Saturday, August 1, 2020

Paul Ilechko - One and an Other (the Dialogs)

Paul Ilechko is the author of the chapbooks “Bartok in Winter” (Flutter Press) and “Graph of Life” (Finishing Line Press). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Juxtaprose, As It Ought To Be, Cathexis Northwest Press, Inklette and Pithead Chapel. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ.


One and an Other (the Dialogs)

and there were always two of them     a reader and a writer   although which was which was sometimes hard to tell     they seemed to flow so easily between roles – sometimes one would be one   and sometimes one would be the other      as Estragon once remarked     they would always find something  to give the impression that they still existed

(… too much brain)

So much brain     one said     I don’t know how you are able to carry it all on that skinny neck of yours     I don’t understand it – it seems to me that it should snap off     like asparagus

You are confused     other said     you are confusing brain with mind     my brain-size is normal     I have mind development     I am a thinking one

You are like a golf ball on a tee     one said     a gust of wind and you will topple     have you ever been sliced into the rough     you are a lost cause     a lost brain-case of more

You sporting one     other said     you never consider     everything is in spurts      I am a reader     I am a sponge      I am an absorber of the factual

Your generation is previous     one said     we no longer exist with facts     we no longer read books     we are electronic     become one with your device     become plugged in.

(… fragrance of repartee)

In dialog we find ourselves     one said     here sparkles my wit     observe my repartee      I prophesize within digital      the vibration of spacing that leaves us aghast     and with trembles

Curl yourself into     other said     the heat of water     the glassiness of protrusions that extend within     all these such factors     that proclaim your crude replacement of allegory

Do not trivialize my embeddedness     one said     I am a legal entity     my language is thick but luminous      the broken chains around my scattering still stain the cloth

You never chained in parallel     other said     your freedom was a monstrous embezzlement     friendship was the fragrance of your interplay     your treatise declared your victories intact

I have claimed no marvels of homily     one said     no sword-swallowing endeavors of existential prudence     despite your inarticulate repressions     I stake my gamble on the word-game.

(… porch light astrology)

You have so many family members     one said     that it’s impossible for me to keep track of all of their birthdays    as they circle our orbit like a planetary system

I sit on the porch     other said     partly hidden behind the oversized hydrangea     thankful that the sun has dropped below the level of the opposite buildings

Does family even have a real distinction in a postmodern world     one said     a world in which meaning is gradually melting     like a glacier     in this warming century

The sun is still hot     other said     even though there is no longer a direct line of sight     the porch is still shimmering      framed within a kind of pool of radiance

Does the idea of the planetary system still exist    in this time of burning     one said     when the distance of each astronomical object from its nearest star     is merely a measure used to derive the specificity of heat death.

 (… interior life)

Carnival spikes outwards     one said     but spirals inwards     the fear immersive     I move into light     I move away from the crowd     away from egoism     all true journeys are inwards

Reflection is essential     other said     the world is your mirror     you only exist in relation to     wade through the gutters of life with mud on your pants

I believe in the clean break     one said     I believe in being my own best enemy     danger is internal     without fear there can be no creation

There is no clean     other said     humanity is marked with dirt     is marked with suffering     export your interiority and obtain your fair market price

I would bleach my extremities     one said     I would scrub the flesh away from bone     I am solitary and centered     I am my own mirror     look inside and watch     as my organs die.

(… textual analysis of fire)

Fire is birthed is solitude     one said     beginning with flint or match     a constrained smoldering of smoky inheritance     a flickering into

The world is conflagration     other said     we engender phenomena into being in order to burn them down     this is purification     this is how the world works

Fire may be friend or enemy     one said     it must be encompassed     harnessed and checked     no loose meandering     no death of acreage     no whiteness of bone exposed through charring

Such gleam of flame reveals your foolishness     other said     a caustic burn that resides within fire is merely the dark inheritance of the soul     set free to seal its mark beneath the wind

Death surrounds us     one said     a blackening exposure of our savagery     that scrawls its charcoal text across the landscape as both threat and warning.

