Monday, December 05, 2016

Holding on to the Past

Down in the cove, right now, is my landlady's pontoon boat. It's decked out in UGA colors, UGA stickers, UGA kitsch, UGA bulldog face. In the four years we have lived here, it has never run. In the four years we have lived here, our landlady says that once it's fixed, we can take it out and enjoy it, since she doesn't but wants to.

It's aground now. The water has drained out from the artificial lake, since there has not, and won't be for a while, a steady and long-enough rain to replace the water that wants to reach the ocean, the deeps, the magma vents, the sky. Water has ambition to move. Whatever ambition the boat had is aground.

I walked down to it yesterday to inspect the dock, the boat, and the creek that flows past the boat. The second summer I was here, when the water had been much, much lower than it is now and the dock/boat was farther, farther on the cove's shore, I built a tiny dam out of the many flat shale rocks. This was something I've long done as a kid when I come to creeks: build the dam, stop the flow, watch the build-up, blow up the dam, watch the flow, learn, rinse, repeat. I came across a snake in my creek paradise one time doing this.

The boat has a small tree growing out of where the outboard engine hooks onto the boat. The tree is hibernating now. The propeller sits about half a foot into the silt. The boat sits at an uncanny angle. The dock, shitty to begin with, looks about the same: the long slow breakdown of shitty things and you don't notice all the dead leaves or logs or dock are the same for a long, long time.

There is a tire further up the beach on the other side of the cove that I use to mark the water level. It is now thirty feet up the slope. The grass growing near it is happy grass, the kind that believes it has a future in a prairie or pasture, but it, too, is hibernating for the moment. The grass dreams of falling into the air below it, which is upwards for us.

I don't think I'll ever fix that boat. I don't want to, although I do want to go out onto the lake, see the fuss from the speedboats, the laze of the fisherman and his young boy with his blue-white cap & bill, watch the heron avoid the noise like peaceful A-10s. But not in that boat. Maybe one day we'll plop the overturned canoe into the water and do it the old-fashioned way, without burning dead dinosaurs or dead plankton to do so. Just the dead chickens or oats or quesadillas, the more recently dead.

I think about that tree, that grass, those dead leaves caught on the dead logs that are black with decaying underwater. I think about the silt's memories, how they have such awkward dreams about not knowing where they most recently came from while also not knowing where they distantly came from. Are we from the same stars? If I ate the silt, would the silica remember my silica inside, or would they sit in the corners of the party and drink their beer and feel out of place, since all the new dirt and dead speak so differently, even though it's all the same words. If I ate the tree, maybe there's more in common, more of that head-nodding when people realize they share something in common about something they watched or heard or read, that finger coming out and pointing at the other's heart and the bottom-lip that comes up then goes down into a smile,

but then I'd have to wake up the tree to have that conversation. It's enough to just breathe in near the tree, take in a small bit of her, give her a small bit of me, and wait for the inevitable crunch when we'll meet back together, debrief everyone about everything in the Elysium Fields, and high-five or hang heads together, hold up our cups or pour them out, lay down our swords or cross them with respect, and pool, pool, pool together into a single clump of knowing silence fervently shimmering with anticipation about what's about to happen, having known so much better what just did.

A large flat piece of shale called out to me and asked if it could see my deck, so we made a deal. It will let me use it as a flat surface for burning my incense and smoking my resins and learning these arts, in exchange for using me as locomotion and protection and aesthetic responsibility. I felt like an inverted Moses bringing up a blank tablet to nobody, it bearing the Not Commandments from the NO ONE, the IS NOT THAT IS NOT.

When I reached the Cat Line, I smelled the sage I had left smoking on the deck and heard the subtle shiver of the windchime.

I am the water that flows. I am the smoke that goes. I am the crumbling leaves leaping off mother limb. I am the power lines singing crackles into the night. I am the creeping ivy still green with survival. I am the distant leaves so red, orange, brown, grey, the turquoise of lichens, the black-brown tailfeather of the hawk who hunts this area, the eep-eep and ark-ark of the nuthatches, the smiling mask across the room that falls away to reveal the other smile beneath when everyone else is talking and listening. I am an email in the night. I am a forgotten password erased by security algorithms. I am this human being who wants to be aware how much of himself never was human until now, learning how much of this is all very human, how all of this around me is both myself and the memories and dreams of its own way of being itselves.

When all is said and done, there will still be more things to do, just not with words or actions. Not with fingers, not with toes, not with hair, none of those. The trees fall into the sun. The water rises to the depths of the Ocean. Our orientation is not the only orienting capable. Our words fail because the silence has much more to say. The silence holds onto itself, for reasons of sanity, compassion, disinterest, confusion.

