posted on December 30, 2006 at 9:04 pm

erskine pushed his way thru the lamps and branches
it was a warm enchanted evening
and the stars promised action
the old year had ended
as years often do
and while the new one had not really began
he slipped into the margin
the penumbrae that exist in time
he explored a timeless feeling among the red n green lights
he didnt know anyone at the garden party
except of course
linda wong
the aging but still beautiful hostess and qi gong tycoon
who had taught him to pin men to the walls with his chi
who had shown him the silent place
who had stood on a mountaintop and flown
who had introduced him to opium
who had initiated him into animist pleasure
who had never held back from a happy ending
who now
even at her age
moved pantherlike amidst the cactii n shrubs
many of the guests were orientals
making erskine feel large pale n clumsy
they conversed rapidly in birdlike languages
the women twittering and singing
the men laughing musically
erskine knocked back his coca-buton
a liquor made from coca leaves
it was green n sweet
and it hit the spot
a small orkestra of gentle strings
the moons light diffused
and partially hidden behind pearl lined clouds
a perfumed garden indeed
the booze went to his head
a warm flush of blood
almost a slight passing sensation of dizziness
the booze spread outward
from a glowing glyph in his belly
to his cold extremities
new years eve
what was the new date again
1950 something
no that could not be right…
erskine bumped into a waiter
carrying a plate of small cakes
can i have one…?
the waiter smiles
go on go on
i choose a small berry thing
mmm nice says erskine
but theres a weird taste in there somewhere
erskine struggles to remember that taste
he looks up but the waiter has disappeared amongst the trees n guests
a shaft of silver moonlight illuminates the ornate ponds
vicious eels twist amongst the lilies and lotuses
peacocks drink at the edges
i sit on a bench and relax into the night
linda wong sits next me and takes my arm
having a good time?
i guess so..
having fun?
now linda, you know i dont believe in fun…
she paused in the darkness before saying
come with me into the house
without waiting for me to answer
she pulled me behind her
linda wong n erskine
before midnight
in the garden
the gazebos and statues of nymphs
the grapevines curling in trellises above them
a sweet mild breeze from the sea
white birds sat in the trees
her grip was strong on his arm
small manicured fingers
what is it linda?
where are we going?
you see! you see!
erskine followed her up the steps
inside a few waiters lingered in the kitchen
and a black cat…her familiar…slept alertly
in here in here she chirruped
pulling him down a hallway
then up a short flight of stairs
erskine could now look down at the party in the garden below
see the lanterns cheerful glow
hear the chatter
i could almost make out the words….
the woman lay in the deepening shadows of her room
she lit the pipe and lay there smoking
erskine just sat there in the darkness
the distant laughter of the party below them
that familiar smell
she handed him the pipe
it was like an elephant with a long long trunk
inside the elephants head a chunk of opium smouldered
erskine pulled down a few mouthfuls
can words take us into his dream?
a soft world
a cushioned existence
a plane of luxury
everything merging
the angles of the night
the womans soft voice whispering
do anything you like it says in my ear
anything? i say
anything you like….
the fans whirr on the ceiling
the black cat creeps into the room
the sea laps the shore
the sea takes the shore in its mouth
and the white waves turn red
the stars fall from the sky
as the old year dies
erskine redirects all his time
into her whole evening
let me watch he says
let me see
the calendar flaps in the breeze
years years years
the day waits at the door
a new day, shy and unsure
the party has ended
the waiters have gone
even the eels sleep dreamless in their ponds
it is now
erskine has dressed and stumbled away
its only me now
in the new year

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