‘Resolve’ - Revisited.
You carry it, until you bury it,
and then you dig it up again,
walk with it in the moonlight-
What reality could not have been.
Your writing and your past- are:
There was no daylight to pull him forward, no air just bitter preserved moonshine. A mechanical universe of stars never quite broken, but simply bleak. On the nights when it was cloudy and the sky was swollen with rain, he would not see her. He would wait. She knew he would not come on those nights, but she did not ask why, and he felt more or less indifferent towards her silent empathy. The rain enclosed his heart in bracket. And he did not think of her.
He’d hold himself in his cell and listen as the vacuous sky drew itself into an iron hammer. And when it finally sent its blow down to earth, when the cellar grew damp, and he tasted the revived moss bitter on his tongue, he would know, and he would go out into the night.
Close against the cellar door he would crouch in the mud. Outside had become an immobile cold. He would gasp for air, but only swallow all of the sedentary chill.
The rain deafened him, stole his senses, so he would close his eyes.
“I’m sorry” he would say to the sun he could not see. The sun, the unknown halo of all his departed light, would remind him, and he would speak:
We had lived, we had lived.
Then he would catch a sob in his mouth and wipe the black water from his face.
He would rise, a battered pit of a trunk arching upward toward the nothing, and move himself forward to the cellar steps that would lug him back into the bowels, where the sleeping forms of his family lay. He would ask the dark:
“How long do you think we will last?”
But on the nights he did see her, her words would fetch him back.
Her words were sharp, they carved deep and clear conduits into the night, they allowed him trust in something, brought him a river to nourish his mind, and sustain his waning hope. He may live to see the sun again. Her words burned on the heels of the kitchen air and strode strongly within the shadows. The Shadows crept at the base of the stairs, where the dark boards begged to carry his weight, but though they urged him, it was to where he would not dare.
Her language, French, not German, was a long passageway of canvassed thoughts, so organic, that it seemed unimaginable they that had had been left, to hang dry and unframed, by a departing earth. They breathed old summons: pages of generations lost because of The War. Deceased books, she resurrected in the dimness of the kitchen. Everything else, they had surrendered to battalions and machinery.
Distinctly though, it was her eyes: two green angels in a wooded land that spoke to him: they worked inside him like a revolving chronicle of a world he did not know, that he could not know, because he could not remember anything but his dark:
In his cellar, his unconsenting heart’s new jail.
He wondered how many centuries would not know. Neither of him nor her, or the rest. Would they wipe their hands of this lightless age….? Would they remember and hear their thoughts ascending through history? Or would they run from the overcast dreams of their past?
He knew the truth:
They could not run… those dreams would survive, they would gather into the shell polluted ether of 1945… Waiting in the heavens for the moment that they could thrust themselves upon a new generation nesting in their beds. The sandman of his decade’s caustic nightmares would come to drive those new men back into fear.
But what he saw in her uncovered eyes was one miracle, of a resolution: We, the present souls, forced into hell, we must not go.
This particular night, all the time in eternity had remained voiceless---passing by. Soldiers were coming upon Dresden slowly, perhaps they would survive. That, he understood, but to him it was borrowed time. He had only the edge of an hour left with this his? woman, before he must return to his cell.
His face must be sullied with grief, he was well aware of his failing emotions as his dark eyes searched for warmth in the corners of the room. Anything, he would give anything, to bring himself out from his belly of undigested shock.
She was not beautiful… well… she was, but in a few more years… well, nothing lasted…his own qualities were proof of his inward remark. Her face still held a certain roundness, the years between them did not matter, so he did not ask. The smooth pale oval of her chin only made him think of lighter and more boding saplings that had not survived the last winter.
Yet he held a quivering delight, somewhere… when he watched her. There was clarity, a unique radiance under her lips as she faintly unveiled her white teeth. That did him good. He still knew what good was. That had stayed.
He studied her impartially…. Partially…. as she fell into her seat at the table, waiting for her body to sink into stillness. She drooped so easily there, so easily, like a moth settling on dust, or perhaps, more, if he would let himself, a robin upon an olive branch, just for a moment there, unflustered and ready to take flight again.
Looking away from his thoughts, he shifted his gaze to the bread and cheese sitting on the cutting board. It would not be eaten tonight. They would save it.
She curved her figure so her face was masked behind a messy vase of drying flowers. The wildest flower concealed those lips. She must have walked far out onto the plane to cut it. He could not walk upon a lifeless earth and find something still sensitive to such a land. And if he did he would not cut it, he would leave it there, as it was, to decide if it wanted to stay. Though, he prized her search.
He could still see a cross of gold from around her centerpiece; it hung from her neck and rested at her collarbone next to a small mole.
