from “Mess and Measure,” Anna Gurton-Wachter
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from “Mess and Measure,” Anna Gurton-Wachter

 

 

The perfect melting bone cries— in English. “That isn’t how it happened.” What mirrors mean, what hunting is, how long I see creating for. Where autumn stopped and the parade began. The radio synthesizes a new feed, developing a private logic. For mirror’s sake give them a desk, a pen, something to write with. The survivor is making a perfect salad that nobody has ever tasted before. The way in which there is really only one tongue, equally exposed— not deleted. That is the main plot, and then for the rest of the time she is very lonely. It occurs to her, many years later, that she might always be thinking of the other planet’s momentum. But thats later. Now the salad tastes planets for her, in her place, a speaking vinaigrette is poured over us— that we may remember the unvisited delete delete backspace good.

 

I am telling you he is good, so you know he is good, he is good, he is good. The salad maker— now we call him that- is in love with garbage. “I will destroy you!” he cackles into his face mask. That is how I learned what kinds of noises to analyze. Its amazing, isn’t it, that he can speak through his face. And her— she is too young to swim the structure. In an interview I read with both of them, he said he was the most turned on by the end of the world. She said she was built to be played with and was sick of people ignoring her buttons. Both a person and dematerialized, she is the same person throughout. Here he is  at it again “I will destroy you!” he cackles. I think it was these kinds of marketing strategies that made him, ultimately, lose his faith in garbage.

 

Playing nurse, she set up a feeding tube of garbage mush. This is for when you forget how to chew or even what salad is. He says, flirting, “Even if my world were destroyed and I were the only person left who knew the meanings of any of this, I would still always remember salad.” If it’s easier for you, I’ll put it in planet terms, otherwise the subtleties will explode into indifference and lethargy and she will be wondering, “why do I not sound excited right now? I know that I am excited.” She makes a gesture for excitement. “See? I’m not all bad.” “Nobody even said you existed.”

 

Somebody has to supervise, or else things degenerate pretty quickly around here. No, no, someone in the royal family hired me as an expert in such matters, which is why I am doing all of this research and trying to understand what really happened. What really happened—fuck (!)—what really happened.  After agreeing to researcher status, I left the building and everyone— really everyone— was ready to embrace my new seeking-self. Hands appeared out of nowhere to touch and stroke my blank notebooks of paper, and nodding, they smiled and rubbed against the empty words. “I can’t wait to see what you find out!” “Just think, of all that will be written here!” In this overwhelming and sudden stardom I realized quickly how much I needed new pants. The pants store, which opened up just for me, had one pair of pants in it, just for me. The tailor is now my friend, and I let him speak for me when I am really tired. He doesn’t mind at all.

 

The silver messenger zooms crashing into cement. The silver voice of the silver messenger asks, “Are you writing anything?” in such a way that I question my understanding of what that word— ‘writing’ can mean. Gasp- I picture myself emerging from the hydrangea or the eggplant. Rapid developments. I will learn rocket speak and zoom. No, no, it makes everyone laugh, that I want to be even slower than this. Have you written anything yet? The you they observe, the you of courtship, the you hanging on- the quick-to-skip saying profound things you. No, I have only been speaking with the subjects, getting my feet wet with research. I (inaudible) pretending (inaudible) will (inaudible) speak (inaudible segment). The salad maker is great at talking— really interesting stuff, but so far, she just seems like another disgusting human. Every movement I make she wants to see as the original colonial act- oh how they turn on you. Is this the summit of a hint? I would marry the letter ‘h’ rather than give up all of these face masks. Jot this down, tailor, tell the writing gods I am falling in love with your hands.

 

[…]

 

The space between planets, that will be my next research topic. Are you already sick of them, your subjects? Not at all, I thought of this negative space idea when I was watching them argue. He was wanting to be remembered for something other than salad, something other than proto-garbage. She felt strongly that he was taking up all of her time with his self dreams. Just because there is room for speaking, does not mean you need to do it! That was too far, maybe. What would it mean, to do this project, without air travel? He continued to make his salad, tears exploring the bowl’s contours. Maybe he would rather be unremembered than give up the tension and anxiety that garbage permits him to love.

 

Listen, Nelo, Can I call you that? I would like to interview you again. Our last interview turned out to be mostly inaudible, which is partially my fault for setting the speaking bar so low. The first question that I would like to ask you, that I think gets at the heart of what we all want to know, is : What is it like to be with someone who does not remember what happened? It seems like maybe— correct me if I’m wrong here— you use the tailor as a stand-in, for her— when you need someone who understands what you have been through? Do you still believe in a past? Will you ever try and visit Baltimore? (His eyes light up, weary).

 

“I have always wanted to go to Baltimore. You may think there is nothing left there. I will make something out of the shell that was a city. You will know where to find me. She is not wrong, in forgetting.”  Listen— you are getting very worked up. Let’s turn the lights down and listen to the sound of eggs being cracked. Might as well take off your clothes, too.

 

Have you written anything yet? The silver messenger appearing is a serious matter. He is more than a carrier, he is also the royal family’s hypnotist. Have you written anything? Maybe this is not slow to you, but I feel that I am watching you self destruct. Tomorrow, during the physicality parade, I will take you to see the Confidence-Man. The Confidence-Man can turn cancer into peanut milk into digestive fluid into fuck-stuff that everyone seems to really love. I was going to suggest a trip to him earlier, but you have been so stubborn. Of course, before you can meet him, we will have to get you a new pair of pants. Of course, of course, that will help.

 

[…]

 

I have already said that he was good and dead and good good dead. The silver messenger enters and continues entering. Part of the silver charm is the silver capacity to inhabit multiple spaces— the way a planet’s physicality smothers. “This thing they call the symbolic, the singular— it is hunting me.” was a phrase that kept running before my zoomed eyes. Maybe that is what is meant by the pre-recorded. Floating cinder blocks, whole and in parts, created a kind of ladder. It might have been called elegant or convincing. If it was intelligible, I did not notice. I thought, I could use this as a kind of ladder.

 

As we climbed I shifted my weight onto air onto weight onto cinder. A ladder is more cohesive as an object, more alive than the other tropes I will use. Perhaps there could be a rehearsal dialogue? I said to my silver companion. Okay, I will play Confidence Man, and you will play you. The you who is the same throughout. You. Go.

 

[…]

 

The feeling is of having missed an opportunity to speak. The voice compost electrifies its phantom beginning. That light which was so merry. That the voice is a child’s voice is never good (what I could have realized much earlier in life etc etc.) Re-use is what I have been wishing for- a dance step that gets us all moving in synch! It is funny you should bring up synchronizing, and— I went blank. What was it about that climbing feeling? Have you turned your back on the planets? Existing itself seems inhumane, its got this epic shame to it. That is the main plot, and then slowly he learns how to adapt to survive. The survivor chooses Baltimore randomly, but then again, it resonates and is accepted for its unexamined stage. I understood you to be saying, “We freely choose Baltimore.” My emphasis is on choice. The way that the past can be the most futuristic part of being destroyed. What about her as a star giving out constellations? Does she even get to exist or has she simply buried herself in sugary garbage language? Laughable, how much of a threesome one cesspool of planet devotion becomes. Stay, stay, and when all is evaporated stay again.

 

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