Olphin.

There are two kinds of light - the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.

—James Thurber

It’s like for once our bodies weren’t made out of skin but metal, something thinner but more rotund.\It’s like for once we don’t breathe because we have to, but we breathe for the sake of not dying.\It’s like for once our bulbs flicker on purpose.\It’s like for once we would take dirt over all the rhinestones.\It’s like for once I’ll fashion you anything for half off.\It’s like for once sudden guilt stays sudden and finally fleets accordingly.\It’s like for once no one is jealous of ships.\It’s like for once we harbor only sordid celebrities.\It’s like for once optimism is not only the stupid choice but the wrong one.\It’s like for once we don’t have to choose anything.\It’s like for once our hand is forced perfectly.\It’s like for once our shelters cover all travelers.\It’s like for once black and white.\It’s like for once breathing for the sake of living.\It’s like for once we get drunk to demonstrate a point.\It’s like for once we stay awake, eyes glaring, just to see what happens next, what could possibly happen next.\It’s like for once we dream of everything that didn’t happen next.\It’s like complacentness is something worth having.\It’s like for once as it’s like always, our alarms sing only to our heart’s weakest points, the strong ones knowing better with only an ignorant brain to settle the bickering children’s debate.

While I sleep and I write and I pine and I type

There’s still no context in breathin’

Through the moon and the stars and the fragrance of Mars

There’s still a bite size of god to believe in

While we cough and we joke and we stomach and smoke

There’s still a freezer burn scar of achievement

There’s still a few men worth deceiving

Now here’s jealous thought, her brother with hands bound with twine

made from the fabric and shreds of no less than seventeen lustful beatles.

She stands or sits not laughing, not crying, with not a subtle whimper or a flesh born scorn from settling.

While we stretch and pant our words and rants

There’s still real nausea seething

For how much more could a poor man store when

There’s still more greed to fiend in

But at the bottom of it all, some big and some small

There’s still more love to believe in

There’s still more sadness the breathe in

But the nails in the air, the channel, the stairs

All these benchmarks set for achievin’

She’s startled and crooked, her hands, heart shooken

But there’s still more, always more pain to be leavin’

There’s still more, always more love to be receivin’ 

You’re standing there, all power, light, and determined speed; it just isn’t fair to not say anything. Not saying anything would be a lie because, as it so often is, it’s just right there, staring everyone in the face, broad-shouldered and steaming. The truth is, it’s so fucking tired, the whole racket, so when it is there, truly there, unornamented and brave, it’s easy to miss or confuse.

But if you look, think, take a moment to fucking breathe, it’s there, bringing with it everything all poets talk about, all politicians promise. Fulfillment bottled.

You know it’s there.

It is screaming louder than you can hear.

Between the thieves and bosses who’s hearts have hardened

by the lives they attribute their wealth to;

Live weary artists, some lost, some pardoned

by the hands of the men they pay dues to.

The Poets and Priests will fall to their knees

for the idols and bishops elected.

The Masses agree things aren’t as they seem,

but refuse to be generally affected.

“The single great informing conflict of the American psyche is the conflict between the subjective centrality of our own lives versus our awareness of its objective insignificance.”

