You turn around and five years have gone. That arbitrary measurement that you are supposed to keep at all costs. Time measured in hours and days and weeks and months that never seems to work out. Inept because the present never fades away enough to be fully absent from the past. The same’s but different’s. The same chair. The same car. The same house. The same life. Yet everything seems different. A sort of silence has now come to roost. You think of what you’ve lost. When was the last time you kissed a woman with passionate intent? When was that time when prosperity couldn’t get enough of your doorstep? Name the date when your children began to hate you? This life becomes a crystal clear ocean that drops down to a bottom several hundred fantoms deep. You are locked in the bathroom with the sharks curious to come in. Your alter ego tells you to leave the door open go about your business and they won’t bother you. Just don’t fart or bleed. The world is out there swimming past in groups at different levels. Young, old, families, friends, in groups and pairs. To them it is a paradise. But you are the only one that seems to know that it is underwater. The only one who cares about the impossibility of it. But you go along? All the fish out of water have their own set of problems way up there above the surface. You are a man lost in the water. The Kingdom of seaweed and Davy Jones. Who is right and who is wrong to stay? How wrong is it for someone born at the end of the year’s first quarter to rue the water? That same old signaling feeling never to return. Because you can’t return! Just build doilies of the dimness of random recollections and call it the past. Perhaps that is the ocean that you seek? No special regard given to this persistent waking dream that all these characters seem to share with you? You’re kind of selfish that way. People only seem to take special notice of you when you defy their expectations of the moment. The opposite is true after all that in this world you will never be seen if you swim in a school without he fishes. One can only judge a book by its cover. That is how upside the world has become.
The world flood had arrived and the waters extended in every direction with no hope of land or solid ground available upon the saltine seas. The shimmering surface was covered in the intermingled flotsam of wrecked civilizations in pieces large and small. And bizarre collection of the absurd mixed in with the once identifiable implements of everyday all sharing the commonality of having some degree of buoyancy. Perhaps more astounding was the fact that a few humans had survived the mile high wave that had swept the lands and scooped up the thin veneer of civilization and deposited the bulk of its scattered contents down deep below. They floated betwixt the debris with a tight iron grip on all manner of items. Some on overturned plastic dinghies, collections of Styrofoam lawn laden furniture, wooden barrels, and large timbers. A very few on small powered and sail based craft that had miraculously not simply capsized. The signs of life between this bobbing universe being very sparse but still discernible. Perhaps it had been days, maybe weeks since the fatal event but some began to assemble odd forms of more suitable floating conveyances from choice bits of this detritus. Little by little with a patience forged out of an iron will to survive these rafts appeared like oil droplets slowly congealing upon the new seas. String and rope and torn cloth around plastic garbage bags containing emptied plastic bottles tightly recapped mixed in with air filled chunks of foam and myriads of orphan bottle caps. Some sticky taped other bound in steel wire. Fantastic feats of construction providing platforms for those whose existence was prolonged by a few days further than expected before. The possibilities of indefinite survival unknown and waiting to be explored by those not willing to surrender to their radical change of state. The fear of isolation defeating the natural aggression fostered in survival resulting in a sense of cooperative camaraderie. All the formal barriers and conventions subsumed in an extinct yesterday. The comfort of animal closeness now the most precious of commodities not to be squandered if unexpectedly fallen upon. Sustenance was now simply a matter of opportunity. Nothing eatable was wasted. The social conventions against practices once thought abhorrent were now fully absent. Meat was meat after all. Anything consumable was a Godsend. The ever rolling surface was soon cleaned by both man and beast. Weeks turned into months and only the strongest willed of the survivors remained. No instinct or intuition was wasted between men and women. Memory of the past faded into the boundless present and the future never proceeded more than a single step ahead of the moment. The idea of questions and answers were erased by immediate action and the vagaries of instantaneous circumstance. The remnant of this former species seemed for the moment of this recycled instant, reborn anew.
Sunlight poured freely into the vacuum of the bedroom. Those well-worn legs seemed to swing themselves off and outward like the yard of the mizzen of a skiff flapping off too freely in a stiff wind. Dreams of push buttons, boiled off too quickly to be caught in the clarity of intellect as if morning mist suddenly revealed to day. “Sudden“, was the operable terms he thought of as he walked besides the strange little woman. The one that he preferred to believe so. What was so strange about her? He dared not voice it aloud to himself lest it ferment into one of his usual little empty petty fantasies that ended up nowhere. “Goddamn it!” he dared not say it. He really was attracted to her! Something he could not recall, save in an eon before the birth of this present time. This was a cliche of course! A path given to meander through the prosaic nature of a forgotten little fossil of a main street delivered somehow from over a century or more past. It’s two blocks showing its wear? Sure! But not so much as that spot of new paint here or there did not sufficiently gussy enough to freely allow for idle thoughts of a kinder nicer times. He had almost kissed her on the bridge! His doubts of how that might be received flowing past over the swiftly flowing current of the river! “Almost” being translated most correctly not as a matter of an inch or less. But of light years in the count of the foolishness in the age tarnished standard of his own concrete reserve. The sign post metaphorically in front of the act that he projected supposedly saying, “RESPECT“. But if any cared to tool around the whitewashed clapboard to the back of the tent, the wormwood bespoke simply habitual fear. A fear of being unwanted on a scale so legendary as to make the torment of Prometheus seem passingly trivial by comparison. Sixty plus revolutions of Earth about the Sun that had left things undisturbed in that quadrant and basically undisturbed. He was a loner. A loser!
