Friday, April 09, 2010
One of the most difficult aspects of my relationship with writing is my inability to avoid the inevitable. Though I don't believe in Fate...well, I sort of have vague leanings towards reductionism and a clockwork universe. Though I don't believe in Fate in some romantic astrological way, writing feels like I'm moving along one linear timeline with a definite end. There is a finite amount (unknown, but finite) that I'm ever going to write (or live/laugh/love/what have you but here specifically "write") and I can only move forward on this line, writing along, a spider descending a single strand of silk towards the ravenous salmon of uncertainty.
There are times, like this time, that I know what I want to write but I don't want to actually go through it. It reminds me of jumping off cliffs into water and I know I'll be fine hell I've already done it three times already that's why we drove all the way up here to Sedona...and there is always the moment of hesitation. Looking over the edge into murky green water, trying to remember to jump far enough to avoid the underwater rock, and hesitating, always hesitating. And the spiral of doubt because it is the hesitation that could make this all go horribly wrong this time.
I'm already up here, and climbing back down would be harder than jumping. I may be a coward, but I am a lazy coward.
Kelly and I had flown to Orange County to go to Disneyland with her mother and sister. It was Spring Break and many flights were full. As I fly on a space available basis, Kelly had gone ahead and I, as a single passenger, would be much more likely to snag an open seat. It worked out pretty well; I only had a couple of hours to wait before my flight. I enjoy the airport. I met people, we talked about spring training and the recent Paul McCartney show (which I did not attend but I would have gone with you if you'd asked), and local spots for drunken antics. I was an expert on exactly one of these things, but that did not stop me from giving my opinions and making claims about the way things were "back in my day".
A shiny metal counter with stools and electrical outlets was positioned awkwardly by an equally shiny metal pillar. It was designed for people with laptops, but as I am brown of skin and larger of bulk most people with laptops tend to let me sit where I want. It seemed like a good time to write. I pulled out an empty notebook and did so.
This is where it all ties in to what I mentioned in the beginning. All the things I'd only thought about writing queued up nicely and orderly, and then waited. They didn't have to wait long. Or it didn't seem long. I actually took a little over an hour for the few lines that follow and when I finished my hand hurt and my back hurt and everything seemed brighter in there.
Just two pages. Not even real pages but dinky little composition notebook pages. I snapped the thing shut and threw it back into my backpack.
We had a good time at Disneyland, as always. Kelly loves the childlike wonder, and I love pointing out the elitism, embedded racism, and anti-semitism sprinkled throughout the park. I didn't even look at the notebook until we were home and unpacking. I re-read it and sighed. Yes, this is what I had been avoiding. But now it is done and let's see if I cleared that underwater rock.
This is the content of those two pages:
When my little brother died, he left me alive with and with a sunburnt soul. Thirteen months have passed and still no tan. Sandpapered surfaces still surprise me in odd places. Bumps and brushes snag and smear. Dry, curling edges flake into my throat, suck into my lungs and take to the air again. Who I was falls like ash every time I use my new voice, the higher, huskier, revolution of a vinyl record left too long in the sun. Honeybee honey when the bees've all gone, pouring slowly with amber crackles. An over-aware voice finding its feet by coasting to subject to subject to subject. All the credible noises of interest belonged to the old voice.
Each day after his death, dawn finds a thousand archers stringing a thousand bows. At their feet are featherless arrows, straight as truth, with heads of rusting iron. Ever are they ready.
His death and my shrieking, blistered birth into an armorless world.
He would want you to be happy. It doesn't matter what he wants, he is dead.
Keep him in your heart. He is he is and there is no space for the blood.
Come to church to celebrate his spirit. Were I ever to meet your god, I would tear away his throat and stare as the blood soaked through his beard.
There is no balm here. The cure for the flesh calls for a poultice of bone.
My eyes see farther but no better. Death's passing smears a static blur to their edges and makes an abyss of their eyes. These are the traces of the oldest sadness. I still feel light enter my pupils but I do not feel it strike. Perhaps we are all sharing the same pupil, a massless dark that has enough for everyone.
It is harder now to be afraid. Fear still requires life, pain still requires nerves, screaming still takes so very much breath.
* * * * * * *
It was supposed to be about a pony.
So, yeah, that's out of the way and I can move along to the next bit of writing that awaits me. Not that it will necessarily be on a different subject or not use so many commas, but it won't be that. It's done, it is written, and now I can write the next thing.
What is written is always in the present, and this further confuses my timeline. Sliding along this path, turning everything into Nows before it can become Thens. These things I write pile up in my lap, in my arms, increasing my mass as I approach my ending. Well, wherever down the strand my ending is, I hope it is huge and maybe full of gasoline. If there isn't a kick-ass explosion that can be seen from space, know that I will be sorely disappointed and probably blame everyone but myself.