Saturday, August 1, 2009

Land Of Compost

About a week ago I went for a walk with an old friend and her boyfriend. They held hands as we walked along dirt paths that crisscrossed with cement sidewalks and litter-strewn black asphalt. I was just a few inches away, feeling the heat between their two palms, tasting the salty sweat of their mingling. We walked through El Salvador, the country of my birth, the land they still drink day after day and where I merely sip from the puddles every couple of years. We moved silently under thick leafed trees and through waves of humid wind. We walked in the shadow of our volcano creator and through plumes of black exhaust that whiled like svelte dancers with even thinner wings. Their words came, encapsulated in despair and a gray horizon. There were no jobs, the bellies of the countryside were still hungry. There were too many people for the small country and more were being born every day. The politicians still took their envelopes of cash and the people, the country of laborers and dreamers, extinguished their lights of hope with each sun that set.
And we walked, and they touched and I felt their words and their heat. Something had happened, they said. Something is happening. This little country of Central America, many times smaller than California, lost in the middle of a geological umbilical cord, this little country had become the most violent place on Earth. New-formed gangs dealt in drugs and crime. There was still the aftertaste of civil war, the death squads had been given new names but still moved through the open veins of city streets and political circles. There were murders every day, and not even the children held on to the dreams of pupusas and candy. El Salvador, they said, lacked purpose. On the glass coffee table of the earth, El Salvador was an odd shaped piece that didn’t fit the nearly-completed puzzle. There was no product they could deliver, nothing that they could contribute to a world of computers and trained technicians.

As they spoke of metal and machines and humans in cloaks and a world of parts, I started to smell the decaying forest floor. I saw mushrooms, I could almost taste the blackened rot of soggy leaves. I looked to my friend of flesh, her hips that gently moved as she walked, I looked to the right, past the street of busy cars and to the seven year old boy pushing a wooden cart of horchata. And then I couldn’t see, I didn’t see it with my eyes, but I felt as though the soil itself began to move through me, the energy of the land entered through the soles of my shoes and moved up my ankles and up through my legs and into my stomach, up and up…and they could not see it and I could not see it, but maybe this is what we had, perhaps this is what we were. We were the other, the subtle creation invisible to the modern eye, different than metal and shiny bits and cities of industry. What we had came from the ground, from the back alleys, from the black soil and the fields of bones. What we had was pumped out of the bloody streets of El Salvador and went up, vaporizing into a finer mist.

We, we machines of flesh. We, we readers and eaters and fuckers. We are a biomass. We are an endlessly repeating blob of flesh that feeds energy and information into a greater accumulator. We are, as Gurdjieff said a long time ago, "food for the moon.” We give to the nearly invisible. We give without knowing. We die, kill, are born, play…we do it without knowing that we ourselves are food. Our lives are the heat of the compost pile, a heap of orange rinds and tea bags and worms that make this smelly mess their home. As long as we walk with eyes closed, as long as we walk without a purpose, as long as we fuck to die we can be nothing but a massive compost pile, a burning pile that moves slowly in the great voidness of space.

The hot bloody biomass that is El Salvador serves as a place where dead life forms get broken down and, consequently, this space becomes a fertile breeding ground for new viruses, new language forms that slowly crawl up to the cold northern lands in a subtle invasion of broken English and ancient invocational rhythms. Maybe the planet has a need for a closed, warm environment, where the ancient and new codes can meet and explode into a thousand new mutations, splashing like burning rain over the borders of the industrialized nations. Such a place is bound to be violent, dangerous and unpredictable, especially when the sun shines with unrelenting force and the mutations multiply in multi-colored threads through the wide open sky. Maybe these things are as they should be, and it is only because we are deep in their entrails, in the very thrust of their movement, maybe because we are the movement itself, we slide into thinking that they shouldn’t be as they are. But regardless of what I want or don’t want, El Salvador continues, creation itself continues in its unrelenting and inherently beautiful grind, its multidimensional dance of life and death that will allow for no compromise.

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