);

EXCERPT FROM “DRIFT” by Chris Campanioni

Born Under Punches

The things I recall, I recall in zip pan, POV, a pullback shot without mise-en-scène. Or in darting moments, a brief flash, a passing scent, transposing and unblinking, and utterly distinct. Yet the whole of history favors similarities and slight anachronisms. The schism of time is in a class all its own, and even now I am racing through hallways of my subconscious without taking notice of the hall itself. The lino. A railing. Reverse angles by which you see your own self speaking. Everyday details. Everything passes. As a rule, I strive for lucidity in loneliness, long takes in cover shots, covering myself with the candy of imagination, the sweet gaze of the mind’s eye that seeks amusement and finds instead the truth. It strikes without warning. I am either writing it down, or scurrying for a pen. And of course, my palm as paper never does the trick. Too many callouses, rough spots or swollen joints makes for disjointed prose, words rising and falling on the flesh, out of frame, a chronic fear like a cough, or coughing fits in an elevator filled with mysophobics without relief of medicine. Time is relentless. All the memories I have of a certain age arrive with an eye for dissolves and split screens, ellipsis narration, the Kodak Junior camcorder above me, rising higher, slung across somebody’s shoulder. The older I got, the more conflated I became: rapid cuts into a montage set to something serious by Radiohead or Kurt Cobain’s hoarse voice asking to be raped. Again and again. Only every five seconds, three more images arrive in the form of bridging shots: a birthday party, Carvel cake, wrapping paper unfolding a gown and tassel. In the interest of time and patience, the camera skips the in-between phases, puberty, the Middle Ages, and suddenly time’s up, or forever passing, the screen goes dim. Remove the reel and I don’t exist, unfilled as an indecision, a figure shot from extreme distance, an unrequited gaze . . . The memories I have as a child, eyes agape in solicitous childhood, of five years and five months, or at nine, balloon mind, afraid of almost everything—¡Tribilin!—every converging train and each whistle and telephone ring and my mother’s laugh and my dad’s demands, and under tables all the faces I never knew from just their feet rising higher in the address of my dreams, conflated voices all talking separately at the same time around a dinner table, or at a cocktail party, or in my own mind, into and out of intuition . . . Readjust the lens to find emptiness, which is only thirty-three frames per second, a vast expanse of images, the darkness of the cinema, the places my mind goes when I stop to think, an isthmus for hermetic memories lost in the time it takes for perceiving anything. And time’s passing.

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