 (… power of externals)

The drama     one said     comes from this thing we call heaven     we are all ghosts waiting to die     with our empty veins and our leaking bodies     we are sad specimens

Where is your strength     other said     where is your axe     your sharpened blade     where is your speed and your ventriloquism     tell me my story in your own words

My breath turns solid     one said     my body is filling with dosage     as I roll through cobwebs     this is my protection against nothingness

Flex your muscles     other said     there are externals that might reinvigorate     there is sun that blazes     as the sky breaks into a pointillism

I have no art     one said     I have only the color that I store in bottles     I am trapped inside the quicksand of time     the economics of life are overwhelming     as each last dollar is stripped from my credit.

(… pages of leakage)

The pages of any book     one said     are stitched together     in order to avoid a leakage of information     every book is a bottle     cast into the sea      waiting to be found     waiting for its seams to be ripped apart     and its contents to be digested

The bottle that I found     other said     tasted of orange     the bottle that I was given     tasted of lime     every bottle tastes of “naked as leakage”

Blow the bottle as soundtrack     one said     drink the fruit of knowledge from the orange tree     sweeten the acid of information from the lime tree

The weight of your body between the trees     other said     is measured in paperweight     every photograph of you was stolen from a book

The music of books     one said     is a symphony of bottle     washed up on a paper island     leaked from the story that you found when you tore open the stitches     all that remains is the island     and a solitary bottle     all that remains     is the book. 

 (… decoupling of engine)

It’s spasmodic     one said     almost as if electric     an unwarranted ejaculation     deep within a dream state     such a pulsing sensation

Control is mind-state     other said     bend with     repair your efforts and rejuvenate your trailing neurals     there is science that protects     and you are deserving

Is this my nature     one said     am I resigned to forgetfulness     to streams of broken consciousness     to abstract interweaving of lustfulness and pain

Be placid     other said     allow for happenstance     until opportunity might be seized     for steering     and docking     and the decoupling of  engine

Too much of most is egregious     one said     I am inclined to remove all self from the cotillion     to re-configure inside a formidable complacency     that is indistinguishable from never.

(… inside the burning)

Summer thundered in like the man with a gun     one said     like cotton stuffing exploding from a burst mattress     engorged and thickening     I am enveloped in heat and still as the quiet heart     that waits for love

I wonder at your pining language other said     your weakness visible     heat is not a factor     embrace your sweat     and rush into         secure yourself with fabric     latent and technical

Evacuate me     one said     take me to coolness and water     sponge my flaking skin before I yell fire amidst the crowds that fight to entertain themselves     as they purchase tickets for my demise

Should you not be fearless     other said     bravery is not for sale     watch as the echo resounds across your nervous system     its traces barely visible     your hands against the light now showing blood

I am inside the burning     one said     I am interim     I am interior     I am fallen amidst the tyranny of tortuous weather     my head is broken     split into segments that crumble     into heat     and light     and the beauty found in pain.

(… pain sections)

There is a pain within the sectioning     one said     I feel a frittering into the peripheral     I perceive a tendency enabled     of lack into lossiness     I perceive a staleness that declines into mortality

Your perceptions are inadequate     other said     you are not aware that pain is a mythology     your lack is a lack of exterior     your perceptions drift like gravel in water

Why do you discourse like a cursive web of contempt     one said     I am not a riverbed     my perceptions do not sink beyond my own agency     I am medication-bound into the trappings of helplessness

Your flotation is inherent     other said     you present your remedy as gifts of disease     there is no sinkage     restrain yourself from the panic of interiority

You lose me within your pedagogy    one said     my sections are authored and metaphor     my perception is a tendency of inside     I cannot exempt myself     nor can I externalize my last surviving facets.   

