Monday, January 23, 2012

In the Courtyard

Spectral Street. Episode One.
Since the heat of last summer and the summer before, the population of the street has grown smaller and dimmer. The courtyard that used to be populated by ghosts of all kinds, all colors and shapes and fabrics and sizes has become emptier day by day. Some say there is a prison beneath the stones where ghosts of old dancers live among tunes old fashioned and out of date. In the high heat of summer, the flowers fade, like the marigold the king held fast in his hand. Why, on this urban street, would there be a king? Why marigolds except to keep the bad bugs away, the bugs that eat the flowers and kill the peonies?

But the king still had to rule this strange and diminishing kingdom and so he called upon his advisors one day in winter. "What shall we do this year? It has been too cold to walk out in the park and too warm for snow. The birds stopped singing in the fall, though the stone swallows with the green eyes are still there on the terrace. My kingdom is shrinking, and I don't know what to do."

In the kingdom of ghosts, there are no ghosts. They talk and walk and fly and yet cannot sit on the park benches and tie their shoelaces. They cannot pick up a newspaper left on a subway seat and read the baseball scores on this strangely warm day. Everything is changing here; everything is old. How would the king rule in a kingdom that shrank day by day. And yet he had to remain the king, for without even this little stability, the world would fly apart at the center and all would soon be lost, bathed in a scarlet light that was too, too hot to last for very long. Only the wind that ran through the courtyard every now and then kept the earth on its axis here on spectral street.