Sometimes the frenzy is too much. The carpenter can't tolerate pounding one more nail. The dentist refuses to say "spit into the tube" even one more time. Sometimes the inertia overpowers the one who started the ball rolling. You look back and realize you are miles from home. You look down and realize the ground is not as close as you thought it was. But gravity will get its way. And love will send you an invoice for its services. Failure to pay will incur severe penalties. Love knows what you want. You certainly don't. You think you want a helicopter. Of course you do! But you are wrong. You want a lover to snuggle with. You want a close companion to witness your struggle-conquests. You want a snuggle puppet to press your face in to. But sometimes all life gives you is a pillow, and you are forced to press your face into that - a thousand miles in the air, a thousand miles from home.
Wake up, genius. Evil transmorphs and adapts to your righteousness campaigns. Did you really think your dumb little morality stand would not be faced with a counter-attack? Wake up and smell the warfare. Evil shrouds itself in white robes and taps fancy symbols and sings uplifting songs, circling your judgment orb and constraining your decision-making apparatus. You pass judgment. You demand allegiance. But let people make their own choices and learn their own lessons. Let them fashion their own memories and character in the omni-flames of this rapidly expanding universe.
Bad angles and low lighting. Dust clouds swept into the ceiling fans, raining down on ancient writers. Crypt dwellers typing on their miracle devices, reaching for the life giving tit of attention and affection. Forever reaching, and typing. Forever repositioning their spirits to get in touch with that softness of heart, which they remember feeling so long ago. Heart beats echo in the hard heart chambers. The surface cracks and shows wear. There's a snap here and there, then steam and heat. The ancient writer taps out something honest. The ancient writer admits a weakness, and there is another crackle on the concrete surface of his suffocated heart. A walk on the dock. An honest song. A repentant prayer. Now that heart is, slightly, pulsating. The beats echo softer. Ancient writer reclaims a little gain in his entrenched heart.
A mob of angry citizens surround me with their mobile phones and their buckets and shovels. "What do you want from me," I plead. They dig into the earth with their shovels and fill their buckets. "Eat your own earth," I plead.
I wake up in the lawn. The sprinklers click on and my pajamas slowly drench. As I walk back to my front door I notice my dog digging a hole. I'm too tired to discern the significance, so I amble into the kitchen. "Hi honey," I say and make my way for some toast. She looks up from her mobile phone. "Fall asleep on the lawn again?" I nod my head. "Yeah."
As I'm slathering my jelly all over the face of my toasted bread slice, Joey-Six-Pack rings the door bell. I swing the door open and Joey says "Hey man. You piss your pants." He points to my wet pajamas. "No. Sprinkler." He nods. "Here's your shovel, dude. Thanks for letting me use it."
The iron rails have been pounded into the earth. But what holds it there? Spikes? Don't they become loose? We walk so full of confidence, as if every thing we fix will stay fixed. But the earth does what it wants to. It has no master. We can blow it up with dynamite, or move it with our monster tractors, but it will always do whatever, and can not be depended on to do what we want it to do. And as powerless as we are about it, there is also a comfort in knowing our limitation. There is a comfort in knowing the earth is masterless. We each have our place. We've each been pounded into a certain spot, and we are expected to say within that confined location. If we try to be something other than that we loosen, and everything breaks and falls apart all around us.
Leon was a tradesman from Portland. He never thought he would be in Japan on a game show. But he won the damn thing, and now he had a stack of yen to spend. He didn't really know how much, but it filled his backpack. He bought a bottle of water and a fish sandwich and barely made a dent in the stash. His mother told him not to gamble. His father told him not to eat meat from other planets. He was a good boy who just wanted to be loved. But then there was the divorce. His parents drifted apart like mute political parties. There was no anger or rage. There was no yelling. They were suddenly separated and he had to no navigate between two houses instead of one. Authority crumbles. Security fragments. Now all he wants is liberty. Liberated Leon, who does as he pleases. Free Leo, who goes where he wants to and eats the fish of other planets.
Drifting opinions explode over the crowded connector circuits. Bone shards protrude. Brain colors spray placid images across the canvases. Sip sip. A thousand strangers in close proximity nurturing, gardening, and feeding the isolation crops. Time and false beverages will bring the mighty harvest. Isolated stranger people, tapping their feeling mechanisms. Finger pushers sliding pixel objects around a glass casket. Pocket-sized caskets shrinking us down to the right size. Death-sized. Work hard, you said. Party hard, you said. Save money, you said. You did none of it. And now you sit in well nurtured isolation, covered in fake luxury and painted gold.
