Matías Morales (1985) is a writer from Santiago de Chile. He has published the essay Un parentesco recobrado: lectura de Georges Perec (2014) and Cosas que se estrellan (2018), a book of prose poems about isolation. Currently, he is writing a series of non fiction pieces surrounding San Cristóbal hill, a major landmark in the city of Santiago. He also works as a full-time locksmith under the alias El Dorado.
The City Dying-Off
For years, my method has been to seldom speak and to look the same. Thus, I am nobody’s business, no one asks new questions. I could get closer to the world, or perhaps to heaven, but as I reckon distances I get discouraged. I am inclined to what is brief. I prefer short distances. Trifling enquiries through seemingly different planes is what I enjoy the most. I am inveterately shallow. I repeat my movements, gather and scatter, go about, look for order without any success. I am neither efficient, nor unique
It is a way of dying off
I stir myself within long and imperceptible stages, or within one single stage that I sometimes fail to perceive. Days are numbered. I often think about the profile of another man; gregarious, well informed, filled with feelings, utopia-like, and I get bored. So utterly bored that nobody wants to hang out with me, yet I don’t want to hang out with anybody. My place could burn beneath the ground while I think about how bored I am. What a formidable thing to ponder upon. Even in the midst of my indecision I will get expunged. Today my suit is made out of flies’ skin, I have dyed my hair with tar, I envision a scorched continent. I don’t even know what I am singing. Neither do you. Things would be infinitely better without us. Columns get bent, questions sealed, memory drains and alone it remains gathering the first object it finds. I get frightened, for I cannot recall a single thing and I am certain I will err again and again. Seethed, I throw up all over the subway and get off
The doorbell lies with lovely oriental whistles, I am in light sleep, cars outside crack the air and the sound rises like back pain, hands clean, the neighbor utters, cover your cough, show me your credentials, walkie-talkie spirits terrorize me, hands free, hands slow, over the wall they draw places of the city that cannot be wandered, the opposite side of balconies, ceilings across high end sewer systems, I better go straight up the highway, a complete desert, concrete, where are you headed?, I walk, I die walking, I walk from uptown till downbeat, I should be in deep dreams by now, buildings make fun of my inner abyss and my failed attempts to flee through the maps of youth, I let myself be fooled by the maps, so I forget the city. The morning sun opens a window in the pavement, it is not an exit, I go back to the same place my feet have touched when getting out of bed
I can feel the touch of water on my cheeks. I smile. It is a good enough day to go out, look around, or hang from a tree. I tie my shoelaces so I’ll remain closer to the concrete. I see keys lying in a puddle and I rest my head. A leaf floats inside an empty ice cream package. The umbrellas seem confident enough today, the big ones shelter the little ones, and side by side they walk even through waste. I see detours and misfortunes. I could jump ahead, but if I land badly, I could land badly forever. I have one zip of pisco, then another, they do me well. I leave my teeth stamped on the styrofoam cup and then rise like smoke signals cut off by the rain. The rain kills all of my attention. If I could only stay this way
I wait in the car to enter the tunnel. The bottle of water wiggles across the driver’s empty seat. Through the rearview-mirror I can see a woman shaking her head as if she were denying longing. Her companion tries to catch the wind by the nape. He confines it and sets it free, as a child would do to study the strength of an unfortunate creature that has fallen into his hands. The loneliest vendor on the road hands me a bag of raisins. But I feel like eating crackers, or perhaps some gummy bears. She goes “lights are approaching, but we don’t know a thing about what they bring behind.” And to be funny I reply “will we be here long after the mountains have gone away?”. I see a truck loaded with logs heading towards the city. It interrupts our communication. Out of those logs they will make drawers to flee from the world. The vendor clears the way. I say goodbye by drawing a never-ending sign of peace