Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Elephant in the Well

In late August 2008, a baby elephant fell into a well in north central Sri Lanka. The concerned villagers knocked down a section of the cement well so the elephant could escape. After crawling out, the elephant began charging the very villagers who had rescued it.
I’ve fallen in…into the realm where words define all shapes. Where I truly believe I am Me. I’ve been in here for years, swimming in small circles within this cage. Between breaths I look up and see the sky, I see the people in rags that peer over the sides, throwing down bits of food and small orange flowers. I keep swimming, never quite dying, but never really living. The walls are high….cool and smooth stones form the walls of my circular home. I keep paddling, knowing no other way. There is nothing to grab onto, no crevasse in which to burrow. I’ve fallen into the largest of holes, the water is at my neck, and if it rains, I’ll be covered for sure. I look up from the bottom of a towering well, the light of day is bright and visible. Above, I can hear a few voices, faint and singing soft melodies. They have sent down an orange flower, cradled in the beak of a small song bird. The sky changes, I see blue, then clouds of red, then wisps of passing rainbows. But I am at the bottom, in the hole of water dug deep into the red earth.
My falling…it happened without thought. I cannot remember another way. Was it my first breath which began the fall? I am in deep murky water, and yet, those that offer me help, those that break the walls so I may run and breathe…it is those people I run to destroy. I do not run to the poachers or the politicians, I charge towards the ones closest to me, the ones that still clutch rocks and hammers they used to break me free. These are the ones near my feet, the ones I can kill with a breath. Within me I just cannot see the people that have sacrificed a part of themselves so that I might touch land once again. After their work, after their gifts, I run towards them with all my force, unable to control my habits of the wild.
Truly, I am unaware of my self. I run to kill the first threat. Just a baby, but I see danger everywhere. In the smiling man, in the song I cannot sing. In the fog as it rolls towards me, bringing disguised shadows and darker fears. I am drowning in the waters of my own creation, but I am unable to see the glittering plates stacked high with gifts and knowledge, held by the most beautiful of hands. Take your freedom and use it they chant. But the quest for water does not leave. Thirst deeper than my mouth, thirst deeper than the most water-less of deserts creeps, and I go looking for the watery filled wells. It is my habit to fall. Sometimes I wait for a willing hand, but will they come again? If they do, this time, will I remember their sacrifice?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Whore of Nothingness

It is the moment that makes itself known. The timeless chamber that is both wide and deep, kept clean and soft by the waiting whore that watches the space. She stands alone beside the great opening, mouth wide and red, moist and dripping. Her long black hair swirls above her, moving like a slow tornado within an underwater kingdom, radiating with the calmness of fluttering stars. Black winds move about her with an air of caution, not the kind humans recognize as fear, but with the reverence reserved for contained power. The currents move in and curl, twirling with the prettiness of invisible smoke, shifting and sprawling like a thousand tongues at work. Licking, covering their symbols with the juice of desire. Their utter devotion is what makes them salivate, forcing themselves to cover their great god with gifts of attention. Within the open portal, the whore moves along the periphery. Like a lady in waiting, wearing the darkest gown of soft black silk. There is nothingness surrounding her, open land and air, all painted shades of black, yet she seems to wait in a contained sphere with the sprawling trees that resemble oaks, but come from another place where names are meaningless and everything is known or taught through intuition. It is there, where the heart is the ruler of people, and the toilers bend over daily, accepting their true nature as false; where they lower themselves in gratitude, accepting their humbling like obedient servants to an almighty power. Extending beyond the horizon, rows and rows of them are kneeling, the great moon is full of power this evening, and the light of countless centuries burns down upon their exposed necks with the coolness of a smothered fire.
The light enters her, with the softness of a warm kiss and the harshness of a terrible rape; moving together in truth as they enter, rocking her center, stuffing her with all that comes from elsewhere. She goes flying back, yet remains still, altered with each step she takes around the portal. Around she walks, from above, she is a flowing black creature made of light and rain, from below, a towering goddess composed of fire and stone. She stops at each of the four rocks laid about the portal, one for each point of the cross. At each point, she stops, bending to kiss each one. She waits for another entering. The whore lifts her dress, exposing the fatal whiteness of her flesh amid the glowing darkness surrounding her. With nothing below, she readies herself for the energy approaching. It comes screaming with a silent voice, painting the black world red with invisible colors. Her heart quickens, her womanly opening expands to accept the gifts. And like a glowing sword, she feels the nothingness move inside. Pushing itself with the force of nothing, with the strength of all, without words and sounds, devoid of any tangible attachment. She radiates from the inside, with the heat of a million worlds, a thousand words and places that have been stripped and condensed to pure energy. They are inside and she pushes the gifts into the darkest depths within, her eyes are wide, her mouth open and wet, her flesh is sticky. She is the whore, the vessel of nothingness.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Present In Between

