There is no hotel breakfast. No air conditioning. No Tour Guide singing in the next room.
Here I construct a narrative from the way desire can become detached from the thing that is first desired, until everything is whipping sand and a set of lips that say I will have you because I am the one speaking. Listen: I am throwing sand into a gust of wind and calling it a conversation. I want my body to be both here and somewhere else without apology. I am imagining that I imagine this all will be forever, which it cannot but I still dream of the things I can imagine like a door left open leading into a desert.
I desire a distant land because everything I imagine becomes a kiss. There is no way I could have ended up in a place that is not here: Each action was well-scripted. Each glance, each fond brush of fingertips against what I wanted to be my flesh—each time the world went tumbling off the side of a dune, spraying sand everywhere—it led me here. The Tour Guide smiles. Or, I imagine the Tour Guide smiling. The way his mouth is a mirror from which I watch my own lips move. I am staring out the window at the trees between the trees.
I am waiting for the way what is real will be real, but not until it ends.
In my mind the Tour Guide is still speaking. He says I am getting ahead of myself. He says this is my ‘usual’ and I do not try to correct him. He says that I am searching for shipwrecks so very far from the sea and I have begun to wonder if what I am looking for is nowhere to be found. That the result is the act of finding. This is easy to believe because his mouth is my mouth, I just imagine different sounds shaped by different desires but they are all my own. I mean that the monks lived in the desert for hundreds of years and all they found was God and more sand. I won’t discover God hiding behind boxes of pasta in the cupboard. I am not certain I would want to discuss judgment while bringing a pot of water to a boil. So I scrub the kitchen counter and pretend I am a circular stain I can scrub off of the counter. I wonder if sacrifice is a way to blame God because I don’t know what else to do.
Even like this I cannot stop believing in sin. It tangles like hair pulled out of the drain—avoiding stoppages the way a river diverts and travels a different path. This is blame blowing sand. I protect my eyes from what I imagine the monks would say about disappointment. How it is holy like a discarded orange peel becoming soil. They would say it is holy like holiness burrowing deeper to escape the scorching sun. Would you believe me if I said that all of this is just a set-up: We are curing personhood inside of us like mummification; how two paths are only two paths until they come back together, later, the same as they were before but different.
Why sand? Because it is so easy to imagine it always being everywhere. Do you understand the metaphor? When it slips between my fingers you can see the way it shines and maybe this is meaningful but probably it is not. These are the strings which bind us together—how I reluctantly admit that this is a stage and the Tour Guide is merely pedagogical. Each word is a tool to help remind me to breathe. It could have been anything: A bird, a feeling, a single mote of dust dancing like turning on the lights. These are parlor tricks: How I make you look at everything that is distant while I peer frantically toward the disaster unfolding in front of me, instead.