She had her own share of dings and dents served up by an unkind Gaia. Some more than others! People dying, health issues some creating both mental and physical scars that would not run the risk of further betrayal by exploration of eyes that might or might not understand and care enough not to take them in. They both had sachet’d about in the same distractedly indirect way. He was a charter member of the hopeless fraternity of hapless older men. Though he was unable to cop to his age. A special variety of a kind particularly toxic to other female counterparts of a similar eras. Fickle and untrustworthy in their likes and mercurial the next moment in their dislikes! They were fun for a day or two here or there. But that was as long as anyone who was sane would dare to take it. Those pretty little phrases like paper doilies that he sorted through his head obscuring clarity as they both continued walking side by side were for her, honeyed with pepper. Still there was something that had happened twice to him that set his own ship’s course to steer nearer the rocks of fatal doubt. When they had first seen each other this time around, she had stood before him waiting. Waiting not quite as if she was at a loss for words. But . . . but just standing there looking into his eyes for interminable centuries waiting on him as if she was waiting for a spark of some sort to be found. “Maybe to start a fire?”, he thought so guardedly to himself. He could not help but continue to ponder as they walked? He was too far out of practice. All thumbs! What could these smoke signals mean? He officiously professed silence to the inquiry resounding within that jury room between his own ears. He knew it! He was lying! The intuition of his own hear knew the score exactly. BUT! Was he ready to follow up on it?
How could one feel so caring and yet so infatuated with someone else? Was he still a teenager? For him the mix of oil to vinegar was too likely to turn out ascorbic! His feet were lead bricks too experienced in being parked so comfortably sinking deeply in his tongue. Not able! Or just habitually unwilling? To allow the right words take a flying leap out of his mouth traveling by trapeze into her ear. An eleven years old he had demonstrated more grace and style by pulling pigtails with less panic. “What did she need with another encumbrance?“, he rationalized to himself. There was ever so much on her plate as it was! He thought he knew better? The spots upon his own back were not that kind of firehouse dog well trained and domesticated enough to hop up on board engine with the next fire bell. Not one to go charging blindly into inexplicable vagaries both day or night. In so many past years, he had tried and tried and tried! The fact of his current marital status with the lack of demonstrable history of well-intentioned ‘college tries’ spoke volumes! As if bold text read from the prologue of charges by an indifferent magistrate paying particular attention to making these unfair allegations sting at the inquest. How could anyone on the delivery end of this sort of sentiments ever be able to interpret them any other way? He walked on with her hoping for that rarity of ‘the right moment‘ to demonstrate the opposite. But hopes in this version of the ‘ real world’, it never would come to fruition without those right impulses that were too safely abandoned back on the bridge! They seemed to be there for him in the earnest sense, as words to be read upon on paper. The mooring cable had slipped its stanchion and he could only have supposed himself as some old indefatigable battered hulk bounding too dangerously close to foundering upon much older ocean waves. Much in the same manner that he always had. And much in the way that she by this point expected it to be. He was now his own prisoner. It had happened before. And like so many times before him, he was resigned to reside upon this watery prison unable to swim. He wiggled his toes in the carpet as he thought about the day’s events ahead from that perspective of its ultimate climax. The final kiss from her was an over polite pucker God help him that he quickly seek out swimming lessons!
There are so many other that appear infinitively more intelligent and emotionally rational than I am. It seems my age and upbringing are by the fact of same great impediments that are against me. Others of my age group swim along in the swift current dog paddling ever faster while flap around trying to escape it ever flustered in the attempt. Daily human existence through the cloudy crystal of my own life’s inviolable patterns has begin evidenced as a a futile exercise where all attempts to find worth in the extraordinary are meaningless to the larger question of why. The first popularly recorded story by civilized society seems to be its last. An individual desire to transcend into a full equal in status on a par with the immensity of the universe the ultimate folly of this age. The tenor of these times demands a mindless blinder ridden march towards change. We are to form up in orderly rows and march beneath a banner that unites us yet the journey proceeds perilously forward taken on a moonless night to towards the sheer drop of nearby cliffs into the whitewater of the falls. The continual beat of resurgent vile animal emotions guiding those theoretically in command at front of the formation to direct their inexhaustible rage at the main body of the procession. So many of the young dive in thinking themselves immortal to this irrefutably mortal danger. I personally can only continue to flap my own arms ever more violently and impotently caw out in an increasingly arcane and strange language that was once the common patois of my own now long faded times. This seems to be the fate of all man on the eve of their own destruction. So then do these few geniuses among us somehow find their way to the bank of this flow and simply sit there quietly to watch the rest of us race by. I wish somehow there was much more!