Have you ever tried to open a coconut? It is like a brain puzzle from hell. The shell is titanium covered in strange bark shrapnel. You pound it on the counter. You drop it on the sidewalk. It will not open. So in a huff you make a run for your sharpest knife. But the bark shrapnel repels the blade, and you are left standing there, like a dolt, with an unopened coconut and a dull knife.
But you are persistent. You climb to the second floor and drop it from the balcony. When that doesn't work, you back over it with your fuel efficient SUV. Then you pound it with a hammer. You pray to your lord while laying hands on the unholy orb. And finally you power up your circular saw and bring the screaming blade to the brown enemy. But the spinning blade just shoots the coconut across your garage, and it crashes into your garden tools. And you remove your safety goggles and make a perplexed expression. Nature has beaten you. The coconut has won.
I'm walking in the sand with Jesus, along an abandoned beach, when a flash in the sky knocks me on my ass. Jesus helps me to my feet and we walk looking up at the story of my life, which is playing on quintuple speed just above the sea. When the movie catches up, and it is jesus and I both on the beach and on the screen, I notice the tracks in the sand made by our feet. Things get complicated. Words are said that can't be unsaid. Feelings are hurt. And now I'm in a skiff boat rowing into the dark waters. Impostor Jesus is getting smaller and smaller back on the shore. He's waving his hands. He's throwing stones. "Walk out to me if you want to be with me!" I shout, spittle spraying in passionate shots from my mouth. I row and row. This supposed savior scoffs and turns and shrinks with the horizon.
Set the tone. Type your mind into the writing zone. Give a nudge the clogged sludge that oozes through your block of brain. It's all concrete and rock, but a little heat and pressure and the flow will return. Look, I've got too many ideas to communicate to tolerate the unmoved mind. I've got too many truths to spew to accept inactivity. I am standing here with nothing but my swimming shorts and this pool needs water. I am in my snorkel and eye-mask and there had better be fancy fish to look at when I submerge myself. Creativity lurks under the surface, behind the artifacts of the visible world, and I need to submerge myself deeply into it. I need to lose touch with all these things I can touch. I need to shut down to power up. I've dipped my toe in, now I need to jump.
Heart-taker. Pulsating organ wheeled on a linen-covered cart. Red-stained linen fluttering in the hallway breeze, while the orderly rushes along, dodging nurses, doctors, and alien family members. Heart-taker. Pushing through the hospital hallways. Trying to find the host before the organ stops it's pulsations. Desperate orderly looking for the home of the slimy lump. It could be anyone's, really. They're all heartless. Eventually the pulsating stops. The heart hardens. The orderly catches his breath and slides to the floor along the wall. After a puff of grief, he checks his phone. [NO NEW MESSAGES]. He calls his mother. No answer.
Coffee house gestures pummeling my perception systems. Swirling fingers activate nodding heads, while inward leaning speakers trigger affirmative eye-brow raises. Struts and leans. The flower queen rubs lip balm on her lips like they're on fire. Business leaders share their enlightened visions with listeners who do not see it all as clearly. Gray-haired men research journal articles to familiarize themselves with their new careers. I've never met any of these people, and none of them will ever touch me. So many strangers making well practiced gestures. And there are so many coffee shops. So many coffee shops, like gesture pods, spread across this great planet - this planet, which rotates and moves around the sun making its own orbital gestures.
I look out too many windows.
(It diminishes my thrive)
Why chase just one thing
When I could chase five?
I start too many projects
(I've got lists of all my lists).
I work until I can't -
Until the strength escapes my fists.
Why do I sabotage my efforts
(With my unholy hocus-pocus).
I'd be a great deal happier
If I could force myself to focus.
I'm tip-toeing fancifully down all my restless miles. Statues wink. Students snort drugs and click their links. The strange days are going away. The common days are filling up the page. Salient memories are punching my eye. I'm pushing on your face from the other side of the mirror. Tip-toe dancers twirl around me with their foamy lattes. Immigrant mathematicians pull their stocking caps down low and focus on their glow. Wrapping cords and the clown's new town. Nobody watches where they walk. Nobody honks their horn. Snowmen are on the brink of extinction. Who has time? Kids today roll their snow piles on their pixel plates, with a finger and a swipe, in their homes by the fire, in their Breaking Bad pajamas.
You step onto the bus. A puff of smoke. The floor jolts. The platform is a surf board moving you along the darkened city. You find a seat in the middle and are surrounded by liars. Hopeful little liars, plumped out and gorged by fatty foods and sweetened beverages. You are surrounded by piranhas with bad teeth tapping on their device pads. The platform stops and starts and stops and starts in a procession of stutters. Horns honk. Wheels roll. Stars in the sky are on hold. You get off the bus and thank the driver. "Uh-huh," she says, and thrusts the lever closing you out, casting you into the world. You wait for starlight.