Stride Magazine -



When noise intervenes, metal sheets bend and furrow, wave effects and refractions. What ambient landscapes reject and possess, fibrous textures. Wave forms lightly transgress. Plausible ratios resist depiction and manipulation, crude surfaces sometimes oppress. Sealed into insensible repetition, mechanical crudities of affectation. Let this be as it ever was, more the tumult ingress, sate and turn. Pulses light up the shore’s asymmetry.

Dockside cranes swing cargo through the mist, tonnage and skyhook machinery, tractor-trailers crooking into marked slots and containered goods stacked on the decks of tremendous ships. Structure three stories high with a faint trace of graffiti near the top, protective canopy with its great canted columns and the latticed framework that supported the roof. The nearest entrenchment, put together with sandbags and construction debris.

To what shaped an effect sometimes no knowing. Extremes of familiarity and redundancy reduce and eradicate distinctions, corrosively overlapping. Weight compiles and forces down that lacking regard, the load wavering. What elusive tastes and glimmers of liberation. Why moments favour and face particularities of phenomenal movement pattern. Balances may cancel and recede, taken on to an understanding.

No ding or buzz, no sawtooth whine, climbed the stairs to his apartment and rang the bell. Handed her the cigar box, Garcia y Vega, fine cigars since 1882, wanted a shot of hootch from an imported bottle, imagining the warm wincing sting of a trickle of scotch. Had seen a hypodermic syringe on the second-story landing, and now people in the halls, busy and inert at the same time, busy but also body-dead, barely able to drag a hand through the air.

Sound rebounding walls collide and subside, that the air should clear. Way through taper and rescind, rites of return cannot suffuse silent vistas. High above the thoroughfare subject to descent velocity, shutters flapping uncertainly. Steep and stoic refusals bound to dead reckoned centering. Gestural possibilities consumed unutterably at cross point boundaries. Small transgressions input to anxious recuperations.

Grated emergency exit and down the narrow steps into the freight tunnel, a series of equipment sheds with sawtooth roofs. They went to the last roof and shinnied down drainpipes to the wooden planking at track level, comes roaring down the rat alleys and slams out of the tunnel. Spotlight swung across the orchestra pit and came to rest on a side curtain on the north wall, horizon line throbbing in smoke and ash.


Without definite decision the night shreds manganese, cruelly farcical flirtation. The consistency of chemical constituents is cause for investigative distemper. Though known and seen before this bridge’s depth wavers tremulously. Conveyed to you the sallow sky’s turbidity. Wave wash and mud to thigh level. A little light rain tapping at the window. Been in and tried out necessary repetitions leave scant room for new blood.

Not a night person but he knew one place he might take her, one street really, float through the zone, finding out who you were by your attachments, slice by slice, tasting the deli specials, defined by your fixation. Another trap that opens out of nowhere, a long trip by subway down to 21st Street, an element of suspense. Keep on looking because things combine to hold you fast, the random, the amateurish, the accidental.

Unpredictable prognosis and long days that weight and turn. So much the same then and every engagement complicates the assignation. Processes of affiliation don’t let loose and signs are few and variable. Haven’t heard it all before, a minor confusion or disagreement, patched up on hearsay evidential details. All works out in the end, or are the hands too bitterly and unevenly stacked, nothing to put a name to, distorted misappropriations.

Checked the other light, the light in the back hall, to make sure it was still on, don’t usually hear anything but the shower in there and noises from the pipes. Stood on the roof and looked across the park to the silhouetted buildings named like ocean liners, tall and massive made its own weather, downdrafts nearly strong enough to topple people walking by. Room surreally open at one end, where the child stands or the dream begins.

Sublunary derivations and surface seepage vie the eye’s stage. What is meant reducer run and time’s the turning. No locked doors and boarded windows gather the expected exit. Had sized the knife wield and allocated riven tributaries to distend that raucous flowing. There’s the anchored mooring all lucid haze dissolving to particle. Listless evenings and sleep’s insidious nooks patterned out in dream narrations, fretful journeyings.

Gave him lists that detailed the locations of abandoned cars along the Bronx River, a major dump site for stolen, joyridden, semistripped, gas-siphoned and pariah-dog vehicles. In the back room magazines cased in acetate folders, rare issues or rare labels, dust-veneered, handled, nearly opaque. We ran through smogged-out hollows past houses stilted over raw defiles and we ran into wooded areas that had the look of tinder, a combustible edge.

            Clark Allison 2003