The train is screaming over the horizon line. I'm over here contemplating the nature of time. Lemonade mind. Sugar tone. Easy does it, difficult cousin. There is heat around the flame. There is flame around the fuel. What starts the spark? What initiates the burn-down protocol? What leaves the molecules for dead? The universe is a cold card dealer, and the odds are not in our favor. Life, in this universe, is a blackjack table. We will win a hand here and there, and our pile of gamble-coins will grow, and we will play with them in our hands. But the odds are not in our favor. And soon we will be back into the streets, cold in search of heat. Easy does it, difficult cousins. Salt tones on our mobile phones. What starts the spark? What is the flame?
I lower my head to the surface and place an ear close. It's down there, just below the surface, scratching to get out. I take my car key and start scratching, trying to break away the barrier. I hear it in there calling to me. I can't make out the words, but I know it wants me. I know it wants the best for me and my family. It just needs a way to be freed. So then I step back and take a running start and slam into the barrier, which throws me back and down, hard, to the cobblestone path. I hear it scratching in there, still, like a picture of a glass of whiskey deep in the mind of an alcoholic. It's in there wanting to be free, like the hyperactive virgin's seed. I stagger to my feet, unwilling to accept defeat. I think and wait for an idea to strike. But the idea is on the other side of the barrier, scratching to get out.
When we organized the police we became dogs on a leash. We outsourced our cut adrenaline. We gave away our staunch. Our resistance engine. Men used to look offenders in the eye, and slap any Jack that tried to front fierce. Now we rub against their leg as the thief scratches us behind our furry ears. We wag our tails and lick ourselves, unable to speak; not allowed to bark. We've outsourced our rogue muse. We've given away our protest fuel. It's trickling down the curb and gathering into a pool.
Someone's music is too loud = "Call the police!"
Someone stole my gum = "Call the police!"
We wag our tails, hoping someone meets our needs. Hoping someone gives a treat.
We are stepping into a new chapter. There are no clear lines. Leaves fall when they want to, as long as it is in a prescribed zone. Ode to scribe conquests. Spreading now module. It is a new direction with strangers and friends repositioning themselves on the float. It's the conductor changing the direction of the parade route. I've wrestled loose a tentacle or two and they are now making contact with new handles and are pulling on different levers. What is going to unfold? We don't know. But there is hope. All change is stuffed with creamy hope and hot anticipation. It's about aligning your gift sets with some objective will, God's will if you will. And you will. It's about working with the right corresponding pieces and avoiding ditch diggers and disillusioned nieces. It's about rhyming only when it makes sense. And about stepping through the resistance curtain with confidence and good cheer.
Looking through old journals. A puff of breath, a cloud of yellow dust. Faded ink on retro notebooks. And those words... filled with such depth and thorough analysis of unimportant things, like my emotions. Each sentence constructed, conscientious of my posterity. Always with an eye on the generations that would read about the formation of my greatness. So little authenticity. So little raw emotion expressed. Just analysis of things like "where I'm at" and "how I feel." Noxious journal entries that will make the angels weep with boredom. Self-important drivel that numbs my future. Taints my journey. I wish I would have told the truth. I was an imbecile, lost in a blizzard of inconsequential happenings. I was carefully polishing the inane artifacts of a self-obsessed life. I should have told the truth.
Barbara and I went outside at night, with a shiver, and looked up at a special moon. "Ain't that something," we said, as the dog trotted passed us and micturated on the lawn. It was a blood moon, or a holy moon, I can't remember which. It just looked like old cinnamon to me. But it was neat, I guess, even with our distance and lack of magnification. Planets in a frenzy, in fixed chaos too big for us to perceive, find themselves in these unique positions, relative to us, and we all run out of the houses at strange times and look up and say "Ain't that something." Then, a couple decades later, we do it again. But how couldn't we? Crazy people, soaked in paranoia and complicated narratives, think the positions of these chaos objects signify important events. They think the chunks of rock in the sky prophecy. We all run out and say "Ain't that something?" And then wonder what that something is.
There are some people who must speak. They talk their way through it. Progress pushes through the time sludge on the power of words, which vibrate and cogitate through ideology barriers and... so people talk. They share a story of their youth. They confront oppressive untruth. At least they hope it is untruth. They talk as if it is. And when they stop talking, they die. Oxygen dissipates. Flesh dries up. Ears find respite. Teachers make their way through their lecture and are able to get to the point. If I have a thought, so what? Strangers rub their hands and fists all over their faces, massaging their heads as they fidget with their thoughts. The rubbing hands sending background messages to their distracted brains, keeping them grounded and reminded of the reality they are steeped in. They have a thought, and then they talk.
