Thursday, August 25, 2005

bottled places: dying in greenhills

Image hosted by Dying in Greenhills

I fluster the guard at the lobby of the Atlanta Centre, flashing IDs as I speak loudly into my cell phone, heading directly to the elevator bay. Inside, I press the button for the 6th floor, slipping my mobile back into my pocket, my pretend conversation over and done with. This is where the actress Nida Blanca was found in a bloody car a few years ago, stabbed multiple times and left to alone to die.

The parking level is sparsely populated with cars; I count five. I cross the yellow lines towards where I know she sat, bleeding in solitude. It is an empty space, discolored by grease and stained with tire marks. There is nothing else.

I squat in the center of the parking space, pull out my notebook and pen and begin to write. I begin with first impressions, about how much time has passed and how everything is both cold and hot, and soon my stacatto notes create a jostling rhythm. Words come in flashes and I let them, and again I feel the uneasiness that I think I will never get used to, as if my hand were not my own, possessed by automatic writing like the soi-disant mediums of earlier centuries.

Dorothy, Dorothy, Dorothy

I am wracked by a smile.

I am pierced by betrayal.

I am writing.

I am writing about love.

Pages flip by before I am finished, before it is finished, before everything about this small space, this small place is rendered into words, and my legs cry to straighten out. When I finally stand up in relief, I look at everything I've written down, phrases that seem disjointed, unconnected, ugly, terse. I restrain myself from editing then and there, to try to make sense of initial notes and work them into the semblance of something, something else. There'll be time later, I know. Experience has disciplined me to rewrite later.

I look at the empty parking slot before I leave, thinking about how oil leaves indelible stains on certain things.

"Why just this small place?" The voice grates, stone against stone, all tectonic shifts and intimations of languages.

"This is all I need," I reply. My legs are tired and I just want to go somewhere else.

"Come closer to my heart," the voice rumbles. "I have more interesting places to show you."

I shake my head then end the conversation with a slight nod. I have never liked Greenhills and what she offers.

Outside, along Annapolis Street, I realize that only two buildings down, another actress fell to her death, her broken body bearing the details of her multifloor escape from possessive love. Part of me wants to visit that building, to look at the stairwell and plot her fatal velocity in reverse, but I have what I need for today. No one is interested in what is redundant.

Before I cross the street to my red car, I add a note at the end of my earlier furious scribblings:

No one is truly gone until everyone forgets.

And I am done until midnight.


Visit The Brass Buddha Machine next Thursday for the next installment.


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