Monday, March 31, 2008

Chariot and Rider

The great black expanse is littered with sparkling diamonds. Stars, they twinkle twinkle like gemstones strewn over a black velvet display. Some give off the faintest bit of color; crimson , yellow, or blue. No doubt if one could reach out and grasp any of these, they would discover that it burns to the touch, that it is far vaster than the hand that would seek to hold it. It would pull that hand to it, just as it pulls all smaller bodies to its bosom, and as the commander of the hand made that direction-less fall into the fire, they would see that the color of a star is vivid beyond imagination when it is swallowing you whole.
Out there, set against that deceptively lovely backdrop, a solitary vessel draws nearer and nearer to a slowly spinning blue green orb. Its rotation is barely perceptible as it beckons the small vessel into its atmosphere. The ship, dwarfed by this long lost child of Tiamat, drifts gently towards the bulging mammoth, its smooth taffy colored surface easing its way into her orbit. It is shaped not vaguely, but specifically like a human phallus.
Like a tick riding a bird, a woman sits straddled on its back where the shaft curves round to form testicles. A space cowgirl, she rides the vessel with poise, smiling as mirthfully as if she were bringing a prize pony round the corner in the tournament of roses parade. With the glittering cosmos as silent witness she commits the sum of her attention to the present in this thrilling moment of entry. Her blond hair, parted in two braids, rest upon her shoulders like a pair of pet serpents.
Clothed in a pair of short red running shorts with a vertical white stripe and a tan buckskin vest, her breasts remain bare, her areolas gazing out over the tip of the rod like a second pair of pink eyes. Before them, on the planet’s surface, brown and green masses of land form distinctive shapes in the blue oceans. Mountains reach out towards the traveler and vessel eagerly. In the highest of these, a pool of crystal clear spring water shimmers under the celestial glow of the yellow star beaming nearby. The sun pulls both the planet and its captivated phallic visitor like a golden stallion drawing chariot and rider.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Two Hundred Feet Above the Earth

On the brightest of sunny days, a flying contraption soars on a current of crisp blue wind. At about two hundred feet above the earth, it coasts, like an oversized time machine on a rogue mission. Its speed is high, and it easily leaves behind the flocks of white birds on their yearly migration.
The pilot is a mystery, whether man or machine, I cannot tell, but the contraption flies well, maintaining its smoothness and speed amongst the aggressive wind. I sit upon a wooden bench at the helm, a rickety old fence post once stolen from a neighbor’s yard. There is no floor, and my legs dangle loosely over the seat, each new gust of air sends them swinging wildly, like the limbs of my companion.
The machine is small and compact, made mostly of copper tubing, sheets of metal and a huge brightly colored air balloon which keeps us afloat. It looks like a lunatic’s invention, created quickly from a doodle using found scrapes and stolen debris. It has traveled far to make this journey, centuries or more, but there is an excitement that permeates the whole of it, blanketing us in newness and innocence. The wind feels like a friend playing upon our skin, the birds wink in our direction. This is a maiden voyage, clean from any past experience. All is new, and from this flight, we will not be returning.
We are directly above a city. A potpourri of structures stretches to the horizon in all directions, a striking mixture of large and small buildings, civic centers, offices, houses, museums, and monuments. This is the eternal civilization- the one that has spawned countless poor imitations. This is Rome as it could have been. This is the city philosophers have spoken of…the ideal city thought only to exist as concept. The edifices shine, scrubbed clean and glowing in every possible glory. Their hues are soft and inviting, only the palest shades of marble have been used in their construction. Under the light of the full sun, everything is immaculate. Stretching to eternity, the avenues are precise and wide, dividing the immense landscape into navigable blocks. They are so clean…so exact. Their possessive symmetry shouts far into the sky and reaches my ears. The best engineers and mathematicians have created these roads and I am breathless in the precision of their art.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A City Corner

