Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Our Big Invitation


Some obvious hypnosis happens when you stand by water, just as it does by fire. What is prophecy? What is a “jeremiad”? Verses of songs leap and dive in my head like fish with grey-metal skin shining in sunlight.

On public television I listened to Bruce Springsteen tell stories and sing. He spoke of Mary and a beloved son, what parents may feel. What it must mean to lose a boy. He framed songs, told Thunder Road as his Big Invitation, to himself, his audience, to live, hopefully with someone, people you love, and find a place you feel at home. He spoke of how you internalize your craft, how feelings come, and the mechanics of storytelling become part of that craft. You pray to the gods of songwriting, and that you will remain awake, your senses about you, so that when those moments come, you will be ready. What you speak without thinking, he says.

I dreamed as he sang of the fishers of men. I dreamed of the water, the way the water moved, and how my toes dug into sand. I sang the sounds that came to me from as deep as the ocean, and the depths of the sky that were blue and grey with rough edges and soft cushions that blur and blend together into one swirl of snow. Fish swam to me, scales shimmered and shone like shields on some battlefield that drifted through my memory, empty and open and littered with broken bits of shells. My hands were open and reaching for something, and I heard horses, then, smelled blood. I was a man with armor, an insect shelled, and the strings that tied me were tight as rubber bands, rough as leather. I was a woman with a long taffeta dress, silk draped and dapper and also easily worn, bone and shells as buttons and jewels I wear, because I remember the majesty of horned animals crossing plains with wind like sails with them, and also umbrellas I twirled, playful and happy over old cobblestones as birds fluttered and flapped around me, circling fountains.

These jumbles of images sometimes require organization, train coupling and cars. Trains are beautiful machines. Remembering each tumble of syllable, word, image as they come refreshes me like water as my memory opens to all time. There is no stop clock, no hands to tie, only the beauty and precision of time passing by clock face and season. Leaves turn colors, drop from branches, and pile up at trunks. Skies are endless panoramas of change, as all is beneath the surface of earth. The surface smiles, cracks, moves, shakes, slithers. When I reach for any object now, I know something of its story.

When I lie in bed at night, and awake with morning, sometimes I remember coffins, sometimes flowers, and almost always the cry of a baby with first breath. Finding the place which is home is a thought which comes as poetry when I truly listen. Home is where the heart is. I once longed for a “you” which reached for me in the morning as sun began to shine, in a bed warm and with the smell of fresh crumpled sheets and lilacs, the wood framing the bed telling its own story, its own smells embedded in grain. Some days I remembered you, delicate details of your hands, the touch of beard that came in fast. Other days your face came completely different, framed by strawberry blonde. These are tumbling times, and there is no danger of falling off of a cliff, or being strangled by a long scarf caught in a wheel well. For me, there is no immediate and present danger of gunpowder residue, a ticking too loud, a gun barrel or bomb. My world works differently in this moment. Evolution happens.

When I touch your back nerves with my fingertips, I feel the water of life move, and every broken bit of shell wave-tumbled. The thread of your bright green sweater makes its own green map of the world. Energy knots that form clusters want to be released like rocks too long lodged. You will know, too, your own language of how you move, the way the atoms dance inside. I am no scientist, yet I feel the science of life itself making itself known to me like the language of the earth, the way building blocks form, the spangle of chemical stars and clusters, clumps and colors beating and rising and coming to rest. None of us are strangers. This is one way we know what it means to be lovers- we are made the same, as energy, density of matter, beautiful as matter in motion. As I live and breathe.

Nerves have their say, their way, as they do, so often with no thanks.

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