Be the shadow of the sundial; the narrow valley on the stone.
That’s what they say to the contracted. That’s what they said to me when they marked me and sent me to the garden of statues. Statues that take the form of men and women and children in various stages of unrest. Some are seated between their hands stony books. Some meditate in the pools of the fountain and stare into clear rippling water as if these events held some portents.
Others merely stood in the field, their heads tilted toward the sky and whether in these moments they were captured staring into the sun or the rain or perhaps the moon they all looked to hold longing and uncertainty. Their shadows wavering like a child’s pinwheel; in motion but without motion. Stagnant, contained in the mercy of the hand that holds them.
I wait in the quiet morning.
A cool, white mist across the misanthropic sanctuary of statues or prison or graveyard. Alone, I fear the sight of the ones that had become stained by bird shit and its speckled mockery and the graffiti vessels cast in colors and branded by the senseless detonation of youthful expression.
There is in me a brooding cancer of dread and I want to grip my chest so these final moments are captured for what they are truly; the unstoppable passage of time. The pallid veil of day transpired, the moon transparent lingers in the oceanic sky and what is left for a man but the sight of the world he will miss?
He possesses nothing in the end but the sight.
They allow me to wear a suit and a pocket watch so I can track the time I have left. Soon I will be victimized by the parasitic gorgon that infects me. Soon I will join the congregation of statues; immortalized unwittingly by disease. How shall I look?
If you could see me you would see a man who did not impress much in his time until the end. Those not busy being born; are busy dying. It’s said. I have always been busy dying. I have always been walking toward this plateau half-asleep. Yet never dreaming. It has gone unnoticed till right here. Right now where I try to find the right spot, the right thought and the right pose to leave myself a memory in the garden.
A lasting, stony carriage and cautionary tale.
If I had one more day. I would have gone to see her at her window and that is where the fantasy ends. I would not knock or leave anything. I would not whisper and hope she turns to wonder what or where it came from, I would not even be a ghost. I would be not there but there at the window and see her one last time. In the last few days she has been the only source of peace in creeping terror.
There is too much left to write; too little time to spend on wish I may’s and wish I might’s. Too much time and vast unconquerable nights; under the monarchy of a wine-dark sun. I am pining; I am a pine tree of prickly branches chasing cyclists and lovers along the road.
There is too much to say.
Metaphors, allusions, hyperbole to some but my reading is clear; my words are true. If I could pull the cord from this life to watch the vibration of the string; the note would be her voice.
It’s not hard for a man to think of a life in a woman’s eye. Especially if those eyes are forests and seas or a still clear lake in the meadow of some ancient place that moss has crawled up the surface of alters and pillars of dead civilizations of dead ideas. There is always her beauty, crawling over the other distractions of age. Always haunting me; making me shiver and shake. So beautiful it hurts.
I want her moss to engulf me when I am stone.
I want the setting sun of her hair to burn into my third eye and I would dream of nothing else. For more time I would kill. For more time I would cast the fate of the world into the balance. For more time I would apologize for the time wasted.
There is no more time.
I have tears in my eyes as I find a spot near a hill that looks over the garden. The grass is clean and dewy and shimmers like stars. There are statues I see in the midst of running. There are some lying down. There are statues buried in their palms; sobbing.
I’m crying but my eyes are upward and the white light of day glows across the sleeping reality of things. I wonder if I’m the only one awake in all of creation. If the ringing in my ears is the yawn of God. How apathetic it sounds across the cosmos.
I bitterly smile; the stone entombment crawls across me. Spreading.
She is gone and as I think I will never see her again my heart races. It pounds in my chest. I keep still because my legs were the first to turn. It rises up me slowly; painfully. They say it only hurts until the chest. Until your heart turns to stone.
She is gone away and all I want is to touch her face and if I have not done this or if I have it does not matter because it feels like I never have and the tips of my fingers try to imagine how soft it must be but their imagination is disturbed. Disturbed by the roughness of stone.
She is turning away from me in my vision and drifting away like a leaf. The hands are still in my pockets; I can only move my eyes. I stare up into the sun. I see her smile. The air is getting thin; I’m not sure if I’m breathing.
I don’t want to die.
I don’t want to die.
I don’t want to die.
I try to scream but I have no mouth only the stony image of a mouth. Before it reaches my eyes, tears slip down my cheeks and leave black stains on the embodied tomb. I will never see her again. Everything is getting black.
I’m so afraid; this is not how a man should die. This is not how a dream should end.
This is not how a love should fade. This is nothing. A cold, empty blackness fills me.
I’m sleeping. I am stone. I realize far too late.
She is not gone…
I am gone.