Alan Hill-January 27th, 2012
My foot steps on to the highlighted escalators in the SPL. Glowing neon, slowly careening towards the top. What useless information will I find here this time? Epic poetry about Roland, another Persian classic, perhaps some benign Russian poetry? Is this really my hobby? Whatever it is I start dreaming of other places. I imagine a dark corridor, a cobblestone alley in the hills of downtown Seattle. It’s night, the time is 5:20pm. Damn it gets dark early. I look up and, walking through a spotlight, I see a hooded figure. Suddenly this alley is a cul-de-sac. My body stiffens. I imagine my reactions. I think about bumping him with my shoulder. Would I really be that tough? No, no way in hell. I like to avoid conflict. But what if he bumped me with his shoulder? On purpose. Driving his shoulder into mine. Would I fight back, or would I just give him a dirty look? Something malicious but not intent on actually doing anything. Our paths are crossing and nothing happens. Nothing ever happens. I can see my breath expel from my mouth, and just as fast anguishly evaporate into the air. Suddenly I’m back on the escalator.
It reaches the top and I step off. I’ve come here for something, but I vaguely remember what. My motions take me to my usual starting point. Somewhere around section 890 in nonfiction, noted as “other literature.” I guess the historical significance makes this literature “nonfiction.” I’m eight stories up in a distorted looking building. The sky is blue today, and the sun shines brightly through every window, which is basically the entire building. A building made of glass. The library is enticing, beckoning your casual Seattle patron with a long arm of transparency. The shape asks for their understanding, and tells them that they will find it here. But they won’t, it’s a lie. I notice every window is in the shape of a diamond. Obviously shaped for a day like today to remind us poor bastards that this city can be worth something. Worth your time. It says back to me, “Deal with it chump, you sucker for location. Because someday you’ll be sad, and stuck in this dark matrix, and I won’t shine anymore.”
I’ve landed in Persian literature, and my hand reaches for a book about Farrokhzad. She was stuck as a captive I think. Stuck in a structure made by man, but that was a cultural structure. I’m stuck in a location, that’s different. I start to think about my location. My favorite parts of the city. My surrounding transforms and now I’m walking across the university bridge. It’s night again. The lights in the bay are enchanting, and the water pristine. It’s a cold, but clear night. In the sky I can see a planet brighter then any star. I think it’s either Venus or Mars. At this moment it masters the sky, a single entity, drawing the gaze directly to it. Nothing else in the sky exist as brilliantly. I’m headed towards The Ave. Slowly I start to pass more and more figures. Hooded figures. With dark faces. Each one with a different shadowy story. I wonder what they’re doing. Where they’re going. Probably to a party. Probably to get wasted with their friends. I imagine a lot of them make music, and they want to show people their music. Maybe that’s where they’re going. To show people their music. To drink and share their music. Sounds like fun. Problem is it’s all the same. A dying art. I suppose people do it for the enjoyment, but shit you can only enjoy so much in life. I remember I used to be that hooded figure. I used to make music, and share my experience, my goals and aspirations, all bottled up in one sweeping song. For a second these figures lose there hoods. I can see there eyes. Bloodshot and hopeless. Vapid and cruel. Ignorant and contrived. Boring. Maybe that’s why I quit, because it made me feel like this. The hoods flip back on. It was not for me. Now these people are alien to me. Sometimes they even frighten me, but on a clear night like tonight, with that planet commanding the sky, even on the grim dirty street of The Ave, these figures have no affect on me.
I’m thrown out of this daydreaming and back into the library. I’m now sitting on the top floor sifting through Farrokhzad. I stop on the chapter entitled “Iran’s first feminine voice.” Good for her, I think. Breaking through the darkness. I try to imagine the bustling city of Tehran without feminine art. All I see are the dark eyes of men, staring at me blankly. Do they want something? I can’t tell. I imagine Farrokhzad with green eyes. I’m glad I’ve only seen her in black and white. The green eyes mean something. I don’t know exactly what. Maybe a change. A digression from normality. I love digression. No one else does. Me and Forugh are now in Seattle. In my apartment four stories up on the precipice of capitol hill. She’s standing at the window looking out over the city towards downtown. She looks happy to be here. I am too. Her body is amazing. I think about the sex we would have, poetic in nature. Slow, but passionate, we savor every touch, every moment, every look, every moan, every cry. The bed becomes our art, and we are the inexorable artist. I can hear her whisper, hear her scream. After we’re done, she’s back at the window and I’m laying in bed. I light a cigarette. Suddenly I’m back in the reading booth.
I look up to the booth. A man is sleeping, and grunting when he breaths. I decide it’s time to leave. I make my way to the elevators. Being on the tenth floor this is the only way to get down. Like everything else, the elevator is surrounded by glass. I push my hand against the glass and look through. I can see the bottom. It feels like my hand slips through the glass, and I take a step backwards frightened. My heart starts pumping. I realize that it is impossible to fall through the glass. What the fuck is wrong with me? Suddenly I hear the ding, and the elevator doors open. I step through the threshold.
My first step drops. There is no elevator, just air and the hardware that surrounds the shaft. My stomach loses all normal feeling and becomes a weight pulling me down faster and faster. I can feel my heart beating out of my chest, trying to reach it’s non-existent arm back to the top. I scream. I’m screaming the entire way down. I’m falling, and falling, and I see spikes at the bottom. The spikes look like they were set there as a trap. Something set up for its prey. Eight floors gone, my head rushes toward a spike. I can feel one pierce my temple, and in an instant I am no more. The room goes dark. I am dead.