September 5th, 2013 / 6:31 pm

There are a few things I have been meaning to say and one of them is


Do you see the tree for the water? Sometimes I don’t, and then the dark melts up like a fat pit stretched out over the first note, the first noise. Silence. But it’s not the not that bruises. It’s the rim. It’s the interception that slays the calm that could have been. Whether it was or wasn’t both a lake and a fountain, it’s definitely that the feedback is too high. But is it water or sky you see? That’s when I sink into the couch and try to hide behind an open window, or a broken conk shell. The world is too bright sometimes, others not enough. You could say it’s exactly what it is, but it’s also a piece of wax. And we’re not killing it, because it is everything and everything else. We can, however, bruise it. We can pinch a nerve. We can not have home. I hope you’re still with me, because now I’d like to suggest some natural magic.┬áLast night at my apartment a trill ripped the drone of my open window, forever unrolling one long quake like an ancient sometimes sea, the road. I went out to investigate, barefoot. I went down a hundred-year-old set of stairs dotted with dead leaves and trash. At first I saw nothing, just the road, which is not nothing so much as not what I hoped to find, which was a kind of softer terror. I heard no trill either, just the stream of cars, occasional garbage, probably leaves. I started back inside, up the stairs. I looked back once more to see a coon correctly use the crosswalk, trotting over from my side to the vacant lot across the road, a too-steep hill full to the brim with trees and shrubbery. The coon trilled and threw its head around. Rabies, I thought. Then I saw the tree, a pine I think, bend into the streetlamp. A swarm of raccoons, fifteen, maybe twenty, haunted┬áthe tree like a dark wind, almost motionless. Raccoons on top of raccoons. Raccoons where raccoons might not have been. I couldn’t see a bear, but I pictured a black-bear ghost chewing a mess of coons up there in a swirl of sparkling purple. A flurry of lower trills slackened as the raccoon cloud descended the staircase of leaves to the sidewalk. “Holy shit,” said a voice in the night. It was mine, but I didn’t know who it was for. No one was around. It was after midnight and Oakland is a heavy sleeper. Three of the coons crossed the street in different directions, looking back, avoiding all cars. One of them came my way and didn’t see me till it was close. I forgot that I was a little afraid. But I was bigger and I knew it. So did the coon. It crept in on a corner, behind some bushes, under some cars. It crossed the street in front of a honk, and shrank into the sewer like a huge rat. Then the tree was silent. Then the street was silent, for a while there were no cars. And that was the worst part, the silence. It starts at the rim. It’s what’s on when the internet is not. It’s not dinner conversation. It’s not a book. It’s not even a good way to say exactly what it is, which is why it’s better to say


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