Prayer Tones – Curtis Eggleston
December 1, 2020
Yeah, well, I’m back in Brazil again. At night in Rio, I dare-you-ly walk with my headphones in, turn it up and see how loud I can drown myself in and still hear the crashes of waves. I waited forty-five minutes in line at the grocery store on a wednesday at noon to buy a liter of filtered water. The beach tempts incessantly from my patio, where I smoke kumbaya and pretend to think, I can walk there in about three minutes, though, assuming I didn’t get run over and had the right shoes on, I could go from front door to sand in less than ten seconds. Sometimes, walking, tide lapping clean our ankles, Z and I get licked by implicate varieties of trashes: apple cores, cigarette butts, needles, strung-out shells, bottles, bowls, masks, all shilled with messages we kick back into the ocean before getting in ourselves to wash at the grime. It is implausible to sand yourself of every sticking grain. When I am scratched by passing glances I either open or close. To close prolongs the stare, to open scares them if in their rummaging in someone they forget to close their hand. I refer to souls. Try elucidating into a stranger’s. If you are a stranger and peer into me, if I go open back into you I guarantee you’ll look away first, and you’ll remember what you felt before you did. I’m not bragging, I’m pedestalling practice. One reason for Brazil, the paces and prices allow for rebates on time, I can write more. I’ve only made money from it like twice, and good money never, which is coolly ineffective. The feeling is I’m too old for friends, but family imagines plans to visit. If anyone came to visit me here they would get why I like it, they would leave afraid of my lifestyle and theirs. I feel freer here than anywhere else I have sentenced. I have been cursed by bruxas and blessed by shamans. I have been robbed by police once, and seen into or felt the barrels of their guns three times. An addict put his gun to my head, asked how much money I had, I told him take all of it, he asked how much it was, I handed him all of it, he wouldn’t take it until I counted, specified, the amount meant a lot to him, maybe he couldn’t count it, his eyes were shaking pretty bad and though they were yellow, his hummingbird irises weren’t a crack thing, maybe mdma, poppers, other inhalants, I got a long look at him, even after he made me count my money, I already knew I was getting a great deal on more life, he asked for my phone, I thought to tell him I only had one, he took it and asked for the passcode, I told him dozens of times so he could remember it, he kept locking the phone and saying again, again, again, though of course he was saying de novo, but I recall my vividries in English. I was very still and calm, the whole scene lasted a minute or two, I never had a chance to grab the gun, and he shoved me away to the corner where I spittle-vomited, and laughed. I kept to my apartment for three days after, time during which I imagined him scrolling through the photos on my phone, pretending my memories were his, I wondered how he would expound on them, how, if the photo were of a beautiful girl mid-drag on a bridge, what his other side would lead to, where he would take her next, This idea became my second novel attempt, whose title I remain proud of, Admiring the Ledge. I believe I can write something great, and something perceived as great. If one comes before or in place of the other, which would you rather have it be? I spend too much money while relaxed or limitly stressed. I brought no cash to the beach when I saw a baby running across the sand trying to throttle or rev up pigeons. Gringoing in Rio is like phasing through the theater screen, living as real life’s truant, you want and get bored with anonymous, you never know when what will want to interact with you. I’d never seen so athletic a baby, with little glistening hands, yet unmaimed by time, literally sprint-lunging, shuttle-hunting within the shifting, filthy, trash-envenomed pigeon parallelogram, grasping oiled feathers, the baby would nearly catch one, laughing as they fluttered two babe-strides away, space enough to peck in sand at what looks like lunch comes up as gum-beaked muzzle and another quick dodge of the next attempt at their necks, and the baby laughed, and a man offered me a caipirinha, I knew how near my apartment was, but acknowledged the traffic partition and besides that I actually had to write today, I came with nothing so I could go swimming without having to worry about getting jacked. I think nobody would ever want to steal my journal, I wonder where are the baby’s parents and if he ever does get a grip on one of those peckery bird-necks, what is going to happen, whichever one he catches is going to attack him, and then he’ll have no choice but to hold on.