Monday, July 29, 2013

Trail Rides Along Sycamore County

In a pond where the Allyne children had played, there lived a fish shaped like Jesus. Two summer days after the media storm descended and subsequently vanished, the eldest of the small children returned to the soft muddy edge of the mucky pool with barefeet sinking ever so slightly in a gentle way. Cheetos bags, batteries, helicopter echoes and the memory of bad syncopation, camera flash, littered the atmosphere. It was all ruined. He wept fresh crystal tears. They fell one by one, dropping from cheek to chin down into the impure waters for a few surviving tadpoles to consume. His legs were long, hair blonde, and the fish gone. Something he couldn't identify stood still, achingly so, while a sneaky feeling crept through the reeds and slithered away like a sliding snake. The sun was shining in pockets without shade. The bare earth was heating like a cake, trees and setting rustic. Birds made noises tiny and large but beautiful. When the other children caught scent of their brother's return to the water, they ran down their dirty hill, past the swingset and wildly into the creek. Splashing, thrashing, and joining him loudly, unselfconscious, occupied by all those simple and stubborn conflicts that young ones are so capable of creating and forgetting about in instants and in lifetimes. Water was happening in varying directions above that once still plane, and the young hollering voices were propelling his smile with an activity and unabashed chaos and gentle inquiry. Those strange few days which passed were already starting to fade into a remote and distant sliver of the black and white. Those jagged memories competing and losing to everything in the here and now. Then that old bullfrog resembling Ray Charles came out of hiding, croaking music and plopping around as they chased him along the banks, while the boy, recognizing the infinite magic of things, tried clinging to some strand of that awful feeling he had endured, which had no bearing on today, and all likely went away.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

ladies and gentleman

every business lunch ends with me wanting to go eat lunch. words are vital but now i'm seeing the white space. even on this page, white imprinted by hard fought dark. then if published on here, the opposite, with lettering illuminated. i feel like i've been drowning in space. last week i was rendered nearly immobile by the alarming quantity of sky, distance between people, my own cells. i will not break this into paragraphs, chunks, instead let the sentences hug themselves close. i remember an old friend of mine would get consumed by these things, like a vonnegut character or something, she moved downtown to bombard herself with energy, but found it to be only a confused version of active space. sometimes i imagine she makes my shape on her floor, with all the things of mine she never gave back. the sweatshirt i've mythologized and lamented in so many conversations as torso and centerpiece, the beanie which fit my large head on hood, short story book with a human heart on the cover resting in slender fingers of left hand, perhaps inserted on top of the sweatshirt logo above chest cavity. also my harmonica below the beanie, where my mouth would be to play the music. finally that seventh grade photo i.d. of mine somewhere between all those things with innocence of soul, spirit, in simple image, possibly hanging down from loft ceilings strung by fishing line hovering. the pants, maybe my shape would wear no pants because maybe my nature was always to be naked and hers, wanting space, from a bad past or maybe just a different truth. perhaps she'd use the watercolors i gave her to paint the legs and beautiful whatever else. i was on an airplane alone when i realized that she did what she had to do to save her own life. I wrote all the words you just read, yesterday morning. then the day happened. a friend of mine spoke of our travels and my own pseudo hollywood nonsense. weeks before, she had cried on the sun temple as the sun rose, continuous tears, streaming, pouring down in release to mountains and a heart-opening beauty, all prior to tourists and after a bunch of plateaus on a journey to profound arrival. i left and randomly found my brother, sister, mom, parked outside of an el torito of all places, joined them in this far flung serendipitous world, eating nachos. later, moving from the sun i drove strangers west to east in the early night, spoke, identified, learned something about people and context. then came fairfax and the sea witch, we are warm blooded, vital, ridiculous, alive, alive, alive, somehow you will be my friend, lady, woman, girl, steamed windows and everything. like a natural stick in the changing tide of that little bar where you once said kind words to me years before and again and again, here we are, i'm always listening. now, here at my table, i don't feel the space anymore. there is a physicality, fatigue, never-ending battle with ideas and creativity and purpose and functioning and mortality and i will breathe and make jokes about my own cremation and honor this experience of here and now and it's a wonderful wonderful time to be doing what we're doing and yesterday this lady from detroit was going on and on to me about today's youth and artificial skeletons and mourning the loss of cameras when suddenly she shifted toward how lucky she is to be where she is, seeing what she's seeing, getting to be here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

black licorice tea

i can't breathe through my nose, waiting for the avocados on my table to ripen. lying down only makes me cough, so i sit here on this squeaky green-padded wooden chair in my dining room, where time is milked slowly staring at fruit. too much self-involvement quickly gives way to an unattractive form of life apathy. we seek ourselves, but in the wrong circumstances what we find can be tiresome.

succeeding many of the important phases in my adult life, i've become bedridden with flu or kidney stone or walking pneumonia or something undiagnosed to slow me down. sickness is supposed to be a gift at times, reflective and shedding of emotional molt. but my impatience to be in movement complicates the potential zen. stillness for me has always been best touched at blood-pumping levels or after voluntary methods of exhaustion. today, the energy of sickness is a surrender i've been ill equipped to derive full meaning from.

getting outside of this, then. you had that epiphany about opposites on the airplane, how everything is composed of them.

i will talk about paris, the meaningful precedent to this particular bug because, importantly, while there i was introduced to my own human form again.

nothing happens without cause, even spontaneity. somewhere awhile back, i was taught by one young woman the vital importance of romantic love and then by another its very same uselessness. following these imperfect attempts at spiritual union and bearing their varied consequences, my curiosity eventually became replaced by a spectrum of experience in matters, missteps, struggles, bliss, freedom. but first, things went dark for very long periods of time and i'd felt overwhelming waves of hurt and creatively directed my pain in every artistic direction i knew how and when it was still sinking me i learned other expressions. standup comedy was borne out of saving my life from a ruined garden of romantic love and this scary activity was one of the things that worked. from a dark hotel basement on vermont out into the strange and dysfunctional world of laughter and public honesty as medicine across this love-letter city, my healing began. it was rarely funny but it was brave and it didn't feel that way at the time but it was brave and it happened because i wanted to get here, standing and walking without conversational crutch or a need for reflective identity. here, something did change, and it diminished a tenderness but gave something resolute in the fluidity.

nothing is sudden, it only feels sudden because we are obligated to forget all the long forged attempts at progress in order to meet this new present with accumulated ability. i'm still a shitty comic and never know if i'll do it one more time or a hundred but it was a tangible part of the equation i can outwardly relate for this explanation. truth be told there were and are millions of devices to promote a functioning for me including this big one, this, but what i'm saying is that through the pain and my best attempts at managing to survive all the imbalance, i was capable of learning and knowing a unique beauty. i was able, for lack of a less obvious realization, to stand.

both feet under me, it felt like a good time to walk through paris.