Duality – By RD Armstrong

Manx stared at the wall. The pictures of people and places and some things covered it like wallpaper. The pictures looked vaguely familiar but he wasn’t sure why. He liked the arrangement of them and there was a certain association that made them flow, as if there was an inherent, evolving theme to their arrangement. In fact, the whole room had a kind of accidental charm to it, as if the random placement of the items had a logical and subtle purpose. He realized that this room was really found art, an accidental architecture whose simplicity innocently disguised its pragmatic functionalism. He stepped to the center and appraised the room.

This is nice, he thought.

And it was.

And then he realized why it was so nice. It was nice because it was his room, in his house, on his street, in his town. And very slowly, like a winter thaw, it dawned on him that he must be out of his fucking mind! Manx stood in the center of the room, a look of stupid wonder spreading across his face like gossip at a beauty parlor. How could this have escaped his attention. Was he really losing his mind or just his identity? Were they the same or were they different? More importantly, would it really make much of a difference in the long run?

He looked at the pictures again. They were places that he’d been to or places he’d like to go to, or places that looked interesting, but that he’d never get around to. The pictures, in fact all the stuff in the room had one primary purpose, and that was to serve as a reminder, a talisman, as it were, of things that existed in his head. Ideas. These were physical links to the many worlds that existed inside his brain.

So, if he had a choice as to what he’d want to lose, which would it be, his identity or his mind?

Without his identity, he’d still be able to create stories about the things around him. In fact, the pictures might be even more interesting if he had no personal connection to them. On the other hand, if he had no connection to this room, he might be inclined to just move it on down the line. Hm. Both sides had merit.

He lit a cigarette. The smoke rose around him like dust from a collapsed metaphor. No, it was clear that neither of those two ideas was an option. The best thing to do was to just snap out of it. Once again Manx had missed the boat philosophically, but had saved his pragmatic ass to fight this insanity one more time.

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Various pieces by RD Armstrong (Raindog) have appeared in Spillway, Pearl, Unwound, Haight Ashbury Review, Drinking With Bukowski, Art/Life, Genre, The Lummox Journal, bender, Pitchfork, Poetry Motel, Chiron Review, Momentum Magazine and others. His poems are anthologized in “Das Ist Alles,” Pearl Editions 1995; “Last Call: A Legacy of Madness” (also editor), Vinegar Hill Press 1995; “Raising the Roof” (a fundraiser for Habitat For Humanity – Riverside, CA), 1998; “Maytag Heights” (a similar fundraiser for H4H – Long Beach, CA), Lummox Press 1999. He is the founder and editor of The Lummox Press, which publishes the Little Red Book (LRB) series (30+ titles and counting), the LRB Master series, The Lummox Journal (monthly small press/alternative “zine” digest now in it’s 6th year), and several specialty-type publications. He has published LRB for Linda Lerner, Gerald Locklin, Hugh Fox, Normal, Rick Smith, and many others. Smith’s “The Wren Notebook” (published by Lummox Press in 2000) has been nominated for a Pen Center West (poetry) Book of the Year Award and was called “the best [small press] book of poetry in the year 2000″ by Chiron reviewer, Tim Scannell. He has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Recent titles include: “Lost Highway” (Blues Poetry Anthology – 15 poets); “On/Off the Beaten Path” (a long road poem, the second); “Paper Heart Vol. 3″ (Love poems); “A Journey Up the Coast” (the first road poem); “Eyes Like Mingus” (A Jazz Poetry Anthology – 12 poets). All are published by Lummox Press.

1 Comment
  1. RD;
    you always hit that nail right on the head.

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