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.
Dabble. Drebble. Stubble. Babble. Words fizz up the bubble pipe. Rolling hollow plastic tubes for suction magic, pushing bubbles up and down. He rides the psychosomatic cult coaster up and down and back around. "Let me off, I'm sick." But you can't get off this ride. "I'm not thinking right." But you never were. Otherwise you wouldn't be in this cult club to begin with. Friends are facades. Smiling faces with gestures meant to look like love. Soft clothing to mimic warmth and an accepting affect. But they are simply the ride attendants escorting you into the cult coaster. They are ushering you into a nauseating ride that will leave you dull and whored. And you only have to be this tall to get on board.
Aches and pains like crashing planes, and burning eyes like flaming rings. I inflate, then deflate. Fake a smile, nod to strangers. I sit down with good feelings. I'm blurred-out, smoked. Burying dreams under the dust of fatigue. inhale, exhale. My hope is secured in the summer, around the corner, on the other side of the hill. My significant other wants more from me than I can give. My insignificant others are taking too much of my mind. If I stay home too long I feel disconnected with God's great wide world. There birds and things making noise in the trees. There are revolutions being ignited in the neighborhood streets. How we are suppose to live is transmorphing all the time.
Sometimes you do good. Sometimes you see what is right. Sometimes you don't. Do not burn the bridge if it is foggy. Do not throw loved one's over the side of the boat if they are groggy. Togetherness is all that matters when the fog clears. Joy is waiting on the other side of the magic prism. We can't seem to get to it. Peace dangles from a cord on the other side of the magic glass. We can't seem to touch it. No matter how hard we bang against the glass, or strike the dazzling prism, we stand here joyless and violent, like bumble bees trapped between the panes of a window's glass. Our bridges stretch too far into the fog and we have to rely on what others tell us. Our doctors are all bribed to sell us stuff instead of curing our wounded things. Why not just ditch it all and travel. Maybe there are places without fog. Maybe there is a different path that will get us behind the glass and deep into that prism thing.