Summer.1: A respite between school sessions. A time for rest and recharging in the sun for the long, dark days to come. The semesters will resume, the days will darken, the daylight will shorten, the nights will lengthen, the sun in retreat, taking with it its radiant, comforting, fervid radiance.
But for now: Summer.
Signe’s Beach.a: In repose, a beach blanket over the chaise she’s sculpted from the sand. All is one here: sand soldered with sea water, the sintering flow of solar lambency, the salt-air, and Signe’s presence annealing it all to synthesis.
Summer here, on her beach, far from the dry, papyral scraping of textbook pages turning, a sort of anti-prurience in those pages. Together they form a stealthily puritanical tome, draining all conceptions of arousal or passion from the hours: texts which disconnect the reader from organic cravings by design.
* Person as an amalgam;
* A finite time that thrives infinitely, always there and then, a radiant gem of forever-moments, arrow of time be damned; the incandescence bringing halation; tiny, granular stones dreaming fondly of when they were boulders; air and sea so infatuated with one another as to meld;
* Person as place.
Signe’s Beach.1: At Signe’s Beach, it isn’t that all is one in some sort of monolithic, hive-mind sort of way; rather, that the various elements of the beach are in communion and balance with one another, a sensual cooperative zeitgeist alloying place and pleasure, knowing full well that, as with all zeitgeists, its time is fleeting.
Signe’s Beach.b: Signe feels the granular flow of sinter deforming between toes. The welcoming warmth of the sun’s fluorescence. The otherworldly scent of sea salt borne on the breeze.
Signe’s connection means that the beach and its constituent parts become a chorus of muse-voices, voices that are full of gentle nudgings and advice when she explores or sets out to constitute some new creation.
Signe, to stretch her limbs and soak in more of the sensory medley, rises from her chaise. As the sand and small pebbles whisper hints to her feet and toes, the water laps cool suggestions high enough to top her ankles. A sand castle! they say. Yes!
She finds her way to a Goldilocks spot, not too soggy, not too dry, to begin the work.
Declension.2 [Erasure]: You turned your back on the sun, used the sand and the sea only to further your animal desire – a mere instinct! wept the chorus, the sound a harsh, staticky grate of sea glass on beach tar. You left us so long to fuck him. You left the wholeness of us behind, choosing your animalistic obsession. You abandoned us, shattering us all. There will be no more gentle aubade for you; no more whispering sand or stones – we will not speak to you; no more loving embrace of sea and air. What we created, what we fabricated this together in our
forge heart and hearth, poured, shaped, and unadulterated, dies tainted with the corrosion of neglect. Your labyrinthine epigraph is your squalid epitaph for us. We are sundered. We are pour the essence of us
together; we cast and embrace in an alloy of us us
Sandcastle: She finds a plastic quart cup discarded by some uncaring asshole on her beach. She rinses it in the sea. Four walls, sand and sea forming the blocks, molded in the cup, cast-off now serving its new purpose. A central, simple castle structure: a base of four and, atop that, another, singular block.
Signe’s Beach.c: Signe returns to her chaise. As the more mundane visitors to the beach begin to pack up and leave for the day, her beach slowly depopulated. Sol, no longer so directly overhead, still offers her its embrace...
Body: When the beach has cleared of others, she gently lifts the portion of her swim shirt covering her midriff. She inspects the work in progress: scarification to which she adds a tiny bit of length or flourish as inspiration arrives, a permanent installation of art in flesh. Its geometric swoops and angles are meant to represent eros and hither desire that the god represents. She is still seeking his shape, glimpsing it only fleetingly, then sculpting it in to capture it permanently.
But even Signe must surrender to the day’s end. The days are generous with effulgence, remaining for great stretches of time at this time of year. The daylight’s endurance will grow only until the equinox — she knows this and, by extension, the beach knows. She must not waste this gift while it is offered. Soon enough, the lengths of days will hit their limit and begin to tumble backward, shrinking.