It is a noisy, dirty corner in the heart of a large city. The streets that meet here are both wide, full of heavy traffic and constantly covered in groups of pedestrians walking back and forth from one sidewalk to the other. A large truck is double parked on the southeastern side, three men sit on the edge of the bed and a large mechanical dolly sits on the sidewalk, unused. Two men walk from east to west, drinking from bottles covered in paper bags, loudly discussing the events of the day. An older woman, wearing a large blond wig and a tight mini skirt, smokes by the donut shop on the north western corner. A neon sign of a nude woman blinks in and out from the covered front window of a massage parlor that stands next to a freshly painted liquor store on the northeastern corner. A little boy grabs onto his mother’s hand, dragging a plastic bag behind him, gently sobbing away the remains of a heartfelt tantrum.
On the south western corner there is a one story complex. A small adult shop is embraced on both sides by a single dilapidated house that wraps around it. It has two facades, leading to either street, both with a little forgotten porch covered in trash and solid steel gates.
The adult shop has only four faded porno tapes on its window, the lost glories of never quite beautiful women that have long lost their battle for men’s attention and are now forgotten symbols of wasteful dispersal that fail in their weak attempt at temptation. Inside the shop, behind the counter, is an older bearded man wearing a baseball cap and reading the newspaper. A TV screen behind him shows intense intercourse between a black man and a blond girl, the volume turned down while the radio blares out right wing talk radio and old rock and roll songs. The man groans every once in a while and turns the page. Two Latin men stare at a magazine and make whispered comments. An older single man in a black overcoat carefully runs through the many video sections, scanning every title and every so often grabbing a box and putting it under his arm. A sweaty brown skinned man stands by the dark door that leads to the private booths, anxiously staring at each of the men that walk in and out of the store. Another door, dusty and forgotten between rows of video tapes and plastic dildos, leads to the larger residence that surrounds the place.
The house is shaped like a thick L, with each end crowned by an elegant wooden door that leads to the outside. Inside, the light is low and shaded in red and green. At the corner of the "L" there is a long table, covered in a ripped and stained tablecloth, where two women and two men sit on small metal chairs. One woman prepares a crack pipe, wearing only a slip over a pair of tight shorts, while one of the men, a skinny older Caucasian wearing thick glasses and a sleeveless undershirt, anxiously stares and waits. The other two angrily discuss their current situation, always precarious, always on the brink of a complete catastrophe that has already started but never quite comes to an end. The man is a middle aged Latino, wearing jeans and a buttoned up shirt. The woman is older and hints of sadness and deep resignation recurrently wash over her wrinkled face. She wears a black T-shirt and a ripped red skirt.
Behind the table, there is a broken door that leads to a long bathroom. Inside, behind a ripped plastic curtain, there is a stretched out shower stall with three different shower heads, designed so that three or more bodies can bathe simultaneously. The tiled floor is covered in grime and smells of urine and sperm. A young boy sits on the ground, playing with tiny plastic soldiers, making soft explosive sounds with his mouth each time one the little figures gets shot. The only light that seeps into the bathroom comes from a high little window that also brings with it the constant wave of screams, curses and laughter that wash in from the alleyway outside.
In a small very dark room, the light banished with two layers of curtains and a thick old blanket taped to the window, a young Latin girl lies sleeping on a ripped up mattress. She is covered in cold sweat and wears only a thin summer dress. Her breathing is shallow and labored, her face squeezes painfully every few minutes and her dried tears have left a spider web of discolored makeup all over her cheekbones. Hanging on the wall close to her head there is a little wooden crucifix and taped up underneath it, the photograph of an older smiling woman with gray hair.
In one of the hallways that leads to the street, two shirtless teenage boys smoke marijuana and trade jokes and conspiracies amongst themselves. One of them has a large scar across his chest and a fresh bruise around his right eye. The other one has two fingers missing from his left hand and he uses the stumps to scratch his running nose. Using the joints as pointers, they discuss places and possibilities, people and betrayals, histories and legends. In their words, a trail of bubbling life pierces through the scratched up walls and the pungent smell of vomit that seeps in through the outer gates, along with loud horns, angry threats and a crackling radio playing an ancient song of harvest.

