Through the tangle of the trolley wires, the white-faced clock burned the blue twilight and measured the threshold of the oncoming darkness, beckoning to him from beyond the dark windows. The nightfall threw everything into frost; the world atomized into infinite snowflakes–a dark yet shining blossoming for infinite thoughts wherein he would walk as a strange somnolence awoke. In the stillness of shifting space and snow, down forgotten and nonexistent streets, he walked with his one and only galatea, with the one and only galaxy, in a lonesome glacier of spirit and silence. For only into silence can what is spoken begin; for only within silence must the spoken end.
Was there something of him in the denuded darkness that flowed outside the wide open windows? Was his face among the trembling blemishes drifting down the river of forgetfulness? For hours, he lay upon the razor-crisp silence, drifting past the rages and ruins of sins into balconies brushed with argentine breezes and through courtyards cut to rival diamonds. In a fountain overflowing with a gentle shimmer, somebody else overflowed in her blue-black hair. Though he reached for her wrists, the soul strained for the hush that glinted into the waters of her midnight eyes. Was this stain of splashed shadows that which corrupted a dead soul in search of closed doors and clothing?
Mornings there are continuous evenings, coal-burning dusks of half-lit lampposts, and the trees have all changed into what they once were thousands or hundreds of years ago. In a lost city of copper sulfate, a dream reader with his lexicon considers the most distant constellations, which flicker from far off somnium. The lost soul dreams of eating traditional candy, of watching marbled mountains through nude branches, of chestnut cakes, of gray-eyed goddesses and gray iron bridges. And his verses, none of them original, possess the logic and light of the winter sky.
A man lived on a wine-black argo. In the early, rosy-fingered morning, it was beached on a wooden shore covered with scraps of paper, papyri, and the kinds of things children leave behind. Once awake, he would survey the lonely shores that stretched to cloud-white walls, knowing he had just missed the linen softness of a woman moving around in the dark or the excited whispers of children. Alone, he cleaned the beach and ate his bread and then departed for the galaxies of amber and green aegises, the thousand gray death ships making their cyclical odysseys through the underworld, and labyrinths of stone and glass where he waged war against the electric humming and shape-shifting of minotaurs. There were ringing bellerophons, raging typhons, hydras to pay off, medusas, ajaxes, sirens, harpies, furies, bacchae, and all manner of other creatures. Only late at night, as the icy stars rose high, would he voyage back among the gray death ships to the silent shores where a bottle of wine and his blessed argo awaited the exhausted body. The man who knew not whether he was helot or hero, twisted and turned on his boat of pitch-black leather and wood. After a drink or two, he set sail into his own night, wondering if he would catch a glimpse of somnus or thanatos, who were more like shadows than shades. Rowing far out, he expected to see charons in their black vessels ghosted with whispers. It would be a miracle if a hitherto unknown, lissome eos came to join him in his wine-dark argo to share her word hoard of secrets and coded caresses. It would be better if he circumnavigated the ocean of twenty-four winds and captured either the somnus or the thanatos to drink of their hidden amber and ambrosia. The only things he really feared were the eternal charybdis, the eternal cronos, and the endless silence of life.
The city was a large oasis, renowned for its bathing pools, lush trees and wide avenues. A woman with child was traveling, and came to bathe her tired feet and rest. The turquoise water felt so good, she drifted off into sleep. The sound of weeping and frantic speech awoke her, but she saw nothing unusual. Young maidens in soaked gowns cooled their thighs, philosophers in immaculate loin cloths walked slowly, holding their bright umbrellas, and youths swam and splashed. She got up and walked the shaded streets, following the mournful sound, until she came to a dark and deserted pool, where a skeleton sat on the stone edge, dangling its legs in the water just as she had done moments ago. In between fits of weeping, the weathered and cracked skeleton praised her own beauty, spread her femora wide open, and promised infinite pleasure to whoever would caress her and praise her beauty. The mother stared in disbelief until a passerby explained that it was the enchanted skeleton of a once wealthy princess who had practiced starvation and meditation in order to become the most beautiful woman in the world. Cursed for her arrogance, she was doomed to live without peace and weep as a skeleton, mocked by all who passed by, unless someone slept with her. Lay with me, lay with me, the skeleton whispered and sobbed, her phalanges stretching out in a seductive gesture, as she overheard the exchange of words. Almost in tears herself, the mother went over, picked up the skeleton, and cradled it in her arms, carrying it and walking the broad streets leading out of the city, while the skeleton hissed and hissed. Beyond the gates, where the oasis faded into stones and pebbles and mountains of rust and snow, the mother kissed the forehead of the skeleton. She asked it to sing. The skeleton sang an old air beautifully in a distant and soft voice. Laying the skeleton down, and holding it like an infant, pressing its skull to her breast, the mother said that she was indeed very beautiful, and they would sleep together for awhile. The mother sang a lullaby as the bones broke into dust, and the sobbing and whispering returned to the peaceful rustle of sand and gentle sough of wind.
In a colorless dream of nocturnal blue flowers, the sleeper asked the corpse which one of them was more blind or awake, for they had lost their candles and exchanged shadows because of the infinite calculus of stars they had forgotten to number together.