the river. with family

The river came to us and met us at her banks, midday and summer hot, we had only to approach her like disciples with our faith in her and find our place (which seemed designed for us, divined for us) where she came flush with the land, a mossy patch of soil leveling there with the freshwaters. we laid a thin blanket down and had submarines for lunch with cuts of avocado and alfalfa and cream cheese on bread. we used the sub wrappings as plates and we talked. there was my older brother, m&m (my niece), Skipper the dog, and me. they were on their way to Tahoe from the Bay, and thought of me and stopped by for lunch. i decided on the river cause i had not seen my niece in so long, and i wanted us to have a peaceful place to reconnect. besides a few river rats around us (i mean locals who were mostly friendly albeit boisterous), we were all enfolded there into the pastoral scene as if we had been painted in by a master, in oils and acrylics on canvas. nothing here could or would speak to the frenetic city behind us or the insane politics of the world. we had shade from the heat and a chance to show one another the kindnesses of a decade ago. i cannot believe i lost her for so long, the greater part of which I can attribute to life’s path, problems and poor choices i made. while they were trying to raise a family in the twenty-first century, i was literally falling and climbing and slipping and reinventing myself and trying to manage in a world which i didn’t think really wanted me. i seemed to have marginalized myself, but it wasn’t all my fault. it was just my life. and nobody was really blaming anyone, but the river between us could not be forded back then.

now we found ourselves on the same banks, reunited, and i had my lucky break after several years of remedying the mischief of my life and lifestyle, involved in many decent and useful causes these days, full of purpose these days. i got the chance to speak my truth, and m&m got hers, and i had a wonderful listen while my brother her father sat between us and the dog at our feet, panting in the heat. my brother and sister (in-law) have done a fine job parenting as anyone could do. i am grateful to them, not having made that commitment myself. anyway i can be a part of the family, is good enough for me, anyway i can help. today it means not being demanding or complaining or selfish, just staying open to any opportunity may come along, for i love them and that’s all i know. i was not so attentive to my family in my twenties or even in my thirties, so overwhelmed was i by my own life. and unhappy or depressed some of the time. vices and habits and poor choices in company. you know the story. i may be at fault for many things, but not for becoming who i am today.

so here we are, the past behind us, making what we can of our moment together. i didn’t seem to think we had much in common anymore, me and my family. but i learned in truth, by my experience (such is truth) that when you have blood in common, that alone is the mark which oughta draw you together; blood alone oughta bring out the best in us. to be there for family no matter how incongruent your aims, how varied your pursuits, how rocky the terrain of your individual temperaments. you show yourself (when welcome) and give of yourself as only you can. i may not be any great success of any kind, yet i have survived a sometimes cold and callous world, city life, and the effects of an often misguided sense of my place in it all. so i am blessed to reach out and be received. we had a nice lunch. we had a nice talk. we saw a sea creature surfacing every half minute for air, as it plodded upriver. it was unusual and mysterious. My brother and niece were both worried that it needed salt water to survive. Skipper the dog met a friend. the river rats began splashing about just down from us. the sun reached the top of the sky and looked down. it could not quite find us. we packed up to go. i believe this is as good a new beginning as any. my niece she seemed unsure at first, and i was a bit anxious, but walking back to the car beside her i felt the good feeling with them, knowing we are blood, we have good history, and there’s hope – the sun has found us now – and nothing means more to me than this.

not a color exactly. a hue

not a color exactly. a hue

I found myself in a color, in a hue. We were driving away from it all. I gave him the keys to my car. He knew a place far down the river where we could get close to the water and sit in the shade. The river looked blue from above, and green when you came close. But it was neither of those. I had been in a room with friends, earlier, on a sunday morning. I drank decaf coffee and listened and began to smile. Not everyone had a story to share. I find great comfort in a spacious meeting hall, where you can say what you need to say and nobody will talk over you. Where you can say nothing and still be seen. Faraway, sitting on a riverbank, was the same. I lost myself in a color, in a hue. I wouldn’t call it green. I wouldn’t call it blue.

journal entry. date unknown.

