once going astray in the vagueness that we are. But then again what can one say before such a broad reach of entropy. It happens every day. Every entity reaching out in an arraignment of time that keeps thinning and thinning in an attempt to encompass everything. What hope can we have for the hope that will not die.
     No more then the hope we have for all. The very same dream of the original word that screamed its way into being. The one that made it through and came out with a dance and a song. For every one such as that there are a million more we fail to see. Every missed possibility of the eternal that never came to be. It is for the sake of them that the one which makes it sings.
It happens. It happens a lot.





illiam rubbed his hands over the scrub that the late day had made of his face. His fingers passing over the lantern like jaw of a hatchet that had long become just another feature in its place. A mug which had put disgust in the others ever since he first could walk. The strange shape of his head forgotten right now as he smears drool across his sleeve and his chin. Forgotten along with why they had bothered to bathe and shave him. Memories smeared like the snot on his shirt. The one which told him why he was up on the hill. The one which had put a shovel in his hand. Left alone to remember only what he liked. The warmth that the thick hair gave his checks. The game of hide and seek with lost breakfast crumbs and cake. How his fingers liked to play as they groomed over and over what was no longer there. Left alone with only the hope it might grow back by the time they ate.

He does what he can to lash the saddle back together with the scraps of his pants. An effort that's left him in only the shatters of cloth. With what little left of his shirt now but a bloody bandoleer around his shoulder. Taking up what comes from the wound where the bullet passed through. Leaving him beat, bloody and nearly nude to weave up a strap that's strong enough to hold. Left alone in a land without features with a hurry coming under a fast declining sun. The blood still slowly flowing though the pain has altogether stopped. The bullet seems to have passed through without a shatter of a bone. The prospect of it healing included a chance that he could live. But none of this is a matter for him. The hope of such good fortune is not counting in his concerns. Only his horse in the distance and the far off target of revenge form the sum of every thought that's left alive inside of him.

She stands in the window with her hands folded neatly as a pair of sleeping birds. Perfect as a picture for the husband riding in over his vast and endless lands. Still as the scene as she watches him come in, seeing that he rides alone. Coming in with the dusk on his heels and the dirty work left somewhere back on the road. Coming in alone to the loneliness of herself. Coming in like the long hand of the night reaching out and taking everything in with a crush of her breath. The shadow of a victor growing long as he approaches his home. Watching everything he can now call his own fall away with the light. The house and the fields, the shacks and the hill, all the women and the men and their children covered in dirt. Every inch of earth the horizon holds in. All of it his to loan and have others work. But above all there is her. The one in the window, the one watching him. His uncontested prize, his trophy and his wife. The reason he has just taken another man's life.

William liked the shovel. He liked they way it chopped through grass. He hoped they would let him keep it. Keep it like the spoon that he curled up with in his sleep. Not take it away at the end of the day. Like they always take everything away. He liked it because it was strong. Stronger then his leg like his spoon was stronger then his teeth. He wanted to hide it under his bed. He liked the way it smelled like grass. But they will take it away. Just like they take everything away. Even the hair on his face. They always did.

She doesn't ask what happened. She doesn't have to. It's written all over his face. It's in the matter of fact confidence which slides off the air he strolls in with. His posture and his pace saying it all without even a word. It's better that he doesn't speak it. It wouldn't matter if he did. She is already well versed in all the lies. And all the truth that there is she already knows. She knows it all as she watches him from the stairs. Is certain her love is dead by the time he reaches the bar. Knows exactly what to do while he measures out a glass of gin. Taking him in through the reflection the night has made of the glass. Knowing how it happened doesn't matter. If he had hired men or done it with his own hands, it doesn't matter. She is certain that it's been done. That it is over and that she is his. Trapped in a cage of neverending land. Held in by an absence of anyone who cares. Barred from any hope of rescue. She knows it is the end of every dream and that only one escape is left.

He reaches his horse just as the darkness completes. The beast busy grazing stays still while it helps him with the saddle he no longer has to haul on his own. Even seems to take up the weight of his wound as it rears him around. Echoing forth a new hope with a neigh and a kick. Leaving the pain and the cold behind with the sun as they ride off towards revenge that is now no longer just a hope. But is something certain and in the open as if it was somehow already planned out long ago. And all that's left is the last action. The why and the how coming down to a dim. Tightening into a tunnel with only one end. The one he's carried toward over the last of the land on the last gasps of his breath.

No one cried today. Someone always cried when they held him down for a shave. When they kept him still before the razor. He didn't like the razor. It meant someone went away. When they put a shovel in his hand and sent him up the hill. Days when the dogs weren't allowed to play. Days when it smelled like rain. He liked days like today. Even when someone cried. Even if it was him. He liked the hill and the rain. He liked the shovel. The shovel is not his but it's in his hand. He used it to walk. It was like a big spoon that ate up the land. It was even stronger then his spoon. It went chunk as it sunk and talked when it hit rocks. It liked the taste of dirt. Didn't mind at all the stones. It cut the green clean and whistled when he spun. It felt smooth on his face. It smelt like grass.

