VELLUM’S PARADISE, PART IV

Time, that mysterious movement issuing from the indefinable, filling the vacuous dimensions men chose to call days, months, years. . . With his marker, he would regulate its motion, crossing each day off the calendar, replacing it with another, which, because it possessed the same characteristics, caused him to see in every passing day but one eternal day. But Time, despite his efforts, continued passing through the four walls of his room, in a succession of nights and days, of days growing shorter and nights growing longer, accumulating in the great reservoirs of days, weeks and months. It would flow forth interminably from a corner of the universe, a bottomless font; and it had been silly of him to have believed he had discovered a means of halting its motion, of paralyzing it, even for the moment. What he had done, perhaps no man had ever done before, not here in this country. In the east, the far east, men had probably seen what he had seen, the timeless tranquility of paradise. But even that now was a memory, since he had not possessed, nor understood the motion itself.

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VELLUM’S PARADISE, PART II

The shop door was locked. He rang the bell once more and waited. No one came. Despite the reflections of the street in the window, he could see, beyond the scrambling pedestrians late for work and the ramshackle townhouses on the opposite side of the street where he lived, the dusky interior. He couldn’t see it and he alone was to blame. The man probably sold it. Vellum had quibbled over details, had vacillated over the cost. Still, there was a possibility the man had only moved it to another corner of the shop. He followed the advancing light, became fascinated with its progress through the interior of the shop. A glimmer of hope charged his despair. He watched the light probing the interstices between the large pieces of dark wood furniture. Glass glittered in the passing light. In chiffoniers and commodes the light revealed small enameled pillboxes. Shelves appeared lined with odd sorts of bric-a-brac. Beneath the shining intruder, etageres and cabinets were forced to display their holdings. Vials, flasks and flagons, decanters and demijohns, capsules and canisters, all seemed uplifted and overturned. Then, near a point where the light dissolved in the reflections in a mirror, he distinguished the veiled crags, pinnacles, the entire landscape in the print he wanted.

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VELLUM’S PARADISE, PART I

One late November day, Thomas Vellum sat by the window watching the families gathering in the portal of the church across the street. Tears formed and all hope dissolved in the flow down his cheeks. He was unemployed. His landlord was raising the rent in January. With the government’s permission the utilities were increasing their rates next month. Once, he was in the habit of turning off his lights when they weren’t needed; despite his frugality, he was paying more. He rarely used the telephone, his bills astounded him.

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At The Water’s Edge

Here we are again, wading deep in the words,
our smiles perched like houses on stilts,
our serene expressions a temporal shoreline. 
For I saw it too, a lucid meaning beneath layers
of reflection, sinking quickly to the bottom
when we kissed. I tried to retrieve it,
our fragile link, so easily cut. These words,
if left misunderstood, twist in the lambent light
of our movements, leading to misgivings. 
But we continue anyway, sustained by decorum:
an understanding that comes with many years. 
Once upon this shore there is no returning
to before. Love, despite its idyllic description,
is the tension at the surface holding us afloat.