FragLit

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Solitude

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2010 :: Issue 7/Fall :: Solitude

Shorts

Richard Krause

Curious phenomenon loneliness is that it can be dispelled by anyone. Sometimes we are a little dismayed that it so promiscuously gives itself away. It is as if it pays us back for withholding ourselves, gets even with us for allowing it to exist in the first place.

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You live with the secret hope that somehow all the loneliness will be erased by someone understanding it, or by your explanation to them, when in fact this only further ensures your being alone. Now what if just once you hoped for the contrary, that such understanding would encourage loneliness, deepen it? Then you would find people trying to get closer to you just because they sense you don’t want them to.

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Every manifestation of loneliness crowds often to such an extent that we are trampled by almost anyone that comes our way.

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I prick my skin to keep myself occupied, bleed the little bumps and pustules, pick, scrape again the scabs off, bleeding, serous, a clear lymph fluid oozes out. I talk to them, why aren’t you healed? They are silent as the blood collects in minipools, as if to say, we are only reflecting you.

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The hand and what it holds holds my attention. An empty hand also holds my attention. I watch to see what it does with itself. What it does with its emptiness. Rarely does it stay empty. It always holds onto something. To its other hand, to its own body, to a table, to a pencil, or it curls up into a half-fist, or clenches itself full-fisted. I am not sure how I want the hand to be. Open-palmed? Isn’t it then about to grasp something? And most vulnerably? Even our hand cannot be alone. It is the best sign of us.

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We want to love our fellow man but fear too quickly having all the energy of our feeling metabolize into one overwhelming rush of combustion and being reduced in our love to the grease spot on a piece of paper. Dimly aware that that is what would be left of them, most people nurture a vaguely defined hostility towards others. When at bottom it is no more than this oleaginous fear.

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Why I like refills is that I can store them up. It gives me the greatest satisfaction to know that I have something in reserve, that behind what I expend I am backed up. As a child being taken away, placed in a school, I remember a clear white plastic toy gun into which I could insert little colored balls of candy. And a refill I had. I remember how I fingered it in the long ride from my home. How it gave me a sense of security that I could store up so many pieces of candy in the gun as a kind of ammunition against being taken away, for the strange home I was being taken to. Not to shoot anybody of course, but as ammunition against them nevertheless.

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The little girl sneaks a piece of candy into her mouth. I imagine its sugars dissolving in secret, the crystals breaking down, the saliva activated and excited, rising to the occasion, the cheek sucking on the candy and the tongue, biting itself to get all the pleasure the mouth can out of the surreptitious insertion of the candy. And the beauty of the eyes. They triumphant as they look around to see if anyone has noticed the orgy of pleasure the mouth has experienced, the tongue proclaiming the sweets to the roof of the mouth, drawing every nook of delight into her enjoyment, vacuuming the mouth for the emptiness of her little life unpleased, for the predeterminate stage of her own sexuality that can only be bridged by this hard structure of candy dissolving, breaking down in her mouth by her sucking on it for dear life.

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I often try to freeze faces, keep my feelings for them unchanged. There is something frozen in my desires, some unthawing principle even when women are flowing towards me, melting in my arms. Something out in the cold that even women closest to me have felt. (And had to quickly get their clothes on for.) Little did they know of the mechanical desire for refrigeration. To keep them physically just the same as my love for them. For so deeply did I want them to remain unchanged that each one I finally froze out of my life. But years after they are all there. Even when the electricity went off, when there was no more artificial refrigeration, in the tundra of my consciousness, under the clear icy brilliance of the steppes they live on. Corpses almost of love that never really melted in me. That my mind is bound to, still beautiful as I pay homage to the image of themselves that they left me behind. As if these cold remnants, this aftermath, is the very essence of my feeling. That years before even the warmth of living associations with these women, the exchange of the warmest kisses and intimacies, was leading up to. As if that warm birth of feeling was only the preliminary to what would last in my mind a lifetime compared to the lovers they would soon take. I would still have them in cold storage, so to speak, like mammoth remains.

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What happens when you don’t read and don’t get out, your work starts to overlap, duplicate itself, multiply incestuously. One piece is lying atop another, in the same bed of thought so to speak and whatever creaks in one part of the house is picked up in the next. And jealousies ensue, the proud assertions of male dominance, the female wiles, the seductions of your own work trying to outdo, emasculate, reinvigorate itself, but in the end it is all incestuous, all the same family of desires, the weaknesses predominate, the strengths don’t outlive the household, there is no fresh blood and the diseases of inbreeding finally win out in work after all that no one else is related to.

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