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Number 9 Dream Part 32

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'You again, Miyake!' says Ai, but she sounds pleased. 'I saw on the news, Kagoshima has a typhoon warning. Are you there already?'

'Not yet. I have to change trains at' I read the sign 'Miyakonojo.'

'Never heard of it.'

'Only train drivers know it. Am I interrupting anything?'

'I was smooching with a very sexy Italian called Domenico Scarlatti.'



'Just to make me and Claude jealous.'

'Scarlatti is even more dead than Debussy. But wow, his sonatas...'

'I had this dream: you were in it, with this scabby turkey-'

'Eiji Miyake and his killer charm. This is why you called me?'

'No, actually I called you to tell you that, uh, when I woke up I realized I am probably in love with you, and that I thought it was the sort of thing you ought to know about.'

'You are probably probably in love with me? That must be the most romantic thing any man ever said to me' in love with me? That must be the most romantic thing any man ever said to me'

'I said "probably" because I was afraid of seeming too forward. But if you insist, uh, yes, I am definitely in love with you.'

'Why tell me this now, when you are a thousand kilometres away? Why didn't you make a pass at me when I visited your capsule?'

'Did you want me to?'

'You thought I trekked out to Kita Senju for your pre-dinner conversation?'

An egg cracks on my head and yolky happiness dribbles. 'Why didn't you say anything?'

'You are the man. You You have to take have to take your your dignity and self-respect to the pawnbrokers.' dignity and self-respect to the pawnbrokers.'

'That is so unfair, Miss Imajo.'

'Unfair? Try being a woman some time.'

'This has crept up on me. I didn't know about it when you visited. I mean, I certainly wouldn't have thrown you out if, uh... but then I went and showed you the letters, and...'

'It took a dream of a putrid turkey.'

'Scabby, not putrid. And it was sort of cute, too. Do you mind?'

'I have Scarlatti's permission to play you K.8 in G minor. Allegro.'

Ai performs until my phonecard dies. I think she likes me.

The train pulls into Kagoshima JR under an end-of-the-world evening sky. Ghosts of K.8 in G minor tango, waltz and chicken-dance inside my head. Every time I think of the girl my heart sort of squid-propels itself. The conductor announces that owing to typhoon eighteen, all train services are cancelled until further notice tomorrow morning, at the earliest. Half the passengers groan in unison. The conductor adds that bus and streetcar services have also been suspended. The other half groan in unison. I have an immediate problem that love will not fix. Uncle Money lives over the ridge of hills to the north of Kagoshima it takes two hours on foot. I call him, hoping to blag a lift, but the line is engaged. I guess I should walk to the port and doss down in the ferry terminal. Powerful gusts of wind kick-box across the bus square. Palm trees take the strain, banners flap, cardboard boxes run for their lives. Nobody is about, and businesses are closing early. Turning the corner into Port Boulevard, I nearly get picked up and free-kicked to Nagasaki by a juggernaut wind. I lean into it to walk. Sakurajima the volcano island is there but not quite real tonight. The dark sea is crazed with waves. A hundred metres later I see I am in serious trouble the electronic signboard says the entire terminal complex is closed. I could get a taxi to Uncle Money's too embarrassing, as he would have to pay. I could stay in a hotel and then not be able to pay in the morning. Being poor sucks sometimes. I could beg for mercy in a police box no. I could shelter in an arcade doorway maybe not. I decide to walk to Uncle Money's after all I'll be there by about nine o'clock. I take a short cut across the school pitch where I scored the only goal of my short career, nine years ago. Grit swarms and claws at my eyes. I walk past the station and push on along the coastal road, but walking is wading and progress is slow. No cars. I try to get through to Uncle Money from a callbox, but it sounds as if the lines are down now. Unaerodynamic objects sail by car shrouds, beer crates, tricycles. Sea booms, wind wails, salt water banzais the sea defences and spray slaps me. I walk past a roofed bus shelter without a roof. I consider stopping at one of these houses and asking if I can sleep in the entrance hall. I walk past a tree with a bus-shelter roof embedded in its trunk. Then I hear a whoooooosh. I crouch on reflex, and a black animal bounds by a tractor tyre! I am now afraid of winding up as road mush. I draw level with Iso-teien garden. I was brought here on school outings and I remember brick buildings with alcoves which I can probably shelter in. I scale the wall the wind flicks me over the top, and I land in thrashing bougainvillea. The peaceful summer garden is now a demonic possession movie. A madwoman is banging a door, over and over. Over there I scramble, pummel, swim flying twigs sting my face. Up a steep slope, and I trip into the hut. Compost smell, tarpaulin, twine I am in a potting shed. The latch is smashed, but I drag over a sack of soil and succeed in wedging fast the door. The whole structure judders, but any inside is better than outside. My eyes adjust to the darkness. A whole arsenal of spades, trowels, gardening forks, rakes. There is a narrow partition down one wall but it is too dark to see behind. First, I gather up the pots and repair the damage caused by the wind's break-in as best I can. Second, I arrange a makeshift bed. Third, I finish a bottle of green tea that I bought at Miyakowherever. Fourth, I lie down, listen to the typhoon rhino-whipping the old structure, and worry. Fifth, I give up worrying and try to identify single voices in this lunatic roaring choir.

