Saturday, October 01, 2005

On the turning away: 15 July, 2005

Only one spotlight is on. And when the Great Hairy Hand pushes you out underneath it, onto the stage, whatever you do, don't blink.

Don't look into the waiting silent darkness. They know you can't see them. Stare at your feet instead, the space between them, where your nose hairs cast delicate shadows. This will make you look restrained. They will put down their spritzers and wait to see what will happen.

It takes them 3 seconds to do that. Those 3 seconds are all you have to think about what you will do, for someone changed the script. Again.

The 3 seconds end when you know you are being watched, even by the cabbies, the drunks, the preachers, and knitting mothers. You can feel their eyes. They do not know your name, nor do they want to.

They are there to see what will happen.

And it is this moment when your gut cries out and jumps off a cliff. The fear finds your vein and jabs you full of the cold creeping awknowledgement of how wrong this could go, and how many times it has already.

In that 2.765745 and counting moment, it must happen, or never will.

And it does. All that is and has been been comes arm in arm through the door, some peeping through the roof. Everything comes back.

The lost sand dollar, the sea-salted bbq on a windy beach on a dark night across which crabs scuttled over the styx-- The sea that rose to greet you, its stinging lashes in your eyes as you sat a curled ball in a cliff's hole--The children who threw stones at you-- The teacher's whose faith you broke-- The book you didn't return-- the grandmother you didn't speak to... the plane ride that brought you here... the girl you left there. The dog who put his nose in your bath tub. The love that opened your life up into the light. The love that closed it back down--

The tragedy you were too late to prevent. The wall you wrote on. Axl Rose over bad speakers in the rain. The people who came too close. Those who never took the hint. The ones you had to kill.

Your fingers remember the feel of old leathery dying palms, the harsh splinters off cabinets where your parents' old photos are kept.

And picking up the ridicule and the need to be the best juggler everyday, you go beyond the dimension at the bottom of the glass.

At this point, the chairs are moved to face the stage.

This is the point when the men and women who have gone before you have painted the sweat of their souls into pictures that lived because of what they gave up.

This is the point when they have danced in spite of bleeding feet and missing toes.

This is when they have embraced mother-in-laws, walked off battlefields, conducted symphonies they couldn't hear, and wept as they made the court roll over laughing.

And you dance, you leap with the power of having failed, and the awareness of still being alive. You whirl and scream and point and argue and sing and howl.

And when you exit, stage left out into cold rain and the street of no taxis and lone walking...

You cannot hear the applause behind you. Or see the bloody ears, money, maiden heads and tomorrow's newspapers thrown into the hat you left behind.

And this is the way it will be. Forever. Blessed be.


Baliga said...


Mriganayanii said...

fantastic writing.
made me feel like it going to rain.
marry me?
erm... wonly jokingg maddum.