I was taking a shower at night, as I did in those days, with the lights off. Death was with me. It wasn't his time to get me, he was simply present, thinking that if he kept himself available I might come to him instead.
He told me to close my eyes, and I did. He said, do you see a void, and I said yes. He said, do you see a light in the void, halloween orange, radiating but not illuminating, and I said yes. He said, is it projecting into the void, produced as from a star just off-stage, proceeding and declining into a frame of blackness, and I said yes. And he said, is it passing in dithering waves into ember yellow and back to orange, and I said yes. And he said, is it dispersing undulations from orange into yellow, into orange into glowing brick red, and back into orange, and I said yes. And he said: Those are angels descending to you then travelling back to heaven, transcribing energy. Say it. Make the energy Word.
He said open your eyes, and I did; And he leaned into me and whispered: "be like God and make a man".
A CRADLE SONG
An infant sleeping at night in a travel crib on a high floor in the casino hotel. Curtains opened, dark night and countless lights seen through the large plate windows. The room dimly lit enough for the windows to mirror its contents, to mirror her father's image, to create a translucent film of him and the depth of the room on top of the broad expansive darkness and moire points dimming while spreading in swaths to the horizon. The depth of the room, and her father, contracted to two dimensions on the window surface, yet integrated and insinuated with the immense vastness of: the large, glowing cherry red letters on the other hotels, the scattered points of light from a ring of placid industrial landscape, the distant flat suburbs with trails and lines of illuminated roadways, the humming semi-orb glow of the city off to the right and far enough away to be visible from border to border, all against a ceaseless, expansive frame of black night, hyper-deep, the unseen unfelt outside air the mind knows has palpable dryness and coolness to provide such perfect clear granular contrast and detail. In the window, the objects of the room still somewhat having their palpable depth, but severe compression in the space between them, the loss of distance over time between pieces of furniture; and between her crib and her father.
Her father a false, cold light. Illuminated but not illuminating. A corrupted beacon to follow behind loosely, his lack of strength and will manifesting a gravity lacking strength enough to pull her in a clearly defined line, instead creating a dithered, powdery wake in which she's tossed and somewhat dragged. His cooing voice only a shade upon a void. Words the shape and texture of love, words the action and process of love, but not love, just a dully resonant film over null, something not love. A cloth and wire monkeymother, a shape cold and lifeless.
Him reflecting the physics of the universe around him. When on the casino floor, he moves with the swarming condensation of probabilities. He feels the shifts and coagulations of luck like changes in air pressure, and, as though a mylar balloon, currents drift him towards a table a beat before frat boys explode with whoops and high fives, or just as a dealer pulls 21 and a player with a split then two doubles counting 20 on both sides storms off the table.
When sitting at a table, his distant indifference (not truly indifference, more a lack of will) is veiled by a demeanor of concentration, but which is really just his conceit to hide his dispassion. Hitting or sticking based not on memorized or analyzed odds but passively riding contrapuntal sine waves of probability coalescing into consonance and dephasing into dissonance, making decisions based on corporeal, synasthesic sonority and cacophony. His face, passive and dispassionate -- True null -- reflecting back the arrogance assumed by players outraged when his statistically improbable calls fail; reflecting back the brilliance assumed by fawning players when his reactions cause the dealer to bust.
When leaving a table a winner, also winning for the table as an immaterial byproduct, a woman flirts, "not staying until the shoe is over?" He smiles her coy smile and says, "I've hit my limit". She thinks he's following a self-discipline and says, "yes better to quit while you're ahead", but he means luck. He knows he's used-up his luck and it's time to wait for another swarm. One doesn't appear, and he finds himself heading back to his room.
Polite charm to those he'll never meet again. Stern unwavering stride when passing pit bosses on the floor. Loose small smiles when watching a happy child up way too late in the lobby. Knowing compassionate nodding for a forlorn gambler in the elevator.
Standing over her crib. She will learn her world from him. He reflects back her love. In response to her feeble upward arm he cups her face. She pulls at the hair on his wrist.
"Sweet babe in thy face, holy image I can trace.
Sweet babe once like thee, thy maker lay and wept for me."