Eyeing it, he requested:
As soon as he signaled those words, thunder scraped its teeth against the door. Helpless observers, they halted wherever the night was leading them. It entered the room and slid along the walls. Flashes of violent light shuddered behind the curtains and disappeared. The kitchen closed into silence, he closed unto himself, air clogged with dust unsettled by the noise. He followed a cool shiver as it ran up her arm to her shoulder to rest on the skin hidden beneath her robe. She shrank back into her chair. He thought, forlornly, that they would end their meeting in the quiet: once again. But then she spoke: With something close to certainty, her words gathered in the still hesitant air. But they were not complete:
“Oh the unwise spins, this disguised question, crippled my sail in the headwind. With a horizon a labyrinth black, I asked the sun to revolve over, only to learn I must change my path. Looking for any suggestions of the light for guidance I summoned the dead air to bring me back.
With treasures that lay pearly and dormant, her mind was a sleepy cove. I had wished to dock there alive for a moment, but I had known to let it go.”
Her words were changed tonight. The clear advice did not disguise a gentle hunger, and the shadows near the steps encouraged him more restlessly. His curiosity stirred in him, there was a keener, mislaid need… making a great sound in his mind.
“You can’t start in a middle of a poem.”
“It was improvised, I had not thought you would come tonight, the sky was very opaque. Time is nothing but an illusion… I can start wherever I want, still, however I cannot choose where we will end.”
She shifted in her place, the crook of her smile was revealed to him. You could take me… were the only words held within it, yet it impelled him to finish:
Where? He saw the stairs behind him, though he looked directly at her. Her grin had gone, he watched as darkness crossed her face. The driving wire within her brain placed her faraway into an absent sea… Though only for a moment.
And then she looked at him quite suddenly and fiercely.
But with what type of ferocity is it?
Reckless leaping thoughts struggled to take his mind.
In her quiet, severe as it was, he silently fed her words:
The space we take, is reduced to a tear. We shredded it, catches on the fabric of the universe that we weave as two neighboring suns. I know it will only end frayed and broken, dare I use my words.
They tired as they turn.
But I can feel there is a will that has been designed inside you, you hid it, and yet it is mine as much as yours, and will not leave me.
I cling to the edge of our universe to drink your mysteries. You are the river that feeds my blood.
But maybe my pain is for you, nothing more than a murk of feeling.
I grew a seed in your eyes from the twilight of your lashes. But do not you throw some light on these hopes?
“Do your wife or children need anything brought to them?”
Her question tangled with the air. Each word was expressive of some shade of sadness stretched out onto her canvas. But her face was a northern landscape, with emotions buried deep into permafrost. There was always the promise of spring curving from the fair lines of her mouth… but it did not dare brighten her eyes again like it had, in that brief moment tonight. Staring at the proud flower of her choice, she raised herself from her chair.
She wrapped the untouched bread and cheese into a white cloth and put it in his hands.
“ No, this will be enough if they wake and grow hungry tonight.”
Agitated, as if some new spirit had entered the air, the flames of the candles brightened and then narrowed into the gap at the lowest part of their wicks. Taking it as his sign to leave he stood and moved from the room, he kept his back to her as he left. Into the sodden moonlight… it should have rained. But it will not rain tonight. He walked across the grass —patches of sleepless chamomile that grew between the walking stones.
He wished it would have rained tonight.
The cellar door echoed his thoughts as he made his way into an obscene darkness. He cupped his hand to his head. His mind felt looted of all thought, except one: Temptation is such a fickle, hollow, thing. A shard of splattered moonlight leaked an oil spill down the steps. Using it, he examined the cuffs of his shirt: frayed. There was as ever, the unrelenting stain on his thigh where he had cradled his wife while she was sick.
He moved into the gapping decayed basin of stone. Desolate room, a lake of utter stillness, heavy acoustic silence, slick secular blackness. It was the culvert of the world’s despair. Already its featureless form surrounded him, dug its soaking distortions into his arms. He sighed to return to it. Only the light of a lantern accompanied him, though it was no more a friend than anything down there.
He spied his children sleeping in the corner under a decrepit blanket drawn up to their small chins. It was only a yard or two of fabric, but they could both fit under it with some room.
They were not growing, they were waiting. Waiting to move again.
And they were all blind to progress, if it still existed above them, were the soldiers coming to Dresden?
If progress still existed: it had diminished into a narrow tributary pooling around nothing but death. All of the counted figures of the deceased scrambling atop a purgatory ridge to call out in vain for any light of recognition from the shrinking earth.
He fit with his thought, and thought of his fit.
His wife sat in a pond of polluted light that spread itself out on the floor. His feet were still in darkness, the light does not touch things that still breathe down here. Grim dust gathered in the folds of her fading dress. A resonance of something haunted moved deep within her face, her eyes vacant of life. Those sockets sucked him into her sickness as it bellowed from her. Guttural, passing through her line of a mouth.
As any of us though, unless they make it to Dresden.
Less than a year left lingering about her, and she was made to end it in the damp stench of the cellar.