Friday, March 28, 2008

In a Parked Car

The street is drenched in sunlight. The slight breeze that rolls up the hill is blocked by the surrounding buildings, leaving this particular street to a heavy stillness, a quiet pocket of dusty air covered by a blanket of dense heat. The sidewalk is covered in cracks and forgotten symbols, slight attempts at immortality from sixteen-year-olds in love and little kids in ripped jeans. A driving sign cautions drivers not to turn left, its metal is bent and warped, faded by the sun and brought down from the ideal to the particular by a thousand little defects that now cover its once pristine surface. The grass at the edge of the sidewalk is overgrown, tall weeds extend outwards to the street, finding hope in the noise of infrequent cars and the grainy, dark blue asphalt. A forgotten little toy car has found a resting place in the middle of the tall leaves, alongside a discarded can of beer and a piece of oil stained cloth. The smell of boiling stew seeps out from a window, along with a woman calling a name that can only belong to a little boy. Other voices fade in and out, as if finding secret pathways through the little currents of air that make their way across the heavy blanket of heat.
The building is three stories tall. There’s a stairway leading upstairs at the corner. It is made of stone planks, connected into a sequence by a dark metal skeleton. Facing the street are four sets of windows, each large and dirty. Some clothes can be seen hanging from an upper one, the reflection of a TV can be seen on one of the lower ones. The walls are covered in a discolored maroon and the edges of the windows are bright yellow. The lowest level of the building is an open garage with enough room for four different vehicles. Only one slot is filled with a parked car, two are completely empty and in the fourth there is an old discarded light brown couch, covered in broken plastic wrap. It is covered in marks and holes, some from exposure to the elements, some from mischievous little hands. The couch is propped up on rotting wooden planks. There is a tiny table next to it and a forgotten empty bottle of wine propped up against the wall.
The single parked car is an antique, a large curvaceous monster covered in fins and bright colors. The metal decors are mostly in their original place but the colors show gaps of white and naked metal. The windows are darkened by the angle of the sun and the shadow of the garage roof. Only one window is rolled down and slight noises can be heard coming from inside. The car shifts slightly every once in a while, revealing movement in its darkened interior.
Two women sit inside, looking at each other and talking continuously. One sits in the driver seat and the other one in the passenger seat. They have their arms over the tall front seats and they are so fascinated with the sound of each others’ voices that their surroundings seem to vanish around them. They are both a similar age, around 40 years old, they both show the signs of married life, motherhood and many years of daily struggle. They are both Filipino and both wear a similar kind of faded dress covered by a dirty apron. Their arms are thick and their skin is brown. Every so often, they lean forward to catch a whispered phrase or to deliver a specially conspiratorial secret.
The inside of the car is drenched in their sweat and flowery perfume. They open and close their eyes in a silent sign of trust and secret confidence. The latest news of the woman next door, the last we heard of the nephew, that postcard from the one who left a year ago, the stories of the single man that lives a few doors down… it all slides back and forth. Listening and talking. Talking and listening. A rhythm of whispers and staccato statements of rumored fact and factual rumor, a music of broken phrases and never-ending stories that only pauses when someone walks too close. Then one of them turns, looks at the sidewalk, waits for the intruder to walk away and turns back to her companion. The concerto of intense quiet stories then continues and the electrical currents flow through the sweat and the perfume and the heat… once again.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Cinema and The Park

Hunched like a giant amphibian hiding the secrets of underwater life in the shadows beneath its paunch, the movie house rests at the end of the main street. A single story building filled with faded glitz, its carpets are worn down by the thousands of pairs of dress shoes that used to pour through its double doors, used to mill around by the polished mirrors in the lobby, form lines before the kettle roaring with the pop of yellow corn, and file down one of two gently sloping hallways to a dark auditorium.
Now it is empty. The doors stand open allowing the wind to blow in from up the main street. The managers stand together dressed in suits and elegant dresses, passing the time in gossip as only the management can. The kettle is silent. Concessionists stand idle looking longingly out to the street for the absent patrons. Their uniforms are as dignified and shabby as the carpets and worn velvet curtains, white dress shirts, black slacks, midnight hued wing tipped shoes marred by scuffs, maroon vests faded by years of laundering and silky black bow ties frayed at the edges. In the dim atmosphere lit by rows of small artificial bulbs, they stand in the temple of the stars, hands resting on the polished countertops, gazing out at the harsh sunlit street, the freshness of the wind jarring their spirits.
The main street runs from the old movie house to the park in a straight line.Scores of streets cross it, all with names such as "Spruce" and "Pine", all with stop lights dangling over these intersections in merry yellow casings. Vendors adorn the clean side walk along the main drag. A flower cart bursts with the color and fragrance of fresh cut blooms. An old wooden Indian stares intently at nothing outside of a smoke shop where portly bald men in white jackets stand nodding and laughing, and gesturing emphatically with their hands. The window of a bakery gleams brightly displaying pink frosted angel food cakes, golden croissants and tea cookies powdered with sugar. White aprons, clean shirts, bright smiles, pearl necklaces, the pedestrians add a finishing touch to the street, like balloons tied to chairs at a party.
White Volvos with chrome grins, and aqua Chevy convertibles with round headlights, roar up the streets in defiance of the peaceful pedestrians plodding along its side, carrying their white packages tied with ribbons and strings. Stretched out like a lazy green cat, the park greets the street at its end. The grass is short, the trees young lean and tall. They trap the sunlight, turning it in their leaves before sprinkling it down on the lawn in sparkling splotches. Multicolored striped tents shaped like ice cream cones are scattered about the green. People come and go between them. Wearing white robes, blue jeans, fringed vests, beads, tin foil headdresses and bearing sun tanned chests, they walk through the grass, or on the little pathways leading no where in particular. Some sit alone in contemplation in the open mouth of a tent or under a tree. Others talk in groups or conglomerate around tables heaped with books. Yet others sit in pairs staring deeply into each others eyes.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Tree

