DROPS OVER DROPS
... my hands fill with sand and the laughter of the gods rocks the heavens.
It is thursday. Drops of rain are falling on the street. When I pass a storefront window something startles me: it is, I realize, only myself. My face oscillates slightly, my reflection shows growing waves of doubt, the shore drifts out of sight. Voices surround me, whispering my name, suggesting there is something there to believe, even though we now know better. Which is to say, like the stories all said, that we know nothing at all. Simply a matter of the same words being broadcast over and over again, ad nauseam. Then a withering silence, broken only by the rain.
Maybe, however, there is no need to say anything. I can simply stop here, where I am. The wind would not mind, I know. It has told me many times. I have tried to tell others, but they hear nothing more than a movement of differently flavored and caloried air masses. A fair description, if description was what I was after. Which is not the case. Not at all. It is hard to go on with a conversation when we can not even agree on such a simple beginning. Leaving us at loggerheads, bulls pounding at each other's heads, until the blood begins to flow. And then we wake, brought to life by the sight. Our nostrils flare a little, polite words pass between us to disguise our discomfort: veneers thin beyond belief, thrown aside for the sake of a wrongly said word, a look slightly off. No matter the cost, when it comes to matters of the heart. I would listen to endless streams of words if that was what it took. But of course, there is nothing so complicated to block our path. All that is needed is a look.
There are times when I want to blame the world for each and every one of my sins. Times like these pass, then the wind picks up the scraps of my life which are left behind, turning them over and over until they flake apart, joining a world (so I tell myself, at least) indifferent from first to last. The experience, however, does give me the room I need to form opinions – reasons for the sun and the grain and everything in between. Opinions caught like rats, bleeding over carpets woven with the most careful movements of hands trained over years. Then the trail stops, and I look for more signs out of which to begin again but there is nothing there, not even a memory. Beautifully formed, no doubt – no need for names or concrete casts. The point being the turn away in the end of all words. Carrying the periods over end over before taking the sun in my hands – the sun out of which nothing flows except light, rays and sand – and then stop to listen. Now the words fall out of my hands, now out of my mouth, now onto your body.
Then you turn impatiently, not wanting to feel the strain. My words fall flat, onto the waiting, the original sin festering in your wounds, brought to life daily, with a vengeance approaching the onslaught of barbarians. Curses and lies and deceits unknowing and then nothing but silence, out of which we are expected to piece ourselves. A sort of joke, I have to admit, but a joke which no one laughs at because no one is there to hear it in the first place. And that was only five years ago. Who knows what will follow. Surely something interesting, of relevance to one of the worlds we are told we inhabit. I look around for the rest, but see only one. Of course I am more patient than most. Like a hunter waiting for the only possible moment to strike, except there is and never will be a turning outside of time, outside of the moment. No insides or outsides at all. Only thoughts turning, over and over, until they form two. Like the stories all begin with – there was one, then two, then the remainder we trip over falls like a cascade, burying us, but making us at the same time, so who is to say, and who wants to.
I can hold on only a little longer like this. If I am buried in a cascade then so be it. I do not care. Let matters rest and lie as they may; I only want to spend days caressing soft skin, laying foundations, tearing at the sky and the wind. There is need for nothing more. But this is a lie as well, slight as it might seem. There is need for a great deal more, or less, depending on one's point of view. Definitely a need, however, festering at the base of my spine: an ancient war wound. The edges of my skull are smoothed over with a stone grinding implement, without painkillers. My father ten, a hundred times removed – of course I am proud, today he splits matter in half and unwinds the coils of life. There is no turning back. And I am his son. And proud of it, of the light, the dark days, the past largely unrecorded but inscribed indelibly into every breath passing through my lips.
So maybe I am a monster. That is fine, I don't care. At least I am clear about such matters. That is enough for me. And if I am wrong it is of no importance. I make no claims to truth, although hopefully there are those whose suspicions have by now been roused. Leaving me growling in my pit, pacing, chewing viciously at my bindings.
