“Oh, thou dark Hindoo half of nature,

who

of drowned bones hast builded

thy separate throne

somewhere in the heart

of these unverdured seas;

thou art an infidel, thou queen,

and too truly speakest to me in the wide-slaughtering Typhoon,

and the hushed burial of its after calm.

Nor has this thy whale sunwards turned his dying head,

and then gone round again,

without a lesson to me.

“Oh, trebly hooped and welded hip of power!

Oh, high aspiring, rainbowed jet!

– that one strivest,

this one jettest

all in vain!

In vain,

oh whale, dost thou seek intercedings with yon all-quickening sun,

that only calls forth life,

but gives it not again.

Yet dost thou, darker half, rock me with a prouder, if a darker faith.

All thy unnamable imminglings, float beneath me here;

I am buoyed by breaths of once living things,

exhaled as air,

but water now.

Chapter 116, The Dying Whale

The waves of heat coming off the pavement distorted distance, perception. Of all the places to run out of gas.  I do recall a Spring Formal was held in one these buildings.  Which means this experience runs a not so distant second to another I have had in this Country Club’s parking lot.

I scan the neatly painted lines of the parking lot and wonder how many girls have been brought out here drunk on the scent of a Spring night.

Did yours bother to unpin your corsage, or slip it from your wrist before the hurried unbuckling of his belt with one hand as his other pressed your turned away head into the leather backseat?  He straddled you to keep your hips pinned between his knees.  Never even bothered to slip off his boots.

So, yes, this is only the second worst experience in this parking lot, though now, half a decade later it is not Lincoln Mark IV, but  a motorcycle.  And I am alone, on the seat, waiting.

We went to the clubhouse together after rolling the empty tanked cycle into the parking lot.  He was a fling.  A summer fling.  A rebel without a cause moment, unless, my cause was to try and instigate a rebellion, to drive a wedge, to create a break through which I could escape.

At any rate we walked up to the clubhouse together to get help, but I was turned away.

“I’m sorry—women aren’t allowed inside—“

“Can I just stand here inside the door?”

“No, ma’am, you need to leave.”

Motorcycle boy smirks.  He knows we come from two separate and never equal classes.  That I have been “slumming” with him.  Now I am the untouchable one in the caste system.

“But it’s 114 degrees outside.”

“I’m sorry ma’am, it’s the rules.”

I walk back out to sit in the heat, trying to pull my shorts down just enough to protect my thighs from burning on padded black seat, and I wait.

The men coming and going in the distance look small and unanchored from here.  They are rolling images through the waves of heat.  Their hideous golf shorts betraying just how seriously they take themselves, that they think they can even pull off indignities such as that and trot into their clubhouse where no girls are allowed.  The master race, they are.

I watch as across the heat waves a figure approaches the door.  At the end of the leash , running taut from the man’s hand, is a small scampering terrier of high breed.  They enter the clubhouse and disappear behind the slow closing door. . .

So this is the rule?

No women allowed.

One hundred and fourteen degrees Fahrenheit, and you send me out to sit and wait.

The dog

gets to go in,

but I

don’t.

To top it off you hurry me out with a “I’m sorry, it’s the rules, Ma’am.”

“Ma’am”?—Really?

What a ludicrous context for that word.  Have you no respect for language?

It is maybe thirty minutes before he returns with one of the maintenance men and a gas can.

“Sorry about that,” he shrugs and smiles as he unscrews the gas cap.  He smells like gin.

When he drops me off he asks:

“You around tomorrow?”

I laugh and shake my head.  Unbelievable.

“Nope.”

“Day after?”

“Nope.”

. . .

Do be careful when you wake the dead. 

They are unstable.

Something has broken the fall.

You have begun to do what everyone does and fill the empty spaces they see

with you.

But they are not empty spaces.

And you are pushing aside

Things I love.

Ghosts hate assumptions

And prefer an environment in which they can

Never be grasped

Living in dread of being consumed,

They revile at the touch.

Back up.

Lest you provoke

The wide slaughtering typhoon.
How to Quit
How To Quit

Sam Phillips

I was broken when you got me
With holes that would let the light through
Let’s smoke in secret, an invisible flow
Faith is running to the sound of water
Blind dancing in the foot lights
Dawn couldn’t tell it, “Sparks from a lucky guess”

Camera can’t find me
I’m officially astray
When no one’s listening I have so much to say

I thought I knew how to quit
No one with memory we’re starred duck
Stuck and on the rooftop
It’s all from the innocence
Living on a desired revelry
Gravity pulls our lives down
Pulling on our tables, I want to walk the deep

Can’t get free from freedom
When I refuse to choose
The walls go with me as I leave my fate to lose

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