Graceland, Graceland, I’m going to Graceland. So, this is how it ends? All my life I lived for time and money, tied to the world of things. Ellie said, you have to get a smartphone, grandpa. Too bad, I left my phone at home. Oh, I want to believe we all will be received. At least, I’m not alone.
“Loneliness?” mused the fellow who sat reclined against the wall of Kii-no-kuni-ya holding the letter sent poste restante. “We cannot be.” He listened to his thoughts as they spoke of their voyages and woes, frivolities and schemes. The fellow stood. “Hour’s come.” They went on the road merrily speaking the thoughts they had at the hour the Sun would rise.
Oh silk of spider threads in the morning light! Cats rolling on the sidewalk! The wonder of summer mornings walking to the train, and the sky was cloudless blue. I heard the red-wing blackbird calling in the tall weeds along the tracks. I remember love. I remember mornings making coffee.
The museum displayed the tens of hundreds of wax cylinder recordings of people speaking into the Lilium lancifolium horn of her invented talking-machine. She had often listened to them with her fingertips on the horn in those years of decaying progress. Listening Salons were held Thursday evenings, in her memory.
Listen! Can you hear it? I hear the voice of fear, the whispering behind my back on the city streets. It rises with the beating of my heart at the sound of footsteps behind me. The little voice cries, I am afraid of the blue-eyed blondes, their anger and sense of entitlement. I am afraid of the hate, the guns, the sudden violence. The fear comes rushing back with the boys who bullied me in school. Go back where you came from! We don’t like your looks, your language. I don’t look at the young man standing next to me waiting for the bus. I find no reassurance in the presence of surveillance cameras and the unmarked squad cars on the corners. The Fear is always with me.
“They whisper.” The presence following with its incessant whisperings cause the contrary thoughts of calm stillnesses to be mumbled or mute. They wait for the night when they shall stabbed it with icicles ever after silencing; but, until that hours comes, they clamor and shriek, sob and wail their pleas in dreams. And, in that silence, they are heard.
What luxury of silence, and empty rooms. Over the years, I learned the language of doors, how hers closed when mine opened. One summer, the power went out, and I lit candles in the kitchen, listening to the weather reports. There was a ballgame on the radio. She sat in the living room, watching a movie on her phone. It took her years to say, I’m leaving. I almost said, you were never really here. I told her, there’s the door. Now, no more beauty products and scented dryer sheets. Still, her lingering perfume.
The grass whispered to me, there is time, there is time. I wanted to study the rocks on Mars. I wanted to walk in the dry red dust, lines in the rocks like the Amazon. Yes, life even there. Here on Earth, I watched the glaciers melting. I studied the deep time of the rock faces, the shales and slates folded like origami. My hair grew like grass, how I brushed it away from my face. How time changed my face. The rocks speak of change, the rivers talk of rain.
Winds convey thought conversed by all things sleeping and resting in peace. The fellow, on Tōkaidō road, kept reading the letter of her death-bed wish; he listened as she to her wax cylinders was speaking in the raindrops falling. All things speaking; all things change. Inevitability at play.
Everything said has been said before. The questions are the same–who am I? Why are we here? The answers change, the eye of the I that sees. Who am I now? Once I was a child, and all I could see was green, the leaves of summer trees. Things I had no words for.
A note from the authors:
This is an exquisite corpse collaboration to the theme of Voices. No edits were made.
Voima Oy can be found on Twitter at #vss365 and @voimaoy. Her work has appeared online at VERStype, Paragraph Planet, 101 Fiction and Burning House Press.
Sean Fraser (b. 1953) is” [Transmission lost]
Banner image: Oneirograph by James Knight