cadence

from CADENCE

- for the Grateful Web

I am invisible one minute and then I am not.  Walking down 8th avenue by the translations of him and his universe and me and what could be connected but isn't over the trains underneath, under ground, under streets.  The M34 bus travels west to east; he is standing facing north, looks over the avenue, past me, past buildings and communication lines.  Back at the office, I could chose to reengage, read his mind as I see it, "get in touch" but touching is limbless and I can only imagine what all this could have to do with me or the clock on the corner of my computer screen that lags in the morning and doesn't catch up to universal time until well into the second half of the day.

He is inconceivable.  Gives only sentence as clues, wears the weather, coated with all the others on the street below from where I work, from where he works, where the M34 bus passes every ten minutes, where the subway reemerges from a tunnel and a train leaves Penn Station every hour on the hour and the half hour.

Mail comes in; I feel him looking. I read it, imagine his handwriting, what it would look like if this were written instead of typed. His drawn lines on the screen that once existed in real time below the offices above and the avenue below and the bus that crosses from west to east and back again.

 

The trains are under ground still, just as they were this morning when I passed over them.  Now I am going home, arrive in Brooklyn to disengage.  I take a shower and all of the other men in my building watch through the uncovered window.  I watch too, recall all the other bodies I have ever had, the lines that have changed.  If sown together I could cover the floor boards, walk the path of patch together skin.

 

Another disconnect and he emerges as words – a distorted voice on the other end of the telephone while he sits on the express train heading home – all the noise and confusion that forms a conversation – a call that can't go through tunnels and loud passengers.  His reaching goes only as far the reflections of passing telephone lines – gets redirected by shorts in the network and fallen down power lines. "Hello, can you hear me" he'll say and I'll answer "hello, yes I can hear you." And him again "can you…" space.

 

8am. The subways are moving still, now weighted down by commuters, my bodies pressed hard up against the closing doors.  Back at the office a transactions has been made and he appears in computers memory, a glitch in the space.  He talks about his time, but at that time I am still caught in the body march, still in a tunnel underground walking from the L train to the uptown local train under sixth avenue.  I'm not sure what now he speaks of or how slow the conversion is, where the M34 is in relation to Penn Station.

 

When I respond it is in a voice that only partially sounds like me, one that appears in perfectly straight lines I could never recreate.  I tell him about the eyes in my shower; all my bodies I have walked around in.  The message is sent and everything disappears, possibly never existed or is still on its way down the street.  Perhaps it was intercepted, smacked up against the M34 – riding across town along with all the other traffic.  Or maybe the clock on my computer has lagged so far behind that the trains are no longer arriving in the station and the subways tracks are empty - people still pile onto the platforms stacked up against each other, breast bones against spines, hair in mouths and heads leaning over the gaping hole of an empty tunnel waiting for the surfacing of shaking lights.

 

I am only a mock up in these passings, a digital reproduction.  The clock moves again in the corner of the screen and I appear with his reappearance, a fractured me digested and handed back.  He responds as protocol, a chunky voice that gaps and stutters over long sentences and words.  My hands still falling through the keyboard.