Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, June 4, 2007

engine sounds

i sleep with my windows open, even when it gets hot. i do not like to casually run an air conditioning unit.

i like to feel connected to the world around me, even if the world is a little inconvenient, or uncomfortable. i open windows. i have some quiet fans to simulate the circulation that architects and designers no longer build into the living spaces now that we seem to prefer to live inside walk-in refrigerators.

i like to feel connected to the world around me. i like to listen to the night sounds of frogs and crickets in the marshland and pond thirty yards from my window. i hear the jets soaring like steel angels in and out of the air force base half an hour from here. i love the lonely night trains howling to the moon like frankenstein wolves.

alas, the people in my building do not share my penchant for sleeping below open windows and sweating a little into dreams. my neighbors have truly begun to run ac units, late into the night.

the building ac units are all below my window.

i can’t hear bugs and frogs.

i dream of buses and planes and the whiny grind of the starship engines winding down, down, down in low orbit. i dream of flying, driving, and flying, and driving. i close my eyes and i’m a teenager again sleeping on a blue knight bus somewhere between denver and a drum corps show. i’m dreaming of people i met on planes, and the conversations we had that my conscious mind has forgotten.

also, i’m dreaming of the engines of time grinding lines down faces.

an actress i met once shows me photographs of her face. she’s young, like when i met her, but the pictures are lined up like the freight train trailers on the long, long mantle, and she moans like a train whistle because these pictures show her aging into dead bones. she points at the eyebrows arching and all the wrinkles like clay animation squished flat and adjusted again, badly. she points back in time, sadly, when she was young and full of hope, and the engines of time don’t let me hear her speak her valedictions to her lost hope.

sometimes, there are crickets in my dreams, when the ac units stop for a while, and the bus stops and the plane hovers still and the spaceship ejects my bod pod into the gorgeous night sky. I get to look up at the dreamscape’s night sky and hear the crickets and frogs again, singing love songs to the springtime, and falling in and out of love without ever laying eyes upon their beloved. they just hear the night music, and that’s how they find their love, and i get to dream about it for a little while again.

this doesn’t last long.

sometimes, the faint, faint sounds of people I don’t know making love invade my sleep or wake me. embarrassed, i smother my slightly sweating skull with thick pillows to block the sound until the air conditioning kicks in again to drown all soundwaves in engine hum. that’s not all bad, i guess.

above all else, though, i hear the engines rumble and groan like trapped ice elementals moaning for freedom from inside the magician’s machine.

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