A Prince! My second glance though; and this time more recognizable for what it

was—a Picassoed ghost composed as it were of light and

dark blue monoliths in a distant mirage. The day was blessed with no

Clouds but the stones remain lost. The sky lay blank between the desert of glass and concrete.

Too much! His betrayal is not that he returned to the knights upon

returning to earth, but that, with his mind still fixed on his dream, he

praises Venus, and the images only he can evoke. I become conscious of my

own enjoyment as weakness while still in the kingdom of Venus.

A bridge and an escalator on the far-side of the street remove me before I

reach the towers, giving me a premature ascension though the door remains

in the distance. We text before we meet.

Gliding onto the grand escalator, transported to the foyer of the Garnier

Opera, I listen to a Baroque opera set to wet drums and loud synthesizers.

It runs, and in my given context, the curations of pop seem fitting.

I do not own a car, nor could I drive one if I did. Song sublimates my

deficient vantage—a byproduct of walking Los Angeles—and compose my

expectations of repetition, speed, and blankness. Elevators rise and fall on

the exterior surface, like notes and chords on a score, and to my delight!,

coincidentally visualizing the West as a grotesque holiday rushes forward.

Walking down an oddly shaped hallway—for it appeared more like a hall

or a room or sad spatial remnant—the chorus swoops in with youthful

feminine exuberance. “[...] it may not be what we want after all.” Blending

the lobby’s pure interiority with Los Angeles’ pure exteriority into flashing

montages, then I leave earth and the city like the ascending Mary I am. The

fleeting moment and fortune is reversed before long, and I fall down the

exterior surface; a sodomite swallowed back to hell.

My descension into the lobby concludes a brassy forty-two minutes; I laugh

with grim mirth as the elevator stops just below the water’s surface. Time

turnt’ to dust. An electric drumming produces a quickened heart rate, and

I leave the elevator behind satisfied by my Postmodern anxieties. Around

the building’s central core wraps a quiet bar, and in the fork, I unwittingly

take the longer path to the barman. Two kinds of Jameson.

On repeat. “Play it again.” Looking up from my soft seat, I stared

at the running track suspended from the third floor (though the building

made it very difficult to apply just labels). Oh how I craved the published

emotions and states evoked, but alas, La Cita had been empty the night

before, and I remained willfully unlucky. Grindr reads sixty-one.

Haven’t replied yet. I didn’t reply. Aha! Someone is walking with another

person—a first sighting of the sort! Though it has been twenty minutes

since saw a female, white men haunt every crevice, prematurely seen as

hood veils in the glassy surfaces. They walk by on the bridges and eves, or

stand desolate in the deserted shops. People walk forward though all paths

inside are circular. I’d managed to find the bar in the end hadn’t I?

Two, three, four, and six—the bathrooms are all barred. But the lobby

restroom is left perfectly open! Grindr reads sixty-five—up from zip the

previous day. Entering, I find myself among digital friends. The vanity

mirrors face each other ad infinite, my red eyes replicating like blood

cells in the pane. Eye contact is made indirectly, accompanied by rustling,

flushing, gurgling, and a Dyson, played in concert forming an eerie and

dinning percussion. The mirror coughed.

Outside and I can’t occupy the center. Somewhere light is refracting, making

a silvered rainbow standard. My desires exist at the level of caricature. It no

longer matters what the Prince says. My pleasure is malaise—concluding

at seventy-five.

The first occurrence of the dream was when I was but five. I’m on a

plane now, experiencing it again as before. There is a volcano and I walk about its

labyrinthine crust around its always at the periphery. One ring encompassed the other,

and the other. Short passages connect the paths. They are offset from

one another. Though never stated nor seen, the center is the understood

volcano. Flashes of bright orange flicker through my cerebellum and blind

me as I walk. As their pace increases in a steady crescendo, so does my own.

Unlike the Bonaventure, my perception of time remains with an absolute,

fear provoking, awareness. Naught but a nightmare. Naught but a fantasy.

In retrograde, not but a dream.

On my metal bed, the semicircular head and foot were painted a virgin

white. I have never managed to escape the volcano before death. I never do.

Though every time, my thoughts pulsate towards it as the most desirous

goal. Occasionally, faceless people appear, never joining me, passing by or

walking a little ahead, without concern. It is going to erupt soon. There should

be a door I missed. How could I have been so clumsy. The flashes of orange

reach an alarming frequency that obscure all but terrifying orange light,

and then I wake.