by Rusty Kjarvik
In succession, a vast interwoven web of imagery courses directly into my imagination. With a lucid wit, enough to invigorate my physical intellect into a spark of mental action, a fluid repose enunciates my insides. I feel deeply excited insights, an active seeing into the contents of mind, perception, memory and the quality of subtle necessity. To be, even at the minuscule point of one inner knowing, a shape-shifting life unfolds to meet my dream-woman: Love herself.
Outside a well groomed, high-society, private university-type atmosphere, aside elegant glass panes which hold the humidity of an indoor tropical garden, Autumnal light recedes into a root-filled fern forest floor. The damp ground hovers effortlessly before the thriving of innumerable tingling mycelium underneath my bare feet. Haunted by the rural lore of spiritual flight into the unadulterated natural presence, an enamored romanticism bleeds with dank obscurity into the darkening passageway to my chosen activity. A drum kit drowns the sky in a clamor of happiness. The air fills with the deathless heartbeats of an unschooled drumming, careless and heartening in wild chaos, laughter from the belly of nature herself. The smoke of her following lingers. I wander through these free sounds into a labyrinth of hosts. At the screaming edge of Babylon in a glorious architectural feat, a Victorian hideaway, though lightless, subdued red cushions and mahogany hallways lay carpeted, leading with royal ease unto the sofa whereupon my Love resides celestially.
Her last words, she spoke resolutely, from beyond.
â€œI entered the elevator on the first floor of our apartment building in Chinatown. Curiously, you fled up the stairs to meet me at the second floor, where we reside. Anxiously, I hopped in the elevator, keen on matching you in our childish cat-and-mouse games. A great smile rose upon my lips as the door shut, ready for it to open so I could then swing out into your arms. My imagination fluttered with your kisses on the crown of my head, the way you delicately regard my cold black hair. The way I bury myself in your arms as we open the troublesome lock to our home. But that was not to be. The elevator never opened, and it rose, and it rose, and it did not stop rising. Stricken with unearthly and inhuman fear, I watched the numbers escalate beyond counting. The elevator continued to rise. Suddenly, the elevator slowed to the sound of crushing metal. The roof of the building, or the final machinery to buffer the elevator’s rise into the sky above, lied unmoving above the elevator’s unceasing rise. Pressing the alarm button, the ringer called out, though the walls of this elevator began to compress. The elevator shaft emptied as the metal compressed and my space inside this wildly risen elevator condensed unto my end.”
I am seated across from my stepfather now. Although I cannot see him, I know he is grayer and older. His presence is sunken and lost in age. I reach out to him, yet he is distracted by the television as usual. We are on cushy, white sofas. I am drinking beer from a glass bottle. As the night gets dark, the ceiling windows illuminate with moonlight cast on the laminated wooden floorboards. He is asleep. I toss the beer bottle across the kitchen in the direction of the cellar door. As soon as I do this, I realize I have to retrieve this bottle. I head down the basement steps, only to find the basement completely empty. I have never seen the basement empty since we moved into this newly built home fourteen years ago. The basement is my stepfather’s refuge, usually full to the brim with musical equipment, records, books, boxes and a weightlifting set. It is bare. I find the bottle amid other beer bottles swept asunder in the cobweb corners of the concrete foundation.