Nemo’s Nic-Nac Emporium: Ch 1. Purple

 

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{Chapter 1: Purple}

“Why purple?” I asked.

Because it is the shade of royalty.”

“How do you mean?”

Are you familiar with the tropical mollusk ‘murex’? It is a predatory sea snail. The mucus glands of murices can be used to create a purple dye—‘Tyrian purple’. That’s where it first came from.”

My befuddlement at this explanation must have translated to my face, because Mr. Nemo stopped tinkering with the tiny clock in his hand when he looked up at me. He smirked (as subtly as he could manage to) and continued:

“It was extraordinarily rare and difficult to produce. Tens of thousands of murices, in addition to a considerable amount of labor, were required to create this dye. It was, therefore, notably valued in its rarity. Only esteemed members of nobility could afford such a luxury. So you see, purple is the shade of royalty.”

“And that’s why it’s your favorite color, is it? Isn’t that sort of twisted, being drawn to something because of its exclusivity? Don’t you think color is the sort of universal pleasure that everyone, regardless of class or ranking, should have access to?”

The clockmaker chuckled and resumed his work. I felt my cheeks growing red, his laugh, whether or not it was meant to be, seemed patronizing to me. After a few more minutes of fiddling with his clock, he seemed to finish up with whatever it was he was doing with it. He set it aside and looked up at me once more.

Do you think me a callous man, Arthur?” he asked, quite genuinely it seemed.

“I think it’s awfully cruel and regressive to reinforce or romanticize any sort of hierarchical system in the modern day, whether or not that reinforcement take as simple a form as the preference of a color.” I felt strongly about this, and attempted to convey my words with a degree of intensity that would not be lost on Mr. Nemo. He considered my words as he took off his eyeglasses and rubbed the lenses clean with his shirt.

Perhaps. And yet, is it not equally cruel to deny a man the power of indulging in extravagance? Is it not also regressive to discount the possibility of growth? He will never aspire for greatness, who has nothing to aspire to, my boy.”

“I don’t know if I value indulgence and extravagance the way you seem to. ‘Greatness’, as you describe it, seems to be an elaborate mask of a term used to disguise vanity. In a similar vein, ‘aspiration’ can be equated with a fruitless endeavor to prove one’s superiority to others. It is not so much callousness I identify you with, Mr. Nemo, but an alarming inclination to tend towards conceit.”

“Aha! But, Arthur, my dear boy, do you derive no pleasure in differentiating yourself from me? Do you find no sense of delight, not the slightest, in distinguishing yourself as the antithesis of a sybarite such as myself? Are you not, in the satisfaction you achieve in drawing the distinction between your morals and my own, putting yourself in a position, be it one relating to a spectrum of ethical righteousness, of superiority?”

Preposterous! No. Of course I was not putting myself in a position of superiority. Yes, I was glad that I didn’t share Mr. Nemo’s demented outlook on luxury, that I didn’t agree that some are more deserving of it than others. But does that mean I am no better than he is? How could that be? Does my overwhelming discomfort at being likened to someone like Mr. Nemo support his assertion? Am I indeed, in my evident need to see myself as someone entirely separate from him, just like Mr. Nemo? Are we all?

While I sat in silence and considered his peculiar convictions, Mr. Nemo found another clock to tend to; this one was rather large with a brass mantel.

“Mine’s yellow.” I said after a while. It was all that I could manage to say, because, at the moment, it was the only thing I was absolutely sure of. It was the only contribution I could make to the furthering of this conversation that had not been tainted by the seed of doubt that Mr. Nemo had so unperturbedly planted in my mind. He put down the crown wheel in his hand and looked up. “My favorite color,” I added, “it’s yellow.”

He smiled in a way that I can only describe as quaint, and softly asked, “Why yellow?

 

 

 

Fragmented Fondness

 

Inconclusive

Fireworks

Blackness happens in explosions

In your eyes, where the magic is born from butterflies

Never healing the pain that comes hand in hand with sentience

 

We are amidst everything

Nothing

All the same

Bumblebees buzzing, carrying messages to the faint-hearted;

Telling them to stay strong during this time of uncertainty.

 

We are not destined for liberation, not in this lifetime

I don’t know how to fall out of love anymore

Not today, I can’t forget you today

 

Your many faces are blurring into each other

But, the same every time

Kaleidoscopic visions roll their eyes at me, chuckling

I never really knew you

Not really

 

Fading, messed everything up because I could

Never said hi to you either

You wouldn’t have liked me very much anyway, I think

It’s all kind of useless I guess

Sadness is necessary, he told me

“Gives life purpose, don’t you think?”

I don’t know

I don’t like the way it feels though

 

Conversations rising up into the air like cigarette smoke

Dip into the ashtray and leave my sighs to cool down there

I’ll want you whether or not it’s good for me

First impressions are hilarious aren’t they?

