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.
Barbara is rubbing elbows with aging celebrities, while Beth is climbing the political ladder of post-christian politics, in a world that is increasingly hostile towards compromise and sacrifice. I'm tapping the keys in a high ceilinged room with a view of the street. Cars come to-and-fro with urgency to meet whomever they're going to meet. I'm tapping the keys with sweet music massaging my ears, and deep pain emanating towards my surface. I'm fatigued and my defenses are weak, so every little loose association triggers personal pain that I could never explain. So I'm tapping the keys and Barbara is at an event with a friend and some clients. I am in a store that I am trying to sell, but nobody knows it's for sale, and I can't seem to catch a break. When I was a boy I thought I would be an aging celebrity by now. When I was a boy I thought I would be an aging superhero by now.
What is wrong with you people? You furnish your dwellings with NASA level technologies and port your gadgets around that would make Batman blush. You have 9 different kinds of bacon to choose from and power windows in your automobiles. Your whole damn life is on cruise control. You rush to your keyboard and console every time your struck with a clever quip, and type it all out in your social media boxes for all your connections to absorb. You frolicking people. I'm not absorbing your top 10 lists anymore. I'm not considering the 9 best ways to save money on a vacation. I'm not watching the 8 best vomit scenes from hollywood movies in the 90s. I'm no longer interested in your 7 principles to earn 6% more on your savings accounts. What's wrong with you people? Don't you have a clue? Don't you know what a clue even is?
A young woman drives an old van full of new books with old ideas. She is lost in thought, but tracked on her gps map. Back and forth her van sways in the boredom of the day. She knows she is loved, but she is safely isolated from the expectation that comes with it. She is isolated in the cab of the van, manipulating her hands upon the oversized steering wheel. The large circle that descends to her belly button and gives her fine-tuned control. She drives through the newborn air of winter, swaying to subconscious music and enduring leftover moods triggered by last night's shows and yesterday's cartoons.