Afternoon at a Friend’s House with The Tide Coming In (Circa 1995, A Juxtaposition Piece)

Silhouette of windows blinds seen from a dark room against the sunlightIt’s midafternoon and dark in here. An electric fan drones in the open window and funnels the summer heat through.

The one on my right sits in an easy chair wrapped in a plaid robe. He’s stuck his fingers in the fan, and they beat against the blades.

The one on my left sits on the couch. He wears a pale blue robe and slippers. He fiddles with a crumpled pack of cigarettes; says he can hardly wait to find a new place with central air. He leans back into the cushions after rubbing his stubble and lights another cigarette. Meanwhile, squinting, I’ve fixated on their robes and slippers.

I’ve got to quit coming unannounced.

The recessed eyes of the one in blue dart from me to his roommate, backlit by the window, whose fingers are going thump-thump, thump-thump. The Wall, we call him, the one in blue. His dark eyes are inscrutable.

“Come on, man. Take your fingers out before blood splatters everywhere,” says The Wall.

The roommate laughs. His laughter has a deep nasal tone.

The roommate pulls his fingers away from the fan. His mouth closes, his long face settles, and those eyes behind round lenses, too, become inscrutable. The roommates sit gazing at each other from across the room, and I make a study of wood paneling and suspire amid the fumes.

When the tension breaks, they erupt in music commentary.

But I am waiting. When will they put some clothes on?

Come on, deep down inside, come on, so that we can go nearer

It is so bright, the light at the sea shore
We waves come blue and gray, crashing over shells and dishevel them
For all who have ever longed and loved, Zeno says, ‘Halfway there!’
The light is pulling, a glare at the water’s frill edge;
We’ve come to lap up air
While our underbelly churns turbid and mute

Away, away, before we ask far too much of Time and our lips have interspersed with silicates hissing in the breeze—
Sand sees with a million glassy orbs, and, oh, how it makes us dry, dry

Wooh! Whoooh! Shouting, I’m shouting at the Old Man there!
As if flung from the highest lee, can’t you feel it? Wet and dry, stretched and pried apart, we’re spilling out to sea—

The Old Man is grinning, he’s grinning by the roar, and in one resplendent gulp, we are forever swallowed live!

wave in sunlight


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