I look up at the pink tiles, wet with the spray of warm water from a leaking shower head. The small rectangular cube is illuminated by a single light above, its golden glow makes shadows of the falling water droplets and the one thin, glistening body that stands in the center, doing its best to avoid contact with the tiles.
Is this mine?
Is this me?
I look to my left, the tan plastic shower curtain. With slightly squinted eyes, I slowly turn my head to the right. Strangeness invades. This is a body I clean, with warm water and soap…I do what I have been taught, the necessary steps to maintain this body. But this is simply that…a body, a biological machine that needs to be scrubbed clean from time to time, to prevent the accumulation of pungent smells and flies.
But the tiles seem unreal.
No, they seem too real.
Small pink squares, line after line of them decorate the interior of this stall. Blue bottles, plastic jars and razor blades. An array of soaps and scrubbing devices. I know these instruments, these objects, but they are strangers of plastic and colors.
Startled, yet manifesting calmness, I continue in a progression of learned habits. Soap lathering, hair scrubbing, face washing. My brain asks, "am I here?" And I am, in this exact moment of alert attention, surrounded by the new vision of wet tiles and billowing steam, something is here.
The human, the cynic with all the answers, has been tucked aside, momentarily silenced by a flowing river of crystalline liquids and fast moving currents. Something new and startled emerges, blinking into the warm mist and bright light. The moment laughs and tumbles, spins and skips like a dandelion running on the breeze. The body holds steady, with soapsuds and streams of water cascading off mountainous pink nipples.
And the seconds roll out like a never ending line of marching soldiers, meeting the future with a series of soundless explosions and colorless paintings. The endless wheel in motion, made of sewn body parts and purple ribbons, it turns and turns, moving like a backwards clock. The past and the future forever maintain their stations on the periphery, along the gentle curving arcs that create the sides and roof; the only constant is constantly moving. Past and future melt together, fusing at the juncture which touches earth. Rolling so quickly as to be barely recognizable, the present blends with the movements that reach both in front of and behind it.
The water continues to run, quickly finding its escape from the moment.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Heart Shaped Stone

The first white heart shaped rock that tumbles past my legs makes me think of you. Instantly, I reach into the cascading water at my feet. Moving past, with an objective force that never dies, never loses its purpose. The little heart slips from between my fingers, hitting the ground with a bounce, then gliding on, just a hair above the stone filled landscape. I plunge into the waters, my fingers search for it. Beneath the weight of clear liquid, I open my eyes; the salt of heavy water does not sting, but I am solid in my purpose, only the single vision of your presence pushes me forward, searching for a gift. Submerged to my hips in warm waters, I am amid calm and tumultuous movement. It does what it must, what it knows without thought. Without teachers or cues, the waves push in and out, in and out…in and out. A constant… they move with the moon, caressing the weather, soothing the heat, screaming with the gathering of dark clouds. Entwined until the last bomb extinguishes all, until the planet freezes or blows again into the smallest of particles.
Will I laugh, lost in the blackness of your chin, among the shadows created by a myriad of twisted vines? Will I cry, devastated by the loss of your warm arms? Will I transcend the ideas of simple emotions, my thoughts disguised as truth? Will ideas fade into the nothingness of light I have heard of but cannot remember?
Matter, water, spirit, blending into the strangeness of a forgotten invisible flower. I dwell in the land of stones, multicolored rocks with the letters of your name spelled upon them. But to the remains of my mind, they are simple symbols, devoid of meaning. I see only curved lines, or perpendicular arrows that intersect. There are no sounds in this land, no language that I can hear.
When will the stones begin to talk? What must I learn to receive their gift?
An old cotton skirt hangs off my hips in shreds. Barefoot, I climb small hills of tiny rocks. At each crest, I see a thousand other mounds in each direction. I walk over them gingerly, the pebbles in my pocket create a subtle symphony for my steps, matching the rhythm that forces itself from my body. My bare breasts jiggle with each movement, dark from the sun, they give homage to the light each morning at daybreak. A wanderer in the desert landscape of a thousand stones, I journey, with only a memory to keep me sane.
The water, the heart shaped stone…did you ever have it within your grasp?
Or was it only an attempt quickly washed away by an incoming wave?
Does it sit upon your altar, or within the shrine made of mermaid bones and silken fish tails, where tiny teeth and lost jewels create the mandalas that decorate underwater graves?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Seconds Without Memory

