Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nocturnal Tableaux

By Peter Baltensperger

The night was thick with dark clouds, the streets black between uncertain lamps, somewhere the distant hint of thunder. Grayson Wolf was wandering through half-forgotten alleys looking for slivers of light, glimmers of recognition, flashes of direction. Oddly enough, the only thing he came across was a black panther padding its way across a dimly-lit intersection in search of he knew not what. He wasn’t even sure himself. What he did know were the shadows lurking in dark corners pretending to be monsters blocking his way. He waved his arms impatiently, but they never moved.

Once he decided to ride an elevator to the top of a tall building to find out everything he could about high-altitude enigmas. It didn’t help. He lost everything he gained on the way up on the way down, a perfect balance, disillusioning as it was. He never rode an elevator again. When he turned a corner he had never turned before, he suddenly found himself in a sun-flooded street, blinding him. He closed his eyes, shielded them with his hands, then opened them slowly to the coagulating darkness. He might have known.

An all-night variety store at an intersection provided some much-needed relief. He went inside to rest his eyes from squinting into dim alleys, shadowy corners, the clerk eyeing him from dark eyes. When he came to the magazine rack at the back of the store, he leafed through a book of crossword puzzles, but his mind was brimming with words as it was. He went back out into the darkness without buying anything, despite the clerk.

A fire engine howled by, a building on fire somewhere. He would have liked to be there to feast his eyes, find meaning in the flames. He did watch a house burn down to the ground once, but he tried to keep memories like that buried in his mind where they couldn’t bother him. That, and the disappointments of open spaces, especially where houses had once stood. They reminded him too much of other kinds of emptiness, where there wasn’t even any rain.

In a spacious atelier high up in a loft, an artist was working on a large canvass, a study of white on white.

Copyright ©2012 Peter Baltensperger. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission



Peter Baltensperger is a Canadian writer of Swiss origin and the author of ten books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His work has appeared in print and on-line in several hundred publications around the world over the past several decades. He writes, and has been writing all his life, because he has to and loves to do it, and because it adds a significant dimension to his personal quest. He makes his home in London, Canada with his wife Viki and their three cats.


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