By the Lake of the Silvery Now
Silverlake, California, November 2017
Why are the always dogs barking? They are proof of our suffering.
Why are you making me do this? Someone should tell it.
3 Heat in the Lake of Silver
I am hot hot hot in Silverlake. The sweat crawls upward on my neck and wets the bottom of my scalp. The curls drip, my hair burnishes. The baubles at the bottom of all the thermometers have busted, and the puddle is a silver shaped lake. It shimmers; an oasis in the heat. The heat is a soprano breaking glass with a high note so high it scratches your throat. I find myself yelling at people. How do they live in the heat, these people of the lake? They are super human, is how. The people in Silverlake are slicker and smoother, meaner and leaner, faster and stronger; successful. They are louder, softer, smarter, sarcastic, and quick on the comeback like nobody else. You can hurl one liners to their backs as you exchange high powered greetings. Everybody laughs ha ha ha! They smile with perfect teeth. I know teeth. You can lean down and talk to their beautiful kids, who are shouting. All the children shout in Silverlake, they all wear mermaid dresses and bangles and baseball caps and have beautiful ringlets and husky voices. They are future movie stars. Their mothers are sex objects or suit wearing business dealers and their fathers are muscle-y actors and coffee addicted screenwriters who are impossibly handsome with perfect chin bristle. They have everything and more is coming. They have careers and wives and husbands and children and babysitters and dogs and dog walkers and cats and cat sitters and pre-schools and teachers and paintings and sneakers and yoga mats. They are go go go and never stay stay stay. They are shiny BMWs, they are business deals at lunch, they are talking budget, they are talking scripts, who did they get and how much is he worth, did you see what she did to her lips. They are young and eager and fighting for glory. They count their successes like notches of their children’s height on thresholds of their bathroom walls.
I can out-quip them, but they can out-earn me. Silverlake knows itself well, laughs at its own jokes. And I have nothing.
I come for a short time but shouldn’t be here. They shouldn’t have let me in. Someone should have waved me by, someone should have shook his head, held up a hand like a stop sign, conferred with a boss, and said “Sorry.”
I am a wild feverish child who knows that every day is a wedding where grief walks us up and down the aisle, a knife sharpening itself on a leather belt. I am generally wind blown and fervent and singing though I’ve turned to dust, like now, several times.
I belong by the sea.
Get me out of here.
My brain is a mouse hotel.
5 Old Yeller
I have been yelling at people. I know I said that before, but think about it. That is probably not a good thing.
I can’t go in order. Don’t make me tell it, why would you make me tell it why make me tell it in order. When I ask why I have to, I hear “It is not a matter of exposure, it is a matter of magnitude”. I am a Magnitude 8.1 earthquake. One because I am alone, eight because I am infinity turned on its side.
7 THREE, (of patrick and the street dreams, 3 days previous to caroline’s murder) what i can talk about are the dreams – all you need to know is this – there were THREE – in the THREE days just before the murder – one after another – the same exact dream on nights one and THREE – but on night two, the dream changed – for dream #2, the 2nd night’s dream, you’ll need to know that we – caroline and I – had a THIRD room mate- patrick the belgian photographer, who came to the bakery where i worked and asked to rent our kitchen- I said yes – only living with us THREE weeks when I dreamt that he was calling to me from the kitchen and i call back “patrick!” and go to the kitchen – he sits on his mattress on the kitchen floor and opens his mouth to speak to me, no words come out – he tries to speak several times but there are no words as he moves his lips – there is only blood, there is only blood coming out of his mouth in the dream I am dreaming two days before the murder of my best friend caroline and we are both confused on the other two nights i dream of hospital beds many many hospital beds all white and neatly made up empty they are empty and white linen clean and tight sheets with nearby bags of saline hanging from a silver pole next to them all in a row down the curb of the street, from 104th where we THREE live to 120th street where the hospital is row upon row of hospital beds neatly lining the curb I DREAM THIS DREAM TWICE- THE FIRST TIME IS THREE NIGHTS BE- FORE THE MURDER, THE SECOND TIME IS ONE NIGHT BEFORE MY BEST FRIEND IS STABBED TO DEATH so who dreams dreams and what is doing the dreaming? THREE THREE THREE
I tell my boyfriend Marshall about the dreams, a week after the murder, before the funeral. We are in the bathtub together, facing each other. It is very hot. It is hot hot hot. The steam is rising, our skins are red. We are lovers, facing each other in the tub. I tell him the dreams and the world slows down. He is looking at something but I don’t know what. He sees nothing. And then he turns a color I’ve never seen on a live person. He turns a grayish green and he slowly rises naked and red skinned from the bath tub. He stands there a moment, after this telling of dreams. These are the dreams I dream before the murder, portents clear and cut. He looks as if he’s seen a ghost i think ha ha ha and my naked lover stands up and from very far away he say “I have to get out”
9 Bag O’ Knives at the Murder Carnival
It is a bag of knives poured from a plastic garbage bag onto a desk top, the weapons found in a three block radius of the area, he explains. You have to understand why we have not caught him yet. It is Patrick Duggan, DA, who has poured out the bag onto the desk, saying he will have to stop doing this soon. It’s starting to get to him that he only gets to know his clients after they’ve been killed. This one is so young. 23, a red haired beauty.
Why are you making me do this? It is proof of my suffering.
Why are The Always Dogs barking? Someone should tell it.
12 There is one knife I remember. It is a pretty knife, a pretty killing thing. The blade is slender and long but no longer than a woman’s hand. It has a pretty point. There is a separator that looks like the wings of a nun’s habit, separating the blade from the handle. The handle is layered with turquoise and wood and other colored stone, ring after ring going the length of the handle. It would fit into a pretty hand, and make a dainty death. It is the knife that stands out from the hundreds of others. It lays among many knives on Patrick Duggan, DA’s desk top. Why did he do this? I think, sitting in front of the desk. Why did he do this? I think this inside me but can not even ask the question.
Yes, there are hundreds of knives collected from the radius of the crime scene. Hundreds of weapons were used that night. We have no idea which one.
13 I have heard. The sound of my own voice, screaming. Is this why I am yelling at people?
A voice told me one morning “you die like a child.”
Life is just a little rust on the razor, a little blood on the doorknob.
Why should mine be different?
Murder is a sour note. This is my punchline.
Sea Glassman is a writer and director in Los Angeles, Ca.