Long ago destroyed by war, the ruins of a house sit relatively still. Beneath the rotting walls, a cement cellar rests, partially intact. Half buried beneath the earth, it was once used for storage, but now is the most lively room in the house. At the base of one gray wall is a square window, large enough to be confused with a door. Free from glass, the sweet wind from outside finds its way in, stirring the long settled dust within. Trimmed attentively with one row of red bricks, the window has a sweeping view of the landscape. In the distance, creating a ring around the valley, are hills with a gentle geometric pattern- slightly jagged but soft as well. There are houses of muted colors carved into the hills- pale yellow and green, light blue-most of them are camouflaged by the rocks that cover the hills and valley. Stones of every size, from boulders to tiny grains, are scattered about, evoking the air of a forgotten existence.
Growing from the flattest part of the valley is the largest tree in existence. The trunk is thick and long, rising like a pillar to the cosmos. Its branches, covered in dark green leaves, stretch for miles, diffusing the sun eternally, growing into the hot rays like a warrior with foliage of courage. All around is stillness, it is known that no one, at any point, has ever journeyed beyond the great tree.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


It is a huge plaza, surrounded by large gray buildings. On the west side, there is a silver dome outlined by golden ridges, on top of a rectangle of concrete punctured by curved little windows. On the north there is a tall solid box of glass, crisscrossed by gleaming metal columns. On the east, two are two large, white complex structures, of many corners and curves, like mazes that have been pulled inside out. On the south, there is a flat long box of black metal and polarized glass. In the middle, there is grass crisscrossed by concrete pathways and some small structures. There are tall poles and some small signs. On the top of one pole, a big flag waves.
The entire place is full of people, noise and music. The streets that separate the middle area from the buildings are covered in dancers and large trucks, covered in symbols, adornments and puppets. Each truck has a set of large speakers pumping out loud techno. Each truck is playing something different, different key, different tempo, different feel. As you walk around the space you create your own music mix, you can step back into something you left before, move forward into something unknown, or stay with a deep trance beat that signals the end of times with corrugated chords and earth moving bass lines. Around each truck many have chosen to stay… and they dance, move, dance, touch, dance, smile, jump, dance, kiss, grind…dance.
A skinny Asian girl wearing a light blue polka dot dress dances atop one truck, her arms up in the air, her eyes covered by sunglasses. Next to her a girl in a jean miniskirt and a light brown vest shifts her hips back and forth, sometimes looking at her, sometimes looking at the crowd that bubbles shapelessly on the street below her, like an enormous amoeba made of tiny painted heads. The truck has black metal horns and a white skull painted on its cabin, an invocation of a older violent task that is now rejected. An older man in black leather pants and no shirt dances to the right of the two girls. His eyes are looking inwards, his movements are more daring, less about what will be seen and more about what is travelling through him.
Another truck is covered by blue Styrofoam structures that simulate some kind of underwater creature. It has many eyes, and many tentacles that extend from all sides of its face. On top of that truck, a couple dances with sexual abandon. A girl in tight black pants grinds her hips against a boy in shiny spandex, wearing a vest and a yellow hat. The girl leans all the way into her partner, allowing all her energy to flow through the repeated movement of her hips… back and forth and around. Her partner pushes hard against her, grabbing her by the hips and pulling her closer. They both hide their eyes behind dark glasses and a veneer of nonchalance.
There is an old school bus, drowned in people, inside and out. Through the little windows you can see movement inside, people running back and forth, a shoulder, a back, a head suddenly sticking out then pulling back in. On top of the bus there are more people. A quartet, two women and two men, looking down at the crowd, smiling, waving and swaying their hips to the booming beat. On top of the yellow cabin, a man sits cross legged. He wears a long white robe and a very long white beard, which extends all the way to his stomach. His eyes are closed but he is very much present in the space and with the music. His shoulders roll back and forth ever so slightly, in time with the beat.
Among the crowd,a gray haired hippie sits on a lawn chair, his left hand on a beer bottle which he drinks from every now and then, his right hand on a white dog that squats beside him. The dancers roll past him and around him. Both his eyes and the dog’s follow each little group, each lonely straggler, each loving couple, each group of tough young boys, each pair of sweating girls… as they dance and walk and run and sway and grind right past him. He nods his head, pets his companion and smiles. Only he is aware that this party has been going on forever.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I am in the midst of bookshelves, tall ones, little ones, they fold into each other, they cover the many rooms around me in a maze like profusion, they make spirals that end in little alcoves where skinny dry men sit reading large bulky tomes of ancient knowledge and little boys tug at the breaking corners of old comic books. The dry men chew on a white gelatinous substance while they read, every so often looking up to scan the space around then, then diving back into the books. The little boys lick at little black pebbles as they let their greasy hands run over the already damaged pages.
The books on the shelves are of many sizes, many colors, many styles. There are whole shelves full of small paperbacks, with bright colored covers. Women in trouble, half naked, tied down, in the grips of evil. Men running to save them. Guns out. Swords at the ready. Laser guns blasting. A rescue that’s about to happen, but that never comes. There are other shelves covered with magazines. Old, faded magazines full of notices, of summarized stories and unfinished tidbits. New magazines with bright photos on their covers, of unreal, sharply etched young people, shining with the glow of fame and fortune. There are large thick books full of strange diagrams and warnings in many languages. There are books that are flat and wide, full of photographs and paintings, one after another, each page an entire world to discover. There are hardcover textbooks, with their careful lessons and questions at the end, little red notes made by someone long ago, references to homework, to old thoughts and girlfriends. There are handwritten diaries that are falling apart at the seams, the pages losing their sequence, creating new complex chains of cause and effect, death bringing timeless freedom to a forgotten life.
An old man walks among the shelves. He is bald, walks hunched over, his stomach portruding before him, his chest covered by a disheveled white beard. He wears a black overcoat which extends all the ways to his knees. It flies like a cape behind him as he walks. Underneath, he wears loose pajama pants and a white tshirt. His eyes wince and his mouth curls upwards slightly every so often, and every now and then, a loud exhalation leaves his mouth. The exhaled air is heavy and full of the dust that covers the shelves. His hands land on one book and another. Placing one in a different section within its shelf, removing one and taking it to a completely different shelf, sometimes placing a large one on a flat table, opening it to a certain page and leaving it there. He writes little notes and places them inside books, little sticky papers with strange clues waiting to be deciphered, but now lost in the midst of an ocean of other pages full of other writings.
A younger man in dark brown clothing talks loudly. He explains the nature of construction to a man that nods only partly consciously. As he hungrily explains in detail, his hands move back and forth, punctuating his exclamations with invisible shapes in the almost visible clouds of dust that linger over the entire room. In a place that smells like mold, he smells of something alien, a touch of swamp and dying flowers. His voice raises, then comes back down, then rises again, a rhytmic melody that flies around mathematical statements and practical instructions.
The old man walks by him and nods his head in acknowledgement. He has done this a million times and will do it a million times again, and after that door, there will be another room full of shelves and books and skinny dry men and little boys… and a man talking loudly of distinct and detailed knowledge and the old man will change the placement of some books, place some of them out and leave some notes behind and go on to the next. As I sit in this room, I wait for the next old man to walk by.

