A Culminating and Impending Desert

A Culminating and Impending Desert

There is an alley that is burrowed between a bank and a hospital somewhere in the world. There is no indication of it being there—only a right step in the left direction into the bright alley that resembles at once a well-lit hallway and a whorehouse. Noises live there—a composite pink noise made up of indistinguishable components blaring softly and loudly from the clinking ground, hard metal. The noise is so ever pervasive that it takes on the form of thoughts sometimes, manifesting itself for a second as a cloud of sparkling dust only to disappear instantly. If stepped into, the alley seems empty—all people seem to blend into the surrounding walls, into the ground, into the noise of a great waterfall. Once a man saw a woman there—he had the uncanny feeling that he had entered someone else’s dream. Faces, if seen, take on the glittering sound of a sarod, a steel drum, small hand cymbals—until they vanish again into atmosphere or melt like Kathakali masks on the walls. A man once followed the alley and realized it was a channel, a hidden third channel between the bank and the hospital. He was amazed. The alley opens up into a desert—the bank and the hospital look awful lonely beside all that dirt and sand. The barrage of sound is replaced by another deafening tone—a shrill whistle that seems to emanate from the sky itself. If a woman finds herself there, she will drop to her knees because it is all she can do. When the noise stops, if it stops, the desert and the sky are filled with so much beauty (the clouds in that sky swell like breasts, like ripening fruits, like opening blooms) that sweet juices seem to seep from the cracks of the dry ground, of the torn eardrum, the tearing of the eye. The light in the desert is like the light in a forest—filtered through thousands of invisible atmospheric shades so that when it reaches the ground, it is not a color that can be described with any amount of certainty—it is the color of the current state of things. If a woman sees this color, she will know what I mean. This desert is the same in which Foucault was found holding a cactus in his bare hands, face and mouth bloodied by the sting but deliriously happy because he realized what he had seen. This Mi’raj is the same in which Muhammad saw heaven and hell at once and knew it was the alike in sorrow and beauty. Suddenly and all at once, things will return to normal. The light will be the light of the sun, constant and dry. The sand will be sand again and the alley will not be found. The bank and the hospital will continue their business with the greatest urgency and a woman and man will find themselves standing, looking out into their now ugly life, not being able to speak.


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