Again, however, there are not really any problems. Nor questions. So of course neither solution nor answer. All of which becomes so tiresome to repeat that I force myself to stop. The bindings fall, as if by magic. By my hands, that is. In the end there will be word strings, nothing more. Traps into which we fall when growing lazy – perhaps we do not watch our progress as closely as we might. I do not know, at least about such questions. And I do not care, which is maybe the more important point. The words have grown, generating themselves spontaneously, we are told, although this too is a lie. Better to turn it off, I suspect, than to go on, wondering if this one is true, this not. Each of course carries fragments of either side. Better to make your own.
All of which is a complete fantasy, the dreams of desperate men (she, in the mean time, still insists on mimicking her teachers). I will let others do most of my thinking for me, whatever the case, letting drop the illusion of the solitary thinker, cast in stone over the ages. A lie moribund, dead, eternal, for those who have never thought. Leaving only an exchange of gifts and bribes, the rates to be worked out at a later date that never arrives, whatever you say.
My curse, of course, being the interest in such matters. It all seems rather unreasonable. I was meant to be a farmer, I realized long ago, but city life drove the country out of me. Plus a strong case of hay fever. Leaving me scratching through the gutters, looking for discarded cigarette butts long enough to smoke. The best places being the sand ashtrays in the metro stations. But that was long ago. The memory is like a faded strip of film for me. I believe I see myself foraging, but there is no guarantee that it actually is me. Not that it matters. I am here, breathing, or at least so it seems at the moment. And if even this is an illusion, then who cares? Who is left to care, at that? Better to go on under the assumption that things are pretty much as they seem, deceitful or true, both at once or neither is all the same to me.
I only go on about these matters because they have attracted so much attention lately, for reasons unclear to me. Almost to the point of creating an atmosphere of intense suspicion merely by describing the world. Which is, of course, simple in its entirety. Known by all far and wide – known, but feared, which bores into the heart of the problem. So now we are to address the fear and not the world. Creating obvious problems of course. The fear festers in the wound of the world, but the world goes on oblivious to such concerns. Perhaps we might take note before insisting upon carrying on like drunken fools, smashing into lampposts thrusting themselves suddenly onto our foreheads, leaving behind a thin trickle of blood, spots on the sidewalk passers by carefully avoid, until dark, when it joins into the pavement, the dog droppings and pulverized waste of a thousand footsteps.
But I am lying again. There is after all a certain pressure driving me on, relentlessly. It lets me rest, it tells me, but even the times of rest resemble more the digestion of a rat by a snake. Only I am the rat, in every sense. The rat is my year, my life, my thoughts. I scurry to stash away each tidbit and morsel, leaving them to fester and decay until one day my cage is cleaned, a dose of arsenic administered, my form stiff and dead, lying now before me. None of which is particularly pleasant to think about, or describe. But accuracy is called for. It is after all a question of science, of discipline. A small matter when compared to a transatlantic voyage in what amounts to a large lifeboat. Done simply to do it, in the end, gold holding no special value. The sea ahead and behind, stretching across endless days, at the end of which lay harbor and rest, a warm fire and maybe the daughter of a friend, or a wife hard like the eyes of winter. And passion strong, but patient enough to melt through the icy northern winds. None of which is understood today.
Not that much of anything is understood. Or perhaps things now are so clear that we prefer to pretend not to understand. Leaving me with nothing at all to say. Or at least nothing that is already known. And why, after all, bother. Repetition is not flattery, simply boring, and there is more than enough television if boredom is what is called for. Which of course must be the case, given the massive popularity of the medium. Who can blame the viewers, after all, who only want to rest after a difficult day. Which is all that is promised anyway, so where lies the deceit? Leave politics to the citizens, whoever they may be, where ever they are. I know nothing more than this, and this is enough, as far as I am concerned.