Sword masters weren’t appealing upon first glance

You were an acquired taste, love

 

Get close enough

Let me scrunch my fingers into your hair

Smile with your soul, boy

With that radiance

That unapologetic candor

All black everything,

No ivory to dilute the darkness was ever found

Except for the soul,

The soul was grey.

My Tribe

I think I found my tribe once, a people in whom I saw myself. Together we stood in unity, for each other we wanted goodness and prosperity. There was no selfishness in this sort of friendship, it was innocent, pure, it was beautiful. It was the sort of thing you read about in fantastic tales, and sometimes it felt like it’s own. 

But that tribe left me as quickly as it came. For when the clock struck 18, it was time for all of us to head in separate directions, to evaporate into the world, in this way and in that. I wonder, sometimes, if I will ever find my way to my tribe again, and what form it will take this time, for it can never be the same as it was. I wonder if I deserve to rediscover that sort of unadulterated bond, for perhaps it can only remain as long as one remains pure within their own person. My innocence then, it seems, was short-lived. 

It hurts now, as I float through life, a formless vapor, drifting. I make loose connections, all fruitless, all bland. No one seems authentic in the eyes, they greet you with that surface-smile and don’t submerge themselves in conversation the way sentient beings, blessed with unparalleled acuity in the art of articulation, should. They say things of little substance and when you decide to bare bits of your soul to those among them that are at least making an effort, they stare back with a lifeless, inconclusive gaze that is irreparably exhausting. I am lost among a crowd in which I do not, no matter how hard I try, see myself. 

I yearn for the day when I shall be reunited with my people at last (whether it is in this life or the next).   

Streams of Subconsciousness 

Meaningless, worthless, aimless, useless. Often things happen because we think there is a reason or a purpose or some guidance occurring somewhere far beyond the tangible, not because there truly is. What is this butterfly effect no one’s been able to gauge without staining and tainting unbelievably with human error? Where is this place where the incredible is ordinary? I believe I would fit right in there, although I’d be wrong about that. 
No do-overs, no more second chances, no more restarts. That’s not the way anything is done around here. You do and it’s done. You say and it’s said. You die, well, you’re dead. 

Platonic friendship is beautiful because there is so little that can be said about its benefits other than that simple human connection you make with someone– you are not (hopefully) looking to gain or take something with the excuse of caring: not sex, money, connections, etc. You just, do. It’s pure (if anything here is). 

I can sit here in the water forever, although I’m alone, although I’ve not yet mastered solitude. I’ve not yet mastered anything, have you? Anyway, the sun is setting now and I’ve got to get up and wash my true thoughts off of my body before anyone realizes I’ve been gone. If I have the good fortune of seeing you again, might you be kind enough to remind me of what we discussed on this transient twilit evening? 

Anxious Alice 

Need a new muse, so I’ll blow the fuse, lift the ruse of infatuation

In translation I am feeling less free lately and more restrained

Ever since the gain from trade has lost the ability to sustain itself

Haunted 

I am feeling present and simultaneously gone 

So far along that I am lost within the synth of the song that stopped playing an hour ago 

Look up 

The number of stairs has multiplied by 65 since I walked down a couple years ago 

Into the rabbit hole 

Willing but terrified 

And now I look up and don’t see the sky 

Just your knowing eyes looking down at me 

Disappointed 

I’ve anointed myself with the dime of grime that’s oozing from behind the door that wasn’t here a second ago 

Let’s go? 

Oh, but we only just got here!

And fear is not a good enough reason to leave behind this space we’ve discovered in our minds 

Time?

Oh but we’ve plenty of that,

It’s everywhere- over the sky, under that mat 

We can swim in it if you’d like

Arboretum of Afterthoughts 

Like hash and cigarette ash 
He had a way about him

Something new   

But familiar too

There was a green dragon 

Sitting on his forearm 

Not a force to be reckoned with 

Nor a reason to be intrigued,

Left as quickly as he came

Silhouette outlined by the remains of his scent

A thought maintained, lingering in my brain 

Gone like the dream that never was 

Remembered like the thought that never left 

Who he was, was who I am?

Were neither a thing of trueness? 

Particles 

Nothing, 

Everything,

Sometimes.

Where’s the gray area? Is that where you live? Somewhere absolutes don’t necessarily exist? Where it doesn’t have to be this or that, here or there, now or never.

I wonder about memories sometimes, about their structure, what they are. Are they individual universes? In which I can perpetually walk into class and take a seat behind you, in which you haven’t yet realized what life will become? In which you are silent, observant, innocent, wise, beautiful, magical, idescribably painful in your unattainanibility?

Where does it end? Where have you gone? For in the present tense you are not who you were. I guess none of us are. And so those universes, that remain in my mind, where those scenes are played out again and again on a continuous, eternal loop, that’s the only place it exists anymore–

It is unique to my consciousness. It ends with me. Hope. Particles of hope are scattered all over this constructed reality, intangible, the result of an explosion of desire that was never meant to achieve anything. They float, like dust, in the atmosphere, in and out of my universes and those of these constructed realities–they are not biased as you and I are in these things.