Saturday, November 27, 2010

Walking Backwards

She was sitting in her room. The overhead light was off and just a tall floor lamp provided a slight glow to the quiet chamber. Soft light illuminated her white naked legs, her black and green tattoos that coiled around her thigh and calve. Her thin fingers held the pages of a red-covered book open, its pages a pale yellow, its words in deep black.

“I will stop making efforts to remain asleep.”

The words went through her like waves of truth. They wrapped themselves around her, plunging deep into areas she left dry and untouched.

She sat still on the soft bed, letting the sentence roll through her, letting it resonate wherever there was space. She held on, letting the next sentence wait.

She actually made efforts to remain sleep. She took steps in the opposite direction. She turned her back on the path every day, walking backwards, throwing stones, doing all she could to remain asleep, to remain where she was.

Every argument.

Every eye roll.

Every long tangent of jealousy that held her down like a drowning girl in a shallow pool.

Every reaction of jolting anger.

She sat with the book open, her hands still, her eyes soft and unfocused while the words traveled deep, coiling around the sinews of habits and pride.

“I will stop making efforts to remain asleep.”

This is what she did, everyday, perhaps every hour, as rage poured through her heart, dropping her far from the mountain she was climbing. She remembered sitting on the same bed earlier in the morning, staring up into the aluminum covered piping that ran through a part of her room. She sat there for nearly five minutes, staring into the foil, finding shapes and faces and reliving the comment she heard the day before. The four words that pierced her, the four words that she holds onto for hours, holding on o them, letting them form more bubbles of anger and reaction.

It was what she did, she found ways to remain asleep. It didn’t just come naturally. She made an effort. She actively put her attention on things she could not control. She didn’t focus on herself, which would have been the one place it would have made a difference and instead focused on every misstep of those around her.

“I will stop making efforts to remain asleep.”

Could she actively relax and let go of those efforts? Could the anger just fall away like old skin? She imagined herself on the same bed, still and calm, a slight smile on her face while rage just dripped off, falling to the earth and turning into green sprouts and vapor.

Her machine was trying, actually making an effort to remain in the dirt, to keep as far away from the mountaintop as it could. It tried everyday, reminding her of pain, of pride, of the way it all should be, but was not.

As she held the book open, her eyes softened and she took a deep breath, allowing the exhalation to cleanse her. Moving her eyes slowly onto the next sentence.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Eyes Of Dust