First off, I want to apologize for wanting to split the halves into their component part. The past, present and future hold nothing more than this wish for me – a wish that at once drives and fuels upon itself. Leaving me an impartial spectator at the best of times, and completely buried, past my head, at the worst. But I'm not complaining. I would have it no other way. It is my life, take or leave some brief interludes I try sharing with a few close friends. The matters fall as they will, and can fall no other way at that particular moment. To imagine otherwise is to enter into a rambling maze of dreams and fantasies born in the eye of uninspired creation, bedtime stories designed to calm down irritable children. The actions are followed closely by reactions, responses, questions, problems – life, in short. Always the same, cycling endlessly down, or up, depending on one's preferences. Like the spiral binding of a notebook, only never ending or beginning. Or the twists and turns of DNA. Which will one day shatter even the illusion that there is no beginning or end. Piece by piece we unwind, one day we will find there is no great mystery at all, only cobwebs binding us to the past. That day, of course, is always in the future, and pulls us along despite all our protestations. But I will retain the illusion for now. It soothes me, gives me a place to rest my head when the night falls outside.
I should say more, but find this is enough for now. There are other matters to attend to. Matters of the greatest urgency, pressing, as I noted, down on me from all sides. Controlling my hands, my feet, mouth, eyes, nose – even the flow of blood and lymph; electro-chemical is the nature but not nature, or god in any meaningful sense. My blood I keep, however. It is enough to keep me alive. And this is the point. That is the place to start. Watching the blood flow out of a cut as a child, a mangled corpse in a car crash, bodies strewn over the streets of a previously idyllic tourist destination, victims of a heavy artillery barrage. This is our world. I do not understand the need to replace it with another. It seems real enough to me, as it stands.
But there is no need to go on like this. I am satisfied at times talking; otherwise there are things to keep me busy. Discipline is a problem, as always. Maybe the only problem. At least so I tell myself. If I had discipline, my voice drones, everything would fall into place. There are larger ifs; this one, however, is enough for me. My mind recoils from other questions, afraid, I suppose, to find itself. I can think of no other reason. I have always had fantasies; today my fantasies run to keep up with me, like my dreams. Perhaps I have read too much, or not enough. Never the right amount, never satisfied. Never, especially, willing to stop when I find what I want.
I have found, in spaces some might call extreme, a sort of peace, but like all peaces, impermanent. I am not complaining, only making an observation. I am always tempted to step outside of myself, to tell the world something. As if I have something to say. It is, I am beginning to suspect, better to just talk. And then to see what happens after that. Even in such a small way, results arise. And then I can sit back, watching with curiosity. Puffing on a pipe if I only smoked, but for now my lungs are clear. The process is very intricate. It has been so long now that I no longer know what it is to relax. I think the world has grown soft, the skies pale, the earth translucent. Maybe I think too much. I do not know the right amount, or how to regulate the process, or if I want to. What, after all, would I gain?
In the evenings people walk by, talking about various things I can't understand. Even the simplest words slip by me, holding onto themselves like nervous nuns. There are others, invisible to me at the moment, who undertake negotiations – successful or not I will never know. Sometimes I watch, to see, I tell myself, if anything has changed. The processes seem constant – so much so I have to wonder at the idea of impermanence. Maybe this too is an idea like any other, to be discarded when its time is up. That would certainly explain certain things.
In the mornings, birds sing. I know it is a simple thing, but it is enough for me. I struggle to remember this. There is no need for massive amounts of energy; oil burns, sheets of flame shoot up to the sky. I have seen the sight many times: refineries spitting up burning gases into the night. Strangely enough, I never came to take it for granted. The image was simply too strong. Like the birds outside my window. Maybe it is too early. The night still holds the street, although there are voices. My windows are melting as well, although this is normal.
I do not know much more than this. Maybe it is enough, but, even here, I can not be sure. There are after all ways to fool ourselves, in matters especially that we hold most important. Today I know there will be difficulties. It is not that I am afraid of such things, only that I am so lazy. The truth of the matter is I would rather spend the morning in bed with my girlfriend. But not just any. I have tried the loveless ways, and do not see the point. If truth unwinds itself in talking, then to be with someone with whom one can not talk is the greatest of all lies. That seems simple enough. Of course, there are different ways of talking, not all of which use speech. And these too we learn, although later than the way of words. There are, I see, untold ways. The birds outside too are up to something. And children exploring, banging their knees, making friends, making enemies, making arts and crafts. I find it odd that it is only today, a first day following many seconds, that I am able to think this. I have of course suspected, although I tended to keep my mouth shut, except when around a few good friends. Such matters are not to be discussed in polite society. Better to burn some more oil, cold waves of which pour off the freezer section of the supermarket. It is in a way no one's fault, although the lines and channels of blame can be followed easily enough, if we are so inclined. But that simply moves the counter back a notch, and does little to help explain. Like blaming the nazis for their crimes, for instance. The point being the crimes, of course.
