Level 18 Degrees (p. III)
Leaving, I found that it was nearing curfew; the sun readying to set. Time had prolapsed or gently eroded at its edges. I needed a dentist. Checking my pockets, I found the letter missing. I was three blocks away from the bistro. Running back, I stumble twice on the gray masses of things that remain unknowable, scraping my knees and palms. The waiter was still at the table. My letter was open and slowly the waiter was reading what I had written for my landlord. His swollen face turned down. I wonder why he would open a letter not addressed to him? Hearing my footsteps, he looks up and our eyes meet, perhaps for the first time, they are milked over and he is far older than I had first thought.
“I think I can help you.“
End of the world
The waiter’s voice took on the pulse and meandering rust of a man near a final edge. His chin was still bleeding.
“It’s nearing curfew and I have to deliver that to my landlord, or that is his conglomerate, or perhaps him or her, their self, or their secretary, I have not worked that out quite yet.”
“I understand your situation; I think I can help.” Placing the letter into the envelope, the old waiter placed it into his inner coat pocket, which was an alarming site. Why had he taken my letter? The envelope paper had darkened, now almost a grayish tone, a humorless gray like the amorphous shape of a synthetic cloud, or the dead eye of a river fish. I had no choice. Leading me into a labyrinth of alleys or half alleys hieroglyphed in graffiti. We were at the edge of two zones. On the right the sacrificial zone and the left the glass towers, that now, as the sun was setting, reflected a soft honey color.
Earth Dies Streaming
Found object, wax, artificial hair, 30 x 20 x 10 cm.
Walking down into a darkened hole. The subway stairs falling deep into the space beneath the city. Suddenly the old waiter stops and we open a door that did not appear to be there at first. In the abandoned hull of a subway cart, someone had set up a white room smelling of disinfectant. A woman behind a black desk sits in an all-white suit, only her eyes showing.
“They turn blood into medicine. It pays well.”
Lifting his sleeve, he showed me his arm. Though it was hard to tell what was radiation poisoning and what might be scars from needle entry, or from the age of the skin itself with its translucent and speckled canvas.
“You can still sell it, even with radiation poisoning and burns like that?” Though the old man did not answer. Taking off his suit jacket and resting it on the waiting chair, he walked up to the desk, and was greeted like an old friend. My watch showed 4:52. In this sunken place, I had no access to time. Shaking the jacket, my letter falls to the white floor. Disappearing behind a medical partition, the woman in white and the old waiter embrace in transfusion. The envelope leaves a small tracing of its shape in ash on the white floor. Getting lost twice, I find my way to the surface. A failed light cools in the edges of the horizon. Unsure of the time, I run, breathing in deep lungfuls of rotted air.
Downhill Creep, 2020
Ground cultivator, fax machine enclosures, synthetic fur, aluminum, polyurethane foam, wood, resin, epoxy, 51 x 12 x 10 inches