I look out the window as the train leaves. I am on it, in it, watching a dusty landscape sketched in the shades of white and black. Little dots of brown vie at the edges of the breathing photo and start to scream, warning me of stories better left untold. Of crimes unpunished, of little mouths that cry in hunger and weep tears for a life that will never be. I try and look past it all, searching the mountains for words of poetry, but their shadows, all too real, pull my eyes back. Escape is for the blind, for the heart that has stopped bleeding, for an eye that loses no kiss of salt. I stare in the face of sorrow, pulling its sharp scent in, letting it wrap me with its tears that cannot be shed.
Thin trees dot the land, their scrawny branches hold a few struggling leaves. Dust swirls in tan gusts with every fierce blast of wind.
The elements slap their worn brown faces, those people without tears. The sun takes the side of a heavy handed capitalist, a punishing, unrelenting heat shines never-ending. A cold dark night takes the side of imperialism, the blackness of their glossy boots, their smooth lead of total end.
It whispers in my ear, it is a blue breeze that holds a song waiting under heavy rocks. It whispers… there is a small white flower, a flower easily overlooked and forgotten, only a little girl with bright eyes in a landscape bleached of color. Only she will see the petals before they wither and crack in the sun.
I watch tin roofs that hang by threads. Soil has turned to dust, for the rain has found other places to drench. I see myself in the window, a strange reflection in the afternoon sun. I am spotted in the remnants of dew, I am a silhouette, only a shade different than the surrounding mountains and thirsty crops.
As we leave, I take a thin breath. A pain burns from within, coating my throat, stroking it like the hot hand of Satan, up and down my windpipe, down my vertebrae and into the ligaments of my toes and back up through my torso, escaping out through my fingertips, lingering in a spiral below the crown of my head.
What I see dries my eyes, leaves me without tears, without a drop of moisture in my mouth of desert and skin of old parchment. I am old, a thousand rings surround me. I find myself without a drop of life, breathing in only more heat, more sorrow, more dried up dirt and old wrinkles that had never seen the clouds. But from the front of my soul, something burns and the part of me that dies is like the weeds I never knew I was. I am quiet, but I burn. The worn streets sweep something into my memory, a feeling I cannot contain, an energy that seeks a cup, that reaches out with hungry hands to hold and grasp a metal chalice. I open a door once nailed shut. These people with their rough skin and old eyes, they speak of the conquerors, they talk of disease and death and boils, the masses of hungry, oppressed, searching for a road beyond the small corner they have been given. I shined a light into that small adobe cave, I looked with all the eyes I had, writing, talking, seeing what was there, searching for the answers that tried to evade me like pregnant clouds.
There was a light, a road that traveled a thousand years to end up at my toes, moving up and down, playing games with my limbs and organs until it spurted out, drenching the land with water, creating a road that would last another thousand years, turning past wide stones and tiny sprouts. Water pressed against the rocks, pushing in like woman with soft, giving curves, but it kept moving, never staying, never resting.
The train moves and I watch them walk with their wide hats and their children that look into the sun. There are girls that know of need and dust, dust that finds its way in, working itself into every crevasse, coming in through the ears, through the stomach, seeping in with the toes. They walk along their paths, they walk with wide brimmed hats, they walk with skin dry and cracking, for the hands of their masters had ruined the sprouts, had taken away the rain.
I began to bubble, I could not watch their hats disappear over the mountain crests. I could not continue along this mechanical route made of wooden beams and metal and thick nails. As it poured from my skin, an 'it' which I cannot describe fully, because to see it is to feel. To watch from a train window, to hold their stories, to give your tears for theirs that cannot flow, to hold a thirsty child and see an indifferent hand move through the air sweeping every bit of life into a metal vacuum…to see this is to feel It. To burn from the toes, to burst from the skin.
What I see moves in shades of black and white, screaming of gray and crying for the missing red. The dust, that ever-present dust was talking, finding its way in through my ears, finally ready after all these years to really hear. To simply observe and move on would have been one route. There were a thousand trains, each headed in another direction.
There was the island, there was the medical position, there was Cuba, there was the girl that needed attending, there were a thousand ways, some that I cannot name and describe, some that float by like leaves on a river, floating away before I can even see a shade and shape.
There are so many trains, there were, and I touched them with my hands, feeling the electricity of each, the pulsing hearts, the rhythmic pounding. Some were safe, in some I saw bullets and sticky blood. There were a thousand and I touched them with my fingertips, moving towards the one in which I sit, staring out a window at broken houses and dry people and land that has stopped crying, for there are no tears to spare. I sat with them in hunger, felt their need, the desire of all humanity, the hearts one step away from silence. I sat and touched them with my fingertips, drew in their breath and smell, weaving them into me, turning them into paintings that are colored in black and white and vibrant red.