She wakes from her slumber in a bed of soft synthetic fabric. Like an enveloping cloud, she wakes without thoughts. Location, existence, reasons…they are words without answers. Letters without meaning or a hint of worry. There are no words for bed, no syllables for shelter, no letters strung in a line that reveal the meaning of sleep. She wakes blank and clear, a silent moment of utter stillness. Like the suspended silence that surrounds a tightrope walker, she hangs in absolute nothingness. The clear light of the void is all around, and she feels its softness, its utter lack of sound and movement. The quiet around her is present in every muscle, consuming every cell, enveloping her body like blankets made of vapors.
Then it all comes back, like a flood of anxiety and thoughts, a panic rush of anger and disgruntled memories. Oh yes…I remember the reasons to be mad. I remember everything that is wrong, all the tiny incidents I consider problems…it’s all thick and heavy. There are concrete shapes and form, vivid colors and tangible smells…everything is reduced to its simplest form. There is no battle, the worries take over without a word in protest. They wrap like thick vines around her limbs, nearly suffocating her with their invisible grasp…she nearly forgets there was another way.
The next night she sleeps, she goes to bed a little sad, yet content to close her eyes and drift quietly to the netherworlds. She dreams of mountains, made of rocky sand-colored cliffs that jut from the land. She sees a long vertical flag waving from a resting point high upon the mountain. Wind battered and sun drenched, the torn sides move like tiny red tentacles attached to one greater and more powerful. She dreams of cozy wooden rooms stocked with quilted blankets and a fat raccoon that has burrowed itself in the floorboards among the birds nests that also hide below ground. Her mother introduces her to a self-described healer- the person who may be able to cure her of the raccoon that lumbers through the hallways at night. On the massage table, she remembers she shouldn’t be touched. None other than her master may lay a finger upon her, she remembers, and she watches the reaction of her new-found raccoon healer to these news.
And the girl wakes. It’s dark, only the sound of the leaking faucet calls out in the night. The heater has long since stopped working, and all the pigeons are burrowed somewhere until dawn. She opens her eyes to the darkness, her heart is open in the stillness of pre-dawn. She lays, without words or thoughts, only the mutating shapes of her dreams linger, and even those are quietly evaporating like silver dust on the heavy breath of an approaching monsoon. Her mind is still, for the first time in hours, there is nothing moving, nothing thinking…and then the gates suddenly spring open and she remembers.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Secrets of Birds

