Rendered Fat Content


André Masson: Battle of Fishes (1926)
"I left a few once-shiny screws which I intended to use to hold impermanence together."

Time seems to slow as this year moves closer to its ending. The days grow shorter but feel longer, some days seeming interminable in their passage. I swim through thick molasses on my way toward New Years. This year has been like no other, for this year, I lost my darling daughter, which opened a wound that could never heal and hasn't. It was also a year overflowing with hopefulness, the year The Muse and I undertook The Grand Refurbish, an effort deliberately imbedded with much needed promise. We ended our exile and moved back home but delayed moving in until we'd fixed up the place for our entrance. Here but not yet present, either, we spent the final three-quarters of the year suspended in place, no longer there and not yet here. Now time itself has lost its usual cadence, passing in slow motion if, indeed, it's passing at all. Some days, lately, time just seems stalled.

My notions of progress conflict with my understanding of entropy, this universe's governing quantity.
All progress proves short-lived, accomplished against a superior current, yet still well worth pursuing. We plant trees we'll never see bloom. We build for future generations while our own personal platforms quietly disintegrate back into the dust they once were. If this process isn't beautiful, it's unconscionable. It is us. It's who we never aspired to become. Our birthright. Our inheritance. Our dominant dance. I sit at the kitchen table polishing small brass screws with Brasso until each head shines just like new again, a hundred years old. Older! Whomever fashioned these babies has left the building, their existence now exemplified by these tiny beauties barely noticed, ordinary things. I wonder after the ordinary things I've been leaving in my wake as I work my way through arriving back home again, late. I signed the bottoms of the doors I refurbished. It seems likely that nobody will be able to interpret my scribblings.

That we live at all seems extraordinary, unlikely. That we seem to thrive for a time, even less plausible. We move exclusively in gushes and ebbs, fits and starts, our means of measurement equally unreliable, yet we still engage. I have been tardy putting the place back together again, for while there was only one way to disassemble everything, there are infinite ways to reassemble them wrong. I'm becoming equally adept at taking back apart again to reconsider an earlier solution as I ever was at initially putting together. Screws work both ways with equal temerity. They exist only to hold together impermanence, just like the rest of us.

When it rains in the predawn morning here, the power lines crossing my field of vision glitter as if they were strings of diamonds. Drops of rain water gather along those lines' lower edges to reflect the street light in various colors: reds and greens and silvers. The street below me seems abandoned at that hour, not even the dog walkers have come out. I am alone but not lonely, isolated but unafraid. I am writing, producing my tiny brass screws, each imperfect, each pretty much perfect enough. Once I am gone, as my darling daughter's now gone, do not remember my presence. I was barely here at all, almost but not quite a shadow. I left a few once-shiny screws which I intended to use to hold impermanence together. Rub some Brasso on them if you get the chance.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver