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“...an unpossessed twilight land...”

Such men haunted the Captain. In sleep he saw their pale lascivious faces; watched them moving like blind men beneath the thousand-columned El, where a calamitous yellow light filtered downward all night long. In this tragic and fluorescent dream they passed and repassed him restlessly, their faces half averted, forever smiling uneasily as though sharing some secret and comforting knowledge of evil which he could never know.

They lived in an unpossessed twilight land, a neon wilderness whose shores the Captain sometimes envisaged dimly; in sleep he sought that shore forever, always drawing nearer, like a swimmer far out to sea; yet never, somehow, attaining those long, low sands. He would awaken feeling unnatural, dreading the evening and the yellow showup's glare.

- Nelson Algren, "The Captain Has Bad Dreams" (from The Neon Wilderness)

October 23, 2017 in Books | Permalink