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American Book of the Dead: City of Pain and Loss

Dissident Voice Article
By Beau Cephalus

Protagonist and Love Interest:

Eye knew love, and loved Love.

Love, who had failed to complete her kid while splitting the
prime infinitive (well before white turned off-white )
that was her task: paint the damned kitchen.

Thus Loves wretched life direction ” murdered Self, aborted
Other ” and subsequent residence in The City of Pain and
Loss, where Federally funded ghosts roamed tax-free. Same
apartment, else eerily similar, one might conclude upon even
a brief, but discerning, inspection of the half-baked
paint-job in the kitchen.

Ten million stories in this city, none fulfilled. The Past
wont change, not anywhere-ever, nor will What Is, nor, for
the denizens of Pain and Loss, What Is To Come.

Whether it is possible to alter patterns of action that
comprise most Lives (or these facsimiles? recurrences?
forged repetitions?) in Pain and Loss, has not been
determined; but its certainly something those poor bastards
find extremely difficult to pull off


Eye watched Love transform, utterly, utterly transformed:
six months pregnant; minutes later nine months gone. On the
nest certain soon to ” mustnt it be? certain? nest pas? “
hatch. Stroke of heartless drift, Oh City of Pain and Loss!
Empty as Memory of Eyes shadow ” grim stranger in the


Eye wandered, rested, entered a bar of sorts, all sorts, and
sat. One such sort entranced and enchanted, effused rich
musk lure to both her being and her telling, her
priceless telling, telling, re-telling, in the way of Pain
and Loss, vernacular of consequence, dialect of repetition,
repetition, speech-tick sign to others, to oneself, that
this tale, the My-Tale, evidence of Self, bears repeating,
for it is imperative for all to understand, as all must
explain, each in his turn, that this all, all of this all
always repeated, cannot be understood, for anyone who could
understand, would know, if anyone could, but no one did,
that these had been, or should have been, lives without
consequence, lives that should have been, should indeed
still be, continued, extant, driven by Time if not events “
No more drama, please! cry The Citizens ” for it was all,
all of it, this consequence, these consequences of each and
all, so unnecessary, so meaningless, ridiculous really, so
absurd and undeserving of this deep consideration and
reconsideration ” unto what? death? ” for really truly
honestly: when viewed in pull-back, the Big Picture, by the
always all-seeing Cosmic Eye, really, truly, what harm,
relative to all thats said and done and suffered under the
gaze of Cosmic Eye, was actually done?

Drama, Character Development, Dialog & SuchSuchSuch:

What harm did Love bring to The Cosmos through one freak
accidental house-paint-overdose double-demise and forced
relocation to Pain and Loss ” nothing much to schlep,
really; in an instant she and her son-as-yet-unborn were
just there, along with apartment and furnishings down to
every last hand-made glass-blown-porcelain-miniature-type
flub-dub ordered on-line, the stuff of coziness and relative
calm, down to the embroidered Home is where the hearth is
door-mat; but the outrage, the indignity!

So sudden-unexpected; all of it.

Perhaps it never happened. Possibly. Hypnosis. Dream. Some
new, perhaps illegal, form of psych-profile cum
market-research experiment in purchase-full technology.

Real consumer stencil stuff, Love said directly to Eyes
eyes. “Outline yer likes, dislikes and what-the-heys on
charts and graphs, then let the networked digi-brains give
it a good think. Scary shit for real, you know?

No. He did not know, merely believed what he was told. What
options did Eye have, at this point in time and place? He
who entered Pain and Loss that very morning in a rented car,
the simple mistake of a lost traveler, surely; perhaps a
misread road signal or gross mishearing of the disenchanted
voice ” female, he always selected female, with a foreign
accent, if available, and of course it always was ” emitting
monotone direction from the rentals (deliberately?) damaged

The Kid had not been born alive on earth; now he was five.

