International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes
Every Brushstroke, Disintegration
dedicate our journal to Time, in the knowledge it will be broken
down, immediately or inevitably. Were marking time by decline,
our words as tombstones - its either in abundance, and thus
ignored, or being chipped away, slowly eroded in increments small
enough we decide they should be; cast aside for there are plenty
more. It was only one second.
59. What then
was one grain of sand on a beach? One grain could be all the world if
you were nowhere near the sea! Only a second, but youve already
spent one to get to this point. It has no true value, we said. We dont
know value, we said later. We pay in coin or in kind alone.
58. Our lives an unbreakable hourglass and there is no drill to intrude
through the surface, no hole with which to replenish sand which has
turned grey, spiralled slower, shrivelled and dropped from the upper
bulb through the dead centre. No value, because its used to define
value. We hated Time. It gave us a purpose, or its idea.
57. Thus, Time was our enemy; Time was always the enemy. Every memory
was a memory of that memory, every past a rewrite in the present, every
reunion a resurrection. We spent time to tell you of Time, but it was
spent wisely: Time demands a toll; we give up ourselves, recoup our
witherings with wisdom, with brevity.
56. We are Times captive; we dictate this aloud - cannot trust
words to stay on the page, nor in the form we give them. Words here
are just sounds, erupt into the air and explode, their carcasses swim
through ears; a journey with no return. One thought in one second; but
the value of that second changes.
55. It is the rule of this place - the countdown clock has begun and
all our breaths have numbers now, every heartbeat a war drum to sound
the battle with our ending. Disintegration: first theres fracturing,
then grinding down; disintegration - a totality - follows consequently.
Time, as always, to assess value without time, the purpose of here.
54. Here. As defined by there. Yes, we think so; yes, we're certain!
We forget what the outside world looked like; there are no doors - this
is the observation above all prying eyes - no doors, thus no distinction;
nor any separation of there from here. Why, we think - in time - do
we presuppose a there?
53. Were thinking; maybe, were thinking. Or maybe were
thinking? Our body options are limited in here. We're in a sealed room,
but that infers it's the building block of, perhaps, a block-shaped
building - we know of no larger, so why do we constrain ourselves? We're
not in a room, we're in... white? Yes.
52. We know theres a countdown working, but you deserve a description,
a basis, something to build on. All this journal would otherwise be
is a minutes fractured thoughts, and fracturing is stage one;
we fight it. You cant time a thought. Stop the clock and shut
the brain, but its still there.
51. Theyre just getting smaller, as present day everythings fade,
painted over by the future - when the future arrives to take the presents
place - with Times brush, using the same shade paint for all:
age, cracks and lines. Well still think until the end; well
tell you our whys before we go.
50. All things in heaven and earth; indeed, all that which resides within
this room, and there are some - there - would say were mad, conversing
to the air for its the only thing to hear us. That would be grinding
down, stage two, but we are rational and no longer lonely.
49. We only met one other, and that was Time, who wore humanity as a
cloak and a human face like a mask. He was standing in the room - featureless,
white, a blank - over us when we first woke. He then spoke; we slept,
when we awoke, he had gone.
48. We dont know how long weve been here. We dont
know how Time got in the room, how he got out, or if we shall see him
again. When we wake, there are plates of food. We dont know how
they got in either. There are no doors.
47. This room is a blank. We think it would be like a canvas, unspoiled
but in three dimensions. The wall may be the floor may be the ceiling.
We examined all seals and joins; we found it easy for there were none.
Were living in a cube.
46. We made one corner our nesting area, one corner for body functions.
Our relaxation area was in the centre, where we would talk. We would
hang our belt or make homely decorations, but our only interactions
could be to sit or lean. The room wasnt friendly.
45. Yet, we found our room warm and spacious; well lit from behind those
walls with gentle evanescence, for there were no bulbs. No breeze to
bother us; nothing in nor any thing out, but it didnt grow stale;
it was plain but it was functional.
44. The canvas of Time was plain at first, but his subject - and there
were many - would paint their own lives onto it; Time would edit, with
his one brush and one pot of paint for all. His studio was a horizon,
everyones lifetime long.
43. Time is compelled to revise all work annually. Hell never
put a canvas on display, merely cover it but keep it in his studio.
He was a one brush painter. "You," he told us that one time,
"Are my trial attempt at sculpture."
42. "Death is that one note song, forever. Fate is a one horse
race. I am a one colour painter. Do you see? I apologise for your loneliness,
but I deal with all things and must restrict myself to one for this
41. "Ill leave you shortly; the experiment shall miscarry
should there be outside interaction. In truth, I tire as a painter.
