Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dark Places


In honor of love month I'll be posting stuff as I count down to the 14th. It's hokey, it's corny, but you can look at it this way: it's better than nothing when you're somewhat creatively constipated. And if in case you are the mushy type, then maybe this might be what you need.

The stuff will be mostly mine. If the piece isn't mine I'll say so. If you're going to copy and paste this at least please tell people I made it.

The places that I walk are often the same places everyone else inhabits. It's just that I seem to slip into a kind of parallel dimension where I can see everyone as they go about their business-- couples holding hands and contemplating each other, friends and officemates cheerfully making the first of their eager legs home. I could stand haloed in moonlight, or bathed in the artificial yellow of the city and they would never notice, never see me. That is, until I broke the spell, announced myself-- and then the party would be over for someone.

In the old days that would have been a welcome thing. Some of my talents lie somewhat in stealth, and there was a period in my life where I did make shadowing people and casing places a quasi-hobby. No, I had no assassin-wannabe aspirations but it was cool to play at being Batman, or eponymously, The Shadow.

None of that today, though.

Whenever I find myself slipping into that twilight subspace It's often against my will. I want to be seen, to be noticed, to interact. But I know humans like I know the back of my hand and the survival instinct takes over. The gates open, and I'm in, guts turned inside out and knees quivering in the bargain.

I become an unwilling member of the storied denizens of the night. I cruise with vampires and ghostly women dressed in white. Amorphous incorporeal things harrass me.

I follow people who swim in their spaces like so many happy fish. In my not-space I am hyper-aware of every nuance, every gesture. The little details more than anything really. Sense perception is diminished so that every other sense compensates for the loss of fidelity. From my not-space I observe in slow motion the fall of a woman's hair as she tosses her head from side to side, walking with her peculiar somewhat bow-legged gait. I observe a friendly kiss goodbye between her and a friend. A man and a woman: I notice the body language that atempts to hide the closeness that is already there, patent, for everyone with eyes, to gawk at.

From my not-space I know. And the knowledge brings bitter consolation.


I don't own this space. I only found it. The way was open to me when my heart first broke long ago.


I often find myself sharing it with vagrants, beggars, prostitutes and children selling flowers in the dead of the night. I know this because they can see me, as lost and sometimes as lonely as the rest of them. They reach out to me with arms covered in grime or sores, a pleading (or sometimes predatory) look in their eyes.

Comfort me. Need me. Feed me. Love me.

They take me back to realspace when they do this, as I suddenly have the power to banish them to not-space with their humanity savaged by just so much. It's hard, to acknowledge them as human beings and tell them I can't help them.

In the end we vanish into our not-space, becoming observers of a world that would rather forget us.

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