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She spends the day with her father, who is back east for the funeral of his bestest boyhood friend. He comes up on the bus from the city, and they go out lunch at the hotel on the mountain. It's not a bad day, but a strange one, in its way. She and her father have had their ups and downs, but there is never a lack for something to talk about. But hearing his view on the world reminds her that he is the one more in line with the rest of things. She has always been so different.
Up all night immersed in Photoshop. If this were a canvas it would be the size of a wall. No matter. This digital box may not be as vast as a mind, but it's got the juice to turn wild inner visions into outer visions, of a sort. There is a purpose to all of this. She is opening doors, peering in, straining through the dark to see what lurks inside. She knows this is a risky business. What was it that Goya said?
The sleep of reason breeds monsters
. The dark path is not the road of reason, no.
Tinnitus bad again lately. Waking up with a scream inside the head. Why? Dark dreams of late. A dream of encountering bears in the woods. Primary emotional tenor: fear. A dream of a rotten tooth - not hers. When she touches it, it falls out, leaving a red-streaked, blood-poisoned and infected gum. "I'm taking you to the emergency room", and then she wakes up. Wakes up with the terrible noise that won't go away. Just the way things are. Doesn't mean anything. Nothing personal. The personal is the political. Think globally, act locally. Visualize World Peace. Jesus is coming: look busy.
No balance. It doesn't matter what they say. We love and we love and in the end we pay for every moment of it, in spades. Blessings on those who can say "so and so lives on in my heart". That's a magic I will never know. To see someone grieve the loss of their special friend, those creatures whom existence has destined to predecease us for so many years as to be nearly lifetimes, is to feel that same terrible grief in my own heart. Only one thing holds true above all else in this world:
things fall apart.
Today the west wind comes baring cold teeth. It blows her hair back; she lifts her face to it, offering her exposed throat, and the west wind bites like a feral lover, and wraps her in a chilling embrace.
Some days are like acid flashbacks. Not because of hallucinations, but because of the thinning of the veils, because of the sense - so much stronger than on other days - of things of great power, moving on the other side of a skin so ethereal that a thought alone might penetrate it. In fact, a thought is the only thing that would.
Sometimes it seems that the whole world gets on her nerves. It's that old rage, which isn't so old, being that it's always new and fresh. Or maybe it's just a mood, some hormonal or neurotransmitter thing, something that acts as a lens to her bitterness and despair, which, truth be told, she hasn't been doing half-bad at in terms of keeping, if not under control, at least at arms reach, more or less. But when it hits, it hits like a sack of bricks, throws everything off, even her dreams going from intricate stories to irritating mind-numbing repetitive imagery.
There are whitecaps on the reservoir today. The wind blows the lonely grasses, making them bend along the berme. Clouds throw random shadows on Overlook Mountain. Light spears down on the high peaks in the distance. Everything is what it is. That's the good and bad of it. Nature doesn't know that it's beautiful. Quite frankly, nature doesn't give a rat's ass whether you think it's beautiful or not. And just as that beauty might instill a sense of rapture in you, that same beauty could just as easily smear you like a bug along the side of a cliff.
Weather turns colder. She's noticed there's a difference below freezing. 32 degrees F; 20; about 5: all watermarks, below which, things move into some new realm of cold. She's only experienced serious, serious cold - by which she means more than 10 below zero - a handful of times in her life. The coldest she's seen: 6 am one January morn, dropping K off to catch an early bus to the city, and the town is encased in an almost invisible sheath, a glimmering in the darkness, a stillness nearly unearthly. When she gets home and checks the thermometer: 21 below zero.
Don't take it personally, she thinks. Things fall apart. It's not personal. It's just the way of the world. There
a good side; it could be worse. Much worse. Never forget that. There is still a cold beauty in the world, and there is still the ones she loves; to be taken away eventually, but not yet, not yet. There is music, and there is light and shadow, and there is color. There is art; art to make, art to experience. Everything else may suck to one degree or another, but it isn't personal. It just feels that way.