Monday, March 10, 2008


There is a grass equilateral triangle, about 100 feet on each side, surrounded by three buildings, each three stories high. The buildings contain a repeating sequence of small alcoves, each with a door, a glass window and thick curtains. The upper stories have long balconies running along the alcoves with a thin metal railing on the side. There are stairways on both sides and small additional indirect lamps at periodic intervals on the edges of the roof. The walls are a light brown that looks almost yellow in the middle of the night, with only the very soft lights shining on them. The railings have complex adornments and each door has a number engraved in golden letters. It is all very quiet. There is no movement along the balconies and no sound coming from inside the rooms.
The grass is moist with dew, tiny drops of water linger from the slender leaves and throw off a welcoming scent. They are trimmed to perfection, all at the same length, giving the illusion of a flat surface. There are tall, black metal posts, almost as tall as the buildings with little lights at the top, that further illuminate the area. The posts stand on small cement squares, about 4 feet long, and there are three of them, one at each corner of the triangle. From the center of each side, there is a cement path that goes towards the center.
In the middle of the triangle is a metal railing in the shape of a circle. It is black metal as well, but shiny with moisture like the grass, and covered in tiny baroque figures. Where the cement pathways meet it there are small metal doors. Through the thin metal bars of the railing, you can see into its center, past the doors. There, in the middle of the entire configuration, is a pool of hot water. In the dark of the night and the beams of the lamp posts, clouds of steam are visible as they rise from the hot water and disappear into the night sky. The water is a dark shade of blue and it moves only slightly, with little tiny waves that shift back and forth along the surface. It sounds like the subtle echo of a beach as the miniscule waves hit the cement edge and recede. A low electrical hum underscores the gentle sound and an additional light shines up from the depths.
In the center of the pool, two women stand facing each other, waist deep in the water. One is very young, blonde and has a very slight body. Her face is round and child like, her long hair is wet and sticks tightly to her head and shoulders. Her small bare breasts are almost invisible in the midst of the hot steam, only her dark maroon nipples stand out in the midst of her soft, white skin. The other woman is older, her body is thicker and covered in curves. She has short black hair, also wet and pressed against her head and forehead. Her breasts are large, full and they fall towards her stomach. She is taller than the young one and holds her space with a calm severity. Her face is a delicate mix of gentleness and harshness.
They stare into each other’s eyes and very calmly bathe each other, slowly running their hands over each others arms, shoulders, breasts and stomach. The older woman reaches down, holding her hand in the shape of a small cup, brings it back full of water and slowly lets it drip over the younger woman’s body. The blonde barely smiles and repeats the same process, letting the water gently drip down over the brunnette’s chest.
Their eyes vibrate with an intensity that radiates out throughout the inner circle and out onto the grass triangle and the buildings that surround it. The grass, the lamp posts, the walls, the railings, even the numbers on the doors… they all shine in sympathetic resonance and are brought to life. With each breath, the women repeat the process… the slow dripping of the water, the calm response and the rhythmic intensity of their contact. There is no hidden identity, no silent purpose, no mountain to climb, no cliff to jump from… just another handful of water and eyes that burn like hot steam.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

