Go and put your misunderstandings in the flames. In the flames there can be no misunderstanding. Only the ashes of our limitations and the sparks of human destruction. Look not to the ash but to the smokey wisps that snake upwards through the mighty trees, for it is the wisps that lead you to the sky, and it is the sky that we find all sorts of evidence for a God. Do not burn what you can not live without. If you might understand this, if there is even a whisper of hope that you know what I am talking about, than don’t burn it. But, if you are cast back and baffled and overcome by my cunning choice of words, then cast it in the fire. It is of no use to you. And if you cast it in the fire, cast me in there too. Because what I know is all I have and if you burn all that I have, What am I then? Rather, toss me on the flaming heap so I can rise in a slithering wisp to the deep blue Realm of God.
When Jeff stepped out of his car he stepped right in the fluid. It was orange and red. It bubbled and steamed. Where did it come from? Where is it going? Is it toxic? Jeff scraped his shoe on the curb and huffed. "This is just what I needed," he said, oozing with sarcasm. Jeff was an important person - within the context of the agenda and mission of a certain corporation on a particular project that was important to their shareholders. He clocked-in and clocked-out at the times he was expected to. "You have to be dependable to nurture long term value," he said, with seriousness indicative of a person who believes what they are saying. He approached the door and swiped his security card. What was that fluid? What will it do to his shoe? Jeff nodded to the security guard and pushed the up button on the elevator. He only had one minute left before he was expected to be clocked in.
Tatters. Tumbling tatters from misplaced comforts. We are walking histories of our pleasures and their impacts. Suffering shapes us in to who we are, but so do pleasures. Pose-striking celebrity stars make great advocates for addictive chemicals. Voice-depleted rock stars share their advice on avoiding menacing liquids. And all of us store up these minor consequences from seemingly inconsequential pleasures. We decay one dopaminergic burst at a time. We look out our window and some times we go out to play. But soon we will not want to go out to play because "I don't feel right." Little chemical consequences accrue. The dust congeals. The casket encloses us, encroaching upon our lives. We are struck with fear, then ring with anxiety. We seek comfort. We seek to quiet the anxiety with little pleasures.
I’m just trying to exercise my mind muscles; trying to induce that creative trance that cashes in my image deposits; the "pay-off metaphors" that make my fingers worth typing for. There it is… Ope! I lost it. Darn. Wait a minute… piano melodies… ricocheting off the water. Fish circling an underwater specter. Provision… vision… Pro… ambiance settlers… nope… passing through the resistance field like a breeze through a picket fence, whirling around your posted guards and into your impervious fortress. (I am here for you). If I can fend off these pop-up windows, I’ll get you what you need: A metaphor to move your skull-muscle. So shift that content around until every thought is balanced, like two chubby kids on a teeter-totter.
When the room stops spinning, I’ll tell you what happened. It was my admission of guilt; my confession of self. I prostrated myself before the wrong people, and now they throw blocks of ice on my head, and it hurts. They press me up against the wall with their industrial bulldozers to squeeze me for information. They light me on fire to use up their anger for something that I didn’t even do. Their children hang me from a string and try to beat candy out of me. And now I must conform to their demands. I must comply with their doctor’s orders. Take what they give me. I must survive.
It was about to storm and we were driving right into the thick of it. The wall of rain. We were concerned for the cows. Would they mind getting wet? But the cows are made of leather. Why can't leather get wet? Why don't cows shrivel up in the rain? We were near the end of the trip and the music was getting lame. Drab. Full of singers trying to hard to conquer me, to suck on my emotion nipples, to arouse my spirit center. I just wanted to lay around in a field and think of the cows. I just wanted to poke through the storm wall. To dance in the rainfall. I look up from my technology slab and there is traffic and construction cones pushing us all into a single row. The guy in front of us is moving slow. I shout: "mooooooooooove"
A smile is an approval gesture. We walk around with our tender wounds and our violin quartet trying to ignite smiles from strangers. Especially beautiful ones. Healthy ones. We do kind things despite our pain. We ding the bell and scrape the shoe. Nobody has to know anything. We see the doctor and show her our poor health. She tears the sheet and scribbles out her perpetual prescription: "Make others smile" it says, and we fold it up and put it in our pocket. "Will my insurance cover it?" we ask, naive to all the new laws about health care and money payments. "Yes. You're covered," she says and smiles. You begin feeling better already.
I know it is tempting to just give in. Fold up your blanket. Reel in your lure. But keep at it. Look at your family. Look at the people in magazines. What would your magazine people think of you if you suddenly decided to stop your subscription to living! Goodness. Get it together now, man. Trickle through your crevices. Pounce on your objectives. There is a room in hell for quitters. There is a room in heaven for those who persevere. The only difference between these rooms is one has better company. You see? Do you see where I am going with this? Do you see where I am driving this street cleaner? Write that book. Earn that degree. Create that website. Marry that woman. Nobody cares if you quit. But everyone will take heed of your God when you persevere. Do you think this is all I have in my pocket? I have more. I have more in my pocket than all the quitters' pockets put together. And, dammit, you can too. You can too.
