Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lazarus

By Celeste Regal


Night had fallen but the darkness did not descend. We were looking for an outlet. Some way to redirect the inevitable. Your smooth face, soft against the unconscionable evening, filed off the edge of a moonless sky. The mood toned down through intended arousal. My head against your chest is all I can remember. The terminal place. The fortress one should never leave. A garden of earthly delights in a whirlwind of confusion. I would swear by that merciful down, never wanting to look up. Josh came in at 9 p.m. wanting to score. We heard he was dead by daylight, taken out by excess. It was so strange seeing him like that, alive I mean. Dying is quick, so easy to happen. In a flash, in an instant the lights go out.


Three made an exit that summer, one after another. The dominoes fell without any repercussion. No one questioned the missing. The party was to go on forever. All the big names had gone five years earlier. Everyone noticed that, commented on it, then quickly forgot. You left to follow the money, the inheritance. I can’t say I blamed you. I just missed you for a while. The chest is what I remember though. A place to rest for a moment. The place of comfort in a harsh landscape. The contrast gave it potency. Night was falling on the day and that I did notice.

An saxophone player cajoled me on the bus home from the state institution after visiting hours. He suggested another kind of refuge. He said it worked for him. He didn’t mention it was a thicker, sicker jungle than the Congo but I guess that fact would not have registered anyway since it had all become the land of the continually ill. That house didn't work out as planned but it did have a lasting effect. It was the beginning of the end. The place to start. No one said how absurdly long it would take to come round. It took another lifetime but here I am. Alive. A thinking sentient being. Troubled by the glorification of ignorance sweeping the land but no matter. I made it back intact. It just took so damn long to get to shore.




Thursday, April 14, 2016

Hold Fast

You may be lead to believe that events can make or break you, lying on the edge of the world with no one to hear you moan. There it is, the end of your rope. The fabric has been cut, or so it would seem. The die is cast and you are out to high seas. A monstrous frigate tilts against trade winds where all hope seems lost. The mast is falling. You think you hear ravenous songs from the Black Pearl crew. The hands clamp hard, the teeth lock the jaw. You are prepared for the worst. A constant ringing infiltrates the ears. Your feet, as leaden as a bag of bullets, do not know where to take you. The sky is full of bad omens. The birds are gone.

Among such unbearable chaos floats a whisper. Almost inaudible amidst the muck and cranking wheels of tarnished destiny. A familiar ditty, you cannot tell where from. Smooth and uneventful but undeniably present. A scent of honey mixed with bad rains. You sniff hard wanting the mirage to be real. The tiny song persists. You are diverted momentarily as a window of opportunity beckons to buoyancy. Yo ho, yo ho, yo ho. Sixteen delights on a goner’s mind, yo ho ho and a spoonful of sweets. You turn slightly to see it was the torrent you mistook for another day. Manufacturing meaning descended you into madness, when gaiety could just as easily be had. It is hard to turn rusty machinery against the tide. The force is confusing and you go with the most prevalent flow.

A slight siren temps you to the horizon where particulars negotiate a new ending. Resilience is feasible, survival more than getting by without drowning. The table is set for another dinner. A feast without strings. You held fast and now you can walk on land as strait as a Plain Indian’s arrow. Dash the poor return. Pick up where you left off before the waters darkened. Cirrus clouds now with no forecast in sight. Make it up as you go along. If the winds are unpredictable why not encourage movement and not disaster? Draw it in like a breath of fresh air instead of a noxious fume. Where we stand can always be circumnavigated. Yes it can.

Monday, April 11, 2016

From W.H. Auden...


"Poetry enchants for the purpose of disenchanting people. The use of magic is to disenchant people about the illusions of themselves and of the work."

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Where We Are

By Celeste Regal

Beneath the racket, you may find yourself in the stream of time, not drowning, but buoyantly surfing for the wave you missed, the wave you see, the wave you must reach. The endeavor may seem improbable but that’s your strength. The unencumbered, the unlikely, the one most definitely not. A pocket full of miracles, a bucket full of sorrows. Pick the dance you like the most. Change it if it is the worst. People talk, you know. Talking gets in the airwaves and can derail a person. Do not derail for long. See the horse (or trolley, or motorbike, or auto) and jump on its back. Jump up and in. Off you go.
Disregarding idle chatter is a gift. Disregarding what really is, provides the rift that will tear the day from the hands of the top earners. We are the sum of all we think, the equation of all we know outside of the thoughts of others. Stabilize it. Maximize it. Though you may not be part of the in crowd, be thankful you do not travel in packs. Top dogs change ever so slightly but when they do, the great shall fall.
In the news we find the perception of others, the occupations of others. This cannot be the truth unless you want it to be. I prefer the long fantasy. Full of ups and down, curves and monotonously straight lines; the geometry suits. Where I was in the beginning informs who I am now, with large slices of presumptuous pie and dazzling defeats in between. Above the Sea of Galilee, still as a sheet of glass, I have seen storks fly from a promontory only goats or rams could reach. I danced the tarantella with a whore in The Alhambra Bar in Tiberius, bringing to life dead-faced military nursing Arak in full tumblers. The bottom rung of hell is not all it's cracked up to be but it provides insight if you make it out. A legion of friends died there, reaching for something they could not put a finger on. While being shaken hard from a few mountain tops, a glittering text of remembrances can be found to give succor to the ever present now. Strange fruit all of it. We grow pungent with its relief. 
Awakenings are not once but repetitious and delightful, encouraging the summit they allude to. Bend and stretch, reach for the stars. There goes Jupiter, here comes Mars. Going, going, keep on going. Don’t give up the ship. Never give in completely. Shake it all off like a dog fresh from the lake. Charmed life? Not here. Phantasmagorical life? Oh yes. Technicolor. Horribly gray. Dark. Bright. Transcendental. Oppressive. I can breathe freely, I cannot breathe. It is this. Then it is that. Everything past is not now but now keeps changing. If we say ‘then’, then there must be a before. The beginning is the end. The end of the beginning. That eternal, infinite, gyrating figure eight we can never quite grasp but that grasps us relentlessly. Embrace and retrace. Now and forever. Yes. Oh yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Original post: http://www.museumofvestigialdesire.net/offices/columnists/celeste-regal/where-you-are (Do read the others. We are quite sympatico.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Testing Parameters