- David Foster Wallace, Oblivion

“‘Irrelevant’ Chris Fogle turns a page. Howard Cardwell turns a page. Ken Wax turns a page. Matt Redgate turns a page. ‘Groovy’ Bruce Channing attaches a form to a file. Ann Williams turns a page. Anand Singh turns two pages at once by mistake and turns one back which makes a slightly different sound. David Cusk turns a page. Sandra Pounder turns a page. Robert Atkins turns two separate pages of two separate files at the the same time. Ken Wax turns a page. Lane Dean Jr. turns a page. Olive Borden turns a page. Chris Acquistipace turns a page. David Cusk turns a page. Rosellen Brown turns a page. Matt Redgate turns a page. R. Jarvis Brown turns a page. Ann Williams sniffs slightly and turns a page. Meredith Rand does something to a cuticle. ‘Irrelevant’ Chris Fogle turns a page. Ken Wax turns a page. Howard Cardwell turns a page. Kenneth ‘Type of Thing’ Hindle detaches a Memo 402-C(1) from a file. ‘Second-Knuckle’ Bob McKenzie looks up briefly while turning a page. David Cusk turns a page. A yawn proceeds across one Chalk’s row by unconscious influence. Ryne Hobrastchk turns a page. Latrice Theakston turns a page. Rotes Group Room 2 hushed and brightly lit, half a football field in length. Howard Cardwell shifts slightly in his chair and turns a page. Lane Dean Jr. traces his jaw’s outline with his ring finger. Ed Shackleford turns a page. Elpidia Carter turns a page. Ken Wax attaches a Memo 20 to a file. Anand Singh turns a page. Jay Landauer and Ann Williams turn a page almost precisely in sync although they are in different rows and cannot see each other. Boris Kratz bobs with a slight Hassidic motion as he crosschecks a page with a column of figures. Ken Wax turns a page. Harriet Candelaria turns a page. Matt Redgate turns a page. Ambient room temperature 80˚ F. Sandra Pounder makes a minute adjustment to a file so that the page she is looking at is at a slightly different angle to her. ‘Irrelevant’ Chris Fogle turns a page. David Cusk turns a page. Each Tingle’s two-tiered hemisphere of boxes. ‘Groovy’ Bruce Channing turns a page. Ken Wax turns a page. Six wigglers per Chalk, Four Chalks per Team, six Teams per group. Latrice Theakston turns a page. Olive Borden turns a page. Plus administration and support. Bob McKenzie turns a page. Anand Singh turns a page and then almost instantly turns another page. Ken Wax turns a page. Chris “The Maestro” Acquistipace turns a page. David Cusk turns a page. Harriet Candelaria turns a page. Boris Kratz turns a page. Robert Atkins turns two separate pages. Anand Singh turns a page. R. Jarvis Brown uncrosses his legs a turns a page. Latrice Theatston turns a page. The slow squeak of the car boy’s cart at the back of the room. Ken Wax places a file on top of the stack in the Cart-Out box to his upper right.  Jay Landauer turns a page. Ryne Hobratschk turns a page and then folds over the page of a computer printout that’s lined up next to the original file he just turned a page of. Ken Wax turns a page. Ellis Ross turns a page. Joe ‘The Bastard’ Biron-Maint turns a page. Ed Shackleford opens a drawer and takes a moment to select just the right paperclip. Olive Borden turns a page. Sandra Pounder turns a page. Matt Redgate turns a page and the almost instantly turns another page. Latrice Theakston turns a page. Paul Howe turns a page and then sniffs circumspectly at the green rubber sock on his pinkie’s tip. Olive Borden turns a page. Rosellen Brown turns a page. Ken Wax turns a page. Devils are actually angels. Elpidia Carter and Harriet Candelaria reach up to their Cart-In boxes at exactly the same time. R. Jarvis Brown turns a page. Ryne Hobratschk turns a page. ‘Type of Thing’ Ken Hindle looks up a routing code. Some with their chins in their hand. Robert Atkins turns a page even as he’s crosschecking something on that page. Ann Williams turns a page. Ed Shackleford searches a file for a supporting document. Joe Brion-Maint turns a page. Ken Wax turns a page. David Cusk turns a page. Lane Dead Jr. rounds his lips and breathes deeply in and out like that and bends to a new file. Ken Wax turns a page. Anad Signh closes and opens his dominant hand several times while studying a muscle in his wrist. Sandra Pounder straightens slightly and swings her head in a neck-stretching arc and leans forward again to examine a page. Howard Cardwell turns a page. Most sit up straight but lean forward at the waist, which reduces neck fatigue. Boris Kratz turns a page. Olive Borden raises the little hinged flag on her empty 402-C box. Ellis Ross starts to turn a page and then stops to recheck something higher up on the page. Bob McKenzie hawks mucus without looking up. ‘Groovy’ Bruce Channing worries his lower lip with a pen’s pocket clip. Ann Williams sniffs and turns a page. Matt Redgate turns a page. Paul Howe opens a drawer and looks inside and closes the drawer without taking anything out. Howard Cardwell turns a page. Two wall’s paneling painted over in the Baker-Miller pink. R. Jarivs Brown turns a page. One Chalk per row, four rows per column, six columns. Elpidia Carter turns a page. Robert Atkins’s lips are soundlessly moving. ‘Groovy’ Bruce Channing turns a page. Latrice Theatston turns a page with a long purple nail. Ken Wax turns a page. Chris Fogle turns a page. Rosellen Brown turns a page. Christ Acquistipace signs a Memo 20. Harriet Candelaria turns a page. Anand Singh turns a page. Ed Schackeford turns a page. Two clocks, two ghosts, one square acre of hidden mirror. Ken Wax turns a page. Jay Landauer feels absently at his face. Every love story is a ghost story. Ryne Hobratschk turns a page. Matt Redgate turns a page. Olive Borden stands and raises her hand with three fingers out for the cart boy. David Cusk turns a page. Elpidia Carter turns a page. Exterior temperature/humidity 97˚/74%. Howard Cardwell turns a page. Bob McKenzie still hasn’t spit. Lane Dean Jr. turns a page. Chris Acquistipace turns a page. Ryne Hobratschk turns a page. The cart comes up the group room’s right side with its squeaky wheel. Two others in the third Chalk’s row also stand. Harriet Candelaria turns a page. R. Jarvis Brown turns a page. Paul Howe turns a page. Ken Wax turns a page. Joe Brion-Maint turns a page. Ann Williams turns a page.”

- §28, David Foster Wallace, The Pale King

"One of the quirks of real human memory is that the most vivid, detailed, recall doesn’t usually concern the things that are most germane. The as it were a forest. It’s not just that real memory is fragmentary; I think it’s also that overall relevance and meaning are conceptual, while the experiential bits that get locked down and are easiest, years later, to retrieve tend to be sensory. We live in bodies, after all. Random examples of recalled snippets: Long and windowless interior halls, the burning in my forearms just before I had to set down the bags for a moment. The particular sound and cadence of Ms. Neti-Neti’s heels on the hallways’ flooring, which was of light-brown linoleum whose wax smelled strong in the unmoving air and reflected an endless series of shining parenthetical arcs where a custodian had swung his autowaxer from side to side in the empty hall at night."

- David Foster Wallace, The Pale King

I’ve written your soul in gold all over me.