Saturday, August 29, 2009

You're not a star
Your life is not a stage performance
And if it were, your audience stares with clouded sight
You will be judged, for too much or too little conformance
You will be scorned and hailed and loved and hated, and then forgotten overnight
But really, there isn't a curtain, there's no spotlight
You're not a star
Your life is not a stage performance
You have no audience
You are your audience
Forget stage fright

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The leaning tower of Pisa..

.. is far from being the only one in Italy. During my weeklong tour of the infamous land of art and chaos, I saw not one, but three leaning towers. Pisa's slanting campanile, the most famous, and certainly the most ornate, and two others in Bologna. But, as it turns out, there are five other tilted edifices in Italy I did not get to behold, the many scoliotic houses of charming Venice notwithstanding. So all in all, at least eight major lopsided structures in the cradle of glorious art and architecture. You're probably asking yourselves why that is. Bad architects or bad terrain? Neither. I have uncovered the reason. When the fashionable Italian boot was finding its way through the mediterranean puddle, it was too taken by its own beauty and style to notice that mischievous Sicily was in the way.

And so it happened.

Italia, la bella scarpa, tripped elegantly over Sicily, her beautiful towers swiveled and leaned but did not fall, and the tourists, of course, lived happily ever after.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Come. Sleep in my arms. I will take you where you have never been.

He remembers, as he was a child, finding nothing but intense anguish and tears in thoughts of death and dying.

Stiff cold behind the wheel of his sixteen year old brown Pontiac, he stepped on the gas until just over the speed limit. A broken taillight, an expired car registration, no insurance, and seven or eight beers in his gut were all good reasons not to fancy a blue lit siren singing law enforcement tunes on his ass. He also would have to stop, roll down the window, maybe even step out, and wait, wait in too cold a night for his sun-basked, olive-skinned, North-African breed.

He had already turned the heating on and let the heavy stream of uncomfortably warm air inundate his face, and drown his lungs with familiar uncontrollable nausea. He had been driving for three minutes. His fingers were already warm, and his ears were red and pulsating with blood. But he was still shaking.

Maybe it wasn't the cold. Maybe it was fear. The almost blissful fear that comes with the last moments before acceptance.

It was a few weeks now that he'd been slowly slipping out of reality, into a state of detached, unsubdued consciousness. Objects around him stopped to independently exist. They were because he was, because he decided he was and they were, there yet suddenly confined to a parallel, bidimensional world, floating on the other side of a thin film of celophane. Objects were there because he was, yet neither he, nor the objects truly were. A mere statistically probable reality. A chemical reaction. A conjecture. A growing uncertainty. A fraction of a femtosecond of a dream.

From the window of his car, the world was indistinct. He saw lights and objects in motion, either disappearing, or getting ready to disappear. On his right, lagging twenty yards behind but pushing forth as if trying to force open all the gates of heaven and hell, an eighteen wheeler sang him a short lullaby. Come, it whispered. Sleep in my arms. I will take you where you have never been.

Even as a grown man, he found nothing but intense, throbbing anguish from thoughts of death and dying. Until that moment. Death crept into the passenger seat and touched his shoulder. It wore a kind and caring face, with little make-up and a genuine, slightly melancholic smile. Naught can die if it never existed, he thought. Naught that was never created can ever be destroyed.

As the truck loomed closer in his side mirror, he stopped shaking, and an overpowering sense of wholeness took over his senses and his mind. He was one with himself, one with his car, the road, the truck, the lights, the houses, one with the skies, one with the universe, he who was one with nothing but the thin cover sheets that kept him warm on some of the dark, endless nights he spent alone shaking and whispering happy children's stories to not be afraid.

He was done now. He looked back and saw the large vehicle flirting with the back end of his car. He felt a strange kind of lust coating his senses. 

The truck passed half his car. The spinning yearning rubber black discs were staring at him. The luscious black lips were reaching out to kiss his fingers. He remembered his young sister playing with cans and boxes in the backyard. He remembered his mother cleaning his petrified hair after a long and perilous odyssey in the mud pond. He remembered his father's knife, the sand colored chickens, the old man with three fingers and a skull dent so wide it could gather water when it rained. He remembered the girl he loved more than the world, and loved even more for the sloppily repaired cleft lip she was always trying to hide. He remembered everything, but you could have asked him his name and he wouldn't have been able to answer.

In the warm thick fog of his Pontiac, he looked to the left and saw that the truck was waiting. He closed his eyes and veered towards it. He veered more sharply and stepped on the gas, and started cussing unintelligibly, like someone had just punched him in the loins. He swerved and stepped and yelled and convulsed violently, but the car kept going steadily straight, as if on autopilot, until the truck passed him briskly and disappeared. He knew he wasn't dreaming, but he also knew he wasn't dead.

He stopped at the curb, numb, wasted. He put the flashers on, opened the door and carried his feet outside the car, his head between his knees, and sat waiting for late riding policemen to spot him like a red brown stain on a white shirt and take him in. 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Perennially (not perineally my dear snickering MD's) yours

I have rarely been this busy, and blogging should be the last thing on my mind, or at least the last item on my disproportionately long and overly (read stupidly) ambitious "to do" list. But hey, if you want something done, give it to a busy man. And a busy man I am. And I do feel like sharing my now infrequent mental wanderings with more friends than I get the opportunity to see or talk to on any given weekday. I don't know if this will sport the same outfit it used to, or if it will turn itself  into a project, a comic for example, or a random sketchbook, or some brand of fictional non-fiction. I really don't. But I'm excited to find out. Not too excited -in the interest of shielding myself from likely disappointment- but excited enough to summon a gentle jolt in the direction of so-called success. 

And I hope you're not too excited either. But that you, whoever you may be, are somewhat, somehow, if ever so slightly, excited too.