I will not be defined by the windows
and doors of your discontent
For too long I walked buried 
under weighty dirges created 
elsewhere
swimming through fingers
of constriction
Unbind me from this treaty
The terms are too dear
(Spells broke quickly
Depravity cracked a bad egg)
I deliver myself
Often the walls of circumstance push our nest of endeavors to a precarious edge. Out of such squeezing comes either renewed vigor or giving in to distraction. The question revolves toward ignoring or reframing perception. It is an architectural conundrum of emotional bounds – sacrificing what is thought to what is felt ropes in the outpouring of useful information. Restricting narratives imprison when cutting out space in this detour world. 
In these terms, the surface maintains a shelf life. It is a connection of variable human experience. The senses respond to feckless neighbors in real time. Abstractions validate focus, if hurdles do not become obstacles. All this presence, exacerbated by geometrically gyrating population, quiets itself through the Ethernet where units of transmission mystify and locate. When the outside infiltrates the inside, the other dilutes our stance. Outpacing such dilemmas may not be possible. A layer must be found for the soil of effectiveness since dalliance will only trouble the fertile mind.
Silence falls from memory as a new arena spurts from hampered practices, interrupted by too many footnotes. Structures of faulty products are lamented daily. We insulate with fast, practiced essays of despair on social media constructs, leaving a wake of unaddressed theses. Leaky enclosures entice us to respond with solutions, to include public testament, but in the end it becomes difficult to decipher. Are we saying anything of value and is anyone listening? Does chatter matter, or like paint to canvas become a lovely thing to look at from the right angle? 
When the sun rests on a live thing to marvel at, we forget all these ponderings. Rejuvenation prevails in the face of bright reality checks – a delightful deception of the space-time continuum. The Three-card Monte tosser laughs in the shadows unnoticed.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Magic Act

By Celeste Regal

“I was here and now I am not. I am the hollow cardboard box of ravenous appetites--emptied, discarded.”
--homeless NYC street poet
Constant distractions define the modern world. Horns honking, neighbors yelling, monoliths of mass electronic hysteria influence the minds of young and old. Global connection is a marvelous reality. Dampening fruitful thought processes is not. Often we disappear into the belief system of others. We want to be part of the in crowd, we want to matter and in the 21 century visible signs of wealth signal worth to the uninformed. Products rule. Consumerism consumes. The relentless grind for things obscures common courtesy. In automotive-filled cities, we push and shove to get to a destination we rarely relish. First world becomes bestial in the striving. Gas is cheap. Wars are fought endlessly for it in your town as SUVs stand running so the occupant can control their climate in my town. Discarded hulks of refuse line the corridors of free expression. What shall we ever do if few notice the pile up? The earth cries unnoticed as acreage erodes and is not replaced. Wild life and foliage burn at the altar of accumulation. Clear water cannot be had. Plastics form islands where no such island should be. New car front ends splinter like bombs upon impact. Older less attractive vehicles, made of sturdy metal, remain intact. I see analogies. Shiny is not always the best, since foul play hides beneath newly painted exteriors, unequipped for the inevitable. Shall we move forward or slowly dissolve in the mire of unknowing?
We wonder where we are in all this, if the object determines the self. Who is rich, in the end? A question of existence largely ignored in the disposable state. We are bound by convention. We are bound by material need. Our hearts disappear too easily. It is not that having is devoid of meaning but how we get, what we hold dear, and how we respond to those around that matters. Hucksters run rampant where desires are not met. Miracle cures that will never come to fruition form the bulk of our dis-ease. Advertisements allow cars, and other large status purchases, to take on the attributes of loved ones. The actual loved ones suffer in this regard. In this way, having becomes more important than being. In this way, we forget our neighbors or enact little cruelties each day. If we disregard the other, we disregard the self. Here is where the croupier enters and takes all for the house.
In the clearing, someone planted trees that 30 years later house tigers and elephants in a merciless terrain now made fertile, luscious. One person did this with the support of family. In another part of the world, someone tells tales of the clean up properties of mushrooms that eat away toxic material. A small industry is formed to relieve an overburdened world. 
Magic happens every day across continents, hidden behind the trumpets and glitz. Little miracles give hope and renewed belief in the human condition that so easily goes astray. Sitting in a quiet spot, pondering silver linings, has power and agility. We can dance with the alchemists and make lead into gold.