I know I am supposed to embrace an overwhelming cynicism as creature of my eyes, but find myself unable. Maybe it is the fault of my upbringing. Just as I cannot read the future with any great accuracy, neither can I read the past. To see only the thinnest slice of the present is enough for me, and even here I am not sure I have grasped anything more than my fantasies and dreams. Perhaps it is better this way. Long ago, I remember a small boy trembling at the hands of his uncle's harvester, massive beyond belief, but clearly not evil in itself. The same eyes, much later, hidden beneath layers of something I no longer know what to call, looked out past the windshield at the eighteen wheelers roaring by, then followed the smooth curve of the freeway until the road disappeared around a bend. Layers upon layers, built one over the other, until one day the engineers arrive, make their measurements and graphs, then leave again. Later the crews come, and begin to slice the mountains apart in search of the perfect grade. Concrete arches cut through the sky when the gap between the hills is too large. As if art as an idea had simply been absorbed, question and answer alike, then regurgitated as an intricately wound series of on and off ramps. A maze of coiled asphalt, steel, and concrete that simply puts the efforts of the plastic arts, no matter the skill or talent, to shame. It is only a question of resources, in the end.
All of which becomes overwhelming – I do not say bad or good, simply too much. And really not too much either, simply too much for me. Which leaves me listening to the birds outside. Later I will walk down to the square and look at the old wall, the stones of which reflect the shades of the earth. There will perhaps be a slight breeze to rustle the leaves of the trees, and more birds. And of course the ever present rattle of a two stroke motorcycle engine going by. All is to scale, as is the freeway. Which makes matters perhaps nothing more than a question of scale then. So I choose, at least for now, the scale of birds and small motorcycles, and people. For the time being, I tell myself. That makes it somehow more manageable, more tolerable. I realize I should not be talking like this – especially, I am reminded again and again, in times like these. Strangely enough, it precisely because they are times like these that I want to talk like this. And not even want, but do. What I want is another question altogether. A pattern trained since birth is all I want. More interesting to think about is what is necessary. What, that is, I need.
But what I need, too, is not important. I have a hard time understanding this, but it seems to be true. Perhaps it is better to not worry about such matters. I can rest, go out for a walk, think about things that have passed or are approaching. Or not think at all. That, I suspect, would be best of all. It is good to have goals. Maybe this is my goal. I do not know why, but it strikes me as being a good idea. There are other worries, far more immediate. Questions of money, work, and so on. Very boring, but not at all boring. Part of life. It is given that there will always be questions like this. So it is better to accept the inevitable. The world takes on a more subdued glow, and seems to become less fantastic. I prefer it that way – maybe I am simplistic, or maybe only a dreamer walking spellbound through the streets and alleys of my life. People have often commented to me that I look like I am under the influence of some drug. But this is generally not the case. I like to think such things are for me no longer necessary. Which is not to say I say no, but rather that I seldom say yes. We each find our own middle, which is something those who scorn the middle path forget, and the middle is always the next step we take; never in or out of balance it simply is where we put our feet. One man's middle might strike someone else as fairly extreme, while another's might strike one as downright angelic. It's all a matter of perspective in the end. I am growing happier with mine, although I have my down days, like everyone. Maybe only because I can call my middle my own. There being little else I can say this about, this one thing which I think of as mine satisfies me. Also because I have made it, or have at least played a large part in its making.
