Untitled (David Lynch)
“It doesn’t matter what you know about the other places if you’re still trapped in the building.”
– David Lynch
My brother phones
and asks only
if I am in the next room.
I am in that room
and the room after that
and outside is a police station,
a bar, a hospital, a hotel.
Outside is a wind that wakes me
from dreaming my brother
calling me from the other room.
And the dream is so like a film
I forget that in this building there is a bedroom,
a bathroom, a kitchen presumably.
In my stirring all I expect to find
are corridors that connect
as a groin connects. And for months
I think about other places
as if I know them as I know my brother.
I think about the bars and even, at times,
the lines on the streets and once or twice
I believe I can depart the building
but I only find corridors – never the hard bush
of the hills or the wind of the valley.
And eventually I will forget other places:
the medicine store, the meat store, the windows of hair-cutters
and I will make an acceptance of here,
of the coins which have left circulation.
And on that day I will not dream my brother
but will speak to you of love for my building
and what I have burnt inside it to stay warm;
what fires I have made of myself and yourself
and the mattress we slept on, the pillow beneath
your back, your forgotten hairs and brushes
and I guess I shall forget you too and the night
when my brother phoned from a dream
and how on that night I knew you were no longer
in places I could even imagine and therefore
it didn’t matter or I didn’t matter and I want
a glass of water now and a hallway
that is not a groin
and a cat to cross my shadow and
there will be a day I’ll depart
to all that the world is, I will
walk from asylum like the Indian
in that film where he walks in white
to the end of the reel, towards a fog
which he may think
he believes he knows.
First published in Poetry New Zealand, 2012.