When I was younger I used to wish that I was nobody. Someone totally anonymous and unable to be identified by any other living entity within this world. But when I reached my later years, I realized that I had succeeded too well. I wonder why like a snail or a turtle who has been defrocked of the protection of the cares of everyday existence and is now thrust into the sun, where is my long accustomed ever protective shell? This life a matter of bare fruitless existence with no one left to please beyond the burned embers of a dependent failing mother. Could life in the veil of deep space be even ever colder? The long practiced art of lament then is the insulating factor in my dilemma. Crying infants are rarely the babies that guests go running to pick up and supplicate. And while the squeaky wheel might get the grease, if indeed grease is still affordable, matches that look to service beyond their intended purpose generally end up only offering bad luck to the user who uses them two times too many. There only being so many times in the course of one’s existence that one is at liberty to commit the same mistakes, “shame on me, shame on you!”
I’ve lived long enough to see the writing of many upon the wall whitewashed over and over again, only to return as if never having been spoken in the first place. This fact alone being enough to tell me that all my earthly effort is wasted if it does not produce another like my own kind. I cannot have children anymore so I must try to kidnap the minds of other to complete this strange dance of eternal reproduction. Equally, a strange and meaningless task as carving one’s initials in a sapling and beating others with that branch. Who then can claim to be my mentor in this age of the unknowing damned? Is this merely another form of perpetual whine? I have grown up strange but still refuse to shoulder the burden. It is this all too thin but impermeable vacuum that encompasses my thought. Space may be know place to raise a family in a David Bowie song. But for some odd reason I have chosen the lack of atmosphere in the most abstract ether that mankind can imagine. This vast expanding harbor of ones and zero’s that convey intention and inspiration. It is here where this turtle will relax and lay floating in the gulf of everlastingly eternal hapless oblivion.
Sleep and dreams bring one to some interesting insights that waking cannot provide such as the proposition that individual units of life are some form of time space transmitter of higher order consciousness. The nature of the conundrum of death centers around the mysterious loss of the animating force that leaves the residue of physical form to the surety of breakup and dislocation by ever present microorganisms. For those whose mathematics are quick to provide a be all end all solution of beginning to end in the simplistic form of same there always seems to be something infinitively larger and correspondingly smaller discovered as the ability of our technology driven age employs surrogates devices to aid physical sensation. Interesting to note that all life has a statistically similar genetic commonality as if wrought from a singular tree stump. Our basic corollary of initial growth and maturation from the mystery of conception taking the form of seed and root in the transition through a tadpole-like structure on the way to a prototypical ‘five star’ infant shape.
This matter of an animating force referred to in our time as a soul perhaps a remote connection through the medium of an invisible ether that binds the manifestation of thought and the illusive obviousness of material composition together as if a seemingly congruous singularity. It seems inevitable that such an orderly complexity as wrought by humanity, the insect world, the realm of mammals or so forth can not be mere evolutionary randomness brought forth by an undetectable celestial ‘monkey’ in search of Shakespeare. In our collective logic, the creation begs and identifiable creator. Though, the many hints as to the true nature of all things universal laying around our intellect seeming undetectable can only be fathomed by our unconscious insight. All things seem connected by the principle of appearance and eventual disappearance, each eon having both a sense of progression and similarity. The idea of modern and progression are misunderstood in an inordinate preoccupation with things past in favor of maintaining the misguided security of longevity through the stasis of materialism. Consider a fish attempting to prolong its existence in a dangerous ocean with the encumbrance its own fishbowl.
The keynote of the contemporary idiom of modern human existence seems increasingly fashioned as a ‘circling of the wagons’ against the effect of the continuing chaos of the universe. The stability of the species and its ability to construct machines to enhance a physical sensory awareness through ordering the population from an individualistically unique model to a crystalline species oriented structure seems to be a major shift that is counter evolutionary. The notion of negentropy in which an organism growing in complexity essentially plants and speeds along the seeds of its own collapse applies here in the most demonstrable sense from generation to generation. All great empires are doomed to fall, especially those who attempt to regiment their constituent populations away from the free interaction with a larger universe. What then is one surrendering to enjoy the illusion of modernity as framed in a singular sense of massively coordinated effort and achievement? The maxim of ‘live and let live’ as removed from the Bartleby of the general population in favor of a slim segment seems to invoke the notion of hastening te harbingers of annihilation. It seems a matter of sinking pleasantly into the ether or swimming furiously to quick exhaustion upon it.