I know that it is not yet time for stories. That time is bed time, time to sleep, rest, dream. It is no longer time to dream. Perhaps the day of dreams has passed us by. The voice of the unconscious has quieted, and now appears before us only as flashes joined to other flashes, behind which nothing lies. I have always felt vaguely uncomfortable around the idea that something else lies behind the world. The whole notion seems dated somehow. All I can say is that the question does not move me. I do not say it is an error, simply that there are other things that strike me as more interesting, more direct, more alive somehow. And closer to god, if that makes any sense. But this is only a feeling I have, and have very rarely at that. So perhaps it is better to remain silent about these matters. Others, I'm sure, will gladly fill the void left by my absence. Or, not finding the gaps, make new ones into which to pour their metaphysical speculations. I have had enough for now.
It is also best, I am advised, to start small. One day I say one thing, the next another. Sometimes I contradict myself, although each time I am telling the truth. My mind, along with everything else, changes, and is eventually no longer mine, but another man's, also with my name, my face, give or take a few minor alterations. I maintain, for the sake of convention, that it is still me, although inside I laugh at the idea, knowing full well that no such thing is true. There are of course rules that must be followed, guidelines and so forth, but they go on without my attention – but not unconsciously. They move, are moved, and there cannot possibly be, to my way of thinking, any thoughts outside of this movement. Maybe, then, my thoughts, these thoughts, are in fact nothing other than the rules of assembly for the person I am becoming always, steadily. First finger pointed out then back again, not sure of where or how, but knowing it wants to point. Such certainty does not need to be questioned, unless one is a hopeless pessimist, cynic, or hypochondriac. Of course we are all sick, in our ways, different everywhere, but also at once the same. Which makes us healthy as well, since we do not deviate from the norm. Sick or well, however, is irrelevant. There is nothing to be gained by such speculation. I will call myself a sick man well on his way to health, and a well man sick of his illness. That should make matters clear enough.
I am happily on my way, one way or the other then. Perhaps it is here we can begin to talk more freely. Always, again, only if we are so inclined. I lean one way, then the other, but find the old words are the best, always, no matter how much I delve into things. Maybe time distills, like with good wine or whiskey, making pure, removing flaws and blemishes, until the product can say nothing that has not passed through the test of time, for obvious reasons. I am not one to embrace blindly the new simply because it is new. Of course, since it exists, it is real. By definition. But some real things are less interesting to me than others. I will leave it at that. For others can take and choose for themselves, that being their right as well. I am, however, here not talking about others. To do so would simply be too hard. It is almost more than I can do to simply use my voice. I worry even as I write that it is an older version now, stuck on itself, fooled into thinking that it is something special somehow, simply because it has read too much. Or turned itself inside out one too many times. All of which has never been or meant more or less than nothing, and for me, everything. And now it is time to go on, leaving those shells and splinters to reassemble somehow into something vaguely resembling a human being. I am tired of rotten words, reeking death and dismay. It is that simple. I will not say the time has come for something new, since that makes no sense at all. As if there were atime somewhere that comes and goes like an unwelcome aunt. The idea is so ridiculous, I have to pause for a moment to catch my breath before going on.
My wishes, as I noted, and now note further, are very simple. Nothing more than life, living. Or less, more importantly. And for every life comes the question of new life, generation and creation. I am in no hurry, but find the matter has become more simple, more clear as I have aged. Not that I am old. Simply older, and becoming curious about matters which I have been repeatedly advised are not first, sometimes not even second, but to be pushed away, hurriedly, with a disgusted look on one's face. The sound of a child's cry at night, for instance – my child, of course. There being no need to raise suffering to a holy level. Not that I know anything about such things. I simply repeat what I have heard, what I have been told, and what I have, unfortunately, come to believe all too readily. Maybe here too I am finding some middle for myself, into which steaming diapers and red faced smiles somehow worm their way. I suppose it is important not to over-romanticize, but somehow I suspect there really is no need. Reality somehow always manages to care fairly well for itself, thrusting its ugly face into our dreams and wishes, forcing disconnected neural firings to find paths which can, somehow or other, be communicated, formed, then reformed. I ask for nothing more, and cannot understand how someone, anyone, could find my request unreasonable.