I wish to sculpt and examine you, for time affects all, and in this,
Im simply testing new methods of work."
40. "Ive made the preliminary models, now that Ive
observed you in depth. Ill begin shortly. It shouldnt prove
discomforting. Ill add a year, not much; my hands dont caress
but remould, yes? You shall sleep first. The clay shouldnt wriggle."
39. And so we waited. We passed the time by thinking of Time, but we
are sure he did not notice. We had an approximation of what he was doing
at present, or his motive. We were flesh to age.
38. We, when younger, would artificially stain paper with tea bags and
tan colouring, for school. "Its ancient parchment!"
we said. Something modern made to look old, but it would end up like
that anyway. We knew that now.
37. We woke with limbs as putty, joints grossly malleable, skin slaking
as onions. We were withering. "Its not working!" snapped
Time. We swore he was not here before. "Sculpture is inadequate;
your form is just too soft."
36. "I only meant to add a year, define your forehead furrows and
sweep back the hairline a tiny fraction." He mused savagely. "I
cannot work with such materials!" Frustration. "My paintings,
at least, are indirect. Hmm."
35. He turned to us. "At least I dont have to advance your
mind to senility," he quipped. "I apologise; Ive made
you prematurely your grandfather. Your skin is as prunes! Ill
correct that, start again."
34. When we woke, we were made of clay. Shoring up the borders of the
skin, buffers and barriers and a cage to keep the organs in. We were
solid again, until the next time.
33. "Ive been thinking," he said, and we swear he was
not there a second ago. "In what manner must I work effectively,
when Im always everyones editor and so very personal a concept?"
32. "The world moves through me, past me as I reach to affect it.
What am I, then, to you or to people? A tyrant or a workman? Lifes
toll booth? The reason?"
31. "For my toll is an expensive one, but you pay it and I give
your lives meaning! Through me I let you know that change is happening;
youll live better, assuredly."
30. We said, how can we live better? We said, we cannot leave here.
He said, life is in the viewpoint not the place. He said, its
knowledge that youll die.
29. "Nobody can choose not to pay the toll! Suppose you did, suppose
somebody opted that way - they wouldnt age but then wouldnt
care; wouldnt die but consequently couldnt live."
28. "All my work is poignant, but never for me! Its the tear
I paint on leathery face below age-blind eyes, its gravestone
moss masking a dead lovers sentence."
27. "Even you have meaning," he said. "Even my failed
work speaks with clear voice, but not clear mind. Youre quite
the statue, the most fluid of solids."
26. "And therein I find my solutions!" Hands play an empyrean
harp, drawing strings from still air, making motion. "A puzzle
that completes itself
Ill merely guide."
25. "The sculptor provides action, but Ill try guidance,
prod and nudge the materials, never force, theyll fall into place
of their own accord!" We sleep.
24. We wake to anger and fingers an implosion of skin, shrivelled tight
to pull against stitching and expose contents. Tightness of breath.
23. "It fails!" Thundering without echo. "It fails!"
Footfalls speak of absolutes. "One day, one hour, a simple second
eludes me!" We worry. Quiver.
22. "I cannot change you with subtlety. Yet, can I change you at
all? Cant I alter my methods? Can I not improve?"
21. "Sculpture doesnt work because I cannot change! This,
yes, this is Time. This is what I do, thus, what I am."
20. We sleep, wake; hes gone. Who is he to come here? We have
our life in walls, him our guest.
19. Hes gone. Sleep. Wake. No changes... Sleep. Changes there
may be, but subtle ones. Sleep. Wake. The days change!
18. "Good morning," he said. "Ive no need for sculpture.
Ive accepted." Displays an easel. "Youve need
17. "I give you change, but you give me being. Quid pro quo, Im
sure." Frowns. We think.
16. Grasps brush. "You give me a task, but you never gave me an
ending!" Wields brush.
15. "With every brushstroke, disintegration. With this paint, withering.
Im everyones editor, but nobody changes me."
14. "I am cursed to paint! Damn you!" Who he was damning,
we didnt know.
13. "I am that which defines change, but I cannot change myself.
12. We croak with elderly tongue, "Why?" Our journal suffers
with heaped arthritis.
11. We failed copying down his answer in full. We tried, however.
10. "Ive made you so very crumbling. Ill start again.
9. "This was a failure. You werent. You did well."
8. Erase, and begin again, aging anew. He said.
7. Well miss him. Hes mad, but motivated.
6. Time steps up to his easel.
5. Time has only one paint.
4. Time just cant stop.
3. A present, modified.
2. My canvas.
© Steve Bush October 2006
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