My bladder is outside my body a golden embryo-shaped sac. It sags painfully off my groin. I am in Liverpool I know this because of the mini cars and bee-hive haircuts and I am looking for a toilet. Gravity is stronger in England hauling myself up the steps of this cathedral exhausts me. The door is a manhole. I shuffle through on my back to keep my bladder-baby safe on my stomach. 'One moment, Captain!' says Lao Tzu from behind a wire grille. 'You need an entrance ticket.'

'I already paid at the airport.'

'You didn't pay enough. Cough up another ten thousand yen.'

This is an exorbitant price, but I either pay or piss my pants. With difficulty, I extract my wallet, roll up the note, and post it through the grille. Lao Tzu rips it in two, and scrunches it up his nostrils to plug a nosebleed. 'So. Which way is the toilet?' I ask. Lao Tzu looks at my swelling bladder. 'I had better show you the way.' Liverpool Cathedral is a tiled rat-run maze. Lao Tzu crawls ahead on his belly. I backstroke after him. Water slides down the walls in curtains. Sometimes sprinklers erupt in my face. My bladder-baby begins to wail with the voice of a seal dragged inland against its will. 'Are we nearly there yet?' I gasp. I stand up in a grotto. Stalactites drip. A row of men in uniforms occupy the urinals. I wait. I wait. But none of the men moves.

'Colonel Sanders!' General MacArthur claps my shoulder. 'One of the natives stole my platinum lighter! Worth a fortune, dammit! Heard anything on the grapevine?' I have been encased in the body of the chicken magnate to spy on GHQ, and to discover if they know anything about the kaiten project. How weird to be so fat. I know unseen meanings flow beneath the words, but it is hard to focus with a singing bladder. 'No?' General MacArthur sneezes a fountain. 'Lemme give you a lift to the port, anyhow.' The US Jeep drives to Kagoshima port. My bladder is now a child clinging to my waist. I am afraid she may be punctured by a sudden jolt of the Jeep, but we get to the ferry terminal without mishap. Unfortunately, the complex has been rebuilt since the war, and all the signs are in Braille. I consider pissing into a trashcan, but I am afraid of the headlines 'Local Boy Miyake Forgets Toilet Training' and stumble down a corridor. Urine streams in pulses from a dying beagle. My bladder is nearly too heavy to carry. 'This way,' hisses an invisible companion. I find a brand-new toilet as vast as an airport. Floor, wall, ceiling, fittings, sinks, urinals, cubicle doors snow-blind white. The only other patron is a speck in the distance. A lawyer. I go up to the nearest urinal, hold my golden twin against the wall, and- The lawyer hums 'Beautiful Boy' in such an offputting way my bladder corks up. I glare at him and jump with shock he is standing right next to me, pissing away. He still has no face.

I awake with an hysterical bladder to a hideous shipwreck noise very near. The typhoon batters back the door when I shift the sack of earth. I piss through the crack. The urine flies off and probably reaches the Sea of China. I go back to my nest of tarpaulin, but nothing can sleep through this night sky violence. The god of thunder is stamping over Kagoshima, looking for me. I wonder why my dreams are so clear usually they evaporate the moment my eyes open. When I began my serial uncle visits, post-Anju, I imagined there lived somewhere, in an advertland house and family, the Real Eiji Miyake. He dreamed of me every night. And that was who I really was a dream of the Real Eiji Miyake. When I went to sleep and dreamed, he woke up, and remembered my waking life as his dream. And vice versa. The typhoon catches its breath, and renews its assault as a gale. The potting shed is not going to blow away. I roll over on something hard, and find a medium-sized, flat, round stone. I put it in my backpack. When the gale subsides to a high wind, I am amazed to hear a person snoring inside the potting shed! I get up and look behind the narrow partition. A woman, still asleep! She does not look like a gardener she must be a visitor who somehow got trapped here by the typhoon too. Maybe she was too afraid to tell me she was here, and just fell asleep. Do I wake her? Or would that scare her to death? Her eyes open. 'Uh...' I begin.