But I am dreaming, even now. Trying, as always, to avoid the harsh realities, which grow harsher the longer I try to avoid them. An idea so simple it slips away from me each time I try to grab it by the throat. Which should tell me something, and sometimes even does. But my thoughts now, here, are alive, shifting restlessly, first examining the world of sadness, then happiness. And it takes so little to change from one to the other. A kiss, warm touch, soft nights of love. If I am honest, that is, and do not pretend that matters are other than themselves. But the old words remind me that I am not dreaming. Opposites attract because they need each other to exist. Otherwise there is only a phantasm of life, a fiction without soul. It is here we can root out the seeds of bitterness against which I refuse to fall. Those seeds are dead, and can only sprout up as what they are. On each stands a frown, despair painted delicately until we are drawn in, watching awestruck as the hands craft more pain, death, and misery. As if these things were somehow new, or surprising.
I wonder if even mentioning these things is important, or appropriate. The point has passed, however, since they go mentioned. There is no need to dwell further, however. I want to remember that despair leads only to more despair, no matter how times may change, decay or rise, or both, more likely. Only we will not be there to note the change. Others will have taken our place, heads bobbing to new musics, spheres orbiting now around different poles. There is a certain satisfaction in knowing this, but also a sadness born out of our untimely passing. But I am not, again, complaining. The schools are filled with far better trained voices who can take on that particular job with more energy and enthusiasm than I ever could muster up. They need something to do after all, when not busy drafting another commentary on tragically departed words from the past. But who am I, after all, to talk like this. I want nothing more than the very simplest thing, what every amoeba can do without effort, or thought. And this, today, somehow makes me greedy, maybe even mad. Until I tire of talking and finally decide that action is always easier, and more effective. Or at least has more interesting results. Which is something, no matter how little, to hold onto when night falls and despair fills my thoughts once again, forcing them to spin around themselves, like tired tops wobbling right before they fall. Only they never fall, and go on wobbling, day after day, slept in morning after slept in morning. Wasted days following wasted days. Days in which nothing happens, or seems to. Perhaps because the wheels move so slowly that their motion becomes imperceptible. But move they must, since the drawn and quartered days pull themselves together, finally, and force me into new worlds. As if I were laying on a deathbed, from which I can rise only if I get up and take a shower, shave, and go out for a walk. And to which to all appearances I return, bored as ever, lethargic and enervated. And then I have died. My past fades – I watch, when I remember, which is not often, my body fade, staring fascinated at the new growths sprouting as if by magic.
And then the bird-songs are new, fresh, unspoiled by harsh thoughts. All of which, I know, will pass soon enough; I pray for later, much later, although one day I will remember to mark the cycles, for cycles I'm sure there must be. Or recycles, coiled webs twisting around dreams, visions once clear, now growing old, with my hands. I ask for nothing more than one day a word of peace lasting beyond the passing of the moon and the shifting of the tides. For which I am labeled a fool, greedy, and naive beyond belief. Or believe myself labeled. For surely the world goes on about its business, happily unaware of me and my concerns. I label myself, then follow in other's footsteps to find the source of these libels. Maybe one day I too will have the courage not to think. For now I work only at dispelling false rumours, evil insinuations, and ungrounded accusations. All born in my hands, eyes, ears, thoughts, and the long dead eyes of christ.
First of course I have to begin stepping down off the ladder. I must move carefully, step by step, taking my time. The same way, that is, I went up. It seems odd somehow to go up then back down like this, as if I have gone nowhere at all. The ground will feel familiar as well, although I have never been on it before. I do not even know if I will know where I am. And then the moon will rise, giving my weaknesses free rein. When they first appear, I mistake them for a simple bad mood, a time of excessive reflection, fears let loose to wander through fields of detached desires. I quiver at the slightest touch. It is at times like these that any sound makes me jump. Excessive sensitivity, in a word or two. One man's werewolf becomes another's flinch: jump out of his skin into where? In this way I find my way through the crowded pathways of history. I make them my own, patiently, slowly. My only real fear is that I will die before having finished the job. That would be a real catastrophe. Better not to start something, after all, than to leave it unfinished. But maybe this is what children, and theirs as well, are for. Some jobs are just too big. Only, by the time I am old there will be even more history. Lots more, by the signs of it.