She sits through dinner with her face held together by a feint of a smile. The last ounce of her breeding holding on until the last. Not letting weakness slip through the roots of all that is stoic and grace. Saying little. Saying nothing. Knowing all that has ever been said is but the skeleton of a story already heard. Not letting him in, not even feeling his touch on her skin. Knowing she will never feel again, not even now as she moves towards the end. Holding on to her strength through the moments with sips of her soup and a slow chewing of her food. Noting the hint of glass under wine, the metal taste of the spoon. Finding more in these things then in any thing ever before. So absorbed that even when something is said, that he was hunting or had gone on to town, she no longer hears. Forgets whichever lie it may have been the moment it is said. It doesn't matter. She knows that he is dead. He may as well admit to the truth. May very well be saying it now. But she is not listening any more. Hearing only a voice coming in through a tube as she merely smiles and points out the ripeness of the fruit. Aware of only them as they're eaten. Seeing only the dead and the candles in-between dripping down to their own dark end.

All the blood that's left boiling over into a fury. Into a fever beating harder then his heart. Harder then the heave of breath in his chest. Every thought tossed off like ballasts of cement. Falling silent under the heavy tumult of hooves. The man and his beast no longer two but hurling forward like a fist through wind. Held together by a saddle held together by a thread. Consumed with only the throat that lies ahead. The one he's designed to choke and rip open. Not worried about weapons or men. Left only with the fury that will rage until one of them is dead. Until only one may lay claim to the soft that is the tender of her flesh.

They ate late on days like this. On the days when the dogs didn't play and they gave him a shave. The hunger grew strong as he sat on a rock and pulled out his spoon. He told it that it would have to wait. Pressed his thumb on its tongue and enjoyed the smooth on his face. The only thing they never took away. He looked at the shovel at his feet and dreamed that he was big and used it to eat up the dirt. Laughed like a giant with no end to his food. The hill but a big giant bowl of mush. Eating up the trees and their roots while rivers ran straight down his throat. Until his stomach growled and he remembered how he hated the days when they ate late.

The man and his wife ascend the stairs together in slow speechless steps. The woman giving the girl a nod to turn out the lights and let herself out the back as they go into their room. Undressing while her husband watches from the bed. His eyes on her curves being slowly revealed in the dim. Hers fixing on one dark corner to the next as she goes to him. Succumbing to his strength with less resistance then he could have ever imagined. Growing vain when she shows no fear and he knows that he has her. Shows her what she already knows with his hands. Shows her hard that he is the only man she'll ever have. Regardless of how she is no longer even there. Her eyes but mirrors of night reflecting glass. His seeing only what he physically possessed. Never knowing what they might have learned. Never needing to learn anyway. Never having to open up enough to let in the rest. He would have only held her through his days like a toy until he grew bored or forgot how to play. Never knowing how to animate her with anything more then the movement of his own life. Forever feigning an embrace with the stiffness in her limbs. If he could find any joy in this she no longer knew. For she is no longer there and it is all together too late. Not there to share in his pleasure any more then he acknowledged her torture. Only aware of her breath as she knows it is over. That the blood has ceased and that she is falling asleep into the only dreams which ever let her be free.

Taken away by the sight of two birds at play. Lost in the small flights of feathers and circles. Like a little dance in his heart they became the very black of his eyes. Everything else rolling away and back down the hill. The stings on his neck and the pain in his gut taken away in swirl of joy and wonder. He reaches out for them. Tries to touch them. To grab on to the song and the chirps with his ears. Dreams they are wings that carry him away. Taking him up toward the sun and the bright light above all the rain and the mud.

He came in through a window, one of the many, quiet and deadly. Silent only until he found the cabinet with the gun. The last doubt shouting out with a hand that smashed through glass and tore back with pieces of wood. Finality sinking in as he embraced the rifle and slid in a shell. Slammed back the chamber with it's round and headed up the stairs without fear or a sound. The tremble in his legs and his fingers from a weakness and a lack of blood he could no longer feel. Taken over by fever and an anger that burned feral. Darkness sweeping in on an omen of cold air. The last habit of life a worry that a window had been left open somewhere. Death having long ago set in before it set foot on the stairs. Coming up slowly worried of a door bursting open, a report from another gun, the look of horror that is murder when it finally comes. The pain creeping back in when all he crosses is silence. Slipping into a world that ends on a knob. The one slowly turned toward the open and the end. Pulling everything in toward the still sleeping curves long poisoned and dead. Knowing it all as he closes in on what will never move again. Taking up her hand before letting it fall back cold, heavy and dead. Falling back on his knees with only the barrel holding up what's left of him. His head hung on the end which is as cold as his skin. Pausing finally to breath before letting the night slip back in.

