Sunday, February 4, 2018

Strip Mining

Kathmandu 2016

Father wrote to me once, “Do not forget the story of Icarus, who wanted to fly to the sun and arrived at a certain height, lost his wings and dropped into the sea” (Vincent Van Gogh tTheo, Paris, Oct. 14, 1875, letter 43)

You came to this incessant land fleeing the closure of walls. Broad bends of no exit. In search of enchantment, in search of a better chance. Solitude. Escape from the torment that lasted far too long. The horizon always receding as you chased after it. Looking to discharge the fetters, to ride the wind. To free the spirit from torture. Why it was so hard you could never surmise but that was the fact of it. Worn down year after year, try as you may to stay strong, the challenges proved relentless. You found every piece of armor to supplement change so you could go on. Coming here, you hoped to gain a new life, a new perspective. You did not see it at first but you were heading into the same dungeon you left as malfeasance rose across the ends of the day into the night. A different species but hard tackle nevertheless. Joy sweeping occurrences.

The arrival did not begin well but you hovered above avarice to a state of goal-fulfilling bliss. Wonders to behold, a narrative unknown. Beguiled by difference, by a society so foreign that every step alluded to something else. Pungent with possibilities. You stood alone as always. The previous difficulties allowed you to continue with an idea, for that was all you came with. The heat made you sick filling every pore with a dot of blood. A common malady among the locals. Rx fixed all that. You continued. Lost everything at home due to family circumstance. You continued. Bad translations hampered the rest. You went on. Disappointment and loss. Loss and disappointment. 

The Himalayas inspired trust so you remained and sought others. The ring of fire rounded by fellow practitioners. The world made sense, not so icy. Then the hardest iceberg of them all receded into the grave. You thought the trials were over. You were wrong. Perhaps the castration of self flooded the brainwaves with a destination compassed toward dereliction. You thought you were past all that. It took so long to correct the atrocities of your youth where every ounce of effervescence was nearly squeezed out. You rallied hard and often. You thought at some point it would become easier. Childish expectation. You were heard saying, “I’ve been in the meanest streets for the longest time but still, still I am surprised by what people do, how they behave. There is endless copy to be mined here.”

You go to rooftops to gain perspective. It is there among the rising planetary certainties that ghosts who lived before you speak with a hint of grace. It is here, as it is everywhere, that affliction lessens with the inconsequential breath of tomorrow’s forecast. If you continue to trust in salvation a way will be found to release you from the mire that engulfs us all.

Monday, January 8, 2018


Atlantic Ocean

You walked into the sunlight after confronting darkness for a decade. The sweet early years stifled at the hands of men eager to satisfy appetite on your smooth loveliness. Between the pouncing and your iceberg of a mother, 
you descended into a carcass so stripped of identity it took 20 years to resurrect some semblance of self. Most of the perpetrators never paid a dime of time or money for what they erased. Your mother went to her grave paying the cost of relentless separation.

Forgetting the person you left behind echoed through sordid dreams and oppressive reveries. Steeped in narrative real and imagined truthfulness pulled shards of infection from body to the therapist’s chair. You either recognized them or tossed them to the ends of the earth. Either way, it was never enough. You could not isolate the origin of self-destruction. It was stopped in time nevertheless. Your emotions were scrambled in the quiet afternoon sun allowing you to function in society. Achievement became the catchword – the distraction needed to keep the gasket from blowing. Your coffers were generally empty, but you were never poor. The outline of your being, gray as slate, shook off the desire for revenge. Seeing the wonders of the world became your raison d’etre.  Every locale exuded possibilities for redemption, for elation, for forgetting the past and renewing the soul.

At times you romanticized corridors of the lost, making them shine with Baroque accouterments. Characters wilder than imagination came and went whether within icy tundras of unspeakable white beauty or tropical exasperations where elephant ears and night jasmine dripped with dew. The stories unearthed bodies extinguished by time. They floated past as if jettisoned from a Magritte painting. You called their names but they did not respond. An entire epoch vanished before your fortieth birthday only to resurface retroactively by young people who wished they had been there. If you could rearrange it, you were heard saying, you would eliminate the intoxicants since clarity eluded you. Lastly, that was all that made sense. To clarify, to make known, to understand. Time became elusive as the most desired actuality. Recovering time, reusing time, making the most of it. You wanted to add as many years as it took to make your lifespan significant, not merely exciting or dramatically eventful.

The stark beauty of your loneliness propelled an austere refabrication of artful environments – good copy the driving force, you said. Somewhere in a parallel universe, the dead spoke where broken spirits corrected their mistakes. Meanwhile, lovely fabrics graced your walls and soft blankets warmed the unmade bed. If atonement could not be had at least a pleasant place to consider what came next sufficed.