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November 6th, 1998

Houdini @ 03:12 am

From: rsiken@hotmail.com
Subject: Houdini
Date: November 6, 1998 3:12:19 AM PST
To: exit2k@hotmail.com, afw10@columbia.edu, mrvisible@worldnet.att.net, sowinski@inetdirect.net, sejohnst@midway.uchicago.edu, shorning@willamette.edu, gbrennan@willamette.edu, emcgarry@willamette.edu, and 24 more…

He was not dead yet, not exactly -
parts of him were dead already, certainly other parts
were still only waiting for something to happen - something grand -
but it isn't
always about me he's saying,
though he's talking about the only heart he knows:
boys on the bed, strange sheets, the way the phone rings
in the other room like that, the way it has of ringing, ringing -

Back to him - looks different, talks the same. What he remembers
has nothing to do with us, or does it - the inside parts -
all this circling around inside the darkened rooms inside
those dream of ours that never get used.

He is not dead yet, still though it isn't
about him - can't articulate what it is he feels or needs or
thinks he needs, doesn't know which parts to move
or which ones stack on top of all the other ones.
Doesn't really
trust us, but then why should he - we sit and listen, then we wander
right back out again -
the small dark rooms still dark, still small - sheets over chairs,
bulbs blown, the windows now open now shut -

But still, we wanted the antidote, the answer to the mystery,
the problem solved: a small-boned boy
beside the window quivering, a boy like a hinge - all the candy
and toilets inside his head -
how we gurgle in anticipation of the passwords, the keys
in the locks, the anything
that covers up the screaming.

He says: It's quiet now.
He says: It's empty handed.
He says: Here are big and little words
all spelling out desire, all spelling out You will be alone always
and then you will die -
conjuring conjuring always someone to push us down the stairs again
wearing our sad shoes and waving the little white flags -
especially that, but we should have known.

But we did want to find our way in again, didn't we?
All of us wanting to find our way in, trying to bash in his head
to get to the candy.
We go to sleep, we slumber, while he lumbers through the mail
to end up on the table, and we wonder what he's thinking when
he shivers like that,
when he opens up the box and gives us all the explaining.

Suppose for a moment that the heart has two heads,
that the heart has been chained and dunked in a glass booth
filled with river water.
The heart is monologing about hesitation and fulfillment
while behind the red brocade the heart is drowning.

Can the heart escape? Does love even care? Should we stand here
or jump in the water?

Sure, he put himself in the box.
He wouldn't have if we weren't watching.
This stunt, this heroic display of showmanship for the home team -
He puts himself in the box
and there's nothing in the box but him.
Him and maybe Hope.
Snow falls on the water as we dump the booth in the bay.

Suppose for a moment we are crowded around the pier,
waiting for something to ripple the water.

We believe in you. There is no danger. It is not getting dark
we want to say.
 
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