Postparoxysmal Event Space

M Kitchell



The sound stays still. A buzzing, in the room, but the man cannot pinpoint where. The spatiality of the sound is problematic: an echo, deep. The man, understanding acoustics, knows that the size of the room prevents this—there are no huge walls or deep pits, nothing that could give reign to the emission; the buzzing, the soundtrack to an insomnia, a dissolution. A question of sleep.


[ ≠ ]


Dreaming, the night before, he had entered a cave off the coast of Northern France, and the cave quickly became a bunker, the bunker a wine cellar, and the wine cellar the hallways of an ornate hotel. The sound of the waves crashing upon the shore unceasing. Opening the door to a room of the hotel, he finds the cave, as if movement could only sit as a zero degree. A refusal of any sort of permutation of space and quest had taken hold of the narrative.


The cave walls loom above him, a much larger space than what would be expected from the tiny opening in the earth that he had stumbled into. The cave glows a glittery luminescence: the world seen through a filter, the soft-focus fantasy of European vampires, lesbian overtures, adolescent sexual awakenings & an antiquated idea of the purity of sex.


Climbing down a wall of rock, the man approaches a pool. The pool glows a neon blue illuminated from below, perhaps by living phosphorescent fauna. Stripping nude, he sets his clothes on a nearby rock and dives in. The water envelopes his body like a viscous murk, like to believe in the invisible would be to believe in god, like the sea captain’s chance encounter with death, die tossed, a number a number a siren the man’s body feels so holy in the water, his frame gliding, fur panting like the limbs of Anthozoa. He swims down, down toward light, toward something he can feel, until at the botom a sphere glows power and glory, the glory of light, the sun displaced to a pool in a cave, light. The warmth the man feels penetrates the headspace, removes the potentiality that blindness will follow—he opens his eyes.


In the center of the sphere, perhaps emanating the light itself, sits a fragile man, broken, sad, old. The man speaks.


I am going to die, he says. Can you find the right tone for me to carry?


Waking up, tangled in sweat and sheets, the man discovers he is coming, and not only coming, but spasming, splitting the air in contortion, enacting the violence of depths, the spurting not patterned in burst but instead continual, as if man himself could become volcano and spill ruin onto civilization, a ruin powered by the solar complexities of the telluric drama: a satisfaction. The body stills, the room is silent. And with this, the the cavernous buzzing regains its presence.


[ ≠ ]


The man walks down the hallways as if there were a fire consuming each room off his path. Afraid to touch the handles of the door, as if they could burn his hands. A smell of rotting flesh, inhaled into the cavity leading to inherent understanding. Ever since the resolution of the war, the man finds it difficult not to exist.


[ ≠ ]


Another day, back inside the house, the man finds his lover still asleep in the bedroom. The loud has quieted. He speaks into the air.


I thought you left hours ago for work.


The man in the bed fails to stir, carries the heaviness of stone—man could be statue and still an object of breath.


I thought you were at work.


The man in the bed, the lover, slowly opens his eyes to the light of the room. The man standing before him seems strange, like a muddy shape, the way an unfocused figure in front of a lighted background hovers like the spectre of death. A doomed reality.


Incapable of emitting noises from his mouth, the lover mumbles a low growl, which soon shifts into glossolaliac tone-mud. The more his voice speaks, the more blood rushes to his sex. The man, still standing, confused by the spectacle but enticed by the vagueness of arousal, climbs into bed with his lover, stripping off his clothes to push flesh against flesh.


The lover stirs his face into a smile too complicated for the man to decipher. A furry ass rubs
against the man’s cock, which slowly begins to point toward the space occupied by the idea of God. More sounds come from the lover, but with closer proximity the man realizes that not all the sounds can be sourced from the mouth. The square of the back, the heel of the foot, the chest’s sternum: soon an angelic chorus of voices join one another into the hallucinatory space of desire that the two men find themselves inside of.