Sign.4: With the razor blade, he adds, in an elegant script, S.
Time flows strangely on Signe’s Beach.
Signe’s Beach.2: At Signe’s Beach, it isn’t that all is one in some sort of monolithic, hive-mind sort of way; rather, that the various elements of the beach are in communion and balance with one another, a sensual cooperative zeitgeist alloying place and pleasure, knowing full well that, as with all zeitgeists, its time is fleeting. “This time will pass.”
Signe’s Beach.d: Signe must not waste the gift of goddess Aurora. She returns to her beach to greet the new day as it arrives. All is not as it should be, though. Her castle lies in ruins. Someone, some outsider, has smashed in her beach-mortared construct. Signe investigates. The sand seems to have been stomped into deformation, then smoother over in some places by the intruder’s hand. Signe resolves to begin again. She recovers the cup from its rest next to her chaise and begins to build again. A wall, again. The foundation of the castle will be more robust this time. She places nine blocks, then four atop those, and finally, one atop them all.
The warm embrace of the new day enkindled brings her back into communion with her beach.
She stretches out on the gritty floor of her beach, alongside the reconstituted castle. It is cool to the touch from the daylight’s absence, but she finds the sensation refreshing. She rolls from her back to her front, to and fro, jerking back in surprise when something slices into her abdomen.
The glinting shard jutting up through the sand where her belly had met it. It has left a shallow wound, and while near her own installation in her flesh, the new wound is several inches away, completely disconnected. Who is this person, this nameless, faceless person? How did they know where to place this shard so that it would find its target and make its mark so near my own work to capture the shape?
The new cut was a message: The shape of Eros is here. I will help you uncover its form. It is there, a message waiting its discovery.
Sign.3: With the razor blade, he adds, in an elegant script, O.
Time flows strangely on Signe’s Beach.
Signe scours the recycling bins for shattered glass. When she locates a clear, sharp fragment — it painlessly slits into her index finger when she picks it up — she makes her way back to the castle. She kneels on the surface of her beach and plants her reply to the interloper’s shard in the main tower block.
Summer.2: A respite between school sessions. A time for rest and recharging in the sun for the long, dark days to come. The semesters will resume, eventually the days will darken, the daylight will shorten, the nights will lengthen, the sun in retreat, taking with it its radiant, comforting, fervid radiance. But for now, days still strive toward the Solstice.
But for now: Summer. Days still strive toward the Solstice.
Signe in repose, a beach blanket over the chaise she’s
sculpted from the sand. All is one
here: sand soldered with sea water, the sintering flow of solar lambency, the salt-air, and Signe, annealing it all to synthesis.
Signe’s Beach is simultaneously way station, a person at one with a place, and a forge for the formation and fabrication of the new.
A new day dawns. Sol:
The sun; a fluid, colloidal solution seeking to be fashioned into concrete shape; a coin, brilliance refracting a singular crepuscular ray.
Signe’s Beach.e: Signe rushes through her morning preparations, She can feel her beach calling to her. Hurry, hurry. The interloper has visited.
She rushes to her beach, feeling the various strands of the whole fusing to her anew as she approaches. She drops a few things at her insoluble chaise and turns immediately to the castle. It seems pristine; she sees nothing altered. Are you sure the interloper returned? she asks her living chorus.
Yes, yes — the tower.
When she looks more closely, Signe spies a few drops of blood, long since dried, spilled hours earlier. She probes the mild concrete the beach had helped her form out of sand and sea water, cautiously, blindly, feeling the cooler grittiness of its interior. Her finger stops against something hard and rounded. She carefully digs away the surrounding tower until a 10 ounce soda bottle stands before her, atop the castle’s lower blocks. Inside, she spies a scrap of paper.
A message in a bottle? she thinks. What is this, then — cheesy? Romantic? Retrograde?
The paper, crumpled, clearly fished from a trash bin, is a discarded ice cream snack wrapper.
