stacking of years on top of years
an excerpt from Constantine Jones’ In Still Rooms
Welcome to [RE:CON]CRETIONS! A new series of excerpts from our forthcoming and recent publications.
Today, OS collaborator Constantine Jones shares an excerpt from their new book, In Still Rooms, available now from The Operating System. Want more? Check out our interview with Constantine about their work.
C H O R U S
(This piece is the 2nd appearance of a Chorus of Southern Ghosts inhabiting the House, whose Odes address the reader directly.)
Maybe now you see. Death it goes back a long time. And the Greeks they had plenty ideas about it. More’n just a stacking of years on top of years, the time can’t nobody escape. Certainly none among us did. But Death it’s also a place. Death it’s also a house. That lonesome House in Hades, should the stories be believed. Maybe now you see it, at least a little.
The time passes on and then it doesn’t. What’s it matter to us anyhow. We just dip back into our corners. Some to the kitchen tile. Others to the sockets in the fixtures in the hall. We are there with the cat in the shadows, the sun. We measure the slamming of doors, visit the little woodfolk in the cuckoo clock’s heart. And sometimes when the children gather round their books we gather round em too. Listen to the boy read out his stories — tales about heroes, monsters, gods, men, the shimmering mountains, the wine-dark sea, that lonesome House in Hades again, and the men come down to death together, alone, to drink from the pools of remember, the pools of forget. It’s a goddess down there in the waters of death keeping record — the Muses’ mother, Memory. And all the men across the ages keeping the stories alive, bound as they are on account of only living the one lifetime, they got to call on that goddess every time. Why, even you had to call upon us for this one. Anyhow a story’s just a story. And most among us made our piece with that.
Still, some among us can’t help but to wander. Only it’s a couple places we no longer tread. Before, it was just us by our lonesome in between these walls. We got to know these wooden beams, these electric lights. We hummed together. Only now it’s another one in here with us, the vibrations are changed. And we mean that very clear — the house is humming a different kind a way. She moves through the same walls and leaves smudges of her memory behind her. See em caked on fuseboxes and water pipes like crusted paint, flaking off in white and blue. And it ain’t malicious, she don’t mean no harm. Only a house can only take so much. This pool’s not quite so deep, if you will. But we can dip inside it, yes we can. And we can go to her past, right here. Reckon we might as well bring you with us. See what happens come time we make it back.
About the Author
Constantine Jones is a Greek-American thingmaker raised in Tennessee & currently housed in Brooklyn. They are a member of the Visual AIDS Artist+ Registry & teach creative writing at The City College of New York, where they earned an MFA. They also volunteer in the LGBT Center Archives, where they conduct research on queer Greek-American histories as they intersect with HIV. Their work has been performed or exhibited at various venues across NYC.