Windows stand before us like portals. We are safe and young in the sunlight translated through glass. The warmth of sunshine slows us in healing ways. I need it because I am so scattered. I race in 12 directions. My mind scatters like a flock of birds, and I keep trying to pull it all back together so I can focus. Then unfocus, but in a constructive sort of way. Creativity requires a sort of unfocus. But not just any unfocus. Stress, anxiety, and burden all have a sort of unfocus to them as well, but not the constructive type. I need the type of unfocus that allows ideas to swell and flow in and through me in a sort of controlled frenzy; where the ideas are not my own, but I reign them in and guide them. I take ownership of them and put them to paper. The good ones are claimed as my own and I am happy to sign autographs. But I know they are not mine. They come from that inner sun that shines ideas inside me, I just need to establish a calm, like glass, and stand in the right place to feel the heat.
Betsy Stogerpan swept her hand across the table top and stopped. "Don't look at me like that, Arthur T Warrenbrood."
Arthur Warrenbrood shrugged and dropped his sunglasses down off his forehead onto the bridge of his nose.
"You're drunk, Betsy. Take a chill."
"I'll tell you when I'm drunk. I'm sober. I'm so sober my molecules are starting to atrophy."
There was a silence. An airplane flew overhead with a banner. It didn't say anything. It was just white.
"Must be disappearing ink," Arthur said, pointing up to the sky.
"You're sober, Warrenbrood. Take a drink."
In our third session Bob confessed his attraction to ottomans. Specifically ottomans made of velvet.
"What is it that turns you on, Bob?"
"Velvet ottomans," he said. "
He exhaled and slouched. "They make me feel big, and they are really soft."
"What is it," I folded my notebook closed and leaned towards him, "that makes you desire to feel big?"
He sneezed and said, "My mother was a third string trumpeter for her high school marching band. She blew her trumpet, but not well enough, apparently."
I shrugged. "What does that have to do with ottomans? And feeling big?"
"My powerlessness over velvet ottomans really blows," he said, and looked out the open window.
Imperceptible bubble people perturbing the surfaces. Fidgeting finger lilies stimulating the fudge bowl. Mother wanted to have her fudge and eat it too. Father wanted to come and go as he pleases. Things fall apart. Relationships never last. Desire is an hourglass accelerator. We were born to janitor the dread of our long life hallway. We were born to fret over every grain of sand. We post a sign. We make a stand. But trash blows thru our picnic worlds. Waste flaps up into our disenfranchised eyes. toxic radiation tarnishes our words, which we spew without filter into the great big picnic world of people born to accelerate the day. Born to amplify the decay.
She stands to her feet and adjusts her shirt, pulling down all around to straighten out the crunches. With a case in hand she leaves the room without making eye contact with anyone. I'm over here. The guy in the shitty business shirt. I'm straddling two kingdoms: art and commerce. The chasm between them is growing. I continue my straddle. My pants are beginning to tear. I have to let go of one or I will plummet to my doom. My interests are not aligned with my financial obligations. My finances collect no interest. My art is not obligatory, nor is it interesting. I just sit here slamming on the keys, hoping something intriguing will come out. Sometimes it does. Sometimes I connect with the creation stream. Sometimes I connect. But I am always connected with the debt stream. I'm considering the worst case scenario. I'm listening to podcasts by hucksters. Envy bangs the gong.
Greetings impossibility consultants. I know you have your report ready. I know you've established probability metrics to pass your proposition through my resistance system. Let's have it. I'm ready. I know I'm ready because I went for a long walk through the late summer afternoon in a muggy park where muggers park. I know I'm ready because sentimental lovers paused their kissing as I passed them by. I walked through some overgrown shrubbery and almost stepped on an ant hill. I know I'm ready because my eye-lids are resting easy, floating at the midway point, softly levitating above my cheek. I can see out, but I am constricting the light coming in. I'm conserving brain energy so I can process your impossibility report. I am ready for it. I ran 6 miles last night to burn off excess energy, so any rage you trigger will be smoted under the dense blanket of my great fatigue.
Terms dazzle the widened eyes as they stream in glorious illumination down the paper sky. Thought leaders erupt with word combinations and phrases that fill our audiences with oooohs and aaaahs. Beer drinkers and aging jocks scoff and roll their eyes, but those who have maintained their humanity are full of praise and pride. Those who know truth when they see it are seeing it pour from your words, which erupt from your mind like a colorful geyser of phonetically arousing truth. Your fingers are just a conduit for God's message that he is pushing to his ancient creation. The spirit gets hold of you and you can't put your fingers down. You're tossing letters here and there like a conductor throwing orders to fast working musicians, and the notes are coming together into life-changing melodies.
I'm creeping up, smiling, with my cohort of basement dwellers. We're smiling off the fragments of a lingering joke. We're emerging into the open spaces carved out of the universe by the sun and a dependable atmosphere. We're smiling off the remnants of a swell of relief and now we're going to our own places to be. Strangers are rearranging the chairs on the sidewalk and positioning themselves in just the right spot to sip their latte. I know how I am with these things. Each task gets a certain amount of attention. The next task suffers from want. I give it my all, but the second task is often smiling off the fragments of my diminished effort. The second task is often smiling away the remnants of my spent mind. I know how tasks are. The first one is dazzling and erotic. The second one is frumpy and Amish. I'm left smiling off an exhausted moment and looking for a joke to get me home.