by Duke Miller
I've been writing this in my mind all morning. Sheets of white paper with wings. Of course, those sentiments, those clever words, are gone now. I sit unhappy, stirring my mind like cabbage in a pot. I hate topics. My writing has always been about hidden topics, waiting to come out of a hole when my head stops moving and my breathing pauses. My topics are emaciated animals that are afraid of humans.
I can feel my heart beating. How many more beats do I have left? My eyes hurt. I feel as if I'm going to pass out. Let me think.
First, I take the dogs out to greet the birds.
The birds start at 4:30 a.m. on most mornings. Today, like yesterday, they talk of plague. Many doves, but there is also a single Great White Egret who has been nesting here for a few nights. She is soundless until she flies away. I can hear the air beneath her boundless wings as she lifts upward and disappears. She is harboring something for me, something from a time in Africa. A hut, a tree, white birds like flowers, and the girl. My two dogs follow the Egret with their eyes. Missa Him has sticky vision, like honey in a spoon, and she can trap you with her sad, solemn look. Matilda has two shiny coals from a dog planet. I suppose I should mention that Matilda is not an Earth dog. She is haughty and high steps with self-importance and then she flies at the end of her leash, as her pride roars like a lion.
Everything flies in my mind, trying to escape. It always has.
We go out the gate. It is the glow before sunrise. I am the last man on Earth. The streets are empty in my medium-sized town. The walls of houses are mostly red, yellow, and white. They are hundreds of years old and like the past, they are silent. Doors and windows shut. The government proclamation states that people must stay indoors or else thousands will die. No one knows exactly how many. Mexicans with large houses and big kitchens will have no problem, but the poor, who live with extended families, in rooms the size of coffins, are in trouble.
Mexicans can easily visualize the deaths of thousands; they can see their sons and daughters, their mothers and fathers laid out on a bed of flowers. It was not too long ago that millions died in the revolution.
Death is important to Mexico. It is heroic. It is sad. It is vital. Mexicans have turned it into sugar and cake. Without death, Mexico would have no history. There would be no grand, complex murals the height of storm clouds, towering above the Mexicans, raining down terrible tales with color and perspective. All the great painters would be without tongues, fingers, lovers, monkeys, armored cars, Molotov cocktails, and machine guns. Take death away and everything good in life would have no meaning.
There is a spider crawling along a path through my hair. It is eating the lice at the base of my follicles. The spider wants to get to my ear, so it can spend the night and the spider is like Mary and Joseph searching for a room.
I will end Report #1 from Mexico with a comment about Chilangos. They are the inhabitants of Mexico City. They are the New Yorkers of this country. They vacation here and for the past two months they have been smearing the plague virus all over town. They put it on the shopping carts at the grocery store. On the counter tops where I buy ice cream. They leave it on the towels in bathrooms, in the eyes of the beggars, in the vaginas of prostitutes, at the base of the child heroes of Mexico. They shed it wherever they walk and talk and sleep and fuck.
We wait, here in Mexico, for the coming wave of death, and I open my windows and turn up the volume on my music. There are only eleven houses occupied out of the thirty-seven on my hill top. The other people in the other houses have gone somewhere else. Surely the eleven houses will appreciate Ryuichi Sakamoto and Max Richter. This is really good music for the plague and it will bring sugar and cake to my mouth.
Duke Miller: I communicate regularly with Glen and Karen, two of the best artists I've met in the past ten year. They both deal in dreams and icons and find their images in those things that are lost. Glen lives here with her two thousand pound press, while Karen is in Pozos, keeping watch over ghosts, waiting for Carols Slim to arrive. Tres is still in Seattle, waiting for the lock down to end and a flight that won't be cancelled. My dogs are fine. I order food from Turks. I watch Netflix and Youtube. I saw a pretty good movie. It was about LA and it was called The Hero. Then I watched Last Tango in Paris. I love Brando. What an odd bird he was. I don't drink. It puts me in a bad mood. Also, I sweat on the bed at night. What has happened to the mountains. Where are they? Thanks. Duke
Saying Nothing in Particular, by J.T. Twissel
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