“Liberty” is a flashlight pointing at a flag of preposterous proportions, so big only an imagination might create it…sibling twins who just crossed their hearts and hoped to die – light fire to it, and then the soldiers begin whetting the appetites of their anticipations…
“Fortune” is a coin falling from heaven into a snowbank of express-less emotions, reflecting shimmers into the eyes of unwavering penguins dressed like waiters serving dinner for all gods famished children, and then a set designer arrives to build the scene over again…
“Busy” is in the pyramid mind-crafting excuses to give to the chatter-hounds who will report it dressed as pornstars scrawled with mascara and day old dry lipstick – everybody wants to be spectators, or imitators, or ruffians shouting at podiums, but who wants to be a shape shifter remaking the paradigms?
Not you? Then no one…
The light of a cell; the intention of a horizon to define either end of a day, a sign painter cleaning brushes before visiting a side street cafe.
When you picture Magdalene she is without clothing or just back from her naughty errand of washing the feet of Jesus. Her inner world, how she thinks of herself, goes unexplored by your agenda of righting the tyranny of the world.
Your cohort is well stocked with stones and throwers, on which side of the rock will you be, in which ditch will you be found, later when the saints arrive?
Should, they ever come.
Memory, the stock and trade of a story repeats until sequels exhaust themselves like runners at a marathon, or by the time you remember your mothers voice singing you child songs, late one night before sleep.
Which monster are you on your way to trade tricks with, can you stop yourself from falling, or is your capitulation thought to be inevitable?
Each of us contends with the abysmal misplacement of our keys…Each of us forgets a hundred histories to make sense of the present…Each of us tethers spirits to believable mythologys; whether castaways, sinners or priests- our ears slowly closing to the lustful song of the earth, her invitation to re-energize as humans arrives but remains unopened.
To aspire to, and breathe with God. To practice kindness without a hint of lust, or an expectation of a reward. To fall. To fail. To exhale. To be reborn. To not have to remember much, if anything. To not worry over what’s been forgotten; then to remember again.
There was a winter or summer with your family. You were at home with them. Each of you the same, as you ever were.
You are a peer in the making; a man among equals holding eagle feathers, and code talking with Navajos. You want to be loved by the land where you were born, to carry a piece of that dirt close to you, maybe in a pocket, or a small bottle strung with pearls.
The mystery of smoke and pitch sparks grace the air. And a peacefulness unasked for, holds you like an explanation about everything or nothing at all.
There was that one moment when you could not escape, because too young, there was nowhere to go. Followed by the first dance you had with a girlfriend, your feet unfaithful and inept and at the worst possible time – you then wanting to melt into the wall, be at one with a sconce, or twirl concisely with a ceiling fan. But because you were not able to be or do any of those things, you instead succumbed to the terror of that too long felt moment. Exposed, like an internet snapshot of a viral fool.
At the trailer park, or the bowling alley, or was it outside in the parking lot of a skating ring – being beat or giving a beating – tongue lashed to the corner of your mouth between perspiring lips, eyes hollow shaped pits, your mind a chaotic jumble of phrases, all lost, all forgotten. As if that moment represented the entirety of what life had to offer; that your desperation was permanent; a movie unwinding from its reel; the projector still running, the guts of your story spilling to the floor like an intestine of red ribbon.
A dove attends someone else’s disaster, a policeman answers another person’s 911, and a cab driver glides to a curb and removes a pedestrian from a nightmare neighborhood back home to safety, a warm shower and the comfort of couches. You though because of some illogical decision about fate become attached to wine and stand in the rain, wet forever; thinking, even if you could have found love, or had been lucky enough to have had a sense of belonging, that you still wouldn’t believe a time might come to laze with other lifeguards in the sun.
Without aid, without help, without supplication, without a hand to touch, an eye to look into, without hope – the human in us tries to convince the spirit to abandon the pursuit or the knowledge of love.
This is how sailors are encouraged to board ships gloried and decorated for war; how hometown boys are thrust with momentum into the maw of some never ending conflict.
My brother, my literal brother. My kin. My childhood confidant. My one time ally. You who played with plastic dime store soldiers, who now thinks of yourself as an intelligent man.
It is you who proposes, without having actually sweated or grimed your way across a battlefield, without having heard the curses of the grieved, that war is a tactical game, a theater of players that are manipulable by cunning.
But the breath, or the heartbeat – the footfalls of those who are in full retreat; are they not also worthy of life – is not your enemy also a creation of your infinitely wise and forbearing God?