In A Hotel

The room is a long rectangle, framed by white walls lightly adorned with flowery watercolor paintings. On one end there is a door, a heavy wooden door with metal bindings and an antique lock. On the other end, there is a set of glass doors that faces a balcony that overlooks the beach. There is a large bed, large enough for two people to sleep in. It is closer to the main doorway. Between the bed and the glass doors is a living room area, a couch, a small coffee table, a circular rug and two additional chairs.
It is nighttime. All electrical lights are off and small candles burn in all corners of the room. The warm ocean breeze slips inside in currents of pungent heat mixed with a hint of dead fish and algae. The sound of the waves creates an underlying drone, that holds the space in place, like a larger breath that exhales and inhales us, pulling us toward nothingness and bringing us back here, to this little room.
I sit on the couch, leaning back, my eyes wide open, my breathing slow and steady, in an interlocking beat with the rhythm of the waves and the dancing of the candlelight. My hands rest gently on my knees and my legs are only slightly apart.
My friend sits across from me, on a chair. His eyes are also wide open, as he looks directly into mine. He is wearing white, white pants, white shirt… here he radiates white through his skin. His hands are on the armrests of the chair, his back is straight against its back. He breathes in time with me, his eyes seeming to widen and contract with each exhalation.
The air around us crackles with energy, electrical flashes of light and color dance in and out, just barely visible from the corners of my eyes. As our eyes widen, our attention intensifies and the crackling is audible, an intermittent caress of high frequencies in unrepeatable rhythms, surges of squealing brightness, harsh yet soothing high pitches, and something that sounds like the ancient laughter of little people with extended ears and big bellies, rolling around in dark clouds of pliable protoplasm. As our eyes contract again, our attention slides lower and the sounds become the rustling of the breeze against the curtains, the wooden roof cracking with the tender kiss of the hot ocean night.
I look into his eyes and I see him, but more I see that which is not him, which was him before him, which came and took him and became more through him. I see an old Chinese man of gentle eyes and a long white beard, I see a great journey across open sea. I see a man I recognize, my old teacher, I see him staring intensely, as if finding himself in a place he doesn’t recognize, not knowing how he came to be where he shouldn’t be, where he is not. I see another man, an old Indian of rough skin and pronounced lips, he is not surprised, his eyes take it all in and swallow it, I dive into him and come out inside of me, my eyes still open, my friend still there.
His mouth is open. My mouth is open. Slight sounds come out, unrecognizable, sounds that are not symbols but have meaning, sounds that travel and come back touched with old stories and barely recognizable songs. I see two old lines converging in him, from a long distant past, two stories that become one in him and push forth out towards me. A long thread of changing faces, stretching back though forgotten underground tales and families, a small branch of the lineage of knowledge now stands naked before me, pulsing with Life through the corridors of time, vibrating with music that is ever changing and always new, even as it has already been written and sung. As I see it, it changes. As it changes, I see it. What was, is and as it is, it is free and it is not the same. I open to it and let it flow through me, into my mouth, up into my third eye, down to my solar center, and out again. It shifts me around. What was once me is still there, but my past has changed. I am not what I remembered, but I am what I have always been. It is here with me. For a moment it stands before me, revealing itself as Legion and One.
Come to me. Come through me. I welcome you. I am here with you. You have arrived, back here, safe or as safe as you can be, armed with power and ready to Work.
It is Time.

