emma b. says

Thursday, December 15, 2005

persimmon is the sky

On Friday I followed smoke, down the block and around the corner. My nose caught it before it registered, the smoke, that peculiar sweet astringent choke of artifice on fire. And I looked up, because I have a habit of tracking the moon, and there I saw great billows of smoke heading westward to the sea, to the sea, tinged orange on the underbelly against a cold and purple dusk.

So I followed the sirens and I tracked the smoke.

Down the block and round the corner, DVD in purse, cabernet at my side, a Friday night with the windows barred against the season, and the heat turned to the tropics and a the promise of cracking my spine against the enamel of my claw foot tub, burning candles and a flagging pointsettia, and stillness, save the lapping of shifting limbs and the incandescent guttering of the the flame. All of that, all of that is for later, I am walking towards the fire inspite of myself. Because Liar, Liar your pants are on fire, and ladybug, ladybug fly a home, because the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire and we don't need no water let the motherfucker burn.

I turn the corner, people are running, the police have not yet assumed the welfare of the passersby, I turn the corner into a shower of spark and ash. It is unspeakably beautiful, because this is someone's travesty and this is someone's wardrobe flying about me in ash and spark, and someone's memories for good and ill raining down on me like the fourth of July in December, because secretly I am delighted. It's snowing soft fire and the neighborhood has taken to the streets and there is a sort of subdued camaraderie, and people have brought out their dinners and their half full wine glasses, and are glad it is not their roof on fire, and yet, and yet.

Prior to this, of course, prior to me standing agape on the sidewalk, the sirens have come screaming from the four corners of the city, and the young firemen have monkeyed up the ladders and are spraying great gouts of compacted water and punching out windows, wielding axes and what not, had I had good reason to swoon, I just might have.

The fire is putting on a show, licking at rooftops, all for the gawkers, myself included, waiting with bated breath for the tragedy. Dunno, a roof cave in, a lady wailing after her baby. And so we stand shoulder to shoulder shoehorned willingly by the police, subconciously formulating our anecdotes as bonified spectator to a tragedy, it's a wonder traffic moves at all, blessed are our short attention spans.

I left after the firemen punched out the windows, steam was obscuring the flames, also I got an immediate headache from whatever was burning, walking and coughing down Page the cops had shuttered the streets and looked bored. I went home to my movie and my wine and my bath, but dreams are pernicious, is it any wonder I dreamt of fire.


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