'So, you found me at last.' She springs up and her kimono swings open. I am too startled to speak. For a weird moment, I mistake her for the mother of Yuki Chiyo, the girl who reported herself lost at Ueno. She dabs my nipples with her wet thumb, her other hand explores inside my boxer shorts this is wrong, I already told Ai I love her, but her lips slide open for me and a million tiny silver fish change direction. I cannot fight this. I cannot move, look away, respond.

So I come.

Over her shoulder I glimpse Mrs Persimmon. She perches on the sack of earth and sucks dripping pulp from persimmons. She spits out shiny stones.

The bright garden lies trashed by an orgy of gods. Spilt juices from green veins scent the peaceful air. Ripped blooms, torn branches, uprooted shrubs. I find a small, flat, round stone. I put it in my backpack. I would love to stay a while and watch the pond, but I want to avoid the potting shed owner, and anyway the Yakushima ferry leaves in ninety minutes. I wade through the ripped bougainvillea and clamber over the wall, in time to surprise a schoolgirl on a passing bus. My only witness. Back among the houses, neighbours are already up, discussing the mending of fences. I stop at a Lawson's and buy a bottle of Minute Maid grapefruit juice and a cup ramen kimchee flavour and ask the girl to add hot water. I eat it on the sea wall. Sakurajima belches ash into the spotless sky, and the sea is ironed smooth. Typhoons wreck worlds but the following morning cleans worlds up. I phone Uncle Money to say I am still alive I tell him I spent the night with friends in Kagoshima then I walk the rest of the way to the port. The ferry is waiting cars and trucks are already being herded on by harbourmen with flags and whistles. I fill in my boarding card, pay my fare, wash, brush my teeth and look for a telephone.

'Typhoon eighteen was on the news,' said Ai, 'but it didn't get much attention because of the pigeons.'

'Pigeons are grabbing headlines?'

'All day yesterday, all over Tokyo, pigeons were flying into buildings, colliding with cars. Like some freaky disaster movie. You can imagine the rumours, theories and experts cramming the TV stations. Secret government tests, avian flu, Aum cultists, magnetic-wave shifts, earthquake doom-mongers. Then the moon last night had its brightest halo for twenty-seven years. How ice crystals in the atmosphere could affect pigeons nobody knows, but it adds to the general spookiness. And this morning, I went to buy some coffee for breakfast, and the camphor tree in front of the prison was black with crows! Worse than an amateur brass orchestra warming up! Seriously, it was as if the prince of darkness was due any moment.'

'So much for my measly typhoon.'

'Let me change the subject before the beeps go. I spoke with Sachiko before she went to work yesterday evening. If you need anywhere to stay when you get back to Tokyo, you can kip here. On the sofa. If I say so. You have to clean up and cook every third day. And you mustn't answer the phone in case Sachiko's gran calls and assumes you're her live-in lover.'

'Hey...' I like the 'if I say so' most of all. 'Thanks.'

'Don't decide yet. Mull it over.'

Several islanders spot me as I board the ferry. Schoolmates' mothers, cousins' friends, a sugarcane and fruit wholesaler who does business with Uncle Orange. They ask about life in Tokyo, more out of politeness than interest. I say I am back to collect my winter clothes before the weather changes. Talk is of the typhoon, and how much repairs will cost, and who is likely to pay for what. I hide in the second-class flooring area, and make a sort of protective barrier with my backpack to doze behind. A Kansai ladies' ramblers' club takes up the rest of the floor around me. They are kitted out in flannel shirts, body-warmers, multi-weather trousers, silly hats and sensible footwear. They unfold maps and plot routes. You can tell the islanders apart easily they looked bored. Because there was no sailing yesterday afternoon the boat continues to fill with passengers. I shuffle up for a man with a greyhound jawline and cheekbones who asks me what time the ferry arrives at Kamiyaku, the main port on Yakushima. He pays for this information in unshelled peanuts. I accept a few to be courteous but they are badly addictive. We munch our way through most of the bag, piling up a mound of husks. Greyhound is a publisher in Ochiai and knows Ueno lost property office he met Mrs Sasaki's sister at a literary dinner once. The engines groooaaarrrrrrrrr into life, the hiking ladies wooooooooo! and the porthole view rotates and slides away. The nine o'clock news bulletin is about the expected resignation of another prime minister following a coalition collapse. 'Nothing is older than this morning's news,' says Greyhound, 'and nothing is newer than Pericles.' Pretty soon the offshore reception turns the news to hiss, and the Kirishima-Yaku national park video clicks on. All islanders know the script off by heart. It lullabies us on these crossings.

