:: Article

industrial machinery

By Sean Brijbasi.

lift play and swing the plastic army boys lost beneath the bed [underneath] and the pattern of the rug frilled at the edges lifted to find coins and chocolate wrappers and the glorious window—tree half-hanging and steeped in navigation.

I think about walking and meeting people who want to talk to me. Who. Who stop me and ask me questions about nothing. In a park or adjacent to a park. Someone sitting on a bench while kids fidget in school where teachers talk about nothing.

“Your skin is very dark and pale,” you say.

I move closer. You had a girlfriend you were seeing and she made you very happy. The breeze is light and the leaves crinkle under our behavior. How did she sleep? I touch your hair. Yesterday I slept on my side and thought about legumes I planted in a hidden plot near the train station. Two little legumes grew but I was anxious and plucked them before they were ripe. I spy them under my coat when no one is looking.

“I don’t like the sun,” you say.

There’s no texture in the grass here. It’s too smooth. Almost like paper that’s colored green. And the sky is the same. The sun looks like the face of a child that a child has drawn but I don’t stare because of photosynthesis. There are paintings of cannibals in the museum. Strange women with postures of gold and Persephone tincture ranging down on servings of humanity.

“I want to go somewhere with you and fall asleep,” you say.

We hold hands. You comment on the innovation of my fingers. Their slender precision. I tell you that my sleep is appealing—like the space between two branches of a tree. It breathes. The air flows through and around my sleep. Like a ballerina around a perfect éphémère. If you walk beside my sleep you will feel it on your face. Something changes around me—the consistency and hue of the air that navigates my musculature.

“We can go to where my bed is and sleep,” I say.

You hear the sound of a blanket on the clothesline. Dogs apppear from the dust and run through the opened space.

“I just want to be quiet for a time,” you say. “There’s too much noise and without saying it.”

There is enough space for all the wrongs in this world. Even ours. But ours is freakish and slit with rungs and the pounding of Galileo. They spit everywhere and hate us for collecting their bile. But my room is clean today. The walls have been pampered with loving and the floor by my bed cozied with and snuggled.

“You have many books,” you say.

“Yes I have many books in my room, most of which I haven’t read but of those I haven’t read my favorite is Notes from Underground given to me by an uncle who thought it time for me to broaden my horizons. I was, but no longer am, a country girl in dress and temperament. And he, in his way, had hopes of improving my lexis while I had hopes of gaining insight into the ways of the world. The book has been well kept despite its discoloration. And though it is a paperback, the spine is sturdy and bells a convincing tone when tapped against the edge of a table. I suspect the story takes place in a sewer with a single manhole that one cannot open but can see through to the outside world. I believe it to be a metaphor for the human soul.”

You circle the room then settle onto the bed upon which we hope to cultivate our loneliness. We hear the sound of iron and stone. Children search for trinkets near the factory and make piles of chrome. They hold up pieces of broken glass to the sun.


Sean Brijbasi
. Discarded moments. Unfinished gestures. Lived [not lived] in London. Resident of Sweden [once]. Lives in Washington DC [near]. In East Berlin before the wall fell. In Russia before glasnost. Jazz in Copenhagen. Switchblade in Paris. Lost in Helsinki. Awake.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Thursday, June 2nd, 2011.