Acrylic on canvas, Brianna Keeper (


When we woke from that cool slumber, the night air had grown light with the lack of the sun. The streets seemed to float above themselves with the reflection of street lamps. Few cars sounded their familiar swoosh of tires along the streets around our apartment, and fewer sounds of other peculiarly human activity, remained. As I stepped out upon our balcony overlooking Fourth Street, so accustomed to the daytime fervor of the streets, this absence caused a small disturbance in my soul.

A small sidewalk café flanked by a local insurance office and a dream-filled headshop, sat empty, across the way. No people-gazers occupied the sidewalks to watch as I lit an early morning, late-night cigarette and gazed up at the half-hidden stars of the night between buildings.

Contrasting feelings of infinity and nothingness filled my heart, colliding with an all-too-rational sudden belief in an overpowering force… a roadmap.

Upon re-entering the apartment to grab a six-pack of Budweiser, I noticed she had returned to oblivious slumber; oblivious to the reality surrounding her physical, sleeping presence, but much more aware of her own inner turmoil and joy, than at any waking moment. I brushed her cheek with my finger on returning from the kitchen and quietly stepped away and outside of her conscious dreams.

The thoroughfare remained soft and silent, the only sound brushing across my eardrum being the soft crackle of burning tobacco extended from my lips and the impact of liquid on aluminum when drinking, followed by the impact of aluminum on cement.

The streets seemed to lead on forever in my mind; even the avenues I knew very well were dead-ends, in fact: Their intersection and connection allowing them the eternity of starry space.

Looking down at the small, bright sparkles of glass embedded in the asphalt below, I wondered with faith in the irrationality of my world, in my growing state of drunkenness, if they were not fallen stars, or another infinite, unnoticed and unexplored space, below our very feet. For a few impractical minutes the thought held me, at that point, barely allowing for any further reasoning to justify it.

I wonder now if the absorbing blow of such superficial musing might have woken her… drawing her onto the patio and my thoughts away from eternity.

Written August 2001.

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