Today is yesterday and will be tomorrow. Who said that?
Macbeth, methinks. Or Vonnegut, maybe.
I cannot tell them apart. It is not my fault.
What beckons, confuses.
This pool of blue. These azure pools.
They would be alluring, were they not everlasting.
This cloud of gray. These drifting flocks and flecks of silver.
They grimace at me, all the same, all blurred together.
Perhaps they have no other nature, these clouds. They are all that has been up there for day after day. (If they cover the nights, I'll never know.)
This stream of white. These rushing rivulets in snowy pallor.
Ophelian shrouds. But I will never go mad.
This world of diluting, breathing wetness.
This lost, washed-out place.
Thunder pounding and hammering, gusting with the speed of sound.
Whips spun from the veins of the wind curse all around me.
Drops that never cease, so the world must, maybe.
All of you.
All of it.
Do not insist.
There is no here anymore.
There are no eyes seeing.
There are no ears hearing anything, except for one thing.
The whipping wind spinning its wet web.
There is no touch that knows where, or who.
The touch is in denial of all of it.
The touch thinks it still knows.
Yet it doesn't.
This place is now something it never was.
The reason? For days it has been etched on the blue-white-gray of the moisture invaders. The denizens of the killing fields of this lost city.
Fingers not mine taking over where my own fingers once were.
All the places they used to work. Things they worked at, and did.
It was once good, or so I recall.
I should feel fear, but I don’t.
I should try to find shelter, but I don’t.
I need feet, head, hands to find something like that.
Shelter. What can it be, really? In this blankness of three drained colors.
They are all gone. They seem to be all gone. They surely must be all gone. I do not know for certain, but they must be.
I sense only their absence, their ability to rhyme.
I am thinking of a song, “Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain.”
An old song, back from the time when time existed, when calendars existed and marked the spots, years or days.
That is what we used to call them. Squares that knew. Paper with knowledge.
Now it is all a song about love and its loss. A lovely song. You might have heard it, but maybe not.
I cannot sing it, and won't try.
I can only think the song, you see, because only the thought of it remains.
The melody has become gray and diluted.
It trickles through my open palms and fractures when it hits the space below.
Because there must be a space somewhere.
I wish the song would return, just as its singer wishes for the return of another.
I cannot wish for that return, however, because I cannot wish anyone back. Useless.
My wish is for the return of days (and nights) with seams and sutures, distinct, discrete, knowing what they are. But the seams have faded to nothing.
This is not a story about a broken heart, however. Utterly ridiculous to reduce all of this to something like that. (Feelings)
Hearts don’t break, really. At best they float away.
Float in some other direction.
Let them go. Hearts can’t float forever.
This is not about love, hate, or anything in between.
It is about longing, though.
Something far more important.
I long to gather up all the pools and sky and moving water into something with village names on signs, with calendars, with menus taped to the windows of cafés, even with graffiti on walls. If I could just do that, things might be right with the world once again.
Once again I would know.
But I can’t gather up those things.
They are all gone.
They have all been washed away.
Utterly, cruelly, definitively erased.
It is impossible to say what day it is.
What month it is.
Where this all is.
Everything puddled beneath the feet, here and there.
This is all there is now: blue and white and gray. (Exact shades do not matter.)
Smeared all around, vertical curtain, blocking my view, splashing.
Perhaps there is no longer anybody else here.
I don’t know because my eyes do not see them.
If I try to reach them, they are diluted.
They suddenly drain away after sitting for a moment or two atop the flattened street stones.
After falling through the edges of my fingers.
And no one is speaking, because no one dares. Yet they must pretend this will change.
I must pretend.
We can only hope now. Hope is different from faith. Hope is better, they say.
I hope I am not a ship or a small boat adrift on rising waters, because eyes cannot see to sail.
Not in all of this.
Not without the squares of paper that tell us when, what day, what season.
On the other hand, I hope I am not drowning, although that is possible, because I don’t know how to swim.
Can I breathe? I have no answer to that question, not now.
Still, my breath comes and goes as I slog through something that ought to be there buut isn't.
My biggest fear is never again knowing what day of the week it is, or how many days I have just lived.
My second biggest fear is not knowing the month or the season.
Hell would be not knowing what year it is.
This might be Hell.
It’s not the fault of the calendars, all gone with the current, discarded. Useless.
I recall the time when there was still such a thing as time. That was when I had a pretty little list of months and days with pretty little pictures hung on a wall in my home. Even the digital age doesn’t take away the allure of photographs of lavender fields or olive groves, of colorful baked pottery or tiles, of snow perched on jagged mountains nobody needs to climb, really. Those were my calendars and I would look forward to new years so I could get a new one. Sometimes I had two, because there are ones with animals that are irresistible. As nice as the mountain peaks and groves.
I don’t know if there are any irresistible calendars now, because eyes cannot find them. Like I said, they’ve all been washed away.
Then, too, this wall blocks any seeing of months and their days on calendars, so it might be wrong to assume that all of them are gone.
Things might simply be hidden, or invisible.
The same could apply to Faramontaos, Ulfe and Trasulfe, Rosende, and Trasalba.
None of the village names are left.
All gone. All washed away.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a flood. I am certainly not an ark.
Yet everything, every day and most certainly every night, has vanished because this won’t let up. This continues, relentlessly.
Now I am thinking of another song, all of a sudden. Maybe this is the thing called hope that Emily Dickinson wrote of. If so, it would be a thing with feathers. This time the song isn't sad, like the other one.
This time iI'm thinking “Singing in the rain,” and that’s apparently a glorious feeling. That’s what the singer says.
But rain is different than this.
When this is rain, in the second song, you get out an umbrella, go out the door, open it up, and start singing while feeling happy. Anybody can do it.
You merely pick a place and head in that direction.
I can’t find a direction.
I can’t find a place.
I can’t find a reason.
Umbrella does no good. It provides no protection from this.
All this seamlessness.
It was a nice thought, though.
Songs are like poems, and there is an infinite number of poems about rain.
Some are long, others are short.
There’s the one about the red wheelbarrow and the white chicken.
That one is quite lovely, but it has gone the way of the calendars and the signs with the names of villages.
There are no words left, you see. No words and no numbers.
Yes, I could look those things up on my watch, but it’s not the same.
Yes, I could check the internet, but it’s not the same.
Why insist? Shakespeare tried to explain it -
‘For the rain it raineth every day...’
- observed his Fool in Twelfth Night, but Fool was full of sound and fury and made no more sense of the days than I can.
To be honest, Elizabeth Bishop understood this better than anyone, with her magnetic rock, blood-black bromelias (silk grass to others, strong as twine), her climbing vapor, and fat frogs.
I would gladly take the fat frogs now, if I could see them.
I would happily accept her steady sun, but there is none to be had.
Not here, at least.
Not for day after day after night.
If I can’t get my eyes to see and my feet are bound to get lost, why bother trying to identify time or place.
Clouds of mystery. They are the guilty ones, because they pour confusion on the ground.
Elizabeth could comprehend all this, but they confuse me and my ground is gone.
Only the gauzy white or grim gray remains.
Maybe that will change.
Does every day have to be just like the one before?
So far, yes.
There isn’t anything out there.
Have you ever seen the rain?
Have you ever seen only rain, eight months in a row?