And still, the wind blows softly against my skin, tempting me to run and play with the colored birds of the dark night world. "Play with us," the birds cry in their often misinterpreted language. High coos and flittering decibels of deeper chords, they sing with the fluidity of the ocean. How was my ear tuned to their sound? The earlier encounters with their larger friends prepared me slightly for their visit.
One day I sat, watching the green grass grow, feeling an ant discovering the soft valleys of my body. It was then, when I rested my attention on the almost silent world that moves and shifts beneath my inattentive gaze, it was then, under the loyal sun, who glows and beams so often in this land dotted with hills and wooded valleys, here, while the clouds moved lazily by my dot of a body, while the earth continued to tilt and turn, while the frenzied activity and buzz of human life whirled by at a sorry pace, here, to me, the birds came.
Their brethren told them of my wishes, of my desires. How the first ones could read my thoughts, I will never know. But they knew. And they spoke to me as only small winged and feathered creatures can. They dropped their long feathers for me to gather. They gave me material for costumes and sacred dances. "Here," they said, "have us, take us and plant us in the ground."
One stands now, by the Valarus, watching it grow, watching it feed on the food of water and minerals. I planted the feathers, I hung them from mirrors and strung them around my neck. They decorated my ears and tickled my lover’s nose. Their gifts showered like golden rain, and I opened to accept their offerings. "To me?" they discovered me, they came from shadow worlds with trees made of puppets and people made of snow. I envied they journey, their ability to move and shift, voyaging from one landscape to another without losing sight of their goal.
"Bring me back," I wanted to shout, but I could only smile, moving slowly and smiling shyly as they dropped their coverings and became naked. Beneath their quills, I saw emblems and symbols. Etched in glittering raised lines made of blood and gold, their markings were clear, containing a mystery beyond my imagination. I stared, in utter confusion, in awe, in wonderment. These markings, lacking verbal clarity, yet shining with the magnificence of other worlds; of teachings that cannot be explained.
My mind screamed for explanation, but my heart kept me still, my mouth remained shut while my words were shoved into my deepest caves. I was not allowed to ask. They were not allowed to tell. Only the mystery made itself clear, and I drank its beauty. My mouth open, my chin wet, I lapped at the beauty of the other, I cried for the clearness of the strange.
"Yes," they said, with wordless cries and soundless laughs, "let yourself feel, there is no answer…only eternal questions."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Time Slipping Away

The moon is up, and my body remembers it’s the time for sleep. With a gradual aching pull, my eyelids begin to close in, taking my sight with them. We want to shut down! my limbs scream. Still vertical, still typing, still thinking, "not at this hour!" they shout louder. And one by one, each muscle decides to give me another reminder, they dose out the pain. First the fingers, then the shoulders…it’s a mutiny. They want sleep. Its time to turn off the lights and let the factory doors slam behind me as I exit. But a piece of me lingers in the deserted hallway. Something has splintered from my shadow and it remains behind, slowly spinning in space.
The clock reads close to midnight. These were hours once devoted only to sleeping, but day has not passed and the people of air still move in and out, calling my lungs home for a mere second. And each task is a lifetime. A brief bit of time to throw everything within the cauldron. To sing and move with all the passion that begs to slip out through orgasm. Each 6 minute cycle is calculated. What do I choose to do with it? Sometimes I think about lunch, sometimes I worry, sometimes I decide to get angry and remember injustices perpetrated. And sometimes, I remember to work.
Amidst the superfluous thoughts that knaw at my attention, I remember to breathe deeply. And then, I’m gone, lost in a place where body and mind wander among two separate worlds. We appear together, an image of unity, but most of me is elsewhere. The land has no name, no distinguishing features or melodies…and it sucks like an ever hungry void. Insistent on consuming every tree and thought, every movement and sound. And my body moves without me. It dances, sings, performs…it seems so normal, a picture of unity…but the "me" that lives through attention, dwells in the land of other and then and yesterday.
And then, a jolt of awakening…here I am, in this room, in this body, at this hour. It is now, in this small lifetime. In the 80 years I may be lucky enough to achieve, in the six minute experiment that requires the whole of me. The question is…what shall I do with this time? Pretend to sing, pretend to work and dance and move while a large part of me spins along the human wheel of emotion and desire? The wheel only moves in one direction…it passes the same obstacles, the same thoughts, the repeating fears and jealousies. Over and over, I decide to relive them…and each time, my blood boils and tears flow with familiar pain. When the timer sounds, I realize the moments are over and I was absent for their escape. It was faded concerns that swept me up and spat me out. My small 6 minute lifetime, over before I decided to pay attention.
Each day, I repeat the same mini life-death, and each day, I realize when it’s too late that I’ve been lazy, I’ve been careless and inattentive and the moments have passed while my mind was busy focusing on imaginary sufferings. These little lives that I abuse. These little lives that I take for granted. They will not continue forever, they greet me with opportunities and I squander the time. It could end tonight and I wouldn’t have made an inch of progress. Each day I forget, but each day I must remember.