Memoirs of a Forgotten Man
Part Two


Back into your room. Drifting among the debris, scattered in a random fashion, torn through in acts of defiance. A life's work. The elements of an existence. The evidence that has brought you here. To this strange city where night always lies just on the other side of the pane.

A letter signed by a once held hand commanding your immediate attention. Was there time?... Once upon a time... Answers scattering your thoughts, discriminating your beliefs, betraying your solitude. Let it fall away. Finger the flesh and remind yourself why you have traveled to this place.

But there is no remembering.

Never mind. It is never far. It remains beside you.

There is strangeness in this hotel. Elevator doors opening for noone. Keys at the door but nobody at the peephole. Observed faces through glass that seem to see. Distant voices.. not so strange, but it is late. There is no sleep at this point. A poison in the air. Catching your breath. Rats scurrying somewhere underfoot, out of sight. Who's minding the store?

The pipes hiss alive with a violent morse-code cracking, beating out a message that defies your translation, steaming out a stale, heavy heat filling the small space, a warmth you could well do without -- but that would not do, you've witnessed the penalties for such acts of insolence, sewn into the eyes of the hotel's night manager, passing more than that key into your hand as he glanced over your shoulder, indicating the way.

Outside your window, at an unmeasured distance, a clock tolls the hour. And it doesn't take long before you've lost track of the number -- they've got their own mean time going down here, setting the faces in perpetual, unsteady motion.

Concentrate... where are you?

Fevered visions, voices whispering in a chorus of pointing reproach, eyes from storied windows fearlessly awaiting you capture... of a running, through a giant house, up stairs, embracing the dearest warmth you can feel... in the dark. Holding tight, breaking free.

From here the forest seems almost tranquil. More of an idea than the menacing creature so recently negotiated. Scars healing under ripped garments. Sounds echoing in unwelcome harmony. Pushing aside those thoughts, leaving behind.. moving on.

But those memories lie out there somewhere -- in mythical proportions -- knotted away in dying trees, preparing for their own journey into town.

Music can be heard outside your window. Are you listening?

Wartime reports are still being broadcast. You are picking them up, in your room, in this hotel. Stretching your imagination, right down that dial. A little further, what's that?.. very distant sounding.. official, monitored, speeches.. Back a bit. A hidden frequency, tuning in at the odd moment, during the big band hour. What could be echoing these signals? Nothing standing these days that would sanction this break in the silence. Transmitters all gone over to the big cause. And nothing's breaking into that agreement. Not like this.

You imagine these waves floating above the ocean, lost in time, living... a history broadcasting its own story... now. Choosing its reel, an archive of our lies, propagating through the system, defying all attempts at burial, crackling through the hollowed speakers, erasing all our beliefs... one more time.

The displaced seek out a form of refuge, an item of solace. The drunken troubadour sneaks past the station, dancing along the spotlight perimeter, leaving an invitation on the stone surface, painted in neo-classical style, a blast from the past, dripping colorful tears, frozen in the wind.

Lines are met, forming a circle. The night grows...

Somewhere, someone is hanging your likeness on a wall.

Go to the mirror. Standing in the center of the room. Catching your reflection, right there, real enough. Yes, you hear the music now, but it is nothing you can place. Remove a torn paper from your pocket, a broadside recently removed from a boarded-up storefront. Let it unfold. A notice of a gathering. A time. A place.

Get your bearings. It is time to go out.


~ ~ ~

Read Part Three




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