Blue Vein

by John Dentino & Spencer Savage

How do I describe the way love dies? – like the leaves of autumn reduced to amber dust?...like the maddening resolve of a solitary stone hurled mercilessly into the ribcage of some vacuous canyon?...like the ghastly, evanescent bubbles of spittle left shining on the surface of quicksand by its engulfed victim?...like the air in a skid row telephone booth?

Confessions of a Soul Catcher

by John Dentino & Spencer Savage

from a performance piece done at Jac Zinder’s “Blue Moon” club (c.1990) with Savage as Estes Quick; music by Dentino *

Note

How do I describe the way love dies? – describe to you those first moments of enchantment, staring past the black pools of her eyes down an alluring abyss, to the final moment when I realized I would never know her soul, and therefore never possess her.

Suffice it to say that deep within my perplexed, yet annointed heart, is a dying part curled up at the edges like a blighted leaf that writhes against the poisons excreted by an unseen attacker.

I first became aware of this inner death when a vein of my left wrist, which usually runs down my arm like a streak of azure sky, ran instead one day a deep, cobalt blue . I then became aware that the earth itself and all creatures and things around me reflected my state of destitution. I’ve come to see that:

My love has died like the leaves of autumn reduced to amber dust, trampled under the first snow of the season, descendents of withered branches from trees they once called home.

My love has died like the hostage prey of a spider imprisoned by its web of silk and dissected until only the legs remain.

. . .like the dogged tenacity of the beggar ruthlessly shunned.

My love has died like the joy of a sparrow as it swoops down to find its lost young chick nestled clumsily upon the ground, a casualty of curiosity.

. . .like the sleep that awaits the intoxicated as they stumble through the door to embrace the sanctity of their couches and beds.

. . .like the odd sustain of a sweet old, plangent-toned piano newly fitted with cheap felt dampers.

My love has died like the train of thought I awoke to find barreling out of the station in a hazy blur.

. . .with the fury of a wave that crests too early and drowns in its own fitful foam.

. . .like the maddening resolve of a solitary stone hurled mercilessly into the ribcage of some vacuous canyon.

. . .like the deafening cry of a kettle that has reached boiling point over a rampant flame.

My love has died like the ghastly, evanescent bubbles of spittle left shining on the surface of quicksand by its engulfed victim.

. . .like the jackal who is torn in two by steel claws, then struggles in vain only to stop and save its strength for one final howl of defiance.

My love has died like the air in a skid row telephone booth.

. . .like the panicked plea of the wounded man as he turns to face his assailant.

. . .like the impassioned screech of distant automobiles, whose unconsummated collision has every pedestrian’s head turned in hopes of what could have been.

. . .like the profundity of the bottle shattered against a brick wall, liberating an offspring of malicious shards.

[unconvincingly] Do I seem angry? I am not. But this loss makes me walk with a heavy step. I’ve often been told to “lighten up” and burst out of this state of extreme inertia. But like a fallen trunk at the bottom of a river, I’m waterlogged, unable to roll with the current.

My heavy, brocade curtains are closed at noon and the stale air in my apartment is unbreathable.

I’m often catatonic and withdrawn like a mad king whose own army threatens his castle — unmovable and unmoved.


* Note:

I publish this piece as it was written 15 years ago. Looking back, the prose may have struck some as overripe; nonetheless,  I think it ultimately fit with the self-importance of the character. —JD







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