All Japan has been concreted over. The last sacred forests have been cut down for chopsticks, the inland sea has been paved over and declared a national carpark, and where mountains once stood apartment buildings vanish into the clouds. When people reach the age of twenty their legs are amputated and their torsos are fitted with interfaces that plug directly into sophisticated skateboards for use in the home or office or into grander vehicles, for longer journeys. My twentieth birthday was back in September, so I am long overdue this rite-of-passage operation. But I want to keep my legs attached, so I joined the resistance movement. I am taken to be introduced to our three leaders, who live in Miyakonojo, a place remote beyond cars. Their bodies are amputated too, for extra camouflage. Their heads sit in a row, under the blazing sun. Their necks are trussed to the edge of a bowling pit, and I realize I have been brought before Gunzo, Nabe and Kakizaki. Fortunately, when they see me they blink excitedly 'Messiah! Messiah! Messiah!' This perplexes me. 'Are you quite sure?' They seem to be. 'The message shall be revealed to you! You alone shall reverse the meteoric dive of humanity into endless suffering!' That sounds great. 'How?' Kakizaki's lower jaw falls off, but he says these words: 'Pull out the plug.'

At my feet is a bath plug, with a shining chain. I pull. Underneath is earth since the asphalting laws, earth is forbidden. It stirs, and a worm wriggles upward and out of the hole. Another follows, and another, another. The last Japanese worms. They wriggle their way to a preordained position on a nine-by-nine grid. Each position on this grid is a kanji or a Japanese character, written in worm bodies instead of brush strokes. These words are the one true scripture. It is also death for the worms the tarmac hotplates their tender bodies. As they sizzle, they smell of tuna and mayonnaise. But their sacrifice is not in vain. In the eighty-one characters I read truth the secrets of hearts and minds, quarks and love, peace and time. The truth glows in blazing jade on my memory's retina. I shall impart this wisdom to my thirsty species, and the arid deserts will bloom.

'Miyake! Miyake, you mongrel! Wake up!'

The upside-down face of Mr Ikeda, my ex-sports teacher, floats above me. A half-eaten tuna-and-mayonnaise sandwich wilts in his hand. I jerk up with a groan of annoyance. Mr Ikeda assumes I am just sleepy. I have to remember something... 'I saw you in the ferry terminal, but then I said to myself, "No, Miyake is in distant Edo!" What are you doing back so soon? The big city too much to handle, hey?'

I am forgetting something. What is it? 'Not really, sir. Actually, I-'

'Ah, to be young in Tokyo. I could almost envy you if I wasn't already me. I spent the first two Great Primes of my life in Tokyo. I waltzed into the the top sports university you wouldn't have heard of it and a wild young thing I was, too. The days I had! The nights I had! My nickname among the ladies gives you the full story. Ace. Ace Ikeda. Then in my first teaching post I put together one of the finest high-school soccer teams Japan ever saw. Could have gone all the way to the national cup qualifiers, if the referee hadn't been a geriatric, blind, crippled, corrupt, dribbling sack of slugshit. Me and my boys our nickname? The Invincibles! Not like' Mr Ikeda waves his hand in disgust at the students in their 'Yakushima Junior High' track-suit tops 'this pack of mongrels.' top sports university you wouldn't have heard of it and a wild young thing I was, too. The days I had! The nights I had! My nickname among the ladies gives you the full story. Ace. Ace Ikeda. Then in my first teaching post I put together one of the finest high-school soccer teams Japan ever saw. Could have gone all the way to the national cup qualifiers, if the referee hadn't been a geriatric, blind, crippled, corrupt, dribbling sack of slugshit. Me and my boys our nickname? The Invincibles! Not like' Mr Ikeda waves his hand in disgust at the students in their 'Yakushima Junior High' track-suit tops 'this pack of mongrels.'

