Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Mute Girl


There were always three favorites in any school election, it had been that way in Zephar High School since the beginning of the institution in 1936. Through the clothing and hair styles had changed with the times, the three teenage archetypes prevailed through each decade.
There was what would become known as the “Brittany,” the one who most fit a Hollywood version of beauty. She was busty, thin, pale, symmetrical and had a boyfriend in various forms since the fifth grade.
There was the “Chad,” the masculine counterpart to the Brittany. He was muscular, athletic and strapping, had a deep voice and fit the magazine version of male.
Then there was another viable frontrunner, a decent looking, if not a little awkward girl or guy who ran not just on popularity and body, but veered more towards principles than the other two, believing, truly, idealistically, perhaps naively, that they could do something unique for the school body.
This year, as in all years, there was a chance for a few select sophomores to join the reigning school senate, made up of Brittanies, Chads, and a few na├»ve faces. There was one significant detail that made this year’s elections worth noting, for as far as Den could tell, the school yearly ritual was just as lame as the one that washed through the country every few years. But this time, there were not just the usual candidates, but a fourth one as well.
The mute girl was running.
According to the pollsters from the statistics class, the mute girl’s chance of winning was whispered to be extremely low, since no one communicated with her or even knew her name. The sign up in front of the office, alerting the school of her intention, just said, “MUTE GIRL, 2009.” No one sat with her at lunch or walked home with her after school. She stood alone in a school of 2000, not one person taking the time to read her notebook scribbles.

Den sat at his desk in Spanish 4, staring into the back of the mute girl who sat in the front row. He thought back to last year’s student election, John and Ivan were defeated by the prettier Laura. He wondered if muscle would replace breasts this year. Or maybe idealism would trump muscle. What would the mute girl offer?
All the posters and speeches and promises, it seemed a bit pointless to Den. Besides adding a vending machine with soda, what had the student senate ever done?
The school was the same drab institution it had always been. They all still sat in rows of uncomfortable plastic seats, read the same old books that had been in the mandated curriculum for 30 years, there were lots of tests and teachers that seemed to only be waiting for retirement or summer break. Everyone learned what they needed to learn for tests and then quickly forgot it. The students were powerless, and the elections only made a joke out of them. It was the illusion of some sort of democracy, but the school had a clear hierarchical structure and Den wondered why everyone went along with the game.
Den’s enemy were the school administrators, he disliked each one he recognized and he knew there were dozens more in unmarked office buildings in the center of town, others in the state capital, still others in the presidential administration. He disliked them all, hated what they imposed on the students of the country- the same standardized tests, the plastic chairs and hard top desks and school lunches.
The student body was akin to factory farms, a processing plant of breathing, living things that came out dead on the other end. The elections were the same thinly veiled joke as the American democracy, promoting the illusion of power in the hands of the people. All the administrators smiled and went along with the elections, like parents nodding and laughing at their children’s buffoonery, smiling through teeth stained with a thousand cups of coffee, smiling and knowing it was all a sham.
The same type of people were elected year in and year out. It was a title to put on college applications and resumes for the local retail jobs that hired teenagers, but nothing more, at least nothing that Den could see. So why was that girl running? What had made the mute girl decide to run?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Intimate Space


I watch with an open mouth. I try to shut my mouth, but it doesn’t seem possible to sit from this balcony’s edge and look onto the yellow and gold light of the stage without wide open lips. It doesn’t feel right to watch with a closed mouth. I note that I’m breathing though my nose and let the jaw hangs as it wants. A part of me keeps pulling my attention to look to the left, looking for a hand, an eye, a sentence whispered. I feel the tide pulling out towards the west, but I follow my mouth and move forward, giving my heart a center seat. I push my body forwards, my body moves north and I follow.

I look from the cellist to the drummer, jump like a pinball of shiny silver attention from the drummer to the guitarist, from the piano to the violin, from the violin to the conductor with cards and a waving baseball hat in his right hand. He puts the card down, picks up another, places the hat on his head. All hands are up, 14 hands. Pointing. A smile from the beaming violinist.

The balcony melts into a garage, we watch their improv session, not a concert, but a group of people playing, laughing, it’s fun and I somehow have a voyeur’s eye into their moment of creation. A few hundred eyes share their intimate space, scrunched tighter than usual, the lights are hot, but it is theirs. A sphere of intense communication, not an eye darts away. They stay together, moving up, where we could go if we keep on working.

My ears hear noise with only an occasional nod towards melody. My eyes see something, translate gesture into music for my slower ears. I coax my mind into relaxing, let it jump from yellow headband to waving hat, a hand over the mic and guttural bursts of energy. 14 instruments, taking turns, jumping, one eye towards the center in camouflage that’s disguised by the stage, one eye moving always around the semi-circle, those ears which remain open, an entire body like a cup full of hot water that remains still without burning. Pointing, the smiles, hands raised, another quick end, then a jump into rhythm.

I watch their eyes, yearn for something like that. They are talking, I can hear their words come out like screams and vibrato. Zorn writes something down on a piece of paper, he closes the cap of his pen. In the back is a man with a glowing Mac, his left hand moves delicately in the air and I hear corresponding sounds move towards us through the speakers. To his right is a balloon. A dark haired man licks the plastic world, I feel his wet tongue and the sex of a man and pink balloon.