I’m far less sure about important things as I used to be. It's just that everybody is specialized and pontificated. I’m designing the newest Noah’s Ark just to sneak away with my zoo society. I’m varnishing wood planks while brilliant pontificators are wooing me with impressive brain tricks. Contests are being lost all around me as I hurry along the mast with my hammer. Nails are tapped and shutters are attached. "This boat will sail!" Yet, I’m far less competent than I used to be. I read. I steal. I cheat. My faith is a storm cloud building up at sundown. The woman is knitting. The dog is chewing an imitation bone. I pound my hammer on the mast. I lean out over the side. It is rising to consume me and I am dashing for the tool box. I’m up to my ears in it and far less secure than I used to be.
You find yourself walking along a tightrope, but balance is perverted by multiple gravities that pull every-which-way but down. You thrust and shift a hip. You throw your head around, trying with a sneer to maintain your position on your path. Life has many gravities and many paths. And there are many other people on the wires and on the beams and on the trampolines. They are calling to you to follow them. They speak to you with their gravity breath. "THIS is the way to go," they say, and you see them rock and sway. But they keep producing their speak. Each and all at the same time, until you feel like you are on a boat full of auctioneers. You left a foot to take a step...
McCready was thumping the bass and I was swaying as I approached the microphone. I grabbed it with my right hand, then my left. Closed my eyes about half way as Louis-the-Smith began his soft percussion flurry. As I opened my lips to sing, the lights shifted from red to green and a patron opened the door by the bar to get some fresh air. "I'm in a good place for sadness," I sang, and meant it. "Now I just need some time and love, to shape this sadness into something beautiful," I continued with less sincerity. Sadness ain't beautiful. It just isn't. Louis-the-Smith crashed a high-hat as McCready rubbed a deep note down the long neck.
Anniversaries spill out of the memory calendars like candy corn from the discount plastic bowls of Halloween endorsing families. I'm counting down the days to the next relevant day. I'm marking up the page like a lost dog tracking his way. Scenes are plentiful and cheap. But some bubble up in value more than others. Some scenes are precious, and we feel like they are eternal. We want to go back to them to warm our drafty souls. We want to cling to them in the middle of our tumultuous storms. We mark them on our calendar page and count down the days. They're gone, though, and they ain't ever coming back. They spill out of our brains like voodoo dolls from a busted barge. They lay there before us; cheap imitations of the real thing. Haunted caricatures of precious scenes. We want to smile and we want to cry.
I pick the crust from the dusk. I thrust the smudge of the falling busts. Busted beeper slinky sleepr. I have not bound the beast. No woman dances, slinking glances. The beast is loose in the streets. Anxious helpers scream in the echoing streets. Doctors toss their woe. Peace-keepers shrug their hope. Nothing changes in the mean scenes of this abandoned world. This city of need. Fists of wrong punch cheeks of weak. The sun sets the sun rises. I'm sleeping on the outskirts of the night. I'm dreaming in the chaos. Red tinted scenes from deep down dreaming. The people scurry like mice. The children don't know what to do.
It was an early morning melody, tapping the keys on my Sunday tractor. I was pulling heavy burdens through a slosh of snow and resentment. It was an early morning coffee, doused in cream and caramel. A good coffee doesn't taste like coffee at all. When the snowplows came around to my block, I was standing in the porch with my robe and my cup of morning-beverage. I was angry at that snowplow for existing. I was angry at the winter for hurting my face every time I exited my place. I poured my coffee-concoction out into the sink and rinsed my cup. "I need to start drinking healthier morning-beverages," I told myself, then went up to put on 9 layers of clothes so I could go out to start my truck. It was colder than a snowman's tit outside and all I wanted to do was curl up with a hot coffee-concoction and hide.
Snoring doggies curl up on grandma's blankets. Fatigued employees scour the web for vacation packages. Saltless spirits pervade our crumbling mansions, while simplistic ministers preach simplistic sermons to fatigued employees filled with hope... hope that they will live long enough to take fantastic voyages to far off places. Vacation packages dance in their fatigued little heads. Here comes the offering plate. Nope. Sorry. Saving for a vacation. Empty offering plates slice through God's atmosphere like deadly UFO's, cutting up resistance fields, letting the evil energies slip in. Empty offering plates made of steel tumble from the pulpit, crushing unsuspecting congregants, distracted by their pending vacation packages. Distracted by their fatigued imaginations.