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caracol,
caracol,
caracol.
by nico hoof

0.

It was her duty to identify opposites. Why she had been placed here. On t h i s
earth. In this city. On the mattress where we were when she removed her
blouse, nearly transparent, supine beside me. What was the opposite of a kiss?
Being alone on a train platform at night in an unknown city, sallow beauty
fading. The opposite of our bodies tangled together was sparrows in endless
storms with no branch on which to nest. I leaned in close enough to feel the rise
and fall of her stomach, which had gone skinny in Manhattan. The opposite of
leaving right now is staying forever; she would miss her flight if she didn’t rise
up from bed this very moment and wrap herself in denim, the blouse, her dead
ex-boyfriend’s jacket that kept out the chill. She placed her mouth to my
forehead in farewell, an act of clemency, dismissal. This was the antonym of
falling in love— what was the opposite of the motion that a body makes when it
walks through a doorway for the very last time?

1. Today’s horoscope:
You will see yourself in a mirror quietly dissolving, becoming an apostate
to the church of your own skin unless you surrender to the weight of
grace before you, commence an absolution, and be reminded that the polished
glass reflects you with more cruelty than the magical crystalline lens
of your loved one’s eyes do. When they catch you in the light, when you see
yourself being seen. (You are not unbroken and will never be fixed).
Expect positive surprises! Just smile and nod if you can’t keep up!

1.
The woman in the room with the jazz record spinning, Alice Coltrane, American,
loud. My elbows on the oak table. It was Springtime in New London and the
cold crept in with the moonlight, the Priestess layering Navajo scarf over
diaphanous gown, fingers moving with deftness as she poured the tincture into
two mason jars, one for each of us, my spider queen, my loving other. She sipped
from her cup, savoring it, waiting for it to cool, as was typical for a person of her
patience. At the time of her tongue’s first contact, my cup was already empty. A
tiger libido, a shaky hand, some numbness in the tongue— I should have
mentioned my new drug before trying hers, but that’d have slowed the ride,
smothered the crescendo, removed the option of sublime transcendence. The
doctors had given me something new; an experiment to make my brain feel
better and quiet pesky thoughts of death. The side effects were still unknown—
their documentation was my responsibility as part of the trial study. The side
effects were, in rough order: The color yellow becoming supernatural in its
intensity. All foods tasted like they had been boiled in soap. My concept of time
shattered. On an overpass near my father’s house, admiring the rumble and
torrential sweep of the long haul trucks rolling beneath me with the drugs now
fully taken hold, what I took as fifteen minutes was really six hours. Police and
concerned citizens were sent to find me, fearing I had run away or killed myself
in some field. I was euphoric in the numbest way. Suicidal thoughts were
replaced with insatiable, R. Kelly levels of sexual desire. Acting out on
insatiable, R. Kelly levels of sexual desire almost led to my arrest on two
separate occasions, (once beneath a weeping willow during a wine tasting event
in broad daylight and once in the back of someone else’s pickup truck during
karaoke night), and caused the kind of wrenching complications which led to
suicidal thoughts which were slowly replaced with insatiable, R. Kelly levels of
sexual desire. And so the wheel spun.

2.

She
seldom
dreamed
before
I
mettled

I
only
made love
brokenly,
still
entertained

seldom
thinking
of when
she
had
wept

dreamed
of when
she
swallowed
my
love

only
distinguishing
nightly
telepathy
somehow,
modifying

before
she
swallowed
attempted
closure
running













made love
nightly
melancholy
touching
her
skin,

brokenly,
telepathy
touching
prayer
words
hold

I
had
my
closure
being
damned

mettled
wept
love
running
damned
me

still
somehow,
her
words
maintain
observe

entertained
modifying
skin,
hold
observe
beauty

3.
The night was sharp and metallic as we crawled from her bedroom window to
the fire escape and ascended to the roof. I lit her cigarette and she kissed me on
the cheek. We looked out to the river and watched the terrible beauty of the
submarines’ glow— they looked like jellyfish from here, luminescent and
immortal. I told her that and she laughed, smoke curling from her unpainted
lips.
“I am writing a short play, I think.” I said.
“Woah.“
“No. Sort of. I think it’s about us. I know it’s about us. I just don’t know if
it’s a play. It’s just a conversation we had.”
“So there’s no action?”
“No. No action. Nothing ever happens in my writing. It’s just— it’s all just
words and I don’t know if I’m doing it for the reader or for myself, really, and I
know I lean pretty heavily on meta stuff and dialogue but I guess that’s how I
see the world. I’m just surprised there’s not more violence in my writing. But I’m
also surprised— like in New York City, why don’t you ever see dead people in
the streets? There are so many people who could get hit by cars. Life actually
seems poorly written most of the time.”
I paused and noticed I was smoking the filter, which accounted for the wretched
taste in my mouth. It was hard to tell. I had just started a trial of medication for
my mood and it was hell on my tastebuds. My mood hadn’t changed yet: I was
as happy as a drowning man, but now there seemed to be no refractory period
after sex. The constant taste of detergent was a small price to pay.
“Sounds like a really fun play.”
“No. I know how it sounds. Shut up. I love you.”
The nuclear fish were gliding fast. The whole point of the play was that there
was no point to the play.

5.

.

† BALTIMORE
monologue of the sad-eyed sorceress
who still has my rare Joy Division vinyl

copyright (c) 2015,
by [name redacted]

666 Lancaster Street
Brooklyn, NY
Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx
E-mail: smilingwide@brutalist.com

Dramatis Personae

DRIVER:

CASSANDRA:

COCAINE:

American male in his twenties,
in love

American female in her
twenties, in love

“A
powerfully
addictive
stimulant from South America.
Binge-patterned
cocaine
use
may
lead
to
irritability,
restlessness,
and
anxiety.
Cocaine
abusers
can
also
experience severe paranoia—a
temporary state of full-blown
paranoid
psychosis—in
which
they lose touch with reality
and
experience

hallucinations.”
from drugabuse.gov

Scene
A swiftly moving sedan, driving northbound on I-95 through the
gun-metal black midnight of New England.
Time
After college but before the rapture.

SETTING:

We are in the grey leather
interior of the DRIVER’s car.
CASSANDRA is in the passenger
seat with her legs on the dash.
She
is
visibly
shaky
and
altered
on
drugs,
namely
COCAINE. There is a palpable
tension. The DRIVER is not a
jealous
man,
but
he
is
distrusting
of
COCAINE
and
CASSANDRA’s relationship. The
windows are down, and early
delta blues plays as the car
howls and screeches along the
tender coast.

AT RISE:

CASSANDRA wears the mask of
the wounded seeker as she
leers,
murmurs,
and
sings
through the foggy lens of
narcotics
and
alcohol.
THE
DRIVER is excited to get home
to catch up with her, as he
currently is the completely
sober designated driver.

CASSANDRA
It was dark outside, but I knew the sky was burning. I was lying
on the floor in a carpeted room with a high ceiling, but also
lowering myself down rocks towards a body of water, very
cautiously, kind of sitting down and shuffling. I could feel two
things happened at once, but also knew they couldn’t both be
happening. Part of me knew I was either dying or going crazy.


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