Thursday, June 22, 2006

A fractured thought about fractured thoughts.

A sudden flash can kill your train of thought.

You’re sitting awash in solitude, trapped in your own personal glass, teaching yourself to suffocate with the words in your head. When suddenly something flashes through the glass. The real glass, the glass that separates the place you’re in from the loud and the windy and the dirty and the smell. And -- usually -- the bright. But here it comes, there it is, and BAMNATION AND HELLFIRE…your thoughts are gone. Dead. Whatever they were, whatever they could have been, they are now strewn about you, unable to be reached from behind your personal glass. They lie there, twitching, moaning. Trying to get back to their home. But they cannot. And you cannot help them. And suddenly, they’re gone, lost in the air.

They may or may not be found again.

The flash was nothing malicious, of course; just another fellow in a nondescript white van, enjoying the use of his headlight while driving merrily along in the atomic glare that is a sunny afternoon in Los Angeles. Drive-by effulgence, slapping you in the eyes and breaking the spine of the personification of your thoughts. They were there, you knew they were. But then they’re gone, just like so many other things that pass through our lives. Just like all those other thoughts that you’ve had and then discarded, thinking them useless in the space of your day, thoughts condemning thoughts, cycling over and over and over again. Gone again. No more.

But there’s something different when they’re taken from you. When something that was half there, ready to be whole suddenly gets stillborn from your head by nothing more than an instant of incandescent stupidity, you sometimes wish that you could have kept it with you. You wish that you could have seen it. And sometimes, sometimes, sometimes…you cannot help wonder what they were. What they could have been.

What they never will be.

A lost thought could have been anything. It could have been a thought about a pet that you once had, or a possibility of calling up a lady friend that you wish to speak to just one more time before you never speak again. It could have been about the sandwich that you didn’t have, or an idea for that novel that you’d always been meaning to write. It could have been a reminder to feed your cat from the bag on the right, as the food on the left gives her bad gas. It could have been a better route to take to school, or a thought about the concentration of iron in pigeon-brains that allows them to use their heads as a natural compass. It could have been a memory of a smell that you’d thought was lost to time. It could have been something that would make you happy. It could have been something that would make you sad. It could have been a concept for a funsensical flying contraption, one that you would have put hundreds of hours of work into, that would eventually kill you on phase 16 of the testing process.

It could have been the right thing to say.

It could have been anything.
But it probably was nothing at all.

Just like those moments when you see her, that person crossing the street, books in her arms, ponytail bouncing gently against the small of her back. The person that you see and declare love for, eyes glazing over slightly, mouth drying so fast that you could find nothing to say if she had even been within earshot. Those moments when Studious Jane walks by, and you wish you had done something, not because of what was, but because of what could have been.

What could have been was probably nothing. What it was, was nothing. But it could have, it could have been anything.

It becomes just another beautiful lