The Crawlspace

Crawlspace as surrealist object? Of course—why not? And this particular crawlspace? Truly an ONERIC ASSEMBLAGE, if ever there was one.

Underplace, you are marvelous. You are a place in which I slither many times more than I need. My wife, she calls me a future dwarf. She calls me a miner. She says that one day I will stay within you, set up shop, abandon the upper-realms. Perhaps. In order to enter you, I must cover my body with a thick double layer of clothing, and wear my wife’s pink floral shower cap. As an armor against spider, against camel cricket, against scorpion. Against all your unwavering stillborn sentries. I walk around the left side of the house. At the threshold of your slit I stand fearful-excited. Dialectical. I begin to enter you, avoiding the snickering of the asbestos tile, that dancing old alabaster cripple. And I think back also on the journey of the builderman fool, that babyfaced one with his crippling arachnophobia. Once, long ago, he had entered you. His thin legs shaking, his face disgraced by an irritated grimace. He had not given you the proper respect. And so—on exit from your womb—he had been graced by the gift of the poisonous arachnid.

O Lover, I am coming inside you now…And if the door should close fast behind me? I would welcome it. Of course, this is not my first time swimming in subterranean, no no. I am certainly no red-faced virgin. Two houses ago—a very cold, very wet, very dark crawlspace she was—that was the time of my very first underdeath. It had been wintertime. And there was an attempt on my part to light a gas furnace. But down in the crawlspace, my fragileyoung flesh had been transmuted by that unexpected pool of still, frigid water. My poor little leggy legs, paralyzed by an under-lake at least three inches deep, uncompromising. Filled, no doubt, with a thousand suckling worms. With a thousand little devils, sailing on a thousand tiny ships. Mud-covered and shivering I was then, with a mind fast becoming the “porcupine smile”. Eventually my slime-covered body had retreated, squirming from her dark interior like the strangest of all possible snakes. Cast out from only orifice available; a hole about one feet tall. And then!—that sweetest kiss of new sun—that second traumatic birthing. I can’t go back now, friends. I’m hooked. And why not?! A man might as well rebirth every 2-3 months, that’s what I say!

Oh, but have we lost the narrative thread? Let’s reverse it a bit then, let’s get back to that OTHER crawlspace now…So anyways, yeah, I make it through the doorway easily enough. And then I look around. And yeah. This particular underworld, it’s a real odd one. To be sure. No reason, no rhyme. Layer upon layer of antagonistic timelines, all competing for dominion. Specters of 1945, of 1967, of 1992… Along the path, wire-snails wrestle in the language of unreasonable stones. And everywhere else I see great fissures opening, “allbleeding it” across a terrain of orange dust. And they whisper legend in my ear as I pass. Hints, tales of some lost prehistoric epoch, of some grand musical earthquake, microscopic…Cracked in 1972? In 1983?

The ceiling gets higher—it seems I am now beneath the kitchen. So be it. Under the ancient mold-queen, with her everwatchful galaxy eyes, I wait. And I wonder. And I appreciate the opulence of the nearby trash stratum. A real swim of deadpearls can be seen over there now, little strangesomethings left by worker or by vagrant or by ghost. Sigh. Crawl low, journeyman, but not too low. Pass palpitating stomach over primeval feces-mountain. Is it of the raccoon trickster, or is it of the grey cat?

I huddle under the bathroom area now, watching those old pipes running downdown into deep. Pipes! They fall right into the abyss, brave souls, right down into the center of the earth. But that particular hole I shall never approach. So let’s not approach it. Onward! Flecks of white snow fluff are seen nearby, scattered. Buncha blow-in attic insulation, it seems. Completely separated from their kin. Cut-off, adrift. They had merely followed the path of least resistance, those carefree childish ones. Had merely tumbled down one secret raccoon passageway after another. And, absurd as it might seem, they had somehow ended their journey here, in this deepest of household caverns. And all had beheld and all were perplexed.

I squirm on. I look for the nest of kittens, for the prophesied nest, and yet I cannot find it anywhere. Our grey stray had been very recently pregnant, you see, and where else could she possibly have taken them? A great feline mystery. I turn now, looking for the exit. I am feeling slightly panicked, as though my time here is running short. What would happen if one strayed for too long here, in this crawlspace’d fairyland? Who knows, I don’t, no expert can be found, whatever kid. But I know that it’s the place where dreams come to hibernate in the daytime, I know that much at least. And that’s something, eh?