Measured Extravagance

23 November 2002 - 11:04 p.m.

Two collab entries on what you see vs. who I am.

Alchera Buzz No. 6:: Begin your submission with the following sentence. Do not alter it in any way. Write this as a free-flow submission--make no edits whatsoever after your first written draft.

[10:12 p.m.]

"The strangest dream I ever had..."

...would be a fiction, if I told you about it, because I don't know you well enough to let you into the attic (or is it a basement?) of my mind. You are welcome into the parlor and to sample the cakes and whisky on the tea-tray, but I do believe in boundaries, and like my friend Maria, that means there are vases and plants deliberately placed at the foot of the stairs - a pleasant but unmistakable variation of "Do Not Enter" - a way of indicating that there is a part of my habitat I consider invitation-only. It matters to me, to be as gracious and as seemly as I can. Some people might insist that seemliness is an unduly and perhaps even unfairly artificial construct - that it is far more important to be - that to seem is somehow more pernicious, less trustworthy, less honest, more superficial. I think, sometimes, that being is overrated - there is more interest to me in the narrative of becoming - which includes the elements of "being" but contains transition and output ("com(e)") at its core.

This, even though my dreams are populated with folded maps and swallowed kisses. This, even though I often simply sit and congratulate myself on the combination of improbabilities that allow me to enjoy the sun on my face.

[10:34 p.m.]

"If you have five minutes to make an impression on someone you are meeting for the first time, what will they see? How closely does the image you project reflect the inner you?"

I am the embodiment of background chatter,
the books in storage at the antiquarian store:
you aren't looking or listening for me.
I'm wearing gray. I'm the water rinsing the dishes,
the cord that hauls up the Venetian blinds,
the wheel that coasts over stones without a squeak.
You won't remember my name or even that we met.

I'm fine with that. Five minutes isn't enough
with even a tree or a book. I'll forgive you even
if you called me someone's sister or asked if I
am the brilliant pianist who used to play at your church.
But understand that invisible doesn't mean transparent --
that white, clear light is a mix of the visible colors.

    - pld

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