Writer in Residence ยท 12/06/2013

The Cut

And so it was and so it is. A folding in of folds. An origami of the mind. Anna finds herself, once more, at the black door of the warehouse. Again, the palm of her hand pushing against the cold steel until it gives. But gives into what? And for whom?

Who is she? A detective, lost on a screen or a thousand screens. Her movements, they feel positively filmic.

She was in a bar, searching for a man who sells children to other men. What has happened? How has she gotten here, outside this warehouse? There has been a cut, without warning or reason, to another scene.

There is a person. A person coming. Anna can hear the footsteps drawing closer to the door. The other side of the door. The footfalls upon the warehouse floor where she has walked a thousand times over, on a hundred screens. The footsteps stop. There is a certain slant of sound that tells her not to push the door open.

Anna removes the palm of her hand from the iron door. A black car, on the street behind her, passes by. Disappears. The sun comes out momentarily. There is the problem of light. Of unsteady light. Anna touches her face to remember herself. Now the car passes going the other way. More slowly. It trails blood. The warehouse seems to retreat from Anna’s vision on its own. She scrambles. Anna does. Uses her wits. Finds herself inside the warehouse, its vast black spaces accelerating and de-accelerating, a sort of multiplication and then division of speed.

A formality of thought, the burned neural pathways leading, always leading, to the basement, the strict chalkboard, torture chamber logic of midnight. And once there, Anna, herself a painter before she was a detective, confronted by a widescreen oil number, in dripping Pollock style, in Ashbery lines, in Kristeva minefields expanding beyond the peripheral. There is nothing abstract about hurt, Anna thinks, nothing abstract about pain.

She is on the run. But why? If she has, as they say in the parlance of our victim age, not been herself lately, who is to blame? Not herself. Not Anna. Not of her own doing that her mind has been cut and torn with thorns. And so and thus she flees deeper into the empty building, a sort of vast set always on the verge of being finished. Black iron stairs that have been built, freshly, for her it seems.

All her unspooling, daisy-flowered, implied girlhood tending to this maximum point. All her muddy riverbanks. All her thoughts accumulated, at last, into the shape of a red cone. The red cone she holds in her mind like some Important Symbol cut loose from its meaning. Just spinning there. The centrifugalness of it all makes it impossible to hold on to thought. She wants to deliver her thoughts to someone.

The metal staircase grows soft. As soft as hardened gum. There are engines somewhere deep beneath her. Churning. Churning up the quaggy, unattached parts of her thoughts. Anna presses forward. She descends. This is her job. To descend. To detect. The engine room. The thrusters.

Anna collapses on the stairs, her mind as tender as a capillary. Her thoughts replicate themselves and then just as quickly die in storage. She is wearing a skirt, she notices, and shoes with no socks. She hears a person. A person coming. There are footsteps. Someone is coming for her. To rescue her. To finish her. To rescue her. To finish her. To rescue her. To finish her.

To finish her.

Once and for all, to extinguish her from the screen of thought.

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posted by Nicholas Rombes