Friday, April 23, 2010

A Moment In This Life

I’m here, in a sea of colors, sharp edges, landscapes and presence. I’m here and I’m away, drifting towards the glass. You’ll see me pressed there like yellow butterflies that, careless with the ecstasy of life, have met death on the highway. There are things rushing by, indifferent to my delicate constitution.
My small shape, growing like salt crystals under the light of a microscope. I never was a big thing. I am a big thing still. I feel trapped, like a bee in a bag, incapable of returning to the hive, confused, so confused by the clear plastic walls of my prison. Try to tell, tiny insignificant me, that my confinement has been orchestrated because I am capable of stinging the children of the dark gods. My punishment is death for the crime of causing some potential pain.
It melts like tiny hailstones between the fingers of a curious child. Tell me why the rain freezes up in the bellies of clouds. Is it because the clouds were cold mothers? Now their children fall to earth stinging the flesh of man beasts, perishing upon impact. One tiny bite as they pass, then they are transformed by this new encounter and become drops of water dribbling down between fingers.
Without knowing the beginning nor the end, I take flight, here, in a sea of colors, sharp edges, landscapes and presence, always here traveling across the universe, the one song, the only song I know yet. A folk musician likely wrote it, a girl with a guitar and a leather headband. Her mother must have looked the same.
Music fools my bag of bones into hypnosis. I’ll dance the dance of the swirling snow and the humming wasps, of the poor, poor butterflies fluttering from flower to flower. Is there something wrong with being alive?
There is something wrong… I feel trapped. There are chains of laziness that won’t let me take flight, thick cords of heavy sleep fastened in all the right places, strings that push me, pull me, make me move, spasmodically, towards the highway.
Death then is the final ringing of the bell. It is; when I count to three you will open your eyes and forget everything which we have just discussed…
If I had been hypnotized, how would I know? How would I ever know? As I take these steps, as the sounds lift my insides to a dance, I can never know. Why? What is happening? Was it because I had a cold mother? Why, why, why do I fall?
Waves of space engulf my senses. I am drowning. See how my mermaid hair reaches up toward a forgotten sun? The gates of reality come rushing to meet me. Without knowing the beginning nor the end, I have come to this place again. I pass beyond the threshold, just as I have before.
Whirling with the dizzy pleasure, I find myself on the highway. I’m here, in a sea of colors, sharp edges, landscapes and presence. I’m here and I’m away, drifting towards the glass. You’ll see me pressed there, growing like salt crystals under the light.
I never was a big thing. I am a big thing still. Trapped like a bee in a bag, incapable of returning to the hive. I am here. And I am away.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Long Road Backwards

Let’s take a trip in time. From where I sit on this velvet couch, it looks like backwards, but time moves in all directions, and the arrows bend and shift depending on the light and drugs, and so nothing is clear. Everything is clouded in the fuzziness of uncertainty and this purple haze that seems to follow me in my musings.
But let’s take a trip. My carpet is in the corner, still maroon and soft after all these years. Step up, and watch your head on the Dogwood branches, they try to bite this time of year. Sit and relax, let the air from these heights fill your being, and like a balloon, we’ll go.
Rainbows and flames, the flapping of our carpet corners beat like footsteps. Down the road of history we travel, up the tales of time, through the stories inked and spoken. The echoes of generations fill my ears. Can you hear their murmuring?
The reflection lies up ahead, a strange mirror that stretches across the horizon, the merciless eye of time. Below I can see a brick road, gold and faded red and shaped like a helix. This is the path of DNA, written by an unknown hand and a fine tipped brush, carving its secret messages into each of our cells. Messages so simple and pure, so earth-shattering in their truth.

The questions begin to mount:
Where have we come from?
What stories have I forgotten?
Who am I?
Where did I get this funny looking monkey suit?

In an effort to reveal a link in my own chain, I face the carpet east, towards the land of my grandparents, Croatia. It’s time to go back. I pluck my father sleeping from his bed, in his gown and black socks. He is coming. He has never gone back, not in forty years. He has washed the questions away with time and weak wine, and a marriage that was built to last, but now, with me, he’s going.

And here I am. Holding a picture of my Dad in front of me. A picture of when he was young and full of answers that could have been easily broken. It was taken here, in Croatia, 42 years ago. He’s standing in front of the local church with his younger brother, both in their crisp altar boy outfits and shy smiles. In the middle of them is the local priest, staring into the camera lens solemnly.

I hold the photo like it’s the most precious thing I’ve ever seen. I let the image watch me from the past. They look at me, they look into the man they’ll come to know much later. I let their forms seep into my awareness and I begin to feel how the echoes of the past can vibrate into the present. The clarity of the moment shakes me, grips me with solid arms. In my Dad’s twelve-year-old eyes I can see myself, but I can also see his father, and the eyes of his father’s father, and back down the line of men until I can only hear the sound of a baby crying.

A wide, silent tear forms in my heart. There isn’t sadness. It’s something resembling joy, but not exactly. It’s white and clear and bright. Thoughts are absent, and I just look, holding the photo. I can see farther into time than ever before, farther into the line of men that would one day make me. The whiplash from the vision sends me spinning headlong into something that I call “now.”

Beneath me is a velvet couch, in the corner, a rolled up maroon carpet. Holding my thoughts is a pale flesh-covered body. Around me is fire and the past is but a burning ember in my hands. The photograph melts, turning into ashes of memory that float upwards, towards some distant planet, the place of forgotten memories.