But under the light of this particular moon, I do not find myself completely lost. I have seen these trails before, only last month. Are these only my mild form of the monthlies? I see no reason why this could not be possible. But it is better not to dwell on things like this. My thoughts might nothing more than fields of gravity and god knows what else, the end result of which is the creation of a monster who can never know himself. So I will do my best to make notes, observe, record. I am after all the son of a scientist. Which does not make for, I am told, over and over again, in different ways each time, an exciting life. I don't mind, however. I will find happiness and live, playing a never ending trick on my destiny. That is, I am convinced, the only way to elude one's fate. Laughter was never factored in to the original equation, and so occasionally still succeeds in gumming up the works. Leaving me, I suddenly see, laughing at the moon – only one step away from a howl, I suppose. But a step away is better than none, as far as I am concerned. I want only time to play a little longer; one step or two or a thousand makes no difference, as long as they take me where I want to be.
In the past, I was so overwhelmed by the pace of life that I never learned (if only in order to forget) that there could easily be other speeds. I had grown used to seeing the world rush by in a blur, and thought nothing of it. I know, I told myself, that everything approaches the speed of light, which will soon reach back into itself and take all that it has given, leaving us empty handed. I began to wonder if it was absolutely necessary to sit back, waiting for that day like expectant disciples at the resurrection. I found it hard, however, to imagine any other destiny. Months and years in front of the television had transformed my dreams into bad police and detective dramas. When I woke I wanted to write the stories down, thinking that I could sell the script to the networks, to get something out of the stolen nights at least.
I do not know how to think what has been taken from me, so thorough and efficient has been the theft. But still I look, motivated by strange stirrings which will not let my eyes burn themselves out in the cathode rays that cloud my thoughts. I will say no more about these matters, being as it were still unsure about the effects of the lunar body. Dark thoughts swirl most strongly, creating whirlpools into which the unwary are sucked. The scope of these steadily expanding oscillations eventually encompasses the world, and then beyond. So it is best to be careful at times like this, and to view one's world with suspicion. But not to the degree of paranoia – the ideal is a well tempered conservatism composed out of memories of yesterday and moons quartered and eighthed then vanished below the horizon.
Today, of course, we move too quickly to ever notice such subtleties as the effects of the lunar march. We have, we proclaim loudly, to all near and far, conquered the earth and now head to the stars. As if we could ever afford the cost of such a journey.
Perhaps it is better to let the moon set, thoughts settle, whirlpools quiet. The idea leaves me feeling no sense of loss. Not as if someone were taking a prized possession. Maybe there will even be moments when I can look up at the noon day sun and think only of matters close to my heart: a chicken scratching across the sun-baked courtyard, trees rustling listlessly in a light afternoon breeze. Maybe then too I can speak, and hear what I am saying. Today my words echo until eventually small parts sink into my depths, sounding strange and dissonant chords whose character I recognize only much later. And not only my words. Also the words of those surrounding me, peering at me as if through a murky haze – but it is only my haze, a fog through which thoughts uncoil with an unsensual languor. Buried in sand my hands reach for sunlight but find only onioned layers of skin falling off in larger and larger sheets. Finally there is nothing to cry for, nothing to dream of, nothing to call us back home again.
I am trapped in camouflaged webs woven out of old thoughts and fantasies. I am adding drops to a bucket which grows larger by a factor of ten with every drip. The bucket collapses, or explodes – I am not sure which. When my heart begins to shake and my eyes blur, I move like a crab towards the remnants of the pail, hoping to find peace while trying to reassemble the crumbling sections. But my hands fill with sand and the laughter of the gods rocks the heavens.
But now I have new dreams, the shapes and turns of which begin to creep in around the edges of the old (who will not admit these young upstarts, or even the possibility that they exist). But it is too late, barring an unforeseen catastrophe. They are massing at the borders, an invasion is immanent. I shiver to think that I will be the sight of a battle of such magnitude. Surely this is an historic event worth noting. A first person epic that will put all others to shame. And I will be there as witness, reporter, battleground, conqueror and vanquished all rolled into one. My hands tremble at the realization of the weighty responsibility I am taking on, but stop once the relay runners of the opposing commanders issue their respective cease and desist orders. They have no time for such trivialities, there is after all a war to be won.