Page 13 thru the end

September 15, 2010 — 2 Comments

The man hurriedly removes his elbows from the Formica top and slowly glides over to fill the first of Sidney’s many mugs of thickly opaque and rum filled coffee.

While sitting there for hours[46] a story flies from his mind to his fingers as he steadily fills his head with caffeine and liquor and his pages with hope.  With the story finished, his shift ends.  He takes one last daily look at the photographs on the wall, packs up his typewriter, buries the story beneath it, and carries the case with him as he walks toward the door.  With his head lowered the entire distance from the table to the exit, he flashes a wave at Eric as he pushes his way out of history and back into society.

Three blocks forward, his head is still lowered as he weaves his way past a swarm of people as he approaches the next stop in his daily routine.[47] He then pauses in front of a large storefront window.  He stares through his mirror image as he presses his eyes and nose against the cold glass and glares at the chattering female employees.  Peeling his moist gin blossom off of the now foggy window he begins to faintly rap on the glass to get one of the women’s attention.  Upon realizing that someone is alerting them, they both immediately silence there babble and look out at the gentle old man that signals at them every day.  Sidney, his folded hands against the window, stares past the beautiful teenager who stocks the stationary and gazes at the aging lady who stands behind the cash register.  He nods his head forward several times, thinking “Thank You” with every movement.  The woman[48]pulls her hand from the front of her blue apron to acknowledge Sidney with a friendly wave.  Sidney takes one step, lowers his eyes to the ground and starts for home.

____________________________________________________

This was the story of my great uncle

I never knew because he was dead

The things that he left here

And how I picture him in my head[49]

-Steven “Elvis” Isaac Liebowitz


[46] What he would refer to as a full eight-hour shift.

[47] Terry’s Gifts ‘n’ Things

[48] See 45.  The two never shared words after their first encounter, which meant that Sidney never again heard the broken but beautiful language that Mercy spoke.  But Sidney preferred it this way.  Many years had passed and each time Sidney would pass the shop he’d make sure to look at the name badge (as it now actually read “Marcy” but Sidney never acknowledged the name change) to notice that the “in training” had been replaced by “assistant manager”.  The ring of “Mercy in training” was gone but her smile was still enough to communicate between strangers.

[49] Actual Title.  Steven never really did know his uncle as is actually unsure if the man ever existed or if he is, “just in his head.”  But the very question of his existence begs the question of how one could construct a character out of all these possessions and cultural entities.  Is that what a character is?  But that is what Steven has spent his life doing. Trying to uncover the history of a person that may have never existed and has turned him into a lonely only man, just like Sidney.  One could say that the history that he searched for grounded him in a period that was not his own and prohibited any future progress that may have been possible if he hadn’t searched tirelessly for a meaning of scraps of paper or symbols that might or might not resemble a MEANING.   Is that what life is then?  A meaningful journey where all we do is search for questions that may or may not hold relevance in the first place.  Do images of the past cloud our perspectives and inevitably make it impossible for individuals to make any progress?  What is progress?  And who decides?  Some might even ask who cares?  Isn’t that the question to end all questions?  Who cares?  Can some theoretical framework answer these questions or will it simply aim to define what the problem is and not actually aim to answer it?  Good.

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2 responses to Page 13 thru the end

  1. 

    Count me in as “enjoyed the hell out of.”
    Every once in awhile I read and see stuff that sort of puts my brain in a joyous swirling coma and this is one of them….the fact that it came from a good friend only makes the word coma better. It’s like DF Wallace, but with less bullshit.
    During one of my poetry workshops in college, a classmate wrote a poem so great that I wanted to ask her if I could have a copy and make a painting out of it. I never got the balls to though.
    This is kinda like that. But better.

    • 
      Anthony M. Van Hart September 15, 2010 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks, Molly. I’m really glad that you liked it. This was probably the only thing that I’ve written that I’m sort of proud of. Back then it seemed like my mind could churn out pages faster than my printer could print them. Information in/ Information out. I’m hoping to get that back. We should really work to get a writing group together so that kind of output is possible again!

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