flame-broiled unicorn and dragon drenched in awesome sauce
I am not the writer in our house; my partner is. Nevertheless, from time to time I find myself writing a bit of flash fiction or even poetry and vignettes in a series I call The Sparrow Story.
I truly have no pretensions around the craft of the written word at either a sentence or paragraph level, let alone at something as grandiose as stitching all of that together into a written story. Can you imagine all those words to write? Crazy!
Nevertheless, given my obvious insanity and lack of sense of my limits, I do have aspirations of someday producing a written story or two that may not be a complete waste of another human being’s time to read.
There is nothing quite like a road-trip to make everything a-oh-kay. Saturday proved itself to be the perfect day to jump into my car and drive East toward Steven’s Pass along US2. The snow in the mountains is just beginning to dust over the peaks while the valleys remain awash in decidious’ Fall colors and conifers’ forever green. It is the kind of day where I roll down the window to drink in the cold air and turn up the heater to keep my toes roasting and crank up the music while I let myself cruise at just enough of a clip as to let it all flow on by. As I got out of Sultan just past the trailhead to Lake Serene I pulled into a logging road and drove a bit into the mountain range before parking. And as is my wont I started hiking through the undergrowth till I found an unobstructed ridge where the trees where still only a few years into recovering from logging. While we may not approach the blanket of reds and oranges and yellows that hallmarks Fall back in New England, here in the pacific northwest it is a fair trade to have in their place the powder white of mountains under an azure sky. And as I stood over the valley with my camera in hand and the sun overhead I can safely say this one spectacularly beautiful part of the country.
i have been waiting to put down this shovel and sit on the muddy grass. grueling hands grumble not used to this kind of work that surely my friends’ fathers were natured to. instead i and a generation of youth escaped under green blinks of cursor and curious’er tappity tap tap. i can smell the autumn air, potpourri of tired leaves colored with some bruised and other some ripened apples tossed on tired bundles, piles now burning down a year’s worth of accumulated forgotten promises. crows sit on branches come to conduct me to work this hole i have dug for myself. soon enough you may envelop me and send me away, friends. sooner than enough for me but maybe not soon enough for you. i am done but only momentarily. i do not know how to stop. with every breath i exhale, with every shove then kick of blade i exhume. it does not stop. nor i. when is deep enough when depth cannot be measured? where here grows nothingness next there grows somethingness and on the sum it cradles my infancy. i shall find you but not here where you are not and when you are already there. first i will dig myself up. and then next you. but i will. never stop.
sometimes i wonder. i wonder if i were you who i would be? where would i be? when would i be? were i you would i love me? or would i feel nothing? what kind of days might i have? would i still feel the same about life and friends and love and life? would i no longer dream of waking up to you if i were to wake as you? would i worry your worries and cry over your sorrows and laugh at your humors and would it be queer to feel your flows and ebbs as par my natural course? would i get up in the mornings still wondering where you are and whether words from you were going to find me in my inbox? would i look down at myself and be aroused? i wonder if you follow me. do you? would i get in your car and find it strange that the stations are not in the same place on the radio as in my own car. would i listen to your music and know the words and sing along the way you do? were i you would your shoes fit my feet? and would i find it awkward trying to balance in them? if i were you is it inappropriate were i to gently caress myself? and would it be strange were i looking into the mirror wondering why i can see you staring back and not me? would i even know i were you or would i just be me being you with no mind of distinction or difference? would i just cease to be me with no way of getting back? i wonder.
over the mound and up into autumn brown grass sky is an ocean of sand and unswept tears. i am here and i am dead. behind in these trenches are dug the unspent moments between scenes of youth. i am dead until i return with all the carbine spent and casings hammered like nails in dead plank boards. i am no hammer nor gavel; i am bankrupt beyond means to exchange lives for life. there is no return nor untrod path back to a breathy lightness. i am here and i am dead. i sit under this only one tree lone and bare of leaves and bare and lone of bark. it the only respite, a shade from the grime and smoke amongst the grime and smoke. it is your tree. our tree. my tree. i dig deep and deeper and deepest till the roots pass over my eyes, bone wisp hairs to call me back to moments in summer next to green grassy water where kisses fell like august rain on hot cheeks and butterfly eyes while pink lips whisper of how forever will unfold. but that never happened. you went away. you went away into war and stayed there under the bloody boom and scream of levanthian brothers. i saw our never born children grow up. i fed them. i cradled them. i taught them how to string a bow but never taught them of arrows for love had died and gone away with you. i saw them grow up and grow out and move away, our children that were never born. there never came a letter from that place you had gone off to. only silence came to sit next to memories that when left alone like children turn themselves into a wintered howl. i am here and i am dead crawling under your tree to hold your hand. it is not much but it is more than i have ever had, more than i ever hoped. i loved you and you went away and i am content. i missed you but i would have missed you more had you stayed and lived that dying descent while your heart never stopped crying for your cedar scented brothers and your mother’s land. so now i am dead too and under this tree with you. i can feel the inch of earth worm its way downward crushing. i hold your hand. i am here and i am dead so i might open my eyes one last time upon you.
here on the surgery table under the tin capped incandescents there lingers the lungfuls of purpled dust motes. outside there are too many. is too much. but inside more so than all else so little left remains. bone and sinew wrap in desperate defense protecting a muscle which when opened to the airy whispers and delicate caresses needs no ward. there is no doctor who can file and crack and break away this barrier to lay in heaps the bone-tendon-sinew mass which now wraps around, strangling in child-acting-motherly embrace and lay it as heap to our side. scalpel in hand might we auto-lacerate and sop up in buckets our flood of starved blood and let in with hungry gasps breathless reality to find under the flickering sun conductor to our cadence and trill to a new rhythm that time can only rest aside and wait while eternity ticks its ways down toward nothing.