Friday, March 07, 2008

City in the Lake

The water is calm and flat, as it extends in all directions. To the north, it ends in great mountains, cold purple behemoths of rock and sand, desolate stretches that stand as magnets to the imagination but hold impenetrable obstacles for the body. To the east, the lake ends in a great water fall, a fall so high that all the tons of water that slide off the cliff disperse into vapor and nothingness halfway down the wall. Of the bottom, little is known. Some will speak of great darkness, of a swamp of spherical rocks and dark obscene creatures that live beneath them. To the south, there is sunlight and commerce, a great port in the lesser waterfall that calmly and steadily descends to the lower lake and many smaller islands bathing in the endless sunlight of the vast unknown above the great white cliffs. To the west, there is only the great darkness of the tall cliffs that extend beyond comprehension, high above the clouds and the reach of a man’s eye.
In the middle stands the city. Clearly delineated by white walls, a clean rectangle in the midst of the calm water, buzzing with activity yet maintaining a perennial tranquility. There are large gates on each side, heavy stone stairways leading down to the clear liquid surface and beneath it. A few piers extend outwards on the side of the gates. Most of the active ones are on the southern side. People run back and forth from the piers to the gates and back again. They carry large packages on their backs and push wooden carts. There are no animals to help with the burden. Small boats are tied to the piers and loaded with clothes, tools, books… the many things that can only be constructed in the heart of the quiet city.
The walls are white but show the many cuts, bruises and scars of the centuries. Men walk above them, holding weapons at the ready. They are dressed in dark silver armor and long flowing black capes. They carry themselves with great discipline, following predetermined paths as they make their way on the top of the walls. On each side of each gate stands a circular tower, where several of the guards converge. They stand around metal cannons that extend upwards, ready to shoot up towards the air. The cannons are kept clean, polished and ready even through they haven’t been used in so long that there is no record of their purpose in any recorded memory. The guards ceremonially stand around them, looking up towards the heavens, their eyes rarely getting distracted by the call of the mountains to the north or the distant roar of the waterfall to the east.
Inside the city, there are elevated streets that run over each other in complex configurations. There are walkways that stretch from high tower to high tower, where men in white robes walk back and forth, discussing the finer aspects of an old philosophical argument, or the implications of a new poem that has just been circulated among them. The tall towers end in open circular terraces that are mostly quiet and empty. Sometimes a man sits alone, thinking and writing. Sometimes a couple drapes themselves in a white sheet and make love beneath the open sky. Sometimes three men stand and chant together, a song of an unknown language lost to recorded time.
At the lowest levels of the city, there are great factories where the raw matter that is brought into the city is transformed into new configurations. Men in dark brown clothes work tirelessly to complete their set goals and hand the new packages to the carriers. Some of these factories are made of several small sweaty rooms, some are large halls full of loud metal noises and bursts of chemical steam. The men inside bend over, their backs almost hunchbacked with the years of tireless work and toil. Their faces are full of marks and their eyes are dark with confused memory.
Towards the north side of the city, there are thicker buildings that are full of little apartments. There the bulk of the city’s families reside. The men are gone for days at a time, so the women find games to play with each other and with their children. They sometimes climb to the tall towers and find the empty circular terraces, they sometimes roam in the northern lake in little boats and hold secret meetings beneath the darkness of the purple mountains. In the basements beneath the buildings, they hold large gatherings where only women are allowed. Here they will tell their secrets and remember their own forgotten chants.
Seen from within it, the city is busy and full of noise and activity. From above, it is as calm and quiet as the lake that surrounds it. Tiny noises of work and happiness, a respite from the dangers and terrors that are told by the travelers from the east. I look at it all from the heights, moving things here and there. Placing a man here, shifting a boat there. Yesterday it was as it is today. Tomorrow it will be the same.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Little Town

A few streets crossing each other, a few of them scattering off tangentially away from the center, a tiny web in the midst of the forest. There is no sense of planning. Instead it seems that the streets were just added to each other as the need arose, some of them covered in asphalt, some of them still dirt roads. There are little signs on the corners to indicate the names. They are painted in black letters over white metal, each one with little flourishes to indicate a sense of history, of a time that has passed.
There are many small houses. Each is adorned with tiny mementos, little statues, tinkling chimes, a clay gnome permanently smiling at the passers-by. Dogs are barking unseen from some backyard, their sound seeming to mix in with the faded paint of the old houses resonating with each other and lulling you into sleepiness. A cat runs underneath the parked cars, then emerges back onto the street a few cars up the road. The sidewalk is tall, about the height of three steps above the street. There are little cement stairways every once in a while, each one leading to a lonely porch. Most of the doors have metal screens and most of the screens are broken. Behind the doors, there is furniture covered in white sheets and an air of forgetfulness. The only sounds here are the dog in the distance and the dusty wind moving the blinds back and forth.
The longest street that runs through the center of the town is called "Main Street". The one that crosses it is called "Park". There is a cluster of little stores near the center. They sell trinkets from other times, new handicrafts and some art reproductions. There is a coffee shop in a corner. An old hippie sits outside, drinking coffee and striking up conversations with anyone that passes by. Little groups of teenagers walk around, no more than 5 of them at a time. They are all dressed in jeans and tshirts, they make jokes every once in a while but they are mostly quiet. They stare at the stores and the houses, hoping something will happen. But nothing really does. Here and there a lonely adult walks calmly from one place or another, saying hello warmly to whoever walks by them, then dissappearing again.
The streets that lead off, away from the town center, get more and more sparse. There are trees and bushes that flank the road, and sometimes hide the constructions behind them. The houses become larger but less well taken care of. There are broken cars sitting outside, the hoods up, the wheels long gone, a large brick in their place. A car tire swings from a tree, a large black dog on a chain barks constantly and angrily. Someone is banging a hammer on a piece of metal. A woman is calling out a man’s name. Metal tools are spread out on the driveway, next to a deep stain of grease. Loud laughter and angry calls, scattered bits of conversation and the sound of a indignant radio jock, all vibrating together, all flowing into each other through the dry bushes. There is a sense of trapped desperation, of lost hopes and slowly decomposing dreams.
There is a gated community down one the roads, a few miles away from the town center, guarded by people in uniforms. Inside, the houses are all shiny and very well kept. They are crowded into small cul-de-sacs… with 3 or 4 houses to each one. There are at least 3 cars per house, parked outside in the gently curving driveway. The cars are also new and shiny, and they smell of luxury. There are a few chimes here and there, but mostly the houses here are very streamlined, it would be easy to confuse one of them with any other. Dark wood and bright white paint, metal yard furniture and the silence that comes with the absence of dogs.
It is afternoon. The sun is high in the sky and the whole place smells of sweat and dust. In the air itself you can almost see the transparent thick waves of heat as they slide around the town, caressing the wooden walls like forgotten lovers coming back to find their lost object of desire, finding loneliness instead. A car rolls up or down every once in a while, but very rarely. When they do, they drive slowly and carefully. The heat, the dust and the absence of wind gives the whole place an air of stillness, of stagnation, of things that have been like this forever and will remain so, drenched in heavy sunlight and loud silence.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Place to Rest