The sadness of things. Of gifts given in hopes turned barren. Of objects torn from a reality of love, or joy, now relegated to dead memory. Things imbued with meaning that they could never live up to, or meaning that never lasted long enough to imbue itself into the objects themselves. The sadness of life fossilized, the sarcophagi of desire, filled with ancient dust. Wander over the frozen ground, the joyous footsteps frozen in hardened mud, the dreams rotting like wood and cloth left too long in the sun and the snow and rain. The terrible, venomous sadness of things.
She took the hide off of a rattlesnake once, because she wanted to know what it was like to do it. She gathers and saves feathers and sticks and bits of bone and antler. She has things that she's never used. When she was younger this was because of an oddly irrational fear of using them up, and now, she really has no good idea why. She has a strange life, so much if it waiting in boxes and on shelves. One day, she'll be dead, and none of it; none of it at all, will mean anything to anyone.
She has always been afflicted with a mild form of narcolepsy; an unnatural fatigue coming over her quickly and powerfully, she unable to stay awake, though the doze might last only a few minutes. Lately, though, this seems to have grown all out of control and proportion; both in severity and, most interestingly, in frequency. She is pulled into the darkness repeatedly throughout the day and night, where vivid dreams take over and linger like sense-memories when she awakes. Her life, having little discernible sense of rythym to begin with, has utterly lost any semblance of internal structure at all.
More narcolepsy. A strange dream. A truck down the hill from her house, filled with cut brush. Then a place where there had been state forest land, now clear cut and ravaged. Beyond, farther in the woods, a raging fire burns out of control. After that; another dream; she is in a war zone, where an army is fighting against itself, killing its own soldiers. The men soldiers are split into two groups, killing each other off, while the women soldiers are moving back and forth between the two camps, most of them getting caught in the crossfire and killed.
She's sick today. Funny how she is supposedly more or less healthy and yet feels crappy in one way or another all the time. What's that all about? Slept the entire day, except for the short time forcing herself out the door to give the dog some time in the woods. A dream of Ice Skating on a river. Some residual from hearing some ice skater in the Winter Olympics? Spring is coming soon. Again; she dreads it. More than ever this year. What will happen to them now? Things fall apart, things fall apart. Too soon. Always too soon.
Another day, drifting away like smoke. Losing herself in the dream world. Outside, the world is nearly like a dream itself; 53 degrees on a mid-February day. How many people can run into their landlord and have him say "I've been butchering all day" and not flee in terror? Among the landlord's offal: two pig's heads, partially cleaned of skin and flesh. There's something horribly fascinating about them. But she always feels this way when she sees the remains of something once alive. There was a spirit inhabiting this, once. This is where we are all headed, at the end.
No, one does not make their own reality. No, one does not decide how to feel. No, one does not have control over their destiny. No, one does not have the power to frame their world. No, one cannot redefine experience to suit their desires. No, the world isn't what you make it, the world is what happens to you. No, there is no living in the moment. There is no response to the desperate and futile magick of stasis. Every god is a false god if you think they will save you from yourself. No, no no no no.
A high wind warning, and, predictably, the power goes out, and they're without electricity for most of the day. Walking in the windy woods, she is struck by a strange and indefinable sense of unreality; as though she were still walking in one of the complex and vivid dreams filling her sleep these days. Later, while at the store buying extra candles, she reaches into her pocket and pulls out a handful of foreign change that she has no idea how she's come into possession of: an Argentine quarter, an English five pence piece, and a number of Canadian dimes.
...somewhere you aren't, more violence over mean cartoons, rampaging and setting fire to churches. One man had a tire hung around his neck, was doused with gasoline and set on fire. In more important news, Vice President Dick Cheney pulled three shotgun shells out of his ass. Democrats are calling for an investigation...
Wait a minute. Stop the fucking tape. Smell that gasoline in your hair. Watch them light that match while your arms are held down. Feel your lungs burn, your skin crackle. Good. Roll the tape again. Brad is fucking someone new. You don't want to miss that.
She runs into the neighbor in the woods walking his dog while she is walking hers. The yuppie neighbor with the overpriced house and a penchant for trying to make the woods trails like Disneyland, with his chainsaw and marking and nice clean borders. When her dog won't comeback to her, attracted by the neighbor's, she gets mad and curses at him and pulls him away by hand. The neighbor she ignores completely. Later, it occurs to her that the yuppie neighbor probably thought that she was some kind of nasty bitch with a bad attitude. He would be right.
