The Lecture

 ︎︎︎ Wes Holtermann
︎ MAR 15, 2022

We were driving along a dark country road on our way to a lecture. It was becoming difficult to see through the fog, and we hoped it wouldn’t make us too late, because there were certain mysteries that had not yet revealed themselves to us, and we hoped the lecturer, the famous giant, might pull back the curtain on a few, so to speak. We had all wondered what it was like to be so tall, but we never asked, because the tall, after all, are not a freak show, but we did have a lot of questions, for example where do the tall find frocks their size and for that matter slacks and whether the weather was in fact a notch, um, off up there, given what we had all learned at the lecture on microclimates – in fact the more lectures we attended, the more questions arose about the tall people among us, for example what did the tops of their heads look like, and for example were there sacraments Sharpied for safe keeping on their shiny bald spots, which was probably why we all had dreams of pruning the old rose that had for centuries clambered up the stone wall of the town but had lately grown unruly, why all of us dreamt of mounting the rickety ladder with our secateurs to get down to the grizzly business of cutting back to the old wood, when in the dream one of the tall among us walks by and says shall I steady that ladder for you? the nerves now whirligigging through our circuitry, being that we would now of course have the perfect vantage of their shiny dome, but the dreams here diverged, as we discussed during the Q and A at the lecture on dreams and their uses in fortune telling, some of us being privy, in our high up rose pruning, to secret unknowns, the harmonic geometries of God drawn squeakily on the scalp, others privy to the scriptures of the hermits of Zeus who lived in bare rooms carved out of the mountain, and still others privy only to lewd scribbles of for instance cumming genitals, myself being one of those, but Jacqueline’s of course showed her the pulsing mycelial network of the mushroom kingdom, through which the trees whisper electrical currents, through which toxins pass and rebloom as the lilacs from which we townspeople make our famous wine, the secret string strung between all things on earth, even the dirt we walk on garlanded with wonders, the full meaning of which she has not yet been able to explain sufficiently, which is why I’m still swimming in the muck of that which is unknowable to me, while Jacqueline, since her dream, has grown nearly a foot and in fact barely fits in our car, her knees splayed as she presses the pedals, shoulders hunched, pushing through the dense fog, our headlights, for now our only source of knowledge, our fortune tellers, exploding in droplets of mist and fizzling out.

Wes Holtermann
's writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Kenyon Review, GlitterMOB, Radioactive Moat, and elsewhere. He is a gardener, living and working in Oakland, California.