They start fast, building into a fever pitch that starts to turn black, then moves towards red but never falls over the edge into green. The vocals, going so rapidly, the vocals, dark screams into a microphone, the smile, so insistent and so close to the floor.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Abraxas

The way out lies beyond the shell. It is hard and white and so solid it seems like I might stay here forever. So I think this might be my beginning and my death. The way out lays beyond this space, this tunnel of softness covered in thick syrup of ever-giving life. The way out is beyond this wall, an obstacle that I have been dreading, a feat requiring all my will. To live, it must break. To live, I must move through the wall. The egg is the world, the spinning earth on which all other eggs sit. They all wait, behind thin shells that keep like concrete. Waiting behind thin flesh filled with warmth and thick pieces of flesh that house our dreams.
I wait to be born. I await my death. The world awaits, holds still, takes a small breath. The hand is coming. The mouth with its beak and sharp teeth. My eyes that come with lasers and my fist for smashing. The world is out there. The shell sits, waiting for a crack. It sees the splinters, the house in ruins with forgotten windows and missing people and all the sadness of a world of missing dreams. They have all flown.
The world sits, waiting. God is in here. God is out there, waiting. We wait while it all spins. We wait while the rain spills over a thousand shells and full bellies. Our fists bang on the walls, our mouths suck on the food that spills into us without thought.
I see Abraxas in my dreams. God of 365 heavens, creator of my demons and my fists, creator of my beak and my shell.
There is a bird that flies overhead, it is a raven ringing a bell. It signals the birth of a fist, the first hammer that opened onto a desolate world. A world of lush vegetation stripped of its sheen and poetry. A world of sad promises left undone.
There is a bird out there, a cracked shell and tiny splinters. There is a fist. There is a world out there, a shell, an egg, an unborn hand ready to strike.
I must move through this wall. I must crack this shell, for the sky awaits another kiss. There is a bird out there, it is a raven, a bell rings in the distance, another death on a mountainside. Another fist is now born.
It is god’s world, the world of Abraxas and his spawn. His angels and demons, his lineage corrupted and his jewels that sparkle. All are in the sky and sprout little arms in my mind. All surround the egg, my world, both cursing and laughing. Watching for both life and the crumbles to come.
What comes must fight. What must be born will struggle, I will push against the hard forward wind. What comes must clench and grit and hit.
It is the egg. The spawn of the perverted seed. The angel with black wings calls from above, ringing a bell. I hear it through the wall of my shell, so curved and smooth. So absolutely thick it is the mountainside of my womb.
Who is it that calls from the mountaintop? Who knows of my arrival?
I come to destroy that which has made me. I will turn towards the east and then rise into the night, this fist that will move through the first wall and then find another thousand waiting behind what is left.
Brick and flesh.
It will be me, my birth, my flight into the night.
It is his name, his name that I seek.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lineage of Desire

The family continues. Or it, as an organism, desires to continue. Despite murder, after betrayal and retribution, after an affair stained with indecent thoughts, the family continues. It is a lineage that travels though blood, mingling and marrying, sharing saliva and mucus, eventually forming other, smaller life forms, who in turn, reach out with tentacle-like arms to find those with a slight taste for blood and reflexes that can easily pull a trigger.
The family continues. It is the desire and impulse, not only of two-legged mammals that claim dominion over the earth, but in every creature that fucks and dies. To continue on, to multiply, to produce more. It is programmed so deep we don’t need brains, even single cells divide and divide and divide, creating more of themselves, not all too different from the warm blooded beings we call offspring. And though our babies cry and smile, it is nearly the same movement through generations, each new life engendered by the one preceding it.
In an old story told to me at a young, open age, it was Abraham who was asked by God to take the life of his son. It was a child hard to come by and with a quick slice of the knife the boy would die and the lineage might end, which would be the greatest of tragedies, but Abraham was willing to make the sacrifice.
My parents told me that story, and now they sit it their marble house, waiting as the clock ticks and no grandchildren are born, it is the greatest of tragedies. For when I die, they will die. The little branch will end, snubbed out, finally, after dozens of incarnations.
In my immediate family, the entire younger generation is female. There are six cousins, all female. Two of my cousins have children, all three of them are girls. Growing up, it was assumed I would have children. But as a minuscule deviate, I always imagined they would carry my last name. In my name I felt all the generations before mine and as a tribute, as a way to preserve them, I thought the most important thing to do was continue the family name, to insist that the next generation not assume the names of their fathers.
It seemed so important. I wanted the family to continue, not just in bodies, but in name. In name as a symbol.
It is different now. Entire species of animals go extinct under the hand of an indifferent man that uses the earth’s plants and soil for profit. Races of humans are taken out, babies are killed for preemptive retribution, one name seems to make little difference.
Is it the wish of every being to keep living? A life eternal, maybe not in their first body, but in the smaller bodies that come after them. Can my child take what I have not finished and redeem me? Can they carry on and change what I have failed? Is this the hope of any parent, that their failings will be altered, the dark memories of their lives changed for the better?
I sit on the edge of this bed and look at the white wall, there is no one who will redeem me, my failings will be my own. Each jealous outburst, each painting left undone, they will be mine. Those are the curses of the invisible generations and their echoes will reverberate through time, just as I carry the unfinished goals and dreams of the generations who never saw me, the ones that exist in faded photographs and memories that I can no longer retrieve.