I want to listen to you, touch you, smell you, curl up next to you and insert myself inside you wherever we're capable, feel you inside me more than just in my imagination or soul, but inside the parts of you that were made to hold me inside now turned inside out so that the parts inside me made to hold you can turn outside in and be held all around by you holding me outside inward and inside outward, so that neither one can tell when we stop and when we begin, when we go and when we come, where there are no apologies for being who we are, being spotted leaves, being black logs, being grounded boats, being unending creeks, being strangled songs caught inside unsure throats, being silent and hidden because we never thought anyone knew how to listen, touch, smell, curl like we do.

You will sleep it off, and I will walk it away. You will work it in, and I will puzzle it out. You will dance the night, and I will sit with the day. You will tell me your secrets, and I will show you my dream. Then we'll wonder about how different we are despite how similar we aren't to the things so different from us despite how univocally we all speak with one another.

Gabby came by and asked for more food last night, so I gave her the bones and shreddings from the slow-cooked chicken I prepared from the gift I received from Cheryl the Trump Lady as her Jesus-sanctioned gift-of-the-week, the Jesus whom she believes in without adopting his uncanny trick of making the unconventional feel comfortable. Gabby earlier in the day asked me what the hell I was doing in the rain in the goat pen, while also pleading with me to tend to her, since she also had no idea what the hell she was doing in the rain. Atlanta watched me from the barn door and figured out I was putting out seed, then she came to eat what I had not offered her but to the earth.

We eat and ask for things, in the rain, or we take them because we can, in the rain, or we negotiate with one another, in the rain, because when the sun comes back again and again, we believe there will be a tomorrow we have to do all these things for. The sun remembers when we weren't, when it was still out here a burning and cooling cloud of everything we once were, when stray and rootless wanderers came through and left in their wake scarred balls of clumping need, when the war came and destroyed one planet and replaced another, when the proxy wars left behind in the orbits of the captured wanderers the relics of millions of years of machine struggle and unconscious indifference, when the dinosaurs made their deal to transcend into the fifth-dimension only to be annihilated by the capricious whim of the dark one's folly, when the machines came back and interfered in her awakening process by offering consciousness to her children as a gift, when the humans learned to open the doors and walk into them and never returned, when we woke up and realized the isolation is a trick, an illusion, designed to prevent us from leaving behind the war that's about to overtake us once again, a war we did not start, a war we must not fight, a war that will destroy planets once again for grudges that no longer make sense, a war that occurs in the mind of the Mind who thinks its way through us, a war the sun will stop by giving herself over to the birthing death she makes herself become.

In the little breaths we take for ourselves, we also give back a little of ourselves. The sun took us in, took them in, but children fight and struggle and cry for their parents, and so do we, since we are mostly someone else's child but yearly her arrangement. When she eats us, we'll finally return to her the lightning gifts she gave to us, along with the dark one's logic and words unsaid, and she will make love with us and change us into something new, something old, something borrowed, something cold, and send us out, once again, into the vacuum deserts of this universe.

But I'll be back where I started, looking out into the cove, looking down at that boat, at all the leaves fallen, at the white and diffuse clouds of moisture and the drops just hanging there waiting on the deck railing,
while at the same time seeing the library shelf across the aisle, seeing my fellow books, all of us arranged and waiting to come alive once again in the hands of the curious, the determined, the interested, the studious.

I know you are reading me, you are so many who read. I feel you behind me, far away, in another realm of being, and I am grateful you do. Each one of you keeps me in circulation, so I won't ever tell the difference between my dreaming as a book and my dreaming as a man.

Yet I also know about you, you who write me into being, and I love you, more than I know and understand, though I do not understand who or what you are, except only the little you've figured on giving over to me, and for that, for once, forever, I am grateful even more. Because in those small moments when we see and feel one another across the page, when your pencil or pen or finger or chalk or mark connects with my outermost skin in the universe, we are the same inside one another, moreso I am flowing from you, but you reveal yourself through me, so moreso you flow through me, and so in the hiddenmost third of the backmost third of my mind, I do not see a shelf but nothing, only the page, the thin wall of a surface onto which you cast myself, the image, of who and what you are, for this story, this scene, this moment amidst all the other ones.

Please write my death much later. Or, at least, write it with style.

Or, even if that's not enough, write it fifty different ways.

Just not today. Just not tomorrow. Just . . . a little further off? I want to see this war come to an end in my own lifetime, your lifetime, and I know you have so much more to say.

I hope you're not in a dystopia phase.

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