by j. griogair bell

This work is © copyright 1996 j. griogair bell, all rights reserved.

Some selections have been previously published in electronic media.

All originals are © copyright 1996 j. griogair bell.

Printing History: This is an unpublished project.

All rights reserved. No part of this book nor of individual works may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, in use or yet to be invented, without permission in writing from the author.

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dedicated to LGV.

je t'accuse


I've fallen asleep
floating in the water
like a drowning man
I come up for air
but find it all gone
to the surface three times
then no more
all of your truths
are old illusions to me now.

entranced by the romance
of what you think is freedom
you are shackled to the walls
of this allegorical imaginarium
you can't leave the insanity behind
because it will follow you
and you will always know
that you are yourself
even though you don't know yourself

placed with the rest of the race
nothing stands out from anything else
nothing you do is anything new
and this must be a fool's paradise
because there's so damned many of them

Lately, as seems to happen far too often, the maggot in me has been trying to get out. I can feel that part of me trying to escape, that part of me that hates. The maggot can't stand me and would like me out of its way.

The maggot would like to chew away my insides with worry. That part of me that knows nothing I do matters and that part of me that is certain I'm not even worth the energy to hate.

I can feel the worm inside my stomach. I can feel that worm as it slowly inches up my back. I can feel the worm breathing heavily as it labors to reach my neck. I can feel that worm eating away my insides.

As that worm catches in my throat, I feel like destroying everything and burning everything. As the worm pauses at my throat, I might be able to choke it back down if I can destroy enough that it won't want the ruins or the ruin of me.

That maggot knows that I won't destroy anything. The maggot knows me too well. That maggot in me knows I'm weak because I hope. The maggot wants mostly to prove to me that I'm too weak to hope.

Lately, I've felt that worm in my head.

Scattered ashes remain but
the sunlight still falls
as broken daylight gem-like
across the empty frame
The empty frame still contains
the corners of the image
in a dust-like forgotten way
The past reaching for the future
as if one more day will reveal,
just one more day until the truth
can be unsealed, for all to see
The day seems to take forever
Distinct shadows form increasingly dark
futures for the forgetful day
Forgetfulness makes this confusion ordinary
as if it were merely the beginning of the story
as if this were the forgetfulness of rebirth
This birth pretends to bring death
in the form of nightfall
but still the promise presses
against the blank picture
piecing together the traces of dust
Words resolve into sound but
fail to find any ears to hear
Words become nothing but silence
and small movements of the air
Words surrender to the dark
The pride that was once in those words
begins to crumble as the pages age
and join the words in the dust
The source of words fails to recover
and the accumulation of dust ceases
with the end of all words
The dust is no longer distinct
and joins the dark in darkness
and the dark holds its own
Without words there is no pride
for there is no pride in absence
With absence there is no motion
and with no motion there is no sound
Without sound the promise is unspoken
and without motion the future is still-life
painted with darkness in the dust
and with forgetfulness all is lost and
forgetfulness is just a fancy kind of dust
In painful neglect, even the horizon dies.
So, where is this promise now?
then out of the darkness
comes the silent crash of lightning
enlightening every forgotten form
and violently reminding the room
that darkness is not the death of everything
and the flash is a prescient warning
that soon after light comes the death of silence
and the sudden sound reaffirms the voice
almost so close the room forgets the light
as every form fades in the shake of sound
the room is filled by another strike of light
silence resumes in the dark room
as if the light frightened away the sound
providing a pyrrhic vistory for life
a moment there and a moment gone
but a brief moment is a type of movement
in time the moment awakens the dust
with more subtle movement and sound
independent faust dealing its soul
under the curtain of mephistopheles
and the summoning of time taking long
deep breaths behind shadowy forms at rest
continues the enlivening of the space
and reanimation of all servants to time
like sound and motion and pride and words
and all this bacchanalian life dancing
in the corners and between the forms
behind the times and under the frame
of broken image brings to life the promise
and with the ritual of completion comes
the first red rays of dawn that signal
the horizon to reveal that it never really was gone
and with the horizon all the forms in the room
were forced to admit the rebirth of promise
and with the rebirth of promise
brings the promise of another night.

i loved you, foolishly, at first, then later with that peculiar sense of desperate infatuation that infects the young with roses and valentines.

then you lay dormant in my heart while other storms raged above the surface of my reason. roiling and turning me around without taking me far from that deep sea where you left me.

you've appeared to me several times since and I've allowed myself to believe, each time, that you were a vision. the visions faded each time as quickly as the mirage of you failed to remain longer than the morning after.

