Saturday, July 19, 2008


A pair of pickaxes, crossed like legs, is sitting abandoned on the living room floor. They are completely out of place, and the incongruity is making the whole room vibrate. Reality is looking like a loose film. If there was sound here, it would be helplessly garbled and an affront to the ears. It's a small mercy that the room is deadly silent. Still, it's impossible to focus on the white walls. It's known they'll stop moving at the lightest touch, but something makes this a blasphemy beyond compare. This is felt not known, a revealed knowledge that it would be a supreme ingratitude to ignore. There is ritual in this vibratory reaction: something in this room is worshiping something else in this room. This is no longer a space to be inhabited. Perhaps it's no longer truly a space at all, but rather the sacred given form, a demonstration of energy becoming matter. That it resembles a room for people to live in is mere coincidence.

The head of the topmost pickaxe is caked with dirt. The dirt is bone dry and cracking in places. Flecks of mica are embedded in it. They are catching the light, twinkling from the vibrations, making the head of the pickaxe into a stellar map of an unknown sky. In some places the cracks and flecks are working together to show the lines of new constellations. New to the viewer anyway. The lines and points are ancient, though perhaps still waiting to be named. It is unclear whether this is a right of discovery to be taken, or a celestial favor to be granted. However, it is clear that determining which is the case is not to be taken lightly.

The handle of the topmost pickaxe is worn from use. Strange piebald patches give evidence that the handle has been painted and repainted, varnished and revarnished, stripped and sanded, over and over again. The lines of the handle are no longer straight. Palms and gripping fingers have created curved indentations, suggesting that this is a tool with a very specific balance point. It must have been held exactly the same way for decades upon decades. Perhaps inheritance of the tool was determined by the shape of the beneficiary's hands rather than a more traditional accident of birth, so that the grip could be preserved and enhanced.

The bottommost pickaxe is immaculate and has clearly never been used. head and handle both shine. In fact, the head appears to have been chromed, an extravagance that suggests that not only has this tool never been used, but perhaps also that it is never meant to be used. The handle is glossy and black. It is impossible to determine if this is paint, black varnish, or if the handle is naturally made of a black wood that has been polished exactingly. Blurry reflections of the room can be seen in it, merging with the woodgrain. It's possible to imagine that a simulacrum of the room exists within the handle, inhabiting a lathe turned wooden universe that will remain forever unreachable.

The vibrations continue and build in intensity. Items fall off the shelves lining the walls, falling noiselessly to the carpeted floor. The vibrations grow and grow, until the point is reached where the room is no loner identifiable as such. All that can be determined is that something that may be room-shaped is in violent motion. It's individual features can no longer be distinguished. This continues for a period that may last minutes or may last years. Eventually though, the vibrations begin to recede, slowly dropping to their original intensity, and then continuing to slow even beyond that frequency.

When the vibrations cease entirely, the pickaxes are still there. however, they have switched positions, the unused axe on top, the worn one underneath. As the light begins to fade in the room, the distant sound of a single pair of booted feet approaching can just be heard.

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