The runt rubs his tongue with a stone as he hears the hunger howl through his bowels. Looks down at the people and the shacks underneath all the murk. The big house where his mother works. Forgets why he's here and starts to run down. Gets halfway there before someone yells to turn around. To get back up that hill. To pick up that shovel and not to forget there needs to be three dug before he eats his fill.





ow it happens is never clear. What it becomes is never certain. Why it won't ever stick around is just one more secret for the pile. The whole event never even catching onto a name. It's like a game where only the parts and their players ever grace us with sounds bites and tongues. Coming along in your everyday spoofs and spooks. The little trip ups and the slips. The things that sum up rifts and fall back at once inept and aloof. The traditional Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the classical Shindindeleaub and his Catsalamahoo. You can pick whichever sticks and paste them over whatever. Give one golden boots to trample down the other through the mud. Make one young where the years are what's hunted, the other out at the end of age where the years are squirreled away. Dress them in sex with a his and her. Throw them up in the air and mix them up again. Turn them into a yeah and a nay, the this and the that, the one that will come and the one already past. The trick is to get the ends to knot together.
     For now let's leave them as the dumb and the dim. Playful labels which never give you anything more then just a handle. Don't worry which one is which for if you manage to get one right you can be certain the other is bound to pull a switch. They are merely the cock and bull story of what it's all about, the sum of every difference that never adds up in the abbreviated list. Be careful trying to keep them together for they can take you for a ride, driving all around town like the monkeys of no evil. The one with the eyes shouting directions to the one behind the wheel who can't get answers to his questions while you're stuck in the back with your hands holding a scream.
     Think of them as the soldier and the hunchback, the right and left arm of a puppet ripping itself apart once it's sewed itself back together. Always starting over, again and again. The mighty and the weak agreeing to disagree with an accolade to argue. Just rounding them up his hard enough. Like jackals of chance and surprise they are two figures running along a neverending sunrise. While you wonder what's the point of chasing after their taunts and hyena like cries. When all you get by getting them together is a swirl of fur and bloody hides as you stand helplessly aside watching them tear themselves limb from limb. They told you opposites attract, but neglected to mention that they tend to explode.
     They've worked out a way to their lives however. Regardless of how everyone, including them, persists in getting their names wrong again and again. They've found, as a matter of fact, an incompetent irregularity by which they get along. Where Dim might run forward without heed or get run and stuck up a tree. While Dumb slowly treads backwards, frequently falling down or stumbling over the side. Coming back up in the role of a bright and unforgettable sun while the other acts the shadow falling back, slipping under rocks and getting sucked up by cracks before they ever manage to touch. They run like two rivers through the future and the past. One an acidic flood devouring everything in its path. The other following in a quake of dust, obscuring every scar and filling the bottom back up. And though they never meet, they share and steal the same tributaries and eventually even empty into the very same sea.
     It's been held as a point of view by some that they never really part company. Indeed that they share the very same quarters, fighting like kid brothers over who gets the top bunk with an endless rock paper scissors or tic-tac-toe. Oblivious to the actual act of their quarrel, much as we are ignorant of the cracked glass of the now and then lens through which we see them. Wholly unaware that there is an unsettled contest as we are at often out of tune with the nonlocal or at odds with the notion that now is always and forever. Those that hold this to be true claim they've even seen them dance together. Like the can and the can't going hand in hand toward mutual doom and disintegration. All the way to the end with smiles full of undeniable bliss. They never fail to point out however that the end is not really the end. That it is just something moving in and out of view. And you, merely a perspective passing by, are lucky to even catch it out of the corner of your eye. That if your dare declare one to be wicked and the other to be good, you'll err with your conclusions and fall before ideas which are fixed. And that if you ever chance to see them again, through all the fuzzy borders of sense, you'll not be certain which one is which.
     The key that keeps them glued is but the unsteady word of a truce. Something garbled through the words. Lost in the static and upturned volume. Nothing more then a familiar tone caught in a crowd that forever shifts and turns around. The chance picture that pulls you in and leaves you standing suddenly aware of what you are. The here and now being what it's all about. This is the moment when it comes, the very space in which you can see them. When thought merges into feeling and feeling merges into sense. When two ends of a smile fight over a frown and weave together a singular drop. The one landing in your hand with all the limbs and ends rolled up. The one racing away through your fingers like a fast flowing tear and bleeding out every ounce of its momentum with a splash as they're off again.
     Back to the bumps and the rough and tough stumbles with dim falling over right of the bat and dumb tipping his hat like a drunk fresh on the scene. The now having passed and the here well out of grasp. The face of the divine having slipped back into the how, what and why of ever changing masks. What hurt before now offers pleasure as dim gets back up donning one a hell of a honker in a jig of fleet-footed jazz. And dumb, not to be undone, grows out his ears and flies off on the large flappy wings of Dumbo. It's different every time. And they do it again and again. With a zig to match the others zag they're just two Swiss cheese bodies trying to puff up for their friends. They do it over and over through the spasms of beginnings and ends. Again and again. Never lumpen enough on their own to fill in the whole but as mutable and unstable as timber put to fire.