Monday, December 20, 2010

Course Correction

A steady climb, even a superstitious logic brought me to a place where I stopped. How many hours had I been walking? Was this the right place? I had been talking to myself throughout my journey, mindless of my steps. What about the more basic question - Should I turn around? Was I lost?

Stay, I heard myself say. Not as in a fairy tale where each event speaks in rhymes to travelers like me. Nothing magical. Just a stubborn insistence to hold still. I stood there in a clearing, alone, and let the my mind shed its noise.

Then, a second man came to the clearing by another path. He stopped at the outer ring of trees, but came no closer. In the darkness could he see me? I could smell him see his soft shape in the twilight- furtive, cupping his cigarette with his hand. He waited, and turned back. Quiet returned. I thought I was onto something.

I walked on a bit farther because I didn't know how to go back. No clever twist, hidden message, or big lesson. My random encounter with a smoker proved inconsequential. By most definitions I did not die and in fact did not need rescue. Instead, I found my way back by accident after hours of panic stricken running combined with horse trading in search of some divine intervention. There was none at all.

Since then, I have stayed closer to home.

December 20, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How You Tell It

Here are my notes:

Your account includes fragments - dozens of rough gemstones - pulled from the pocket of your baggy jeans, tossed in the air between us, and permitted against the rules of physics to float while we banter over which five or so can connect to create the truest line from then until now.

You select stones for their sharpest edges - your mother sold you to another woman who, finding that she could not keep you, gave you to a third woman, who came away with you from war fire, charred homes, missing limbs, fallen lives. She, then, hit you and called you by names to make you small. In the story you tell, you survived but now float, lacking root, bleeding, lost and lonely. In repeating this sequence each day, you have established it as a form of stubborn proof.

I would have wanted to hear a different account – a polishing made possible by time, distance, age. But to ask and to ask brings nothing new. As before, you designate the ending by the click of your tongue and a slap that sends the unnamed stones to the ground.

By now, I know you will have it your way.

December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I stood next to the schoolyard fence, looking down the sloping stretch of wet street. Black band of asphalt cut between two rounded hills both green with short grass that followed three days of rain. Cold wind rode along the fence line snapping through the flag overhead. To the left, project apartments sat tucked into the slope, each cut at a different angle. Through these cinder block buildings three boys ran pulling shirts and jeans from clothes lines. A woman leaned from a window to call out.

While this little sequence occurred, I did not arrange the sights or attempt to distinguish one sound from another. I didn't move. I waited. Then, in that quiet gap between the what now and the what next, impact, weight, scale, sequence, even where I was lost an edge of specificity. Just for that instant, the one or two loud sounds, the rising glow of street lights, gaping ditches in the hillside, further tumble of boys in the wet grass, my internal discourse fused into softer shapes. Reds, and whites, denim, cotton, skin, and geometry blended to a single color and a simple shape.

For maybe a minute but no more. That’s how I felt just before I left.

December 14, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Journey by Light

Simple light took me: gold, white, intended, fluid. Will I steal its shine by speaking of what I can still remember? That, once taken, my forward momentum increased to become an arising as present as the emptiness that opened its mouth in the light’s wake behind me?

Let’s say without debate that I was a flying thing, humming low, an insect of spark and photon, following the black band of river water that twisted through twin rock faces. I was powerful. Small. Fast. Out of my body but closer to myself. Speechless and honing into a twisted, electric spiral - a speck caught in a jet stream.

I directed the nose of my flying shape into improbable transit through the river's bends. I stoked an image- a flicker of a circle where other small beings had set aside a place. I could see them gathered and waiting. They were waiting for me.

I can also remember that by this journey I found my way home. I traveled in perfect darkness through much of the night.

December 3, 2010