As juke-box skies flame in a maze of trenchant light and sun-blotting days brand neon-frenzied holes into this guncotton mind, my grey stubble-feet dig deeper into the gelatinous ground.
What happened to me? I pulled out my own vertebrae somehow. My hands are sticky-brown, the bone is smiling white. There’s a saturating scent emanating from somewhere…
I became a flaccid unformed creature, self-entombed, scraping along the primordial murk of life on a truckling tide of apathy.
“My characters are drifters and searchers and they look for something. The journey is a state of mind for them.” -Wim Wenders
So many things can be used to build an enclosure…planks, steel-mesh, vanes, feathers, shadows, rage.
My legs are corked with lavender peelings of armadillo skin and punch along monotonously.
“The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” -John Milton
I seep and writhe and scrabble about, tracing the arrow of time, completely unfelt. Through the years, I snuffle, mulling over decades, with gobs of mud dripping from milk-spot eyes and unwanted blotches of memory microfilming in the margin, I can hear the whir now and then.
“It all looks the same. You can’t imagine anything anymore. Above all, you can’t imagine any change. I became estranged from myself. All I could imagine was going on and on like this forever.” –Alice in the Cities (1974), screenplay by Wim Wenders and Veith von Furstenberg
Look at all those swarming micro-worlds beating against a drop of swamp water…feel the endless coquetry of the prancing night sky. There’s that rancid stench, again, all over me like a mucid skin. And I can see a maw wedged open, now, revealing the densest blackness I have ever seen.
“I want to remember that the sky is so gorgeously large, I feel stranded beneath it.” -Anis Mojgani
I was nineteen when my mother died, but I started stepping out long before then, retreating to the zebra-shadowed dusk beneath the sagging porch of childhood. The stagnation of grief only made it easier to inhume myself there.
When I was four, my brother did a strange thing to me in the summer’s panting heat, his eyes intent and empty. He said we were just like animals.
“This is YOUR world,” sang out from the television screen, lurking somewhere in the background.
“Today was a gloomy, rainy day without a glimmer of sunlight, like the old age before me. I am oppressed by such strange thoughts, such gloomy sensations; questions still so obscure to me are crowding into my brain- and I seem to have neither power nor will to settle them.”- Fyodor Dostoevsky, White Nights
The smell, the smell, the wretching stench! It saturates her coarse dying-sheets, now blackish red and shining. She’s hidden her wedding ring between her legs…I can still hear the mewling cries she made, lost in a Roman candle of pain. “It’s safe, it’s safe,” she breathed, staring at the ceiling. The ring that would ultimately join a nest of others in the glitter of a pawn-shop display.
Like sun-burns on the bracing waters of an autumn lake.
How does one step out of the perennial gloaming and begin to disentangle from the overgrown nettles and mounds of grime, to disengage this automaton-existence? How does one fashion a new beginning after such a prolonged sentence? Years of existing as a mute with no face- a writer divorced from language, an artist who burned all his creations in a self-maiming tantrum that lasted 15 years.
“Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but they seem almost to be born that way. They bruise easier, tire faster, cry quicker, remember longer and, as I say, get sadder younger than anyone else in the world. I know, for I’m one. – Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
How does one dare to look up and meet the gaze of another, again?
The black maw is her mouth craned-wide in the shock of the final moment. I’d placed a white feathering of shamrock blooms and a bulbous, sherbet-orange-crested cactus next to her bed, just two days before. For the first time in months, I played her favorite music, and tears hovered in her eyes. A few hours later, she died.
Change. It is a vital thing.
“Over the years, I became, you might say…a haunted person.
I really wanted to see him again.
I never did.” –Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), screenplay by Nagisa Ōshima and Paul Mayersberg
There is a dull thrum tip-toeing through my mind as I gaze upon my big brother, his prone, plasticky body sinking deeper and deeper into the paunch of his hospital bed. It surrounds him like a cradle. His chest is bare and heaving slowly. His eyes are like clay, his face pocked and about to bleed in places.
I give him phone-numbers he’ll never call, an email address he’ll never write.
“I don’t take care of myself. I think, if I don’t take care of myself and I sit still and I don’t move, maybe they’ll forget about me. But then I’m scared of that too, because I think maybe if I sit there too long, maybe when I want to move, I won’t be able to move.” –Mikey and Nicky (1976), written/directed by Elaine May
“Caine was like a father to me,” he says more to himself, “When he found out I was fucking around with coke, he drove me out to a parking-lot one night and had me get out of the car. ‘Stop messing around with that shit!’ he screamed at me, then kicked my head into the pavement. He beat the hell out of me. Blood was everywhere, the cops came. We said we were just wrestling.”
His vacant eyes filmed with bitter tears, “I didn’t stop of course…but he was the only one who really cared.”
“I can feel myself dying,” he said, shortly before dismissing me with the twitch of his arm, that strong, familiar limb that would prise my own smartly behind my back, or fling me about like a rag, or barrel me up in a violently jovial embrace.
As I blinked in vanquished silence, he added:
“I can’t hug you this time.”
So many things have no resolution, abandoned to the scattered scree of the past. Entropy surges through, scrambling all that would be tidy and neatly arranged…if I had defter hands, a more obdurate determination…
No. I’d have to be a deity for that…and I’d much rather be a human being, as bizarre, brash and delightfully haphazard as they are.
“…if you laugh at somebody, you’re going to have to be connected with them…When friends get together, they laugh at each other. When enemies get together, no chance, baby. No laughter. Comedy is more interesting to me…because there is more life, more possibility in it. More different feelings.” -John Cassavetes
“We all talked about leaving, but only one of us, one morning, without a word to a soul, actually left.” –I Vitelloni (1953), screenplay by Federico Fellini
A little over a year ago, I traveled north and did something I’d never done before. I toured a series of universities.
Abiding inside the sodden clam-shell of coastal Florida for well over a decade, I choked on the euphoria of my own torment and watched my aspirations bleach and feather in the roiling sea-wrack.
But I never lost those aspirations.
And somehow, I still remain on these two stub-feet. A little askew, with flecks of white in my sea-ruffled mane, leaning on a gnarled walking-stick with just a dram of possibility pulsing through the mist.
“There is really no better word to describe what electrons do than dancing, and it’s not embarrassing or random dancing either; they follow a beautiful series of patterns and steps that were laid out by a single mathematical equation, one named after the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, who did extraordinary work in the field of quantum theory. These dance steps vary, and the electrons never tire, and no two will follow exactly the same steps, something known as the ‘exclusion principle.’” -Ella Frances Sanders, Eating the Sun
Time for a new beginning.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
– Søren Kierkegaard
This little scattering was inspired by this week’s theme, “New Beginnings,” which is a part of the Always Write: Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge, #WQWWC, created by my dear blogging friend, Marsha Ingrao. I invite you to post your own pieces and pingback if you would- how to create pingbacks here.
Here is further information on How to Participate in the Wednesday Writers Challenge.
Some previous posts from the splendid bloggers who contributed to last week’s #WQWWC #4 Celebration:
- It’s Tradition by Myrna Migala
- Here Comes the Holiday Season by Tina Schell
- A very Merry Christmas by Sadje
- Beach Walk Reflections by Frank who included some music via YouTube Fantasia on For All the Saints
For those who choose to join in- I cannot wait to dip into your own musings on this topic.
Wishing you all an edifying and ebullient New Year, and…
Thank you for drizzling by. 😉
Below: Song by Improved Sound Limited, from Kings of the Road (1976), written/directed by Wim Wenders