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7. The Rivers Dream of Rain

by Disparition




We follow every road, cross every field
our maps coated in finger oil
the stains of generations

We keep all names new and old,
on small wooden plaques
or old dominos
threaded on twine or twisted fishing line
carried on the belt
and around the neck

Among our people, the sound of these names -
they brush and click against one another
is our most Sacred sound.

We like it when you hear our approach
when you hear us on your road

You quicken, you liquidize
your memory hears us before your self
begins to boil
to foam and rise

We do not sell answers
this is forbidden to us

We freely give any name in our mind
ancient or weeks old –
the histories bestowed on us, our heavy burden
is also free

You offer, and we accept
the night of rest
warm nourishment
a few small wooden plaques
or old dominos

On our noisesome belts we carry
towns, cities, roads, mountains, rivers
objects strange and mundane
process and plans
plants and creatures
favorite dishes passed down through generations

The only names we do not carry are human
this too is forbidden

Your names, our names
temporal or permanent
these may be written
only on the inside of an onion skin

We are cherished and hunted
sought everywhere

Some bring us within their walls
celebrate us, bestow upon us
names newly made, or old stories newly learned
They make us heavier.
They give us more noise.

Others seek us to silence us
to cut names from our belts
to burn or bury
They have many good reasons
reasons we understand
But we do not comply

We go to great lengths
We protect ourselves

We were born the day the old net fell
dissipated in distrust
fragmented and cloistered

As the age of paper unfolded we quickly earned a natural trust
and right to cross gates
wander in and out of walls
and gathered friends to walk with us
to watch our backs against those who would lighten us

It did not take long for our numbers to grow
As new waters came into the valley
we walked along canals
balances on the little walls
met with carriers of salt
rode with Fivers the length of their Way

In the days when paper cracked and peeled
it is said one fourth of every other hold
came to walk with us

New cultures bubble and foam across the plain
Old paper blows and washes out to sea
fresh skin glistens in the sun
green and gold and pulsing

Our flow across fields
the lines we draw between
walled cities, far towers, open circles, wide farmsteads
we acquire weight and thickness
and shine into the glass eyes above
dead and living
bound to old nets
and new gardens

In this way we speak
The names we carry are tiny
The names we carve into the earth reach for hundreds of miles

Words that stretch across the land
these are the names of countries, cities, rivers, and mountains
in our own secret tongue
Forever unknown even to us
none of us has ever seen them

Glass eye above, you hold us.
Liquid eye on the other side,
we wait for you.


It was March when she fell into the Vision
The first March of the liquid days
When the remnants of the fakery
Still wet in the streets
Waiting to be washed away
Or dried into dust and carried off by winds

In April came the days of Seperation
The waves of dreams from the east
The flow over and under the Sierra
Her Vision was a rock in the stream
Vortices shed behind her

By May the formalities had fallen apart
Concrete and sands shifting under the feet
A shift quicker than anyone had anticipated
The turning of some hidden mechanis
Or opening of a door
You looked behind you and it was already done

These were days of bright colors
Of opening
Unguided masses of the east
Pulled through and into the searing valley
This has happened again and again

But those who had crossed the sands
Or walked the ridges and ravines
Now floating just above every surface they crossed
Tongues bound, silenced by the strength of that first pull
She was the first to greet them

The current were strong in those days
She took position in the center of the valey
In the beginning it was only her senses
With expert use of Overlay
From the edge of her fields
Alone under the sky

Then she sent her people unto the land
To gather stones, the width of the circle
And with this built her tower
Rising from the middle of the San Joaquin

Those who came to her
Learned to breathe that sacred water
Soon word travelled on those currents
And seekers came from all direction
The wild marches of the north
The communes and bastides of the valley
Even the glistening shapes of the Bubble
And then word spread to the mirror cults of the Southland

In those months of heat and haze
She was visible only to those far wanderers
Selected by her watchers
Allies waiting at crossroads
Or within the webs of aid that sprang up in those days
Words and deeds sent to her
By crow and bee

With Autumn came visiblity
In other lands this is a time of darker skies
Rain and turning leaf and cold wind
Here it is the time of burning
A new and focused heat

But distance is distance
And light is light
So here too we have that clarity
That sharpness of season
And so she began to glow
Blue and violent spillig across fields
Winding through canyons
Crossing the horizon

Eyes awoke and turned to face her all at once
They came for her – at first small and local groups
The Bubblers to record and categorize
To steal and mock and recreate
The Christkeepers to silence and burn
To meld and reshape and funnel

And then the air changed, the Southlanders came
High ranking channelers of the miror cults
in shining capes and glittering tights
Envoys from the realms of Glendale, Cessna, Orange, Pasadean, Waterworld, and the Citadel, naked and direct, covered in shifting and confused signs
Wanderers of the desert communes and priestesses of Salton, come with flowers , vines, and warnings

Overwhelmed and ever weary, she took from this widening flow
And spun an elaborate filter
A circle five miles around her tower
Sinking into both sides of the river

Any who would approach her, the Source of San Joaquin
Must carry a living plant, one year of age or older
Not yet found within her Circle

Thus was born her famous garden

By December she had become fully real
The flow into her Circle narrow, slow, intense
The return into the world bright, jagged, searing
They came with palm, succulent, and vine
They left wrapped in currents and winds
Eyes glowing, tears streaming

In January came the days of new accord
When flowers turned to signs and letters
Were wound over the gates of cities
When Mia Marisol, in person, approached
Bearing citrus micrantha
And left with a map of ways to slip
Between every mirror of the Southland

It was February when the waters around the tower
Began to froth and rise as mist
Unsnapped from the grid
She divided and dissipated
The line of her circle wound back up around its spool
The tendrils of her garden, still bound to her
Reaching for the sea.


Those who cover themselves in empty signs
And piecemeal tongues
Those who live in loudness
Wrapped in fragile image
Snared and stretched and caught in the gaps
Become as paint and pasetel
Smeared gradient and shining dust
This is your service and your bridge
Become rose, become ultramarine, become lime, become magenta, become iris, become azure, become sienna, become canary, become puce, become mustard, become sea foam, become umber. become crimson, become ochre, become gold, become vermillin, become feldspar, become violet, become sage...


released October 30, 2020

created and performed by Jon Bernstein




Disparition Los Angeles, California

Electronic, ambient, industrial, found sounds, beats, piano.

Inspired by history, geography, travel, occult, fiction.

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