 (… contemplating theology)

Theology     one said     is something towards which I exhibit a supreme indifference     why should I care more about the fantasies of the lascivious poor     than I do about the control structures created by the idle rich

Indifference is a construct     other said     you ignore the signals that are distributed     as-needed     by the undercurrents that tug softly     at the periphery of your conscious mind

My belief systems revel in their own fragility     one said     day by day     and hour by hour     I am windswept in my apathetic impassivity     I lack the genetic makeup for the cool     the dry     or the phlegmatic

Unwind into tranquility     other said     beneath this substrate of activity is bedrock     slabbed and girdled into its massive silence     dig into this fundament     mine the jewels that glimmer beneath your feet

Your encouragement would be exhilarating     one said     if only I could believe     and thus we loop under     and around     and find ourselves reestablished at the dogmatic ingress     the portico that was demolished in order to clear ground for this discussion.

 (… machinery of policy)

There was a limited reaction space     one said     envisage it as locked and retained     envisage it as an offering that might be withdrawn at any time     there are regulations that must be considered     regulations that are not under my purview

I understand your reluctance to commit     other said     you are a child of corporate necessity     you are interwoven     like the pattern in a fabric     created with modern machinery

Do not mistake my hesitancy for corruption     one said     I am striving     my goals are realistic     trapped as they are beneath the iron fist of oversight     despite your lack of tolerance     my compassion has strength

Your words burn like candles in starlight     other said     your traces are molecular at best     I will disguise my revulsion to the best of my ability

Are you so unaware of your own dismal archive     one said     you react without a stated policy     your words leak from your mouth like gas from rotting fruit     it is not in my interest to give you credence.

(… limits are for losers)

There are no limits when the stains spread        one said         limits are for losers        my stains are my own         I swell with my stain            I am a puddle of liquid something      watch me drip  drip  drip          bring me a fucking bucket   why don’t you

You are liquid        other said    you slide down walls   and gather in corners    like a water spider spinning a wet web         as liquid as light that flows through the cracks of our investment     I sold my waters for profit          I sold my light for kicks

Clean me up      one said       bucket me and mop me         thrust that porous     that spongiform     oh   squeegee me into a suction   and shed my stigmata            erase me again   with the brilliance of your diffraction      stain me again with your soaking

Your river runs       other said         it flows into turbulence       into storm   and gathering       into cloud   and deposit         I bank your essence and wade into your depths      as you dissolve beneath the pressure     as you sink into a staining of sheets

All this water        one said     all of this water everywhere      and I have not seen a single shark all day.

(… dead carcass)

Do I smell like dead carcass     one said     am I rancid in your nostrils     are your tiny hairs aquiver with disgust     when I walk into the room
You overestimate your visibility     other said     you are trace events in liquid     homeopathic in your intensity     your ghost essence is a triviality lost against a blue screen

Am I putrid     one said     does my presence make you think of graveyards     and slaughter     am I the incarnation of pain and suffering     as it relates to stink

Did I hear a sound     other said     was there a whispering of sour nothings at the limit of my audible range     is there a flickering of the ionosphere     a feedback loop of nothingness

Soon I will burn     one said     there will be a great conflagration     and I will be reduced to ashes     and finally my body will be clean.

(… proxy chains)

I live my life by proxy     one said     look at the way in which my ass protrudes     I am open for insertion     I am your postal service     do you need to be enveloped

You are green at the limit     other said     you are go go go      your failures relate to enterprise     you have apparent skills     you do not need to be for sale

Life exists beyond the scrim of migraine     one said     beyond the reality of well-lit diagonals     I seem to be failing to pass through this flickering boundary of image

Pain has been left behind     other said     you are now contained in silence     there is no return to the blood and shit of a previous state    wallow in the purity of your incorporeality

You soothe my conscience     one said     I accept my wasted body     I accept my tattered passage through the remnants of a life     our dialog is over     we are complete.