Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Epistle. To: Lady Kimono Clan

Woke up in a fog to a silent room. Soft airbrushed light. A question like where am I was easy enough to come by. But I really could not answer it. The body has its opinions. Vapor dreams. Medicinal scripts. Some pain was to be expected the discharge orders said. The body has its opinions. Like Fat Boy Slim singing Right Here Right Now. Not that I was listening to it at the time but I remembered it and it came into my head with as much reason as anything does not long after you open your eyes. Small bird songs like mementos drifted through windows. Streams of information. Things that aren't available to occupy right now. The way shadows from the morning lay upside down and floated on a low ceiling as they also drifted through the windows. The body has its opinion and wants to float upon a ceiling. Magazine quality shadows I need to write that down but I don't move. Smothered by desires or whatever else that shows. I like the word necessity. There's a day spinning somewhere but it's not here. Just the effects. I can sense it outside like the beginnings of color in the sky. I can't make it there because I can't move so I bring up music. Hence the discharge orders come to  mind. Chinese ink shadows on the ceiling that seem centuries old in the telling. The race car driver who in an interview on television last night said he got crashed. A phone downstairs that rings and rings and climbs up the stairs crashing the atmosphere of the house with finally a voice message. Of course I'm here and of course I can't come to the phone right now because... I need to fill in the blanks. I'm a monster to look at. But does that me a monster? Children on the street point at me. Some giggle. Some just stare back at me with little heads twisted around and smoke rings forming where their mouths should be. They must know something. I must know something. And sometimes I laugh back. And that seems to scare them. Doesn't confusion begin in clarity? Yesterday I offered some fresh tomatoes to a group of passerby's walking past the house. I doubt whether they might have even noticed me until I said,  here want some. They looked at me, then looked at the tomatoes, and back at me and said no thanks. They were good ripe tomatoes. The plants were growing in plain view in the garden boxes along the driveway. Killer plants - tall bushy healthy green bursting with fruit. The nurse and I planted them as a celebration after another recent surgery, this one to go after the hot dog cart shrapnel in my head. Unfortunately some of it may have to stay in there permanently. Stay tuned for details. But I felt totally left out when the passerby's refused the tomatoes. Who doesn't want a fresh picked tomato on a glorious August evening? Why do anything? Why even ask why? Apparently they did not understand what a necessity it is to give something away. To make an offering. To present a gift. How about some flowers I asked? Take a rose. Zinnias. Brown eyes. But no luck there either. They turned and walked away, leaving me with my ambitions unsettled and due for another time. Here's my worry. The whole time thing. It's almost like I have too much of it to do anything with it. All I have is time. What happens when I heal? When my knees have been replaced with plastic gadgets... and there's a tree branch of steel in my spine to keep me from walking like an ape... and a face that I once knew by heart in a mirror has to be reconstructed by a factory of surgeons and replaced with a digital lift from old passport photos ... I was on vacation once and was walking around on the last evening and thinking like some lonesome romantic fool searching the earth. Thinking about... and then having to go home the next day... Yea I know, of all things... And all that preponderance and importance that goes with being away for a time and having some money to throw around and carry on upon an evening's walkabout.  A number of galleries in town were closed and that surprised me. Given the weather was doing well within season and the atmosphere was caught between a warm day and a cool night I had hoped to skip through the night without even a thought. But no. I did have a pleasurable moment out on the pier watching the sun go down. Twilight yellows that bend the eyes beyond what there is to look at.  Dusky pink grays going succulent through the calm bay water. Sitting on a bench with a small boy and his father and the kid was tearing the last of a sad looking take out hamburger into little pieces and tossing it underhand like crazy to a gang of seagulls. Yea yea he said! Weren't you hungry? No no he said! The boats coming back to the harbor docked at their moorings with their running lights on against a slowly enveloping dark that literally came out of the air and it was like watching some mechanical sense of belonging come to be. It's a big ocean out there I said to the kid. And that enough settled things. I thought so what. An unbroken chain of days with all there is to show for it and all that remains to never have, I'll treat myself to a sit down meal at some pricey joint and be spot on content to lose track and imagine time moving in and out like old tides do past brown seaweed high water marks on the sand and then collect them back in a wave and start over. So I walked along... found a restaurant... and it seemed there was nothing so rewarding that broke down the limits of responsibility like going home or eating overpriced seafood as much as there was just sitting down for a meal at an outdoor table. Ah, the nectar and the night. A kind of tall combustible illusion that if you step inside will give you in return a tender voltage. After ten minutes I didn't have a menu. Not even a drink order. No one came around. Like I wasn't even there in the first place.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Epistle. To: Berlin Film Actress

