Fathom 1991



Inside Cover



R.A. Killawee
Gina M. Beaton (2)
Kathlyn Schweyer
M. Littlejohn
Martin Wanless
Thane K. Sherrington (2)
Edward W. N. Meers (2)
Gwynedd Morgan
Shannon Webb (2)
Anton (3)
John D. Boutilier (2)


Katie Bowden
Urs Frei
Derrick Higginbotham


Derrick Higginbotham



Sweating In The Sun

     I have no sense of precision. Being right there when it happens. As I write this I could be missing something. (This something isn’t amputated but is just not there.) Though the actual content of this lapsing time period is a mystery to me, I have this sense of it being important. I’m existing out of sync with the general living scheme. I swerve the car and enter the merging lane as I move down the highway past trees, houses, and bales of hay enclosed in white plastic sacks. Sweating in the sun.

     I keep thinking in pieces. The car keeps spilling over the edge of rolling hills. Down into valleys, accounting for the dispersed feeling I have created in my Self in response to the situation. Everything that people utter is a distortion on some level, thus always a lie. Living in terms of lies, this state of being within in me in which my physical body has felt stiff, hard to move my joints. The sun through my car window makes a scratchy heat on my skin; white with veins. The only other action besides driving that I complete is sleeping. Lie flat in R. E. M.’s. All of which I create, like that hysteria I can feel boiling inside me at this observation.

     The lack of timing makes me feel like an invader, blazingly out of place. The one that is noticed in a crowd. That is on the inside, on the outside I have created a shield that denies all inside. I have assimilated. Separated by these divisions I look coldly beyond the events that occur before me. Now, it doesn’t take as much time or energy to deal with problems. I’m impartial.

     Part of the outer image I have is gender oriented. My body is this slab of meat which I have chosen to carve to genetic perfection. Boundaries and limits everywhere, on my body and this highway. There is no entry to this road I have come across. It’s blocked off. Limiting me and I have to guide the car towards the right. I have honed the cut of my sex to perfection, a good build. Fat-less. It’s routine to tone the image up. Warm up for strain. Pain for pleasure, a false pleasure. Age old argument. Those boundaries I could never cross with her, like that time....

     I remind my Self to pay more attention to the drive, to the chaos of the moment in front of me. Claustrophobia from all the molecules and decay pushing, bouncing off like acquaintances. My body pinned, caged in. Maybe by some slight chance from the destruction that occurred some sort of creation will be made. A butterfly with a stick pin driven through it. Bent metal, buckled up like a geological fault. Burning oil. Of pain and of papers fluttering on pavement like memories in a blinking flash. Everything closing down on me. My heart closing, shutting down on everyone. Could that be from this destruction, the creation of my freedom? Pulled apart from it all, I will be forgotten. A gift.

     This division in me bothers me the most. Like a highway, a concrete wall separating me from my Self. I think what is on the inside is solid, meaning something. Who you are. But most spend their time masturbating, treating themselves like teeth. Never venturing beyond the top layer. A contagious syndrome. Once you journey inside, you cannot go in and out. This I have learned. Another limitation, making me lose substance.

     The car tips off the shoulder of the road, so I buzz back on to the highway. Clearing into the current time. I’m going back inside to where I was happy. Where no fault line divides me. No outer image. This is a retrospection, thus a distortion. Like the pain in a face from a burning, rising memory. Turning to ash.

     The car and I are coming up to a store on the periphery of a shoreline town. I stop the car, get out and stagger to the nearest beach towards a cooling point. Again on the outside, the shell of the town. Out of the car on the ground wavering I stumble into the interior/water. Trying to run. Crashing into the waves I feel the water hugging me, pinning me. A clenching embrace like her on that day. The cold blankets my temples and aches my bones. Twinges of longing. The feeling of possessions taken away. And what has been cut off cannot be held in my hands. Not like the rocks and shells I squeeze into my palms until I scream in the salt water. Only I choke and see visions.

     I can betray my Self. At one time it was an escapist habit, but then I began to feel like an actor. Image in my own life. So much betrayal from outside and in. Standing on the outskirts. These are some of the reasons why you find me on this road, soaked.

     The further I go inside, the more I sweat and feel lightness in my stomach. Excitement and fear that will lead to exulting joy. The more I realize my body has more definition than my current state in life, the more I laugh. I have to stop the car, climb into the dust cloud and laugh. Gushing water down on rocks, over my head, and puking laughter out. The first time I have laughed in weeks. This is not a memory, but what comes next is.

     I should not be doing this. Playing on the fine line of the interior, the heart. If I were one, a straight road that was undivided, it would not be an issue. But because of my lack of solidity, I have to tell someone out loud. Absolve my Self of the crime. This is about constructs implicit in the physical world. About material limitations.

     Near home, what I considered stability. Again, on the move in my car. Thinking of faded issues like love and independence. I came upon an accident. Form of destruction. No lights, no observers yet. I began thinking about being a person and the terms included in that. The ways it can be stated. The heat from the molecules produced a steam on my forehead like sweat transforming into tears. Dripping like words off of a babbling tongue. Two cars tangled into one. My hours before lover caught in a frozen struggle. Her caught in my eye.

     Time, like people can become hard: atoms sticking. This all happened in a minute which strikes my soul like a pellet. A small, round, hard pellet.

     She was still conscious but severed. I felt closer to her, to kiss and lick that gaping wound on the horizontal of her body. She was losing matter. If you shatter some living things into pieces they increase in number and survive. A special route to the interior. But humans, when broken, rush like a riptide of water to the fringe into imagery. She saw relief in me, finally understood. Ease into relation. Consolation in my image and my effort to remove the sword-edge dashboard from her waist. I lifted and felt the weight. Weight of two, making me unable. In life, eyes thrust shut I dream of kissing the giant marshmallows sitting in the farmers’ fields. To have delayed the day! Her face began to bleach, deteriorate. I could peel her like a sticker. Sweating on the inside and all of her running out into my abyss. Filling me up. Me to gel like dessert. The effect of her eyes on my watery image, a burst like flame. I held her as she ran from the Interior to the edge and out of my life.


last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul