restricted access Complex 26: Lost at Sea
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Complex 26:
Lost at Sea

      We kept at length the sealine, much to its wrath, and went by single file, eyeing the high ledge, yelling over the roaring water, "Careful!"

      To the right, the sun on the horizon halved; ground down hard onto the sea like an orange gored over a juicer's dish; fish jumped the pulp;

      daylight cored downward; we descended and rose to such endless extent that the distance's strains of heaven and hell both singed and gilded sense.

      I couldn't now distinguish top from bottom, bottom from top, east from west. That blue seawall, while we edged past, like a pissed snake snapped and bit.

      That blue mountain, all sea itself, all downward heaven and upward inferno, changed its shape as I edged past to ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ as if to mimic both the snake ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ and the shape of the thoughts my mind held in it.

      And the movement of the mountain did not go unnoticed, since the breakage of those pages burnt sea and, however brief, caught curious [End Page 609]

      looks from who before had been blue camouflage. Like a vibrant dye dripped in lighter liquid one of them moved through the wall, but still staying

      within it, coming as close as possible to me so to feel the quick-break, the concentrate, sever and veer even quicker when this close.

      Imagine, reader, the approaching of a void, as though the static of a broken channel you cannot change; sidling, breaking, THERE, then voiced:

      "We who ended ^^^^^ here tend toward ^^^^^^^ness. We say our names and ^^^^ suffer despite some ^^^^ past ^^^^ success in style ^^^^^^^^ argument.

      You come here unnamed, naïve, not born for this. Look, this mount^^^^funnel ^^^^ sea ^^^^ ^^ sick ^^^^ forgive, ^^^^give, but: Who the ^^^^^ are you?"

      I had heard enough: I had not heard enough; wanting to hear more, though not knowing if that wanting came from having made up something heard,

      I stopped; but something cut our way through the water with such urgent rush that I turned to see it and noticed the sea, now nose-high, turn bitter.

      Even in drying New Orleans, where memories of masked carnivals and toned-up funerals still own the streets more than flood or the police,

      so it was that, on seeing what came toward us, now approaching indifferent to us, I stared on needing to know of their strange march.

      They moved neither in opposite directions nor went toward the same: two clustered messy lines meeting there like the first double helix made

      and unmade and each one amazingly finding the hand of another, sometimes both vaporous would-be hands to shake, slap five, bang fists; [End Page 610]

      but also seeming to be unsure whether they should stop to speak or should keep on moving and choosing the latter they part, one after

      the other, and instantly after parting, as though suffering a two-second spasm, those of one path scream, ". . . . . . . . . . ."

      while those of the other, ". . . . . . . . . . ." and then, like the silence that came from their screams they disappeared as dots into the distance.

      Even that group that had been coming our way by the time that they had reached us were but dots, only known from the sea-salt by their blackness.

      Caught up in that vision of soundless welcome, I didn't notice that, by my standing still for so long, staring, the water had become

      still as well. And thus he who had asked my name seemed now more typical in the water's wall; a type. "I may have lost all reason as I

      climbed or sunk (whichever I am doing now), to feel cause in my purpose: which is this poem sent down or up to me from on High or Low.

      If I've caused reverse, if I've brought what enthralls as though DW, I, that, wasn't my thought. Forgive. But this high mountain/deep chasm calls

      and will tell you who I am, no doubt. But first, because I have to know since they scared me so: Who are they just gone who let out not one word?"

      Then, the shade said nothing; but tilted its head once twice thrice in...