Tuesday, April 27, 2004

A Glorious Moment for Garbage

creative writing assignment no. 2: textual document of a physical environment.
part one: the sun.

Hot sun on pavement, hot pavement on skin. It smells like skin cancer, but fuck it — I’m only twenty-one.

"This is my favorite spot on campus."

Concentric semicircles of concrete; a geometric sanctuary of green and gray; the most classical spot on a campus that’s younger than my parents; an annex for the studious framed by mismatched international shrubbery — ivy, bamboo, palms and a fruitless olive tree perfectly iconic of the spot’s faux classicality.

"I think so too," not meaning that I agree that she likes this spot but that I also like this spot. Of course.

Motionless at ground level. It bends delicately in the wind blowing above the rooftops, but I can’t feel that on the hot cement. The tree UN bobs their heads. Behind me, the whirring mechanical engine of an air conditioner. Someone dares to regulate temperature on a day to pleasantly perfect to justify temperature regulation. Cell phone conversations, coughing, sneezing, a general escape of air from the faces of people passing by. And — though my office sits directly beneath Storke Tower, I hear the bells for the first time today.

L - E - T
T - H - E - R - E
B - E
L - I - G - H - T

[[[ ten-to-four ]]]

Resonant and proud — fifteen notes in heavy iron.

A flake of silver glints sunlight. A holy gumwrapper, reflecting light directly into my eyes. A glorious moment for garbage.

When I get overwhelmed by the stress of matching a specific sensation with the pinpoint perfect word for it, I shut my eyes. No stimulus, only scanning for the right response, the marriage of what I saw and how I saw it But the perfect hot semicircles, the mismatched trees framed by sunlight flash for one second more again, in negative form, on the insides of my sun-warmed eyelids.

part two: the shade.

Melanoma free, but bullied by the now-louder roar of the intrusive air conditioner. Plus piano —playing something I never would have gotten good enough to play. Some winding, aimless, disjointed melody.

A trumpet, clearly drunk, scales up and down —

C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C - B - A - G - F - E - D - C

— but always back to Middle C. Fifteen notes in shiny brass.

A crow caw. A flutter of feathers. The dry sound of paper creeping down the sidewalk on its belly. More metal bells. [[[ four-o’-clock ]]] And then again, another trumpet, dueling, trying to lap the other in its 15-part circular racetrack: eight steps up, then down again. Dueling repetition.

Scrape of a branch against a rough cement sidewall. Caw caw. Trumpet squeak. A disjointed cacophony, a motley symphony of mismatched instruments, an instrumental of poesia futurisma. Zang-tum-tum. Whir-caw-squeak.

I’m more aware now of the sharp angle of the concrete step in my back. Shadows lengthen. The once-shaky trumpet, the winner of the trump-off, apparently, clears its throat and launches into a solo — brass minor, not cheerful at all. A requiem for the end of the afternoon.

(creative writing assigment no. 1 forthcoming)