Kafka

Kafka

Kafka once said, "You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice."

I do not have a table. But I have the darkness and I have a bottle of tequila. It seems that this should be enough. If Kafka says its enough, I can only hope, I can only wait here for the world to "unmask" itself. I don't even know what that means—but if it happens, I'll know, and suddenly things will make sense. I hope.

Kafka is right, of course. The darkness can show so much more than the light. The light creates such a heavy barrage of color and busy images, it's hard to focus on anything. In the dark, everything is hidden from sight and nothing is hidden from the mind. The world hides away in the minds of men waiting to be unlocked when the entire world is dark, where there is nothing to interfere with it. At least, to hear Kafka tell it.

Night in our part of the city cultivates the perfect setting for this. There isn't a streetlight that hasn't been knocked out by some passing vandal. No one dares to keep their light on, all is dark and all is silent. I closed the blinds only to keep out the meager starlight.

I lay back, and breath in the dust of the hovel. I feel the weight of gravity pressing against me, and I feel heavy. I feel as if my skin is a thousand rags draped over me, soaked with tequila and weighing down on me, cold and scratchy. At times I wish I could shed it—let only my mind roam free in the dark, searching for the world to be unmasked. I wonder if that's how Kafka felt.

I wonder how long Kafka waited for the world. An hour? Hours? I sit, I wait in the dark. The world is dark, drained of useless color and brightness, limited to its simplest elements of shape and shadow. This is the wonder of dark.

Dark, like her hair. I remember it well, it had always been dark. Her eyes, too. The darkest eyes I'd ever seen. I remember thinking how lovely they were when I met her, in the park on that August evening, as the color began to drain from the world. In her dark eyes, there was no color to interfere with the moonlight as it reflected. She said hello, I said hello, and stared deep into her eyes. What wonderful times.

Hello world? Hello Kafka? I'm waiting.

Dark like the apartment we moved into after our marriage. This apartment. It was virtually lightless, until we bought scores of lamps, for the living room, for the bathroom, for this very bedroom to light it. In the dark, I muse, it seems as it was the first time we stepped foot into it.

Dark like the under-eyes of those boys who hang out down the street. They bustle through the wee hours of the night attempting to sell crack cocaine to anyone who has the luck to pass by them, snorting and mongering, looking blank-eyed into the night sky. They're like raccoons, black-eyed and mischievous, crawling through the dumpsters in the night, looking for a scrap of food or money.

She'd pass by them every now and then, she'd tell me. They'd make passes at her and try to give her drugs, but she walked confidently by them. She'd told me this. They'd fawn over her with their raccoon paws, but she'd throw them off, as strong as she was. She'd never let the world drag her down.

I take a swig of the tequila, still lying on the carpet, and it burns by nose. The world surely isn't going to let me see it sober.

Dark like blindness, I suppose. I can close my eyes—like so—and open them—no difference. All is dark and formless.

Dark like her dress the day she was fired. She was only a secretary, measly work, really, but it was all she had. We had hardly any income, which is why we settled for such a hovel as this. I asked her what we would do, and she said we would live as usual. She was not afraid of poverty, she was not afraid of anything.

I'm afraid. I'm afraid of poverty and of loneliness. I've never been afraid of the dark. Where are you, world? Where are you, unmask yourself. Come to me, revel in the dark.

Dark like the day she said her mother was sick and she had to go to Boston to see her mother. It began overcast, with the sky swelling up with greyish boils and then pissing in dark sheets over me. I kissed her goodbye in the rain—it was the first time we had been apart.

Perhaps the world is at the bottom of my tequila bottle. I'll have to finish it off then. Liquor tastes better in the dark.

Dark like the guy she fucked in Boston.

Dark like the baby she had. Darker than him, lighter than him—but dark as a stain upon our life, as far as I was concerned. I told her many times that I forgave her, but I never did. I told her that I loved her and the baby, but so many times I wanted to snap its neck and send it back to the hell that it came from.

Maybe if I could shed off the heavy skin, I could walk through walls. I could walk through the walls of my bedroom, and through the dark New England soil she was buried in. She could do the same thing and we would live with nothing to weigh us down. No world, no skin.

Maybe I could go find Kafka's grave and get him to explain it all to me. We could sit in the dark, Kafka and I, and he would show the world to me. I bet he buried it with him.

Dark like her eyes. Not in them, under them, like those goddamned raccoon-boys that live in the gutter. She began to cry—almost every night, in fact—her mascara would run in dark, muddy rivers down her porcelain face and drip onto the sofa.

Dark like the weight that settled on her, like death sitting on that Chinese Emperor—wasn't there some story about a Chinese Emperor that woke up and saw death sitting on him? Dark like death's robes, I guess.

Dark like that bug that's made its home in the corner of my bedroom. Kafka's bug, maybe. Some sniveling little blue-class worker that got his comeuppance for being the cog in one big wheel. It hasn't any idea what's going on. I bet it doesn't even know it's dark.

Dark like the gun. Dark like the bullet. Dark like the stream of blood that ran down her head, through her hair, just like the one in the damned little baby cradled in her arms. I told her I loved her, didn't I? But she chose to take that—thing, that hell spawned little bastard with her to wherever instead of me. Bastard.

I found a bag of cocaine in her back pocket. I bet it was from those raccoon-boys. After I've found the world, maybe I'll go shoot them.

"The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked," Kafka says. "It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet," Kafka says.

Instead I feel like I'm rolling in the world—full of dirt and full of grime—there's no ecstasy. What ecstasy, and when will the world roll in it? Maybe the raccoon-boys sell it. I'll inquire.

Fuck you, world.

Fuck you, Kafka.