The house-work, which Love had not expected to continue,
remained unfinished (the wall half white, half off) like all
projects begun prior to residence in Pain and Loss,
Tour-guide-touted get-away for souls condemned to grapple
with unfinished business and long-unspoken ” so long, so
long, so dangerously long for so much so abundantly not
said: untranslatable? ” desires.

Conflict (of Interest?):

Love and Eye tried: to talk, to fuck, completing neither.
Pain and Loss resembled the city Eye witnessed as a student,
where trees bloomed sooty flowers in the park come Spring.

Eye smoked cigars, attempted resolve, or even solve, if
possible. He cogitated, for the first time in this world,
cogged hard and deep.

Love read poems aloud in languages Eye did not comprehend.
The Kid was at peace in the kitchen, familiar to him as the
only one hed ever known, splotched walls and all.

Night entered with His usual drama, sporting a black velvet
cape of terrifying atmosphere. Fashionable, but unfamiliar.

Eye became confused and frightened. He did not know how to
interpret this situation. Specifically, Loves mental, and
to a certain degree, considering the relative brevity in
which Time passed, physical decline.

The Kid believed Eye was his Dad.

Wherefore why-for whence this vanishing of Home, the land
Eyed loved, the acreage on which hed hunted, loafed,
kicked footballs with his brothers (gone, gone to memory,
interpretation, documentary mind-stuff of what had never
happened; or worse, prove it )?

Blessed soil of Home untempered by cramped-quarter, spectral
street-banquets of Pain and Loss, that day-by-day,
year-by-year, everything-everywhere-and-all-consuming
vampire that sucked all life-blood from what lived, had
lived, was living.

Suddenly the Kid had not been born, not to the City of Pain
and Loss, nor any other.

Love, pregnant, splashed her smoldering glands with cold
white paint.

Love went dumb.

Cagey ruse to dodge all pain and tedium of explanation: how
heinous conceptions had rendered her thick and agonized with
child, her un-blessed, unwashed, bastard token of lunatic
dreams sown amid alien sites and sounds ” so faraway and
long ago indeed was the proximity of Home, from Love as well
as Eye.

Disgust distorted the unborn. The Kid stared accusingly at
Eye, with full intent to mock, humiliate, deny, possessed of
a hate too close, too intimate for one not yet ” nor ever to
become ” exposed to life and consequence.

This is a situation, said Eye.

Love, mute, gestured: command.

Absurd, Eye muttered.

Absurd ” and comic? ” proprioception of Loves womb. Fragile
membrane ” shaped like a pear, Eyed heard (but pair of
what?) ” furious to camouflage, or better yet, if possible,
erase so many dead moments etched on skin; face-index
altered, twisted, rendered weird and worse, ridiculous, by
Time (Papa Time seed origin of the Kid if true paternity
would be, could be, should be known), progenitor of Pain and
Loss, grim patriarch of us, of all.

Eye sat alone with the Kid in Loves botched kitchen, too
exhausted to scatter ghosts who laughed at his once stylish
sport-jacket; ghosts similarly wasted from long, forced
marches across Time-past filtered through night-prisms of
Pain and Loss, amplified by thunderous, unseen speakers.
Rancid meat-mold night-routine: experience repeated ” still,
yet, again ” and exchanged among citizens like prisoners
trade cigarettes, common dream-time currency of Pain and
Loss. Eyes confusion joined the pack and staggered through
the night without him.


Eye rummaged his travel-sack for an answer to the feral,
threatening, real or imagined, pounding at the door.

The weight, the palpable metal thingness of the weapon,
jolted him from the days daze of wandering among discarnate
words and signals ” misheard, misread, misunderstood ” into
the steel-bone brilliance of his recognition.

He was not a citizen of Pain and Loss, not like Love nor any
of the others, merely a traveller who would remain until,
and only until, he completed the task that was his charge.

He turned to Love to bid her So-long, say one last, or
possibly first, thing, but could not locate the words that
would complete his sentence. Not yet.

He slammed a slug into the chamber, as he recalled hearing
in some movie, cocked, aimed, fired.

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Posted in Analysis & Review.

Tagged with death, GPS, tax, Time.

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