each time you've come near I think you may stay nearer than you really ever were to begin with. i started out as a distraction and i've remained a distant convenience. i'm merely a secret skeleton to keep away and out of sight. except on rare occasion s, when there's nothing else to do but play with the past, you've found my charms wholly forgettable and my fantasies merely cute but never quite compelling.

each approach finds me wanting more but with far less than before. on first approach we held each other, on second we touched, and on third we merely thought of touching. all the while i thought i touched you i merely touched myself with illusory hope of touching you.

you wrote once that i really must believe and i did. i followed the faith far too long with a sullen devoutness. i didn't realize that fulfillment would come in the afterlife. i burned nine candles out of ten trying to find the right prayer but justice takes a dim view of my particular blindness.

i understand the words but the meaning has taken me on a trip through the catacombs wherein i searched for flowers and other fables. i thought i could find promise in the future but rather found myself stuck in a present state clouded by pasts that you long since forgot.

i've been here before.

i can feel the warmth flowing through my veins in that subtle familiar way. warm silky threads weaving through my body. as that feeling reaches my fingertips, the tears start. my throat begins to hurt like I swallowed a thousand sour patch kids. my b ack begins to hurt and I can almost hear my heart skipping every other beat.

i listen as my ears go numb and the music becomes inaudible and then my understanding begins to fail.

i've been here before.

this is such a comfortable place to be away from my memory. here i'm surrounded by the invisible forgotten dialog with ghosts in which i've grown fluent. this language of silence which is written in a solitary alphabet, scribbles stick figures and fab les of what might have been and what was never said. this is the perfect topic for an essay in oblivion.

and the inaudible music becomes louder than my tears.

fuck this noise anyway. how am I supposed to think with all this going on behind my eyes?

this is study time. i have to figure out what the fuck i am doing in the same place. here is the first paragraph: a broken page of charcoal sans serif mixed with urine and spit. that topic sentence leaves a bad taste in my mouth. it's perfect and path etic and full of past tense.

i'd lick the page with fire but all i can taste is blood.

as if one weren't enough there's another page to write.

the page can almost feel me with paper cuts under my fingertips as i craddle the structure in a manger of stained rags and stolen moments. i'd murder that fucking thesis if i could get it up against the wall with any precision. i'll come back to that later.

here's the next line. perhaps a short sentence written with spikes across my wrists would suffice?

where's the purpose in this shit?

i could package it and sell myself for vivisection among the surgically inclined philistines. then i'd have the satisfaction of smearing my shit on the walls and i could even pretend it was a revolution in printing. this road to my personal helvetiva bold is paved with too many paranthetical indentations to be good for mass publication. i can't be bound to the taste of the public when this whole thing is already so distasteful.

imagine licking the stamp necessary to deliver this crap to your door. after just one, you'll know exactly which end of the horse that glue came from.

speaking of horse piss, where's there anything permanent in this?

it all comes to pass that i'm right back were i've always been with the noise of solitude pounding down the pages faster than i can type. what ever happened to advertizing? i could have made millions if i could write something other than this mess. i could have been happy if i could be stupid enough not to realize i'm standing in this shit.

i'd be a zombie if i weren't too wounded to walk

and there it is again, that sharpness that becomes soft as it spreads outward from my stomach. that must be kind of what it's like to get fucked for the first time. what hurts most is that there's no way to go back and do it right and now all i want i s for it to end even though i wanted it so very much.

i'd rip it out if i were absolutely sure that it wasn't supposed to feel this way.

where's that conclusion when i need it?

some bastard stole it away from me. only thing is that the bastard that keeps stealing from me is me and the fancy cries for more time are just an excuse to hide from what i already know. i really should sit down and explain it all to myself sometime. i can be such a slow learner some times.

the funny thing is that i really don't remember signing up for this class.

isn't this where i was before?

spreading lies about myself to myself so that i don't have to think about what i really am is getting to be a bit circuitous. i'm not sure where i am in that equation anymore. the numbers don't seem to add up anymore. i could have sworn i wasn't alone when i came in here but now i can only count up to one. i keep getting lost after that.

i think the music has made my tongue numb also.

i think there's fungus growing in my keyboard because the keys are beginning to feel softer and softer under my fingers. perhaps that's just because my fingers have gotten numb after typing the same word over and over again. after all, this essay is about oblivion and there's only one word in the vocabulary of oblivion.

so much language means the same damn thing. it all boils down to one thing. the topic, the sentence, the paragraph ... are really just a single word typed out constantly as loudly as possible and with as many keystrokes in between.

so here's the essay but i don't really give a fuck whether you like it or not because it's an essay written to the ghosts i've come to live with between the letters of the only word that matters. i finally found the conclusion mixed up with a few stray run on sentences.

the only word left, all that's left to say, that is to say it means fuck you i hate you fuck me i love you, is goodbye.