Though alarmed at first, the memory of space and time collapsing into being at the denouement of the war strays the man from actual fear. A thought fires that actual fear could coalesce into an exercise combinatory of reality and the non-extant, perhaps echoing both the recurrent buzzing sound of his home & the intensity of the orgasm achieved several weeks prior. Despite speculation, corporeality takes over and tangled flesh drowns out the body’s other sounds. A poetic roar: one could imagine the perverse intensity of a firing squad or a car crash. An effusion of logic that leads to a precipice, an intersection into the impossible. But the paroxysm that had stopped death also erased procreation, so the idea of perversion now sits flat against the endless barrage of a ceaseless discourse coming from a source no longer identifiable purely as “media.”


That is, to say, the two men fuck


In the stupor of post-coital drying out, the square of the back barks like a dog and the lover stands up.


The face becomes less complicated and the man smiles.


That was amazing, I’m so glad you didn’t go to work today.


The lover turns again, laughs, his own voice now, real vocal chords vibrating into communication. But the gaze is not matched, a coldness finds itself penetrating the man’s complicity with the calmness offered by the moment. Something becomes very wrong.


The lover speaks. To think, you’re not even looking. The tone could have come and gone without notice.


God’s hand pulls the puppet strings of humanity and the lover’s body shocks to the ceiling. A terrible thud. But this is not the lover, this is air, and the body, the lover, is gone.


[ ≠ ]


The man’s lover finds himself alone in a dark corridor. The corridor could simply be the underpass beneath a freeway bridge, a tunnel routing one more safely to avoid car traffic while on foot. Enclosed, the darkness seems more demanding than it should, perhaps because outside the sun shines. But the corridor is long, far longer than the man’s lover expects the corridor to be, and because of this, because of this length, perhaps, the sun fails to penetrate.


Public safety, of course, normally, would be considered a primary cause for ‘urban renewal’ in the more monied cities of our country, but this city, where the man and his lover live and pass time, has no need for the hyperbole of an over-educated and over-frightened mandate. All this said, the corridor is dark, and the man’s lover finds himself walking alone through it.


As someone who normally enjoys time spent alone and in dark places as much as he enjoys time with other men in his own dark place, there is something markedly different about today’s course.


The idea of movement seems to be muted by the colors, the dimness. An overwhelming sense of gray begins to pervade the man’s lover’s mind, creating a thick fog of hazily connected firings that have any number of messages.


The gray almost mutes to black, the man’s lover reduces the number of potential messages to a digestible three. It is these three potential messages that the man now considers.


The first potentiality:


Simple, scientific: the climate precludes any possibility of naturally receiving the level of sunlight necessary for an adequate amount of Vitamin D to be coursing through his bloodstream, and beaten down by this seasonal affectation, the man’s lover is depressed.


The second potentiality:


Complicated, somewhat concerning: during his glossolaliac fugue in the man’s bed, he has actually died, transcending the relative simplicity of life to melt into the world of the dead. the paroxysm, perhaps, had caused a new rift in which the dead now do not simply die, rather they fade to a murk of gray instead, blending into the landscape like the dry-cold of afterwinter.

The third potentiality:


Preferred, unlikely, perhaps even impossible given the current zeitgeist: the man’s lover has existed, exclusively up to this point, as a figment of the man’s imagination, an invented vessel to pour body and seed into in place of any capacity to actually form an emotional attachment to reality, especially in consideration of a life after the paroxysm. The man’s lover prefers this option because it removes all responsibility to the world at large. Becoming imaginary frees more than the future up, it makes all goals moot. Can such freedom even be considered?


Carrying on, the man’s lover nears the end of the corridor, the tunnel, the underpass. Despite this promised closure, the walls continue on. Following the perspectival lines of the corridor’s walls to the horizon, the man sees nothing but a voided rectangle of black. This intones a new concern, divorced from the aforementioned potentialities of grayness, but before the options can be considered, the man stops.


Ahead of him, a white light blinds all to the impossible blankness of the page.


[ ≠ ]


Discovering that his lover has fallen victim to the after-effects of the war (& more specifically those of the paroxysm) the man decides to hold a ritual of mourning in the hope of meting his despair with an active level of productivity.