'Are you coming back from a friendly, sir?'

'Nothing friendly about that bloated faggot tapeworm Kagoshima coach. During the typhoon last night I was praying a lorry of something flammable would crash into his house.'

'So, what was the score, sir?'

Mr Ikeda grimaces. 'Kagoshima Tosspots twenty; Yakushima Mongrels one.'

This knife I cannot resist twisting. 'One goal? A hopeful sign, sir.'

'Kagoshima Tosspots scored an own goal.' Mr Ikeda skulks off. The tourist video clicks off we must be within broadcasting range of Yakushima. I look through the window and see the island, sliding over the horizon. The prime minister promises that under his guidance the country will become a lifestyle superpower. Greyhound cracks open a peanut. 'Politicians and sports coaches need to be smart enough to master the game, but dumb enough to think it matters.'

I remember my dream.

'Are you suffering from sea-sickness?' asks Greyhound. 'Or was it your ex-games teacher?'

'I... dreamed I was a sort of Sanzohoshi carrying the Buddhist scriptures from India. I was shown the divine knowledge necessary to save humanity from itself.'

'I'll give you six per cent on the first ten thousand copies sold, nine per cent thereafter.'

'But I can only remember one word.'

'Which is?'

'"Mumps"'

'As in...'

'The illness that makes your neck swell up.'

'"Mumps" what?'

'Mumps... nothing.'

'Deal's off.' Greyhound shakes the bag. 'I ate the last peanut.'

Yakushima grows whenever you look away. Leaving a place is weird, but returning is always weirder. In eight weeks nothing has changed but nothing is the same. The Kamiyaku river bridge, the crushed-velvet mountains, the gaol-grey escarpments. A book you read is not the same book it was before you read it. Maybe a girl you sleep with is not the same girl you went to bed with. Here comes the quay one of the rope-throwers shouts at me and waves. One of Uncle Tarmac's mah-jong boozing partners. The gangplank is lowered, and I join the big group of disembarking passengers. I should go and pay my respects to the head of the family, Uncle Pachinko. But the point of this journey is to pay my respects to Anju. Outside the ferry ticket office a van pulls up, and a wholesaler who does business with Uncle Orange offers me a lift.

'Are you going as far as Anbo?'

'Jump in.'

We drive off. 'Warm day,' I say. 'Rain soon,' he replies. Rain is always a safe bet on Yakushima. The wholesaler is a quiet man, so there are no embarrassing silences. He gestures to me to help myself to a sack of ponkan oranges, which are the island's chief export and easily the most delicious fruit product in the country, if not the whole of Asia. I must have eaten ten thousand ponkans since I came to Yakushima. Cut me open, you get ponkan juice. I watch the forgotten details of my home. The rusty oil drums up by the tourist lodges, the tiny airstrip, the dying sawmill. This far south-west, the trees are still wearing their shabby summer leaves. We pass a cluster of racing cyclists in sleek, tropical fish-colours. The road bucks here. Over the bridge, the waterfall, and here comes the village of Anbo.

The cemetery hammers and saws with insects. The trees stir and the afternoon stews. An ancient October recipe. The Miyake family corner of the enclosure is one of the best tended my grandmother still comes, every morning, to clean, weed, sweep, and change the wildflowers. I bow before the main grey gravestone, and walk around the side to the smaller black stone erected for Anju. It is inscribed with the death-name the priest chose for her, but I think that is just a way for them to palm more money from grieving mourners. My sister is still Anju Miyake. I pour mineral water over her. I put the bunch of flowers in the holder, together with those our grandmother arranged there. I wish I knew the names of flowers. Clustered white stars, pink comet-tails, crimson semiquaver berries. I offer her a champagne bomb, and unwrap one for myself. Then I light the incense. 'This,' I tell her, 'is a present from our mother. She gave me the money, and I bought it from a temple near Miyazaki station.' I take out my three flat stones and build her a pyramid. Then I sit on the step and press my ear against the polished stone, tight, to see if I can hear anything. The sea breathes peacefully over the edge of the land. I want to kiss the tombstone, so I do, and only a dark bird with rose eyes witnesses. I lean back and think about nothing in particular until the champagne bomb explodes. So little lasts. Mountains, classic songs, real friendship. Mist rolls down from Mt Miyanoura, dimming the sun, turning the blue sea beery. I brought our great-uncle's kaiten journal to read parts to Anju, because they both died under the sea. But I think Anju will hear clearly if I just read quietly to myself, here or wherever. I don't have to say anything about what happened in Tokyo. Being is louder than saying, for her, for me, for us. Ants have discovered Anju's champagne bomb. 'Hey, Anju. Guess who I'm going to go see now?'

