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WILLIAM STEIN

 
Crepidious, 2008

Crepidious did not often dream, but when he did, it was this:

A long corridor, with flowers on the walls and floor. A deep swell gorges through, and is followed by the sorrow.

And he finally finds the King.

“Crepidious, why are you here so soon? It has not been two years since we last spoke.”

“I have come on business, to take your life and offer it to my master. He will pay me well”.

“But Crepidious, you cannot take my life, for you are my Protector.”

“I can, and I will.”

Crepidious lunges, and being fairly adept at this stuff, he
does
not
miss.
He tears into his King, ripping, ripping.

His Majesty: “I do not understand”.

Crepidious tore and shrieked. He shrieks and shrieks. The shrieking tears through the Palace. The urine crystallizes and forms wondrous obstacles for all to negotiate. The light pierces and fractures through these natural phenomena. Crepidious checks his watch and is surprised to find that quite some years have passed in the meantime. The King lies lifeless at his feet. The Palace has become somewhat derelict, there is dust about; the windows are not cracked but they do look old. The blood is hard, like the granite, like the mud, like this man’s eyes.

How can such confidence be useful? There is no need for that stuff. It is a life’s work, and a life’s work is only possible if it be riddled with doubt. It is the doubt that allows the growth, the development.

Surely though, we must find confidence at some point!

Crepidious had indeed killed the King, and he was sure he should do this. And this was an ugly thing. However, we also find the light and the crystals and the dereliction and none of this would be possible without the bold initial move.
But this initial move is not confidence, it is doubt. It is doubt of the apparent truth, the given. Crepidious is told he must not do, and he does. This is not confidence, it is doubt; it is both.

It is balance, I think.

And so Crepidious is in the mud, scratching around. He has his King in tow,

vital, dying, dead.

The earth offers some options,

wet, soggy, fruitful.

Crepidious slices a lump off the talented monarch, places it in the mud, falls into a deep weep, feeds the flesh and takes a step back; back into the shadows of these towering walls. The flesh turns to earth, the sun moves many times over this place. The land shifts over the years and still the walls are firm and everlasting.

Crepidious watches from his eyes, waiting.

He enters a huge tapestry. His eyes are forced shut by the close weaving, and the dust enters his lungs by the breathful.

The nearest he had come to such a curiosity was in an experiment last conducted in 1837, by the forester Rudolph Vladovin. In his task, Rudolph Vladovin pulled down many, many of his trees, and bound them together to effect the formation of a huge wooden rug. The local village folk were asked to come and explore the new place on the following Saturday. Crepidious at this time was living in the village, a place called Sandanski. He had heard of the scientist Rudolph Vladovin and was curious. He wakes on the Saturday, washes, eats some banitsa, drinks some strong coffee, and sets off for the forest. His mind is fresh and light. He conjures thoughts of this giant wooden rug and smiles crisply as his feet crunch the frost. On turning left beside the creek, Crepidious comes upon the forest.

A wall of trees rise before him,
animals clattering amongst the tangle.

The villagers by now are gathering, and one by one slipping into this damp mess. Crepidious feels a leap of excitement; today is the day. The walk is tough, over roots, under foliage. But the villagers do make it through to the clearing that Rudolph Vladovin has created. And in the centre of that clearing lies the most wondrous and horrific lump that any person has seen in these parts for centuries and longer. The children turn into their mothers’ legs, their minds frozen. The mothers turn into the fathers. And the fathers reach for their swords.

"Do not turn away; it will not harm any one of you".

At these words the crowd sucks in air between its teeth.

It sounds like: ssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Even Crepidious joins in with this noise making. He feels a fool though; he is not really afraid.

"So, who will walk first?"

Again the crowd makes a sound, this time something like: yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Crepidious steps forward, his brain feels soft in its hard shell.

Rudolph Vladovin holds out his hand and Crepidious takes it. The man’s eyes are hateful, yet clear of anguish. A rare breed indeed thinks Crepidious, his scrotum tightening a touch.

Crepidious is led up and into the pile. The wood.
The earth.
The mud.

He is alone by now.

The crowd has left.

Rudolph Vladovin has left.

The sun has left.

The birds have left.

The wind has left.

It is all hushed in this brown lump.

Crepidious sits on the damp ground, his breath now visible in the dark light.

If we draw back from the scene, we will see a mesh, a terrific mesh of wood. And moss. And bark. And earth. And inside all this sits Crepidious. How did he get here? He can remember breakfast; a fine breakfast. He remembers the walk. He will always remember that walk; through frozen fields, amongst frozen grasses and frozen grains. And now he sits here.

Quietly.

He thinks perhaps it is the correct place to be. It feels fine in fact. He takes up his cloak and draws it tightly around himself.


So you have managed to make me write, thinks Crepidious to himself. To talk of these things. And why should he not, why should I not write of these things and talk of them openly? And where does Crepidious abide when he is not down in words? Where can he take a place in all this reality, all this validation, all this assuredness? He comes alive when we talk of inspiration, when we are asked to explain, to understand, to decide.
Only Crepidious can be bold enough to defend, to protect, to shield. He is reality is he not? A reality. He is more real than all of us, all of this talk, all of this discussion.

He is valid. He may attempt to tangle with these things.

We have no place, and we are not welcome with our words and ideas. It is the mud, the earth, the grit, the rain, the honesty; it is Crepidious who will allow a place in this wonder, a place for our unnecessary selves. How bold we are! to talk amongst ourselves, as if we have the answer!

Just as he arrives here, the tolerance slips, the tightness loosens, and the leverage raises itself above normal pressures. For instance, one day Crepidious feels fine, and the next he does not. What news! Who cries over spilt milk? Not me!

A jagged darkness moves to the right and leans over, shuffling, swinging, then walks away and out. Who was here before? A tall one; a short one; comfort on both sides. What a place!

There must be more coming in, and they do, she does, and is positive. Looking down, searching. Questions about shadows.

Understanding.

Light into dark,
shade,
liquid.

And now she turns and clicks, and listens; and another two enter! To look, and study, and whisper, and absorb, and are they comfortable here?

Crepidious peers out from his place, distinct and invisible. He sits and watches. A few muttered words leave his hole. They find their victim, who is superbly nonplussed. And why should it be otherwise? Words come and go. Into holes and back out.



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