So the nurse asked, can't we get the sunlight out of our eyes?  I need to be somewhere else. Like where I asked? I don't know she said. A big shade tree maybe. An awning over a picnic table in the backyard. So it's like a parallel world I asked? Not so much she said. I like the sunset but it's too hot to sit against. Yea I said but you work inside. Afterward don't you want to get outside and have a blast? Sure she said all that's great but I'm sweating and being hit by radiation. Can't we retreat? And I thought that's always been difficult to do. What I need is to have a sense that I've done something and then leave it at that. But to go backwards throws me. Where's that? It's not even memory lane - which is different -  because memory was a shape onto itself and comes to surface when you think about it. Once in remembrance there can be rightfully no turning back. Okay I said let's retreat. It's not like we're doing bikinis anyway. The nurse looked back at me. Whoa. Sometimes I feel default looking at a landscape. As though the whole account of life circled around - in pattern - in question - and in turn you felt stupid about it. But that's just the way it goes. It probably isn't that way really. Like where the footpath path cuts through the trees and comes to the water there was a small white shoe, a kid's shoe, and it was stuck on a piece of driftwood that was wedged between the rocks. Like it was there as something waiting to be found after it was lost. Waiting - but not really. It's we who invent the waiting. Not the shoe. But it really looked like it was waiting, to be found, or even lost all over again. Small white shoe on driftwood.. beauty as a kind of problem... far from perfect and far from harm. And in the nurse's eyes was the landscape reflected back at me. The fading sky with the long warming glare of the sunlight as a star gone in colors. The water with that light upon it almost like burning an oil on the waves. And the the trees in the park making those longed for awnings on a summer evening. What would a cardiologist say if this were a flipped over comic book universe? That I was having another heart attack, only now it was in reverse?  And what happens in this other universe was you get to evade the past and escape the future and stop the crazy wave action of time. You stand with the plants of the world and listen to the blood flow. But that seemed like asking for a cosmic credit. A good run but slippery. So we had a meal in retreat beneath a quiet old tree pruned many times over the years by faithful minimum wage parks and recreation department hands and whose branches were lopsided and not quite right to behold but were beautiful to watch and take in underneath. Fried chicken and cornbread from an old family recipe the nurse had in mind but was non-electronic to the extreme. If you wanted a copy to print out there was none to have. You had to drive north toward Canada and retrieve it from whomever was talking it then and giving it away like archival words passed around some long fire. The nurse said if you want this you need to go along. And so I did. The family looked at me like I was a creature somewhere detained between dreams. Alas I said and limped into the gathering. I met your cousin sometime after I died. Between hypodermic needles and ginger ale and the stormy effects of once being crushed. She's a tough ass. But she's also a blessing and as lovely as a small round stone that sits in the palm of your hand without clutching it. An aunt hit me with a fly swatter told me not to curse. I gave a younger brother a red painting. We had coffee and biscuits and drove off to dogs barking and chasing themselves and little kids imitating my monster walk across the gravel driveway. Back at the picnic we had local grown fennel and red onion slaw from the dreadlocks and banjo kids turning over dirt by the river into food and trying to make a decent business in the process. It was like farmer's market in the morning and then magic tricks in the evening. What it takes to have a meal. Maybe somewhere in a place we haven't yet discovered myth turns into a common object. Somewhere among the rest of us and our polarized selves we all just show up. And the pills were like tiny silhouettes to hide behind. Like having a rose tattoo on your shoulder that you only looked at in the mirror when you were twisted around. And yea I know, the brain chemistry should be there, like some two thousand year old asian vase that works in someone's home and doesn't line up on a museum wall. But I don't have that. I'm from a material culture. And so live within the great yelp of trade offs. What else to do but savor? Lovely August. Someone to have walk beside my own personal limp. Someone to unbuckle my braces. Oh to slump down on the grass and fall over the way a bad wind up toy might collapse when the spring goes loose.  The trouble always lies in what happens next. That's what gets to me I said to the nurse. What she asked? Well what are the days like? Here she said and handed me her cell phone. Call someone.
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