Three Eternal Devices for Navigating the Fall3:37 PM
by Rudolfo Carrillo
The clock on my computer says summer is over.
We have a few of these sorts of graceful machines—note to local burglars: I also have a ninety-pound red hound dog with a blue tongue and white teeth who is trained to devour strangers—but most of the time I do my work on a G4 that runs Tiger, Motorola processor y todo.
It can be slow and is ornery as hell, but it is just fine with me and I would keep it forever if I could. I've been through a few keyboards. (Flat white is a damn poor color if you like to eat pizza whilst typing.) But I think there have only been two times when the thing did not boot.
Using the G4 is part of a personal ritual. My rite late last night, taken up with due gravity as the Pleiades swung into view, was about how everything before now continuously leaks away into the air, leaving consequences turned out into the world. The retrieval of the past's output as image and narrative is one result of this process.
I've been marking time this way for years and years, though meaning creeps toward abstraction and into sudden sea change as the middle of my century rises. The procedure also has the potential to mutate into cleverly shitty, multi-paragraph introductions designed to defend the use of a type of symbolism based in the neuro-mechanical reflections and quantum entanglements that comprise the past.
If your universe does not work in the manner I just told about, that is just fine with me; every head is a world. But I probably could not make anything at all from the temporal residue data collection area I've built from starlight and bad decisions, if not for dreamy mechanism.
I have bound myself variously to elaborate and arcane techniques perfected in the foothills of the Himalayas or else incorporating passages from all American television broadcasts into my skeletal structure with the specific purpose of gathering evidence of the discomfiting presence of magical postmodernism among a representative collection of widely divergent human organisms.
I hope you think that's funny. It is important to me that you have a good laugh while reading this, because I sometimes see my memory as a curse, and you ought to, as well, I reckon—when every moment is just hanging there like a big iron rock in the asteroid belt waiting to be mined by the well-intentioned but nonetheless colonial forces of some eccentric Earthling's half-ass literary career.
Eleven years ago, when a very different summer was declining, I met a dog that had been run over by a fellow I happened to know from art school. I saw that dude the other day in Nob Hill. He was driving a bright green convertible and hell, he is my age. I was going to walk over and bust his balls about the car or how he split after the accident, leaving me with a bloody and frightened dog, but "Karma Police" came on the radio and I kept driving. I figured he had probably forgotten all about me and was probably late to this or that country club anywho.
Back then, the dog lived, and she turned out to be a good friend of mine. I wrote all kinds of stuff about that day, about the years that followed. Now, this has been the second summer she is gone from here. I did not notice the summer before this one. I stayed in and wrote and dreamt. That summer of two-thousand-and-twelve I dreamed I left the back gate open—that her owner had finally seen a found dog sign I left at the community center ten years before, and had come to take the dog home.
She had the worst kind of cancer. The doctor ended up amputating her left leg. Her right leg had been busted on the faraway day in September I told about. I was always worried about her legs; she could not stand the rain. The night she died, I was sitting next to her, trying to convince her to contemplate the goodness of water.
She was unconvinced, was weary of earthly stuff. The dog looked up at me, nudged me with her nose and as death washed over her, an elaborate, elusive, smoky and oscillating structure appeared between us briefly and fluttered. I reached out with one hand, and the form vanished. She left behind an empty vehicle. It had the shape of dog, but it was not a dog.
After that, and at night, asleep in order to reckon with the permanence of that passage away from the land and the food and the flowers, I began to employ an all-access, backstage pass to Tlalocan, given to Cabeza de Baca after years of servitude and lonely wandering. I inadvertently scavenged this talisman from a landfill in Hermosillo in 2001, while searching for a G4 possessing magical properties and applications from beyond the stars.
The temporal displacement unit usually lands me in a vast laboratory with astronomical qualities or a byzantine transport center filled with thin locomotives and speedy aeroplanes. Sometimes, I see Rosie and the dog hops up into my lap or leads me to a telescope where I can see planets on the very edge of the galaxy, against the darkness of the void. In the morning though, the sun is bright. I am surrounded by life; yet she is nowhere to be found on this earth.
The ritual begins again as I wander out into the living room, shoeless, and greet my wife. The rest of the pack circles around her and then follows me out the back door, into autumn.