“Thank you for your gift of a cut. You are too kind. Trust is of the essence in any working relationship. I can help you find the shape, but you must trust my designs. We can find the shape as one, two conjoined in search for the lord it represents.”
Urgence stirs. She flattens out the wrapper to find an additional scrap — an instruction.
“Place your new wound at the castle’s entry, its edge on the gate’s left. The roll. Destroy this castle, and let the design arise!”
A bit giddy, Signe positions herself as instructed. With a quick breath to steel her resolve, Signe rolls. The new laceration begins at her most recent wound and cleave a new path, shifting, turning, crossing its own path, leaving a bloody imprint in her wake. She sat up, brushing away the grit. The new strokes seem to be mapping some sort of passage, some alchemic blend of physical place and verbal enticement. The sculpture’s addition now reaches longingly for the portion she had been working out alone. Carving her flesh in concert was producing a clearer vision, a reverie of a labyrinth in scars.
The note closed: “Awaiting your reply.”
Signe wades into the sea to let it flush the fragments and granules of beach from her newly lacerated additions.
Who are you? she writes. She flattens the wrapper, rolls it into a tight coil, and fits it back down the neck of the bottle. She remakes the castle as it was, including replacing the bottle where she’d found it.
Declension.3 [Erasure]: You left us so long to fuck him.
The instructions continue, some requiring painful contortions to align the new additions of slits to the contour and aspect of her shape, this new form. A message from the interloper arrives in the bottle, “You already know the answer to that.”
The next groove intersects with her own portion of the form for the first time. The new strokes bring the edge of the labyrinth further up her abdomen, to her solar plexus. Looking over the morning’s castle ruins, she sees an array of delicately placed implements: a scalpel, somewhat rusted. Probably from the bags of medical waste washing ashore. The jagged-edged lid from a discarded tin soup can. Small nails bent this way and that in failed construction attempts. Glass, glinting in the bath of passing shafts of sunshine.
Sign.2: He unearths a With the razor blade from the ruins of the castle. I must claim our work, he says. For us both. A collaboration.
Near the base of her labyrinthine form, he adds, in an elegant script, R.
Time behaves flows strangely on Signe’s Beach.
“Come earlier tomorrow,” the next note says. “This next configuration will take more time.”
Always more, always insisting that she arrive earlier:
• Before sunrise (she already did);
• before the light of the new dawn creeps past the apogee of Pisces; (A new set of instructions wrought careful slices encircling each aureole, the nerve-rich territory so alit that she scrabbles for a smooth, sandy stone to bring to her clitoris for release and relief.)
• in the night, long before Sol’s first glow on the horizon;
The instructions are always precise: “Leave the sand in the wounds from here on out. We need to raise the topography of this labyrinth with keloid tissue.”
When she begins working exclusively under the night’s blanket of darkness and secrecy, he begins to come to her. Barely a shadow against the shadows at first, he takes on more specificity with each visit, and with each new corporeal firmness and detail, he advances on Signe. A touch, first – a brush of his fingertips sweeping her forearm.
The next night a trail of kisses across neck and arms.
A spectral tongue at an already rigid nipple.
Declension.3 [Erasure]: You so long to fuck him.
[Appendage]: We fear that you begin to lose sight of the synergy that alloyed us.
Late in June, with her labyrinthine form reaching, now, across the entirety of her abdomen, she realizes she has missed the arrival and departure of the solstice, and the longest day of sunshine for the year. She curses herself for immersing herself in the labyrinthine new form, nearing completion, bit by bit, all this time. She hasn’t paid much attention.
Signe’s Beach.3: At Signe’s Beach, it isn’t that all is one in some sort of monolithic, hive-mind sort of way; rather, that the various elements of the beach are in communion and balance with one another, a sensual cooperative zeitgeist alloying place and pleasure, knowing full well that, as with all zeitgeists, its time is fleeting. But a piece has been missing from the whole. Signe’s chaise has been eroding, the tides sneaking up to steal a bite from time to time, the voices of her chorus growing faint, fading into the background. That sense of the finitude of Signe’s Beach lends to a faint sense, one willfully ignored, of desperation: “This time will pass.” Sing's beach tells her, “It will die, and we will be forced to move on.”
