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Dave Duggins

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Memories of Mount Dora Volume 1
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by Dave Duggins
Monday, April 16, 2007
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This long prose-poem was published at Lone Star Stories last year.


Start the tape.

and Richard says: Okay,
dena. Are you ready to talk? Do you want to
answer some questions?

dena says: Umm.
Stares at the ceiling and: Umm.

Richard: Are you ready to --

dena: Sure. I'll
talk to you. You
and only you.

And you'll remember
your promise?
dust-wind autumn day
we came here together,
dry leaves --

Richard: I remember.
with a small 'd'.

dena: Yes.
She laughs.
Yes: with a
small 'd'.
I want to see it printed that way
in the transcriptions.

Richard: If I promise, will you tell me everything?

dena: Yes.

Richard: Will you tell me the truth?

dena: Oh yes.
She looks at Richard, her smile cracked glass, a peek into deep-fathom space where cold, oiled machines hum.

I will tell you the truth. And you will not scream. You will not run.
Only because you are Richard.

Richard: Because I
understand you.

dena laughs, the scratch of a stylus
across the grooves of an old
vinyl record.

she says: I will watch
your eyes
while we talk ...

No one can ever get dena to talk. Except Richard.

tell me about
the first night.
Tell me
about the rose.

dena: why start there?
Why not
last week
the week before
the season before?
The ancient seasons?

Richard: I want to know
why you chose him.

dena: It was just
the shine
young shine coming out
of his skin --

Richard: Tell.

dena: I
didn't know him,
I'd never see him again
his boyfriend waiting in the car
outside the flower shop, old Nashville Road
bluemetal Volvo, peeling flakes, bright orange primer
vanity license plate: GUNS-R-US
the boyfriend yelling at him and he
talking, crying
eyes red and wet face pale
red wet
but not so pale
as later ...

Richard: And the rose?

dena: Bought it inside
and gave it to him --

Richard: Why?

dena: The depth
there, in his sadness.
Didn't know he shined, but
why he cried.
Most of them cry
in confusion,
but he --

dena pauses, sips water. Richard waits.

then: I said
'you are
someone who needs'
he smiled through silent tears and I made sure

Richard: You made sure

dena: Yes
my blood
was on
the briar
to mark him
for later.
His eyes
so sweet --

Richard: You said you would tell me
all of it. You
you would tell me the truth.

dena: and the truth is that his eyes were sweet and
his tongue
bitter, and
I drank a cup of ice water

dena smiles. Depths slide through the smile, depths that are always
trying to move out
beyond the edge of the world.
The black smile wants to live
in the bright sunlight world
of happy things.

The tape is rolling.

dena: How much
do you want to know?
Would you like to know
why the sun sings?
Would you like to know what crickets dream?

Richard: The truth. Only the truth.
He looks at his watch. He's late. Half hour.

dena: Truth.

Richard: Without poetry.

dena giggles:
There is no truth
without poetry.

She laughs, breathing frost, shifts in her chair. The room is cold growing
colder ...

Richard: Who was next?

dena: That night, or

Richard: That night.

dena: That night
I heard the moon scream
and I flew with owls across a stained sky
and when I looked, I saw
I saw the fever at the edge of the world
all of the big world
and two boys, running
like kites with cut strings
Pinocchio-boys paroled from sleep
singing and kicking leaves and howling
out too late on a school night
pillow-ghosts propped up
scarecrows of bedclothes in empty beds
to fool foolish parents.

Richard, smiling: I remember doing that.

dena: Yes. The magic.
The boy magic:
I took them
pushed darkness into their veins and when I stopped
they weren't little boys anymore.
When I stopped
They weren't

She grins. Her teeth are jagged slates, eyes crystal pomegranites. If she wants, she can be beautiful. She has that choice
though Kafka
called her Gregor Samsa ...

Richard: Is there anything left?

dena: Sometimes. Of little boys, no. Little boys
have soft bones
with warm, sweet, taffy centers --

Richard: I will never see this.

dena: You asked me.

Richard: Only the truth.

dena: Don't you believe?

She smiles again, the smile of living things, fluid crescent against the alien darkness of her rippling face.

Now she is beautiful again, moonlight on flawless white skin.

dena: Driving here, through
sweet scents of jasmine and potpourri
pine and country homes, dirt roads, I saw her
drugged and beautiful, thumb cocked
dripping deliciously from light yellow summer clothes
I took her to that winter farm
where you used to rehearse the band, remember?
There in soft straw and gauze of cobweb
she kissed me
thought to shock me
when I took her into my arms she cried out; and
no one heard but spiders ...
Her mind filled with sketchbook fantasies, never realized
I read her hunger
as I read her mind
and made sure
she came
before she died.

Richard: How many? How many years?

dena: You want centuries.

Richard: The truth. I want the truth. How many?

dena: Lost count long before
volcanoes cooled;
great beasts roamed the earth and I;
in another shape.
I'm older than stars, didn't I
tell you?
Older than light.

Richard: No. You never told me
when you were born.

dena: Before God.

Light bends around me, when I feed
dreambubble, silent
and beautiful, I think.

Richard: I will never see this. I will

dena: You
exist in second's space,
casual eyeblink --
see time from my side
and your mind slides
are privileged to know;
only because you know me. You hear
me. You
are tranced by Mayhem.
You hear the song.
You are kin.


All God's children
are red dreams of violence;
God's children hear voices
singing of meat. Second's space
lures them
away; parents
teach them away from it, the true nature.
We are Hunters

before seasons of bright time took you over
painted you pastel colors
were red, too.


dena: Say something.

Richard: Teach me.

Look -- your hands
stretch skin
into blood shape
hymns to tearing flesh.

She smiles. Moves to him. Kisses
unlocks him.

with me.

Richard: Um.



The moon is waning silver
the moon
doesn't matter.

Beasts drink water
Beasts cross the river
Singing of murder.



The tape is rolling --

The tape
is rolling.

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