Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Walk This Way

At the Bodies Exhibit yesterday, we read, in big white letters on a smooth grey board, “Disease is a part of life.” My friend and I recoiled. Imagine what words could do if we ate them, I thought, before I tore the page and began to chew. I imagined myself a spy in a strange land, chewing up my origins and mission before the last moment of life, the eclipse of sight with these particular eyes, alert to the dying of the light and eager for the next inhale, the next starburst and wave that is me feeling my way through what I used to call space.

In the beginning was the Word. What once Was feels familiar, begins to be known. My entrails, tongue, the cords, pops, snaps, fountains full of color, show me the earliest signs of life and what I have done to it, what I use it for. Here, outside, plasticene, polymers, the tiny tentacles like coral emblazoned red, blue, and heavily yellow-brown.

Touch me like you know me, a cartoon caption came back to me from another day. Know me as I am. To know me as my nerve bundles, my magnetic fields, is to know me long before we meet with hands and even eyes in those colors we call blue and green and grey and brown. Our proximity, like crossing borders made to change, moves like water moves, the air its own motion and change, wings of words drifting and flapping through.

Who was I to think that scepters and rings, shields and crowns, stamps and spears, guns and missiles could speak for me? The birds of spring and summer sing and flutter through, dive and climb, and the wind that has been building for months has taken on, today, a new weight, an anticipation not so eager but obliged, compelled, called upon to move. Change is here, my heart, and my chest cavity, my ribs, move a little inside. In my mind is chemistry.

I am no prophet or seer, but what I feel has come before, and will again, another day. We are called upon, to know, to simply be ourselves, without trappings hanging from every cave which hide our jewels. There is no salvation in song without the words that we can eat, the apple that began it, the garden we call home.

Another trapeze artist falls to his death. Did you feel it?
A small device blew up in a garage and left one dead. Did you feel it?
A tornado tore through Greensburg leaving broken bits and bodies.
War pounds on, and those confronted steel themselves like old warriors.
Civilians pull their magnetic fields in like capes, mummies, embryos.
My friend’s hands feel every sensation of the air and earth, and the water knows.
There is a rustling, a beauty in the stark clarity of sky, even in this rumbling.

Touch me like you know me, says the air.
Love me, says the Earth.
Breathe me in, and calm me, says the wind.
Know me as I am.

The words come out of my hands, not my brain, I write with my hands.”
Philip K. Dick

"I was twelve [in 1940] when I read my first sf magazine…it was called Stirring Science Stories and ran, I think, four issues….I came across the magazine quite by accident; I was actually looking for Popular Science. I was most amazed. Stories about science? At once I recognized the magic which I had found, in earlier times, in the Oz books - this magic now coupled not with magic wands but with science…In any case my view became magic equals science…and science (of the future) equals magic." Philip K. Dick

“Science is a technique where uncreative people use the facts of the past to create. The creation is the result of building upon the past that is known until the present discovers itself.” Kathy Oddenino, Sharing, p. 190

The Bodies Exhibition/

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