In the black of night, the time finally arrives to add the final passage. She’d saved up that first shard of glass for he occasion. She wanted it to be special.
She cleaves the final trench into the labyrinth, and finally, in this carving, she can see the name of Eros in his fullness and plenitude. And he arrives. She can see him clearly now, in the flesh and in the labyrinth. Eros is here, summoned whole.
Declension.4 [Erasure]: You so long to fuck him. We fear that you You begin to lose sight of the synergy that alloyed us our symbiosis.
They plunge into each other, demolishing the sand castle and climbing one another and grappling for a new grip on one another, the god Eros slipping into her again and again as they struggle, vying for pleasure.
How would you like me? he asks her.
“Any way,” she says through a sheen of sweat, a long-neglected coital thirst being quenched. “Any way you want.”
Oh no, he admonishes gently.
Sign.1: He unearths a razor blade from the ruins of the castle. I must claim our work, he says. For us both. A collaboration.
Near the base of her labyrinthine form, he adds, in an elegant script, E.
To start, I sign E, Signe, he says.
Time behaves strangely on Signe’s Beach.
This is yours. Your summoning, your devotion, and now, your reward. She swallows him hungrily, but not for long. Taking her by the waist and holding her upside down, he stands, her mouth never leaving him. He brings his mouth to her natal cleft, churning and churning her with his once-spectral tongue.
Declension.5: You so long to fuck him. You begin to lose sight of our symbiosis.
c. A terminal, melancholic dysphoria;
The night-air at Signe’s Beach the beach fill with the carnal noise of their fucking.
She awakens to silence, the floor of the beach marked with signs of a carnal, physical thrashing. Her beach is silent to her, the sand crusted painfully in her eyes, and the sun scorching threateningly away at her flesh. She hastily and clumsy rights her swimsuit – discarding it in the dark of night is a bedimmed half-memory – as the first car of beachgoers of the day arrived.
But she can feel an ambience of disappointment and regret radiating from all around.
The hybrid voice of the beach speaks to her: You left us. We longed for you, your voice missing from the chorus of the beach.
She sobs, admonished. She hasn’t thought of the loss her absence might cause.
Time behaves strangely for us here – differently. The flow of our time is sedate, prolonged compared to yours. We live through more, experience more, the flow that of a meandering creek in the untouched wilds, unlike the thrashing torrents and rapids of yours.
“I’m so sorry,” she says, but she can hear the raw ache of the otherworldly voice.
In our flow, the first dozen days of your absence clawed at us. The next hundred wounded us.
How could our consensual amalgam be without the element of you?
After a thousand days, we cried out in anguished, incoherent agony for you.
The composite of us was rusting to dissolution.
Declension.1 You turned your back on the sun, used the sand and the sea only to further your animal desire – a mere instinct! wept the chorus, the sound a harsh, staticky grate of sea glass on beach tar. You left us to fuck him. You left the wholeness of us behind, choosing your animalistic obsession. You abandoned us, shattering us all. There will be no more gentle aubade for you; no more whispering sand or stones – we will not speak to you; no more loving embrace of sea and air. What we created, what we fabricated together in our forge, poured, shaped, and unadulterated, dies tainted with the corrosion of neglect. Your labyrinthine epigraph is your squalid epitaph for us. We are sundered. We are us no longer.
Summer.3: A respite between school sessions, coasts to a close, its gears corroded in sea salt borne on the air, it promises of the sun’s maternal warmth turned to sunburn so drastic that she dare not step out from under cover, lest Sol scorch her already flaking skin anew. A The time for rest and recharging in the sun has passed, making way for the long, dark days to come. Autumn arrives. The semesters will resumes, the days will darken, the daylight will shortens, the nights will lengthen, the sun in retreat, taking with it its radiant, comforting, fervid radiance.