The Near Nothing Man was not always near nothing. Once he buttoned clothes, sat on chairs, rested the numb skin of his elbows on tables, touched things like objects and subjects, some subjects in triangular places that turned them into objects, drank from a cup and filled it depending on his desire and not merely what was available. You must imagine everything was available to him because it was, anything: absinthe, urine, breast milk, Coca-Cola from Mexico where they use sugar derived from the cane and not corn syrup, the syrup of anyone wearing candy, the content of anyone passing out wings and a mask.
Prehistoric Near Nothing Man once had a desire directed toward something that lasted longer than seven minutes, which is the average length of any desire that isn’t backed by one or more of the three real feelings. The three feelings (love, fear, and an untranslatable word–the vague certainty that one’s being is in costume and deserves candy) nest so snugly in the straw-brain that most people are oblivious to them, especially when one is pursuing truth, a dijonnaise that squats on the refrigerator shelf: always there in front, but out of sight when halfway through the preparation of a cheese sandwich.
This desire was for someone who had named herself. He had two of the three feelings for her, plus one additional feeling he invented solely based on the existence of her dimples. Incidentally, she didn’t care for dijonnaise. Too fattening, too thick, too lewd. She had a body, and it mattered much to her. He loved the body, but she didn’t: a stripper who knows she is beautiful, hates herself for it, and therefore uses it in order to be overlooked, right up front on a stage dangling from and turning upside down, fucking everyone in the room with the third feeling, a shimmery wetness that makes a cheese sandwich palatable. The tease and tickle of a bite of air with no swallow.
The Near Nothing Man, when he was near to her, was under a spell. She could do anything while simultaneously blinking and he would love her with yearbook superlative adoration. In other words, he could overlook the condiment and leave two dry slices of bread, a leaf of lettuce, and a perforated square of cheese on the counter. Who is hungry now, anyway, for that.
No one knows at what point the Near Nothing Man became where he is. No one knows if he attained enlightenment or became disillusioned. No one who knows him or has loved him invented this story. It may even be because of or in spite of this story that everyone wants to love him or to be loved by him. Costume without the promise candy. Or vice versa.
I loved him dressed up as myself, in need of a haircut and a straighter smile, with the flexible vertebra of an amphibian, with the skinny legs of an adolescent and the soul of a crone. I dangled in front naked and upside down on a stage. All while I filled his cup, while I made it overflow with anything he wanted, while I became liquid, while I contorted easily to fit, while I became a thing so apparent that I was overlooked, while I renamed myself with a sticky label, while I became cold, while I became a speck there in the back near nothing but the relishes and the colors.
Most everything here is a trick, a slight of hand, something coming from behind an ear that really has been housed under a sleeve.What if you lost the sleeves of your costume? And your wig and oversized shoes? The ghost hands flailing under the sheet? What if you lost your ears and had nowhere to manifest a coin? What if you believed in magic because no one ever told you how quick others were to able to maneuver their touch?
This is what it is to be in love with the Near Nothing Man. I handed out candy wearing the costume of Everything: military camouflage while waving my arms right in front of the enemy. He took peppermint, which isn’t really candy, but the wash of everything prior, the white clean of nothing ever happened, the red sting of everything that has, the wind that whistles and blows, moves everything, and no one ever sees.
MP3: R.EM. –
posted by holly.