“ I have bread.” They were distant, gray, stripped words. The verge of a subversive idea escaped on his half-thoughts, he quietly let it through his mouth.
She was soundless.
Like a refusal to breath in life again, her whole body sighed. Only to feed darkness and rot the cellar further. She laid herself onto the floor.
She had only waited to see me down here safe. Nothing else, but to see if I am still alive. To be alive, but not to live… Never here, or again.
He took a moment to lean against the stone of the wall, holding dimly smoldering coals within his eyes.
He clenched his fist once. Twice. He had white hands. Very white hands, but it was not with them that he felt.
Placing his bundle onto the broken table at the boundary of the room he joined his wife.
Rightful place, right? Right. Yes, I say right, but nothing’s left of her.
He drifted along the rim of his thoughts tracing the contours of her face with his gaseous eyes. He tried to fill the fading place within his heart with anything at all enduring.
He searched for resolve. Something to make him stay. Stay down there:
He might already be dead.
She might only be saving the dead.
Where were the soldiers coming to Dresden?
What was this veil?
The humiliation of despair.
Searching in their eyes for a day
lit by something other than fear.
Her submission to her death?
She only listened to
moss on the stones
and the drip of water on the stairs.
His rootless heart?
A spinning sickened
fire devouring his family tree.
Drawn up in shadow and gauzy light, he felt his sympathy’s departure move through him like an anticipatory ghost.
A puddle of dreary stars turned slowly above his head. He knew of what he could not see, this once, and yet it was all down here to be disbelieved. He could not find in himself any ripple of their light. They knew nothing. He knew nothing. Under their damp blanket, and the provenance of all silence in the world, sleep met him in his buried reverie.
He was out on the surface, under the night, but otherwise unburied in this trance. His bare feet were atop the walking stones. Her delicate perfume of wildflowers floated around his head. She was there sheathed in a gown the color of her eyes. Moved by a great inclination for what he could not fully explain, he stepped further into his vivid dream. Her pale figure was covered in braids of ivy standing in the water of a shallow basin.
Her face wavered in the moonlight. A look of perplexity furrowed against her brow. Her words were sharp and instant:
"Is this indecision,
ivy growing around my hands?
Will this prevent me from holding a mirror
to tell me what is real? "
A remote rumble of thunder woke him.
Was it his exit? He tossed, tossing non-insomnia, it tosses his blood into peaks of white, dim white. White is the absolute, shade of nothing. White as my hands that I cannot feel.
He shivered blind in the shadows, the lantern had expired. In the exhausted cave he gazed at his wife beside him. Her figure did not move, he raised a hand to stroke her hair. Once. Twice. Nothing was restored. She was kept out of reach. His two good hands were motionless; this was all her dying heart knew. Untangling himself from their darkness he rose and walked the stairs of the cellar.
If only he could delude a heart as heavy as his: in his deciding moment, and perhaps he did, that: -You were never born your cave is indeed a womb, your earthly death is not your tomb. -
Pushing through the moonlight he passed along the walking stones to the door of the house.
His feet met finally with the stairs. They carried him up lightly, as heavy as he was.
The door to her bed creaked as it was tapped open. He felt betrayed by its noise, then indebted to it as he realized it was not his voice that would wake her.
Her sleeping figure moved, murmured a sleepy coo and woke, awareness unfastened and modest as she saw him. She sat up in bed and looked into the shadow, they would go into this blind as though they were strangers, but, oh, so ‘holy’ new. Their old minds vanished with the weariness they had kept as he moved himself to touch her, finally.
Entirely fleeting, the beauty of the world was created within this fragile mirror of Time. Yet, he woke before she could untangle the vines and open her eyes. So his soul asked him what his mind would not:
Could he go further than a stolen moment?
She raised her hand out to him blindly, her face was still turned, and he, alert, came to her.
The Hawks of the night did not sleep. Their minds could not dream, brought into this War, they served one purpose, to sail across the vast Machine. They had no forgetfulness. Awake searching over the quiet ground for cities nuzzled into the corners of the earth. Moonlight stroked their titanium feathers spread out gliding through the covered darkness. From their claws they released the thunder.
Their mechanized howl shook the house
Scraping their smoke over the ground.
He took her hand in his and held it to his chest.
Pure whiteness surrounded them. It swarmed in from the windows and coiled into a halo around her perfect head.
The last rasping breath of the house moaned in his ears.
One Illuminated man could have saved this earth. Could have expelled The War. But our angel was taken from his senses and recalled nothing but the warmth of flesh and her brighter mind.
Thick ash was coated like sap upon the broken trees. Under the shadow of blind leaves their bodies were not sightless, but vestibular. They were opened in the blackened silence probing greatly for the last tremor of truth:
They gave pause to reverse eternity. A brilliant sight in the eyes of him. Slowly turning the inflexible world was crammed into a withdrawing circle. And he was sent forward without her. Was taken by the hawks’ thunder and a lost oath he once made. And Time was brought again to zero.