The man draws white lines of chalk in an empty room of his house, shaping the outline of a labyrinth upon the wood-planked floor. He visits the beach near his home, taking two large and non- porous sacks with him, collecting the pink sand that hides beneath both an overhanging willow tree and a wavering air of regret. The sand is poured to mound in the center of the empty room’s labyrinth. At the four corners of the room cairns are built out of rocks collected over the years.


He strips himself of his clothes & rubs his sex to lift. Walks the labyrinth, chants words which resemble, but never recall, the sense of his lover. Walks slowly, deliberately, carrying a small bundle of lit sage, the smoke billowing around the empty room, a thickness in the air. Reaching the center of the path, the man kneels down and begins to tug his monument. He spills upon the pile of sand with a gasp before collapsing to the chalky ground in vibrations of minor seizure. The event carries on.


[ ≠ ]


Even before his lover’s ennoblement into the white interstice of the haze (in consideration of the narrative of the paroxysm) the man came to realize that his lover, despite still living, was a martyr. The white light as whorehouse of an impossible negation. Or, to say, space.


During the war, the man secluded himself within the word of God near one of the few remaining monasteries in the countryside (speculatively offered solace from the war itself—the idea of religion within the hold of contemporary living was enough of a novelty that those on either side [for war itself must sit as binary] had no interest in eradicating the outlying potentiality of an afterlife; when everything can be accessed nothing can be known). His lover fought at the front, bending language into the shapes that would cut the enemy deepest. But later, with the man’s defect from the monastery & the eventual dissolution of the war, his lover would tell him that any binary positioning that a war is expected to present became absent and blurred by the transpiration of the paroxysm.
and all this, within an unencounterable death
But to find a martyr in bed, the man thinks, one must exist, become able to recognize this fact, to use this vessel in the movements of body upon body, to fight the idea of death that a martyrology prescribes. To float, really, is all that’s needed, spatial hovering, refusal. Like light as absence. A touch.


[ ≠ ]


Time folds, holding the performative space of night and day, enacting the hallway vibration from one room to another, this idea of it all, this idea of it all. The man is alone now but occupied, perhaps more occupied, with the cavernous haunt of echo permeating his living space. A constant static, buzz, waiting like the night, like the waves of the sea.


I am born from all this, the man says.


I am ready to hear you again, the man says.


If the sea were warm I could envelope myself inside of the paroxysm, the white light could spread like the sun, I could crawl inside, I could stop, the man says.


The shape of the body refuses to communicate what it is that the man needs to understand. His own body in revolt. The war is long-over but the world has always been changed. Black night, black sea. The geometric insistence that he whispers into the dark. Alchemy, or at least a desire to carry on in the drought of dream, a question to ask, the way snakes move in the sand.


He holds the desire to touch, to be touched, to speak, but the man is unsure of how to call this desire.


The man drives to the city and sits in a bar in the dark. He has always been handsome, but since the war, the paroxysm, and the dissolution of his lover, the man has taken on a desperate intensity that is even more appealing. This appeal is the echo of lust, pure sensual desire. No signifying tonality, just loss and excess.


The man’s eyes carry the night.


Inside the bar, with drink in hand, another man approaches. The man has the physical characteristics of desire. A hold.


A pause.


Displacement towards the landscape. Say the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The northern coast of France. Rolling hills, sky that hovers between overcast and dark. A burning brightness that still stakes its claim over the days. Stare into the black of the sea. One ocean calls to the other and there is no response. Still only light, movement, waves, life. Deep below, life carries its own shape. The center of the earth. The eruption of a volcano, holes, the sex. All of this speaks the same shape and movement despite the difference of the paroxysm.


The tall of ice.


Regrets replaced by ennui.




The violence of one body against another, one body against the land, the land against the body.


A fixation on death always wrapped up within the construction of desire. Flesh like walls. Holding cell.


The text can never feel like the hold of waves on flesh. Enraptured.


[ ≠ ]


The man decides to go and see a magician performing in an auditorium downtown. At the show, the only trick being offered is one of silence.


And with silence, screams.