Kingdoms by Barry Targan

By Barry Targan

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Sooner or later all our corpuscles are bursting and rotting one by one. Our neurons atrophy second by second. Tic-toc, kid. " Then he would turn from me and weep. My own sorrow for him then was infinite, though I could not name it nor comprehend it. At the end of supper, after the few dishes (washed in the hallway bathroom), we would play chess. Or listen to the radiolistening, between the country and western music songsto the distant, pounding voices from Del Rio, Texas, or Wheeling, West Virginia, selling illus- Page 10 trated Rembrandt Bibles.

He was thinking about something else, perhaps right then making the decision he had come here to make, deciding once and for all that we lived our lives in a linear descent along the axes of reasoning x and unreasoning y, though according to no rational calculus, that we lived our lives along a line upon a flat plane, but a line no function of which could be adequately graphed. Maybe that was the moment when he perfectly decided that memories, like poems, always came too late to our present, which was a constant Becoming, that the past was unlinked to the future, that the philosopher Hume was right.

I had been with him when he had done that before, had walked with him as he observed and muttered at the shabbiness, at the fraud of the buildings. They would not last a generation, he told me, but I did not know how long a generation was. Today was different. He found the man who seemed to be managing the site and asked him for a job. And he got it. The houses had to be finished before the winter, before the snow, which in that high plateau of the country, came early. He began work the next morning, crawling across sheets of plyscore and nailing them onto the rafters for the roof.

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