Tuesday, November 11, 2008

~ the tunnel

The clear blue sky is an affront. The sweet warm air and the gentle breeze are a plague upon my senses. I walk quickly, shunning the flowering bushland and the birdlife, concentrating on the vast concrete wall ahead and the black patch of shadow at the angle of wall and ground, which is the opening of the tunnel.

Upon entering there is an instant change in temperature. I feel the sensuous cool of the crypt. Gone is the murdering light of the sun that impales the material world with writhing spears of poisonous energy. Now just the flat sullen glow of neon panels, set in the ceiling at intervals wide enough to maintain the analgesic gloom. Immediately, I feel the dampening effect on my soul and I am thankful.

I tread through the near dark at an even pace. A pace I could maintain indefinitely. The walls are roughly poured concrete, still bearing the fossil imprint of hessian. The roof too, which I could reach out and touch, like the lid of a coffin, and the floor, where a thin layer of grey sand has collected, and which bears the many footprints of moving bodies such as I.

Everything relaxes in these tunnels. Electrons find their resting states. Systems idles. The eyes have only soft dull shapes to process. The skin feels only cool. The smell, which I have come to love, is that of damp concrete.

As the square of light that is the entrance diminishes to a point, so the silence strengthens, broken only by my breathing and the soft impact of my footfalls. I am coming to a place. I am leaving it. No one sees me. No one expects me. No one remembers me. I walk towards a goal which I need never comprehend, nor which I will ever reach. I am compared to nothing. I am the last man and the first. In the healing null-space, I am unrecognised. I need not be provided for. I am on pause. Effectively, I am nothing.

The tunnels fork, form tributaries, recombine like a vast neutral river system. From time to time, I sense other men flowing through the shadows, but never is a greeting exchanged. It is enough to hear the footfalls in the lifeless sand, to know that there are others, many others, who have developed a taste for this singular resource.

The tunnel system is extensive, that is clear, but just how vast, I do not know. Nor do I know how many walk its dark floors, at peace, neither before nor after, neither alive nor dead.

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