It is enormous. Much larger in the inside than it appears from the outside. And it does look large from the outside. It sits next to a forest, or within it. A road leads to it, curving through the trees like an extended thick snake made of dust No city is close by. Some people stand outside, waiting to be go inside, trying to decide what to see, waiting for others to arrive, looking at the schedules, discussing the possibilities. The walls are thick and at least 3 stories tall. They seem ancient yet show no mark of age. Nothing is falling apart. Everything is just in the right place. The whiteness of the walls is pure and shiny. There are 3 entrances, each able to fit 20 people or more at a time. The sides of each entrance are adorned with multiple markings, strange symbols, magical hieroglyphics, mysterious sigils and Soda announcements. There is a constant rumble of echoed noise coming from inside. A vast conversation that never ends.
Inside, the lobby is covered in wall to wall red carpet. If the walls outside seemed three stories tall, inside the ceiling is so high it can’t be seen. There are stairways leading down and up, and to the sides, away from the lobby. The stairways divide and subdivide going to the inner doorways within. There are also transparent elevators that climb up to unsuspected heights and open up to further stairways. People walk back and forth in all directions. They hold things in their hands very tightly: food, brochures, jewelry. The crowds are coming up from the stairways, walking into the elevators, walking out of the elevators, walking down stairways. A long concession stand stands in the middle, selling all kinds of junk food along with strange artifacts. People stand in long lines waiting to buy at the stand. Each one alone or in a very small group. The echo of conversation rings loudly throughout the space, but with it come waves of isolation. Each one, each group, is by itself. Even the staff seems to be alone, lost in a vast complex structure that has no internal hierarchy. The manager, if there ever was one, has long been gone.
The stairways lead to enormous theaters where movies play continuously. The seats are arranged in layers of balconies, which extend so far into the back that the end can’t be seen. There are many empty seats but the place is so huge that it still holds a vast crowd. People are constantly moving, even while the movie plays. They move from seat to seat. They encounter others, then sit somewhere else, then go back out to the lobby. The light coming from the screen lights up their faces. An overweight girl working away at a large bucket of popcorn. A skinny young boy slurping Soda from a straw. Two young lovers caressing each other surreptitiously in the darkness. An old frail man bending over towards the screen, his eyes barely registering any kind of awareness.
It is easy to get lost in here. Everything that came before can be forgotten so quickly. There is a need to sit down and watch the movie. Lay back. Rest. Stop worrying. Let the movie play and be content in the darkness. Nobody will bother you. Everybody stays to themselves and there are plenty of empty seats between the patrons. There is no end to the movies, so there’s no need to worry about going home. No need to remember where or what home was. The movies will play forever. Maybe it’s many movies. Maybe it’s the same one. Every once in a while you may need to visit the concession stand, but even that can be rare. The seats are so comfortable. They fold back and cushion your head. Your eyes can focus on the movie and you can set aside all distractions. In the middle of the vast crowd, you are now finally comfortably alone and without any worry.
People scurry from one hall to another. Never content with their choice of movie. But you can sit easy. Relax. You made it into the theater. Now you can rest.