Reading Time: 5 minutes

Unwritten is Best

in a slowly cooling car
at Sunderby Hospital's large staff parking lot
September 21st at 07:27 AM
I am a ticking detail
in the vast machinery of the present,
with its branches rooted deeply
in future & past,
inserted between the boundaries of white lines
in the parking grid's distribution
of time & space,
in the endurance of waiting
in a here-and-now geometry

All vehicles
- except those just arriving or backing out to depart -
are silent, empty, still;
like tombstones in a cemetery
or an attentive chamber ensemble
before an endlessly raised conductor's baton
on the event horizon

Nothing happens
and everything weighs heavily

I am a kind of organic interior
in the car in which I arrived;
the temperature inside the bodywork
steadily dropping
towards the ideal +4 C° of the outside,
which it for sure can never reach
as long as my body heat resists it,
while the dashboard RPM and speed indicators
both rest at zero,
and time - which I keep enduring -
continues its steady descent through space;
thoughts rising like waste heat
from a district heating plant;
ink falling from the pen a reminder
of relativity & quantum states;
each poem proving that unwritten is best


The double pinging
of elevators up & down
in the building's central, longitudinal atrium,
running the full height & length of the complex,
in the whirring of kick scooter tires
and the spatial clicking of hard-soled shoes,
wrapped in the flocking right-left passages of voices,
creates an airy John Cage composition about itself
- much like ”Lecture On Nothing” -
in an exquisite meta mindfulness,
while my personal time,
as I'm sitting on a bench by the wall
with Michio Kaku's book ”Quantum Supremacy” at hand,
floats at eye level,
like a jellyfish in the North Sea,
confident in its stubbornness,
illusory independent of physical laws
and cultural taboos

Descending elevator counterweights rise
inside the elevator shafts like nuclear-armed missiles
out of Nebraska's monocultures

Tight teams of employees, moving from their meetings
to a common luncheon, rush past,
shoulder to shoulder,
marching like Roman cohorts in tight testudo formations;
ladies with round buttocks and men with sexual intent;
determined atrium movements at noon on a workday

The elevators continue to speak to deaf ears
about floor levels
in muffled mantras of remoteness,
without comprehensible meanings
or identifiable emotional states

Solitary, swift-footed figures in white attire float by
in silent stiffness
with gazes locked in hypnotic smartphone screens


Heavy curtains of rain sweep in
over Sunderby's free parking lot
like the horsemen of the Apocalypse
at 1:30 PM,
the whole ruthlessness of a foreign power
over the fleet of parked cars in immeasurable numbers
in the gloom;
yes, like an army of stoned American draftees
on the shores of Da Nang,
the foam-ridden torrents swallow everything audible

Waiting in the car
on the outskirts of the patience narrative
on the rain-soaked asphalt
beyond the hospital's ominous shadows,
which resemble Manhattan's skyline
in a downgraded tropical storm coming up from the Gulf,
seen from the other side of the river, in New Jersey,
parts of my field of vision dissolve
into the numbness of a migraine aura,
while I think of myself
as waiting in the car
on the outskirts of the patience narrative
on the rain-soaked asphalt
beyond the hospital's ominous shadows

Occasionally, I hear the muffled thuds
of isolated car doors slamming shut
somewhere in the bumpy, tortoiseshell mass
of vehicles,
as someone arrives for work or an appointment,
or departs

I sit in the identity-alienating migraine aura
on the more roomy, steering-wheel-less passenger side
in the noise of the rain
and the broadsides of wind,
in the grip of the migraine,
the windshield nearly opaque in the cold,
irregular downpour,
when someone pulls in
and parks diagonally across from me, to the right,
without getting out,
intruding on my privacy, my personal sphere,
my comfort zone,
in the same way someone
entering an otherwise empty bus,
might sit down next to you,
and I immediately feel hostile
toward the unknown/unseen person
that I cannot even make out through the rain
and the wet windows,
and who certainly hasn't noticed me
in the darkness of my car,
behind windows that only let through distorted,
incomprehensible, constantly changing forms
in the rivulets trickling down the glass,
while my migraine attack slowly completes its undulation
through my brain,
and leaves behind a sense of depersonalization,
weakened cognitive coherence
and unsteady motor coordination,
while my personal integrity continues to be violated
for at least another hour,
though I, in the gradually receding phase
of the migraine incident - fortunately -
experience the situation in the car
out in the parking lot among hundreds of anonymous vehicles
and the few scattered thuds of car doors closing,
plus the sight of a few hunched shadows disappearing
into their disappearances,
as a long, sparse 1980's Morton Feldman composition,
at around 3 PM in the rain
in one of Sunderby Hospital's large parking lots 

©  Ingvar Loco Nordin 2023