The last time I walked up this valley path I was carrying my man-of-the-match trophy, kicking a stone. I was about a third shorter than I am now. I half-expect to meet my eleven-year-old self. Weeds colonize the middle of the track. Not a soul is around. A nightingale sings about another world and a monkey screams -about this one. I pass the tori gate and the stone lions. I never went back to the shrine of the thunder god. A famous craftsman came from Kyoto to replace the missing head, and the tourist department printed his new face on pamphlets. I see the forest has nearly smothered the steep path. Every winter his believers become fewer. So gods do die, just like pop stars and sisters. The hanging bridge no longer looks so safe. My footfalls thud rather than boom, as if the planking could crumble any day now. The river below is swollen from last night's rain. Over half the rice fields in the valley have fallen into disuse. Farmers die too, and their sons are making money in Kagoshima or Kitakyushuor Osaka. Rice field terraces and old barns are allowed to collapse typhoons are cheaper than builders. The valley belongs to insects, now. I kick stones. Unkempt shrubs grow from the eaves of my grandmother's house. I watch the old place, as mist thickens into rain. She is a sour lady but she loved Anju too, in her fierce way. Leaving a picture lets you see the whole frame. The worst that can happen is that she screams at me to go away, and after the last seven weeks that no longer seems so bad.

'Gran?'

I wade through the grass into the courtyard, and think of an old tale of a spinning-wheel sorceress awaiting her philandering husband's return, in which the house goes to rot and ruin, but the wife never ages a day. I see a pearly movement between mossy stones the coils of a snake! Neither its head nor tail are visible, but its coils are as thick as my arm. Snake disappears behind a rusting rotovator. Did Anju talk about a pale snake once? Or did I dream it? I vaguely recall our grandmother talking about a snake that lived in the storehouse when she was a girl, and was supposed to be the harbinger of a death in the family. That must be superstition. Snakes never live for seventy years. I think. I knock on the doorframe, and force open the stubborn door. I hear the radio. 'Gran? It's Eiji.'

I slide the insect screen aside, step into the cool, and breathe in deep. Cooking sake, damp wood, the chemical toilet. Incense from the tatami room. Old people have a particular odour I guess they say the same about young people. A mouse disappears. The radio means that my grandmother is probably not at home. She was in the habit of leaving it on for the dog, and when the dog died she left the radio on for the house. 'Gran?' I peer into the tatami room, ignoring a weird feeling that somebody has just this moment died. A feather duster is propped against the foot of the family altar. Hanging scrolls of autumn scenes, the vase of flowers, a cabinet filled with the trinkets and baubles of an island lifetime. She has never left Yakushima. The rain is splashing through the mosquito netting, so I slide the glass across. I used to be afraid of this room. Not Anju. During O-bon she used to lie in wait outside, and burst in to catch the spirits eating cherries our grandmother left out for them. I look at the dead in the black lacquer cabinet. Dressed in oilskins, suits, uniforms, costumes hired from photographers. And here is my sister, toothy on her first day at elementary school.

'Gran?'

I go into the kitchen, help myself to a glass of water, and sit down on the sofa that me and Anju tried and failed to levitate. She blamed my puny ESP powers, because she could bend spoons with hers. I believed her for years. The sofa boingggggggggs, but after a long walk on a sticky day it is comfortable, way too comfortable...

I dream all dreamers, all of you.

I dream the frost patterns on the temple bell.

I dream the bright water dripping from the spear of Izanagi.

I dream the drips solidifying into these islands we call Japan.

I dream the flying fish and the Pleiades.

I dream the skin flakes in the keyboard gullies.

I dream the cities and the ovaries.

I dream a mind in eight parts.

I dream a girl, drowning, alone without a word of complaint. I dream her young body, passed between waves and currents, until it dissolves into blue and nothing remains.

I dream the stone whale, wrapped in seaweed and barnacles, watching.

I dream the message bubbling from its blow-hole.

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