And suddenly the long uneven thickening and thinning motion which we followed for days,  to some terrifying expanse of the same substance, which slipped through our hands and burrowed easily into earth, endless before us; suddenly jumped up into the air, unseen, and  immersed us, standing there. We tried to take cover, yet still could not escape it.

I shivered so long. I knew not would we survive. One of us took on a strange chill, became quiet and very hot to touch. Then ceased to be anymore. Another one then began to shake and call. Overtaken by the bitter salty substance fell out the eyes for days on end. They, too, would soon cease to be.

The rest of us finally understood. We fell down before the mighty moving creature. We prayed. Then cupped our hands around it, breaking some off from the whole (though appeared unbroken), and looked at one another one last time; then took it to the lips and raised our eyes to the sky, open pale of neck, and let the substance seep into ourselves! A most unusual feeling as it reached down into me! Further!

We waited. We then fell one at a time, to earth, and fell asleep awaiting.

Then rose I know not when or how! And smiled! And embraced one another! For we were still alive!

From this moment forward, we drank and followed the uneven line of this great, mysterious, borderless, lightness of mass. Trusting. Cupping it in our hands and hollowed tree limbs. It led us to verdant wonders never before seen, or known! We listened and the sound, once frightful, was now soothing us to sleep. The air was fresh, and colorful at times!

And in the mornings, sometimes, as light awakened life… we immersed ourselves entire, in cool and friendly waters still. Life would never be the same.

wanting until it hurts

And have you ached with want?

the rabid foam

of lack

 

and do you foment insurrection

against your very

basic need?

 

splicing atoms after

that which

never may be yours?

 

if you have

then hear me now

i feel 4

five six

feel for

you

 

along the narrow

twisting

rush along

our river

Styx

People work better when driven (insane) -vii)

We stayed in the Motel Seven Deluxe Suite, you know, the one with the hydrogen bed and the nitrous oxide satellite feed? We fastened one another into the zero def chambres, where we felt HBO and TellTime into the night. Tactile feedback chambers were all the new rage. Supplemented, and in some cases supplanted, all visuals. Transcended temporal limits. The future! Was it really with us? In accordance with the present. Uhh…wow?

Wicked! was the exclamation all over Boston, when MIT held an open house to showcase the event. Of course, two billion watched at home. Only five or six thousand bipeds actually crossed the Charles River. Most of those took the Redline. Some took the bus. A few trifling souls, actually swam and never made it. The river was being sanitized, but the project yet to completion. Not everyone apparently knew. The Boston Harbor was much cleaner. Chalk it up to universal solvent. The Harvard crew team sculled right into one of the gas filled corpses, the next day on the river. It hardly made the news. What with the breaking of the tactile chamber phenomenom. What with the not-so-far-fetched claims that our human undertaking had finally brought the two into alignment, present and future. Despite the predictably unwelcome intelligentsia criticism. Which came back across the dirty Charles in elastic and immediate response. Faster than an EMT to an heart-stopping event.

The problem, the small world of most educated braintrust informed, was that said invention professing temporal re-alignment, if not a hype (which many knew right away, probably was), occasioned the grave consequence of leaving the consumer with no apparent future. But this was all shuttered into the past. Our emotional scales of distress smoothed out over and into the world, like the skips of skipping stones, behind us. The braintrust was archived. We could only remember how we virtually cried our carbon tears into the deluxe thick wet darkness of the light. At the moment of passing of the longest virtual night. How the tomatoes rolled off of their vines, and planted themselves in West Hollywood sauce vats. Sloughing off their celebrity skins. Their seeds and juices bubbling up effervescently, acid-mannered offspring of the rich and the famous. We could see red, again. Without having to immediately experience the frightening momentum of our great cultural furies. A safe and projective identification was no longer impossible. Standing on the sidelines of the regular though tawdry self-mortification which comes of a reacting-out upon the fingered source.

So was the way of the world, in the past. The common tale of intentions, paving the paths to hell. Now hollow and insensate, paved over in the gloss of primary colors, dutifully lacquered by some diligent postmodern botomaton. The thread of today, diving into the embroidery of tomorrow. So much for the phrase; to beg, steal, or borrow.