the willing and the accomplice: proust

It was around that summer that the willing began to read Proust.
Ignorant to the succinctness of it being read during that particular season,

she picked it up on what seemed a whim after the accomplice
had loaned it to her months earlier. She had in fact tired to read the book

then, had read the first hundred pages, but put it down
for what seemed more appropriate at the time Love in the Time of Cholera,

it being winter then, when the coldness of memory isolates stubborn
desires and does not unroll in stop motion blooms

or fragrant scented childhoods. Foolish as usual, the willing had not contemplated
any of this and took up Swann’s Way in the late light one summer evening.

To her surprise, she found some markings in the book highlighting certain
passages of text. This puzzled her because through her relationship

with the accomplice she never knew him to leave any markings behind,
for fear of potential future embarrassment upon realizing the overstated importance

he placed on aphorismatic platitudes, which seemed all too ripe at the time.
The willing though, a marker by nature, is territorial in her underlining of statements

she identifies with, as if claiming them as her own, even though she did not create
the arrangement of words on the page she convinced herself that she was the one

that could live them out, a midst the clutter in the basement of her heart.
But these marking in Proust surprised her because they are not hers—

in her signature blue Papermate, which strikes through the text and does not exist below.
The markings made in black fountain pen first appear on page x: “It is plain

that the truth I am seeking lies not in the cup but in myself”. There was no sense
of recollection at all for this passage. For all the willing knew these lines

could have been contemplated years ago by some strange hand before the book
ended up among other dusty paper backs on the $1.00 shelf. “Always try

to keep a patch of sky above your life, little boy, you have a soul in you of rare quality, an artist’s nature: never let it starve for what it needs.”

the willing and the accomplice: tunnels

the accomplice had a sense of excitement himself. he had always enjoyed
driving through tunnels, thinking of the men who had laid the asphalt

some morning at three a.m., wearing their hard hats, making the world
bigger. as a passenger, the lights in the tunnel look as if they were one

running consistency, firm enough to catch and use to line the sidewalks
as a way to remember the steps home. the near certainty that something

different awaited at the other end, even if only geographically, filled
the accomplice with such pleasure that he felt foolish for not having realized

that many things have already been supplied, he let the wind hit his face
as he put the window down as a way to associate the realization. driving

in cars with the windows down and cigarettes lit had become the accomplice’s
picture of youth and for the fourth saturday in a row, he was getting to be a part

of it. it wasn’t so much that he particularly enjoyed it, but at least he
was getting to watch things as they happened instead of spending his evenings

falling in and out of sleep with the lights on and the tv going, letting
the sound of rerun reality shows guide the musing of his subconscious.

the accomplice had arranged this meeting with the willing as an offering.

preparation

eventually, the skin between my toes will expose bone

i will say that my dishes were always clean
and that i only drank beer on the weekends.

i hold the door always for the person behind
me but the timing is never right, i linger.

no help for that

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

a space

and even during the
best moments
and
the greatest
times

we will know it

we will know it

we will know it
more than
ever

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

and we will wait
and wait

in that
space

-charles bukowski