Scars and circles moving around the circumference of dizzy drivers. We plod along, no longer reacting to the whip. Immune to the vicious productivity prods of our driven masters. Our ambitious shepards. Our hard-hearted bastards, who listen to flat music and drink harsh liqueurs. Lights and bells, whips and carrots. We plod along with our plows, immune to the harness sores. Sour from our energy beverages. Scars remind us of our failed tasks. We see the forest on the other side of the technology fields. We reap the technology field. We long for the forest. We plot our escape. Our masters stroke their blade. Shepards of productivity. We conspire a distraction tactic. We execute a diversion plan. We need the help of our fellow workers. They have to execute correctly or we will fail. They need incentive. You must beat them until they get it right, or else you'll never escape.
Wispy voices singing lazy background chorus songs. The ethereal realms encompass us. I'm not falling, but I am not on the ground either. Either. Ether. Each other. Feelings converted into lazy chorus songs maintained in drone by secure singers who contort their mouths and throats for their energetic airflow. Girls and boys. Step into the ether. Singers twirling around in circles. Enemies step close together. Wispy voices crack the surface. Lazy fighters back away from the conflict zone as choruses puncture the circumference and unleash lazy melodies into our ear realms. Ether magnets draw in the music. Magic cabinets capture the choruses. Enemies disengage the conflicts.
The schedule is flexible and the employees appreciate that. They bang the pot and jangle the chain. I'm in a clustered space, sifting through my fog concoctions. Swiping my hand through the ambiguity clouds that choke me out of my mind-house. I'm trying to schedule people for their appropriate tasks. I'm trying to think about what my next distraction might be. there are many noise creators and distraction enthusiasts who heed no schedule. They are spontaneity enthusiasts who snap up in your eye with a noise to share. I'm left here standing here in their ambiguity dust, swiping a hand and trying to find all my thought objects. I push the ply. I put the groceries away. And now my productivity system is drained and uninspired. I fondle the desk. I assess the mess. I schedule everything that needs to be scheduled.
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.