Friday, November 12, 2010

In The Moment

She wiggled in bed. At some points she was purely wiggling, her body moving huge blasts of energy in unpredictable bursts from toes to fingertips and then back again. Other times she convulsed, her torso lunging forward with wild power that rivaled thunderstorms and bursts of natural fury. Her arms, legs and torso moved without her consent, buckling on their own, reacting to energy that had reached a peak. Her mouth opened, letting out sounds that broke the boundary between moan, pain and pleasure.
She had reached the mountaintop, a place that had once burst with rainbow colored hand gliders and parachutes. She used to sail down the rocky cliff-side on gusts of earth-scented wings, content to fall once again to the place she had come from. Now, it was the same mountain and the same breeze with its salty smell. It was the same place, but she was not jumping. She stayed at the top, holding hands with the man that had brought her there, holding onto him as the wind tried to push them over the edge and back towards the waiting ground.
And now she held back, holding onto the strings, breathing in spite of the breeze and the cries of energy that desperately wanted to move up and over, falling back to where she had once been when her clothes were on and the bed was still uncrumpled and her mouth unkissed. But she was here now, pulling tighter on the strings as the roar began and the convulsions started.
‘uuuuahhhh’ she let out a sound into his bearded cheek.
He lay still as her body twitched beside his, breathing gently, showing her how to relax.
She took in big gulps of air, holding them, forcing her body to breathe slowly, to do what she could feel was happening beside her.
Another convulsion.
Time passed, ones turned into fives, fives turned the clock until the birds sang outside his barred window and her breathing returned to normal. The hand gliders and parachutes melted back into her bloodstream, sitting eagerly on the edge awaiting another opportunity.
Soon she was getting dressed. Pulling on her jeans, her socks, stuffing her bra into her sweater pocket. It was probably cold out, as it had been when she arrived. She put on her jacket, her scarf and gave him a kiss goodbye.
She started her car on the street beside his house and began the short drive to her house which was just a few blocks away. The streets were empty and she began to think, going back to just a few moments before, back to the bed, back to the warm skin that was not her own, yet was. A part of her leapt away, once again wishing to be there, to be with him, not just kissing, not just touching, it was the mountain, the fall over the edge, the sinking into the abyss. She craved that, though they did not jump.
She spoke, ‘you cannot be in a constant state of orgasm, not like the kind you are wishing for.’
She guided her car down the small ramp beneath the subway platform. She remembered she could be happy. ‘Be here. You can be happy with him in bed, but when you are here, driving, you can be happy too.’
She looked at the road, at the subtle curve ahead. She sunk into the curve, putting her full attention on the shift of the yellow line. She turned the wheel of the car with her whole body, feeling pleasure as the car moved. Feeling the dark night coming through all the car’s windows. She smiled.
She thought about all the things she did, all the places she went, all the times she could just be happy if she just remembered to enjoy it. It was hoping for other things, longing for the bed, for his skin, ultimately for the mountaintop, it was the longing for something else. It was the torturous road she liked to walk.
She drove along the dark road, through the two lanes of parked cars. She could be there, in the car, driving, not wishing for someone else, something else.
Not needing anything to happen differently.
She felt that truth wash over her, she understood the source of her daily pain. Her body vibrated with the kisses from the mountain top while her body relaxed into the night around her and the slow drive towards home.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Abandoning Desire

I abandon desire and let go of jealousy.

It is my prayer but the ears are closed and the mouth cannot move. My eyes close and I see the sphere of the world mounting over a black horizon. I am naked and the stars begin to fall in mathematical succession, one after the other, falling like beats on the measure. It is precise and I try to grab them with my extra arms but they slip like butter through cracks in the sidewalk, they fall and take the light with them.

I abandon desire and let go of jealousy.

I hear screaming in the distance, a tight space with black bricks and stale smoke that feels like mud as it enters me and smells of old tomatoes. The screams circles me with its sharp shrillness, circling me endlessly like the dark sun that cannot explode, a sun collapsing in on itself, taking every bit of matter with it.

I abandon desire and let go of jealousy.

The chains around my heart cannot let go. The rust is there, the reddish brown crust, the dark spots and hints of green. The links clink and add to the melancholy of the inverted sun. The chains are strung up like Christmas lights in a forgotten memory. Faded yellow and blue, purple that looks like pink. Those thick chains are nailed into old black bricks that have taken on the scent of old tomatoes and cigars. Walls and walls, chain after chain.

I abandon desire and let go of jealousy.

I walk naked through a dark barren landscape, I feel small pebbles beneath my toes and watch the falling stars. My white skin calls to the animals with red bulging eyes. Froth gathers at the corners of my mouth as I imagine my own destruction, a sun cannibalizing the galaxy.

I abandon desire and let go of jealousy.

A soft breeze moves over me as I move up and down on a swing. It is day and I can taste the smell of jasmine on my tongue. Another thought that springs from a time that never existed. Was it a song? A nursery poem? The breeze continues playing its tune over the curving contour of my torso, finding places to hide, finding darkness even on a summer day.

I abandon desire and let go of jealousy.

It is my hope. But I feel the relentless pull. Thick black hands cling to my ankles like serpents from the hell dimension. The wind comes over the horizon, finding me still naked, finding me with pebbles below my toes and hidden stars below my breasts.

I abandon desire and let go of jealousy.

And with the fall, and as I watch, I crumble into the void that opens wet and wide to accept me. It takes in the falling stars, the inverted sun, the pebbles and sticks and the wind that longs for a place to rest.