22 November 2013

Clove Heart

chewing, mouth numbing
breath steaming, he dreams her
sweetness, spicy sharp

21 November 2013

Rain on the Glacier

Troubled sleep fractured by thunderstorms and restless mind, it is no good thing to roll around on the sheets under the grey smear of a streetlight sky. The clocks may be digital, but that does not prevent them ticking too loud as to keep one awake. It was enough to make one run into the street, clothed in nothing more than swirling leaves and a coat made of anxiety.

It was rain on the glacier. Dark, cold, wet. Things to be avoided, yet here they were wrapped around my throat. I laid still, hoping it would go away.

A few hours later, and it was time to get up and make some sense of the day. Sense making is no easy task without defined goals, a sense of purpose and a job. I had none of those. The rain saw fit to make sure of it. Looking out the window, I saw the door to the shed flapping in the breeze, another incomplete task dropped from the colander of my mind.

It was the third day in a row I had forgotten to go shut and lock the door.

Not to be too pessimistic, but that seemed the story of my life, staring as I was out the window at the grey oppression of the sky. One long unfinished task, another episode of wasted potential. Chronic, it is. The contemplation of it left me in a sour mood, a brown study as the old-timers might say.

I thought once again of Bouvet Island, the most remote place in the world. Claimed by Norway, inhabited by no one, home to seals and birds, and I wondered if there might be a place for me in that stark ecosystem. Perhaps I, like the seals and penguins, could learn to live on krill and ice water. Brutal and harsh, maybe, but simple and and beautiful in own way.

The sun came out late in the day, the white gold light of which inspired me to grab my pinhole film camera and leave the house in search of inspiration in what ultimately proved to be an abortive attempt to capture the fading glory of the day. I forgot a crucial piece of equipment and the light went before I would have been able to go get the piece. I shivered in the cold breeze, and returned home empty handed.

I daydreamed about Bouvet on the drive home, then reckoned it was too grim a prospect for me to dwell upon. The sun faded back behind the clouds as I pulled into the drive. Late fall and anxious thoughts had there claws in me, I knew. I cast about the house for some relief, and found it in the form of cooking dinner.

The rain continued to fall upon the glacier, but I chopped, stirred and tasted until the umbrella unfurled, and I found myself warm in the heart of home.

14 November 2013

Area 51

Last week I stood on the rim of a desert mountain valley, tanning myself in the ultraviolet radiance of a salt lake pan, the existence of which I had allowed myself the luxury of forgetting. This forgetting is either conceit or folly, I know not which for certain. Perhaps the surprise its discovery creates is a product of willfulness, slag and dross generated by a desire to avoid the unknown irrational roots that anchor a soul to the world.

Queries will be met with neither-confirm-nor-deny. Yes, it is there, people know it by its present absence. This is how I myself know it. Explanation is futile. How does the heart describe the strange machines seen at distance, the enigmatic materials moving under darkness, dissections of mythical extraterrestrials? Who would believe it? Who wants to try, for fear of being branded a flake at best?

I cannot answer in confidence. I look at the dry lake in my heart and marvel at its strangeness. My mouth strains towards words to vocalize what my inward eyes are seeing. My hands trace glyphs in the air and I interrogate myself in my sleep. The dreams. I want to understand why I dream what I dream. There is this underlying belief that my dreams would make sense if only my heart had the vocabulary to parse them.

It does not. Not yet, or perhaps more accurately, my mind does not yet understand the language being spoken. So I wander. No, damn it, not I, it is my mind that wanders. The trail it breaks veers from pampas to forest to lush jungles, yet is always taken aback by the sudden bursting into the arid flatness of a lake gone dry so long ago that the vanishing is lost from memory.

Yet, it is there. It is in the diamond core of my heart, like the grain of sand in the center of a pearl. It is good fortune to laminate life with the bright and the shiny. Mirrors and polish presented to the world in the hope that there will be no misunderstanding or misinterpretation by the world around us. By world, read those we love and humanity in general.

But that is the ideal. Too many strange things happen in this heart-that-is-and-is-not. Phenomena occur that I cannot explain to myself, much less to those around me. It becomes a race between what my heart shows to the world and what the world, in its information vacuum, makes up about my heart. Whispers behind hands, looks of concern or affectionate bemusement, irritated impatience: these are the usual currency of emotional trade when discussing my own personal theater of classified operations.

So last week, I stood once again on the shore of that dry lake bed, the one in my heart, and baked in the sun. Black machines moved in the shimmer, far away across the plain. I wondered if there might be aliens here. I pondered the existence of emotional programs so secret that even my own mind would be at a loss to explain why they are or what they do. Officially, this place doesn't exist.

Unofficially, it does. It is vital to my existence, even if there is no way to describe why. I do not ask questions of it as much as in the past, and that is a good thing, I think. The heart has to learn to accept its own terrain even if that spot on the map is marked 'Unknown', and trust the things that spring from it.

08 November 2013

A Few Words on Transient Grief

7:48 PM CST. Exhaustion and lassitude for dessert. It is dark earlier, to which we are resigned.

There is no meter of which I am aware to measure the suckage of any given day. If there were, it would probably be available at a big-box hardware store, and there would be one in my tool box or glove compartment, right next to the voltage meter or the air pressure gauge where I expect it to be anytime I need to check some voltage or wonder what the pressure is in my tires. Which is not that often, as you might expect. Still, when I want to know if a circuit is hot or the sagging tire does not convince me, it is nice to know that the tool I need will be there.

Except for today. Today, the tool was not there. Come to think of it, it never was, and I am confounded as to why this distresses me so much. Maybe because I was grasping at straws, fighting for air through a dense thicket of gargantuan irritation catalyzed by a Greek chorus of grief that chanted all day in my hind brain.

It is a sunny day in November, in the Year of Our Lawd 2013, and I wanted to call my big brother and wish him a Happy Birthday! He would have been 50 years young today.

He would have been. But he is not, except in my memory and the memory of family and friends. The loss is four years old now, seeming just yesterday and forever ago. It was not until I was pounding on the steering wheel and screaming at the unknowing driver in the car ahead of mine, that I realized why my eyes kept welling up today for no apparent reason.

Big Bro would have been 50 years old today, and I am furious that I cannot call him up and give him some stick about it. He was always supposed to be older than me, and my heart has not yet wrapped itself around that unavoidable fact of our existence. Yelling at strangers who cannot hear me will not change all that, bit sometimes, on a bright November day, I do not know what else to do.