Picture a desk, at the front of a near-empty church, shoved into some industrial scrubland, ringed by the pasteboard houses and boxes slowly being sucked into the river, banks run over and spilling into the streets, the homeless now filling this near-empty church, the displaced now across the way at the plaza accepting their food bank meals and reassurances. Atop the desk there are deeply-thumbed books, an annotated and highlighted copy of the apocryphal The King In Yellow, handwritten excerpts from the Pnakotic Manuscripts, a copy of Hugo Vernier's The Winter Journey, a child's guide to the narcotic pollen which I had been sprinkling into my eyes before I wrote, a cardboard-bound copy of The Ghost of Dried Wells, Glanvil's classic Saducismus Triumphatus, my own hand-transcribed copy of The Infernal Salt Codex, and all that remained of my first story of any length, which consisted of only one line: "the only time you ever touched yourself was to cover your body from me." Farther back, amidst the pens and marbles and star-maps, there was my last unbroken Michael-jar, both lids sealed, keeping the fungus which grew along its walls, fed on sugars and water, sealed tightly inside. As the night went on, I would take the Michael-jar, remove the parrafin-ringed first seal from its copper hinges, and place my lips atop the cheesecloth layers of the second seal, breathing deeply as the spores entered into my lungs, found new home inside my bronchial lining. It became so hard to see, to keep my eyes focused, the muscles in my hands from spasming. Each morning, looking over what I had done, I was surprised to discover anything readable, legible, anything worth keeping. Mine is a slow process, the patience of a sculptor who works only with water washing away the stone. I set the marbles atop the star-maps, followed their patterns with eye and pen, charted the symbols formed in their points of intersection. Everything represented everything. When I was two people, two distinct personalities, we knew where to make distinctions, where to set our definitions. We knew harmony. I thought, once, that the combination into one would insure this balance, but there was no combination. One always has to make a choice.

The basement rooms are filled with the homeless sent here by Red Cross, and as such my job consists entirely of answering the phone and denying people who ask for a place to stay any passage. I have yet to receive one such call. I sleep in the office, beneath the desk, and wait here at the desk throughout the night. The Sewage Priest pays me once a week, in cash, making sure nothing's been stolen or broken. leaving me to diagrams, to generative stratagems, to the discovery of the secret name. There are no secret names. One must make their name their own. The wind collects like currents through your hair. The hum of insects swirls around, through the streets, through the trees. There is no holding on.

At night, when the thud of fists hitting the wall needed to be silenced, I would walk the hallways, lost and diseased, slowly shifting into other buildings; the hospital, the warehouses, the storage catacombs now filled with floodwater, the corners filled with images of people I once knew, once was. The dread killers Abel and Baker would appear in doorways, blurring as I approached, disappearing into the paint of the wall. Her voice came up through the phone-line, asking me if I remembered, if I would ever visit again. Was this the remembered place? The place of still-time, of solidified aether staining the grass, trapping spirits, frozen hollow to the touch, the tactile memories somewhere between a low valley flood, an onyx-vein torn through an unmaintained highway, a mound of abandoned gray-polluted beeswax. Was this the place where the slow rolling throb summoned you from a place buried beneath your bones? In the trees, bound up in the nets they once trapped fish with, corpses with hooks in their hands attempt to pull themselves over with frayed and eaten muscle, roll themselves over to watch you move, watch the dances you learned from the flight-paths of sightless birds, the steps of a sky-borne Salome. Your position shapes the air around you, shapes the drift of scents in the woods, shapes the hungers and dreams of the blackbirds and crow-dogs who walk the perimeters, searching for ditch-water to wash their mouths of the soot drifting out from smoldering overturned automobiles, their blackened wares spilling out like candy from a fallen stocking. The spirits follow the air-pathways back to you, to the warping and whirling of your hips shifting, your hands slipping into the light-streams. Little wonder the village-children whisper your name in their treetop fortresses, gathered round the rubicons of transgressed boundaries, their new clothes still loose around them, their fingers and toes just barely peeking out at the edges. Little wonder the bases of the great trees which scrape their crowns on the belly of the sky hold small carved idols bearing your shape, left by those staring into the distance, walking the wall of this world. Little wonder that this place is run through with a song only you can hear. Keep me here, and tell me your story, just a bit longer, because I am afraid, and I am not ready, not ready, not ready, no, I am not ready to go away.

I found myself addicted to repetition, to cycles, the woolywarm heat of the church attaining a sentience, tracking from room to room, and I would follow, the scent of the incense and the mildew, spirals in the carpet and lost surgeons looking for the operating theatre staring at me behind masked eyes. Water stains on the ceiling centered with black fungus, spores staining the lighting fixtures. I cannot remember where I am going. Traces of the re-risen. I can no longer be sure. I am not who I am.

the exit is hidden within the exit