She leaves a bowl of sunflower seeds inside the window, and the chickadees and titmice come in to eat. A couple of chickadees have gotten to where they will continue to pluck seeds even if she shows up in the room. The others freak and fly off, sometimes in the wrong directions, going deeper into the house and banging windows and walls in a frantic attempt to get back out. She used to worry about these, until she realized that, left to their own devices, they eventually manage to figure out how to get out the way they came in.
Walking on a cold day, she gets warm and rolls up her sleeves; feels the frigid air sting her bare arms, and thinks about the nature of pain; how her relationship to it has changed. Maybe she knows now how the cutters feel, and the fetishists, sharp edge or hot wax on naked flesh; there is such a thing as clean pain, controllable pain, so different from the toxic sludge of killing infection, the filthy radioactive fireball of disease run amok, destroying pain. There is a clean pain, jolting nerves awake, shouting alive! Alive! Nerves and flesh and blood, alive.
Hatred makes the world go 'round, the world go 'round, the world go 'round. Fury sends it up and down, it makes the world go 'round. Murder is a sacrament, rape's a holy offering, burn a church and lynch a freak, it makes the world go 'round. All the men in penthouse places, power spaces, master races, love to see the hateful faces, it makes their world go 'round. Put a gun in junior's hand, sending bombs to alien lands, waste them on the desert sands, while all the time they make their plans, they make the world go 'round.
Walking the borders, looking down on the lights of the citadel's newest outpost in the slowly dimming twilight... this is her home, now succumbing to a strange kind of refugee; not fleeing the war-torn city, but seeking to extend it, to plow it under in the name of refuge, to poison in the name of purity, invoking the inherent right of the better-off of all time and place, the right to usurp. To ravage, to wall off and to destroy. This is her home, dieing, fading, choking, like sand in a dust storm, like billowing rot on a sun-bloated corpse.
Sometimes, like today, she doesn't even feel like she's there. She moves through the day as though it were filled with thick, murky water, never quite fully awake, never quite fully in the world. Maybe it's just a way of avoiding things, her worries, her fears, her sense of doom and disaster waiting for her in any random shadow or around any corner. Or maybe she really wishes that she could finish the job and fade out completely, disintegrate or slip through the seams of the curtains that hang between the worlds. Fade into the twilight, a shadow at last.
Time winds on itself; when does a day begin, a night end? What is the cycle of things when there is no discernible rythym? It is said that everything has its recognizable beat, it's cyclic turnings of high and low, but hers seems so jagged and frayed as to be something beyond repair. Thinking on it, she thinks it has always been this way, and this is why she has always, at various times in her life, had such difficulty; she has never been able to comfortably conform to the artificial rythyms of a world she never quite belonged to.
End of February cold. Cutting the walks short. Sunsets orange and peach with blood centers. Wind that slices, cold razor blade steel and ice-burn. The woods are still beneath the blowing wind, hard and solid while the icy air flows around it. This is the true face of winter; chiseled, stony, the skies glacial and the pools on the ground frozen into slabs of glass embedded in the petrified mud. Still-green moss like a clay representation of something soft. Through the trees, the deer run away, dun brown and blending into the woods, everything muted and bled free of brilliance.
Another Dark Moon, albeit one that she hasn't the wherewithal to mark, but in her thoughts. The moments come, the moments go, and she is mostly a failure when it comes to managing this existence. All she has are her fruitless efforts, and an ever weakening wall that holds back the black tide. She still hasn't decided, how she feels about what so many believe so wholeheartedly; that there is meaning, and purpose; to events, to pain, to life, to everything. She isn't even sure what she would like to be the case, were it in her power to decide.
Quiet moments come unexpectedly. A pocket of peace, of some kind of acceptance, even; brief as a drift of fragrance from a flower on the wind. Sit and watch, do nothing, say nothing, feel nothing but the purity of the moment, no future, no past, a dream, an illusion, but a good one. Nothing but distilled, crystallized love, nothing more. Dark times behind, darker times ahead, but for the briefest space between the moments, respite and refuge from the winds of time and decay. Not to hold onto, because even memory falls to entropy. Only this, and then no more.
The Tip Jar