Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Crumbled Bodies

There is an orange skyline hugging the awkward angles of fallen structures; the foreseen time that the insane have warned of is here. The towers of glass and steel have taken new shape. Piles of rubble and trash rise up like little mountains. Gray mounds of crumbled concrete and steaming piles of burning wood have reconfigured the city streets. Like scavengers in a sunken ship, we pick through the debris, looking for gold and pictures in frames, anything we can use and shape anew. The dust of the orchestrated implosion is strong, and in the setting sun, everything is cloaked in a thick golden haze. Through the murky light, I look for you, for your blackened contour in the earthly clouds. Your curving shape is close, walking on the loosened train tracks, picking up bolts and small pieces of iron. The heavy metal screws designed to last centuries have been defeated. Strait lines and symmetrical patterns have deviated from the original plan and now, in defiance of blueprints and architects, they skew to the right. Loose wooden beams poke from the earth in every direction, looking more like the decaying posts of a pier battered in the salty elements than the dry as bone metal tracks. The boxcars and trains have long since disappeared from the rails. The masses have taken them as housing; stopped in their tracks, the dwellers live side by side on the thin rails and cluttered railroad yards. The solid colors that once passed mile after mile of corn fields; the dingy red, blue, yellow and green remind the little girls of the rainbows they have only heard about. The clouds have disappeared from the sky, and with them, the rain. We live in landscape of heat and dust, altered only by the fast moving gusts of wind that momentarily delight us. The lighted prisms that bent over us have no home here, they are shapes of myth and memory in the few that have stable minds. Some of them journey on, following the rambling train tracks, using them like a well lit path that turns in unlikely directions. The earth, what is left of the green and blue planet has jumbled the metal course. A better path? More natural? There is debate amongst the walkers, but still they follow the rusted metal pieces, for no better reason than to discover where they lead. In the remains of the cities, where the high rises lay in smoking piles and the street lights have all gone out, people still scream in the streets. There is no fear in their voices, but they scream to their god. Are they heard? We leave them to shout their profanities, we walk by them with sympathy, soon, perhaps, we may be like them. When our stomachs rumble and begin to cave, when our bodies have taken hold of the small kernels that remain, perhaps we will stand atop piles of rubble, naked below the waist and foaming at the mouth. Or maybe I will end up like the wandering girl, still wide eyed and smiling, the dirt on her face outlining her tender eyes like well applied makeup. She left her kinsfolk in the hills and came to us alone. But I found her in the green land, not far from where I stand, three bullets in her head, disguising what was once her mouth. I found her at daybreak as I scavenged for pine cones to warm our cement cave. She was like me once, open and oblivious to the terrors, never knowing the surety of death… that it happens, in one shape or another, that it comes. The crusted brown shapes around her face and body once flowed a bright red, hot and clear and humid. When I saw her, she was long gone and what remained was already ice cold, taken out by a passing group of dark-skinned boys. I see them in my mind, shouting from a car as she rode on with an increasing sense of dread. Just hecklers, right? Death cannot come. Now? Why would it come now? And then the sound. A shot. At her? Really? It happened fast…it happened so slow. The way death moves and time escapes perception. She lay on the earth as they came closer. She thought of her mother, high in the hills. Did she beg? Did she cry? Did her coming fate slow her mind, did every instance of her fleeting life pass through her like a pretty kaleidoscope? Did she smile, remembering the sweetness that surrounded her in a younger age? Death, approaching her from all angles, a couple of boys that forgot her face as they walked away with her bag. They destroyed her body, ripping apart her flesh like children with tools of men. I saw her cold body and covered her in dry leaves and a yellow flower plucked from a cluster of weeds. Just like the crumbled edifices that litter the small city, she lays still for the birds to pick through. A changing form, from flesh to dust, she moves as I will soon. Like her, I will someday surrender to the fate of circles that never come to a final rest.

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