I don’t know where I am or how I got here. Unopened spaces are moving in
and out of mirrors, the mirrors that are bent all over these circular walls.
With all my senses I probe their surfaces again and again until the space breaks
open. I see no colors; I feel the sun dropping over ice. Only pulses of strings
pulled tight like ambient music, dragging a cold, heavy head into rushing heat,
remind me that I am still breathing. Undulations of confusion are rising to
clarity, only to be swallowed up again. Falling waves. A sudden fear dressed up
with enchantment draws me nearer to a neck stretched from the floating head. A
neck so exaggerated that for a moment I believe it is something I can rest my
entire body upon. I am being fooled by a neck that rotates in space on a
gossamer axis. I look again and it has disappeared. The floating head. Black sea
hair, a crescendo growing from a single strand, endlessly. I reach out and dip
my hands in and my skin vibrates like an electric bass submerged in a hot
spring. But now I cannot tell if it is my skin or her skin.
I try to pretend that I don’t see the different versions of the reflection
that I don’t recognize. Peeling away from each other faster than my energy
being devoured. Energy that chases itself in circles, winds itself into
impatient coils. Mirrors perfecting every angle into confusion. The figure of
her body appears, drowns itself in mud and passes into another figure. A huge
vibrating warmth at its center that I’m afraid to touch. Look, you’re over
there. Your outline forming crystals that pierce the wave crests then dissolve
again into the thick mud. Falling down, laughing, crying, across sudden deserts—which
is you? Fragile echoes of a toy piano smashed apart against a voice scratched by
absinthe. Words of her own language. She murmurs, “Katja,” and peels off the
shape of her mouth, tossing it into the water. But is she calling herself this
or me? Her hand is in mine. I close my hand over it. Tiny kisses between each of
my fingers and I feel like discarded air sliding over the length of her body. I
begin to run backwards to find my actual self. Are we not in here somewhere?
My feet have turned into fins. I lose all balance, I cannot run anymore. The
floors have crawled up the walls, the ceilings chased all the doors closed and I
have met impossible beauty.
Before me heavy veils hang with the weight of water. I must wade through,
struggling for the tear that I can slip through where she waits for me. Each
time I grow closer I fall further backward, stumbling though there is no ground.
I pull myself up on dangling ice out of which she’s carving her kisses. I hear
her whispering my memories. I can no longer breathe with my own lungs. Our
voices cry out for each other in unison as I grow closer. Our voices resound in
ten-double echoes. Each word bounces against these stretched elastic walls,
encircles, always in suspension. Each word has a hard sound that slams against
the other trying to open up the meanings. Hieroglyphs of sound it takes us days
to complete. Each word mingles with the other making it impossible to tell who
has spoken. Our voices rise into condensed screams pressed between two magnetic
As she walks towards me, a cluster of shadows follow. Shadows mingling with
their own dark edges, breaking into deeper colored shadows, stranger and more
distorted forms. Expanded or contorted, shrunken or whole, they continue to grow
around her in no fixed pattern, stalking her every movement like disturbed
pantomimes. Disguised secret selves seemingly oblivious to each other, all
fighting to dominate.
Layers of veils that we continue to peel away and then discard to continue
the clawing through, deftly, until sudden images of delicate violence erupt
shuddering waves throughout us. Like the outward continuance of a circle
spreading in water, expanding in our secret language, we rock back and forth
sustaining interdependent rhythms. But I want danger. I want to go deeper. I
want to be led into her strange new world and like a curious child I want to
yield to it completely.
I am skating on the veins of her hand, swimming against the hairs of her arm;
hairs wavering like exposed cartilage on a sea animal’s bones. From her hands,
cage wire dangles against beads of sandalwood. Feathers depart from her hair and
warm the eggs being born beneath her feet. I am to create a mask for her. Over a
surface of worm-eaten leaves, she is making a collage to sew into my pillow. I
cannot decipher the language she weaves into it. Frantically, I continue her
mask as she curls herself inside a musical sound that has abandoned space, with
shifting vibrations that hypnotize her blood flow. She summons the sounds into
the water, where they swim together. Each sound isolates itself from the other
and begins to communicate with the surrounding fluid. The water answers in it’s
own precise pitches. The water soon needs the sounds to guide it into rhythms;
the sounds need the water to guide it into waves. She thrusts herself against it
all, throwing her head back in delirious joy like a fish jumping upstream. She
treats the water like a rope she must balance upon, and like the tightrope
walker, she delights in the risk. She calls for me to join her. I can feel the
freedom in her voice the way a deaf person may hear musical vibrations through
the floor. She swallows all the sounds and then cups her hands before her face
and blows it all away. A million wishes colliding. I place the mask upon her
face. I do not feel skin.
Her mask is very simple. It is a cage with three openings. One to smell the
first sparks of desire, another to steal glances from every lover at once, the
last to speak through in the language of deceits.
Our feet sink into the giant orchids that have saturated the air. We are
following a path lined with tiny boxes that unfold and collapse by themselves.
One box may contain broken teeth, another sand and sugar, or broken eggshells,
discarded threads, dots of blood on rare silk, pieces of tangled hair or thought
refractions in bent glass. Interdependent structures that unravel themselves to
pierce the sky, and then shrink back to fit inside the hand. The last box
expands on all sides to reveal compartments lined by swollen berries with jewels
sunk inside them. A tiny, bone-white figure of a woman is bending over glass.
Her image is cast onto every side of the box, now fully expanded by fragile
strings. Long and empty passageways lead to a room that passes into a room that
passes into a room that passes into a room that she has flooded. Flooded with
laughter, flooded with singing, flooded with light, flooded with shadows,
flooded with colored shapes that spin in gentle revolutions of sound. Endless
doors are opening and closing. We cannot stop running our hands over every
surface, again and again, trying to penetrate the undergrowth of depths feeding
on each other. Over and over, we feel the abstract patterns that push their
swollen bodies through like clusters of sounds wounding silence. So brutally we
need to discover all the secrets.
We are becoming all rhythm, a rhythm steadily rising to a dual explosion. With
slowly increasing symbiotic limbs we reach over the mirrors, inhaling the broken
fragments. Our legs and arms are ripening from control as we dance out the
struggles of inner tensions. The tensions keep prolonging the space between us,
blurring our movements into reverse, pushing our bodies into dizzying cracks of
indecision; broken pieces of fantasy unable to see each other until all we
exhale is blood. Our dance is becoming a dissension of fragmented movements
trying to break apart our fantasy world. Our nerves have become excruciatingly
unsettled tangles that coil around each other. Terror condenses inward. Her body
now made of mercury injects itself into me in intra-spinal waves.
Music returns again and again to the source of its flow. Trying to ascend the
staircase of rushing waves, it falls upon itself as it carves space through
sound. All depths have now become ice covered, a hall of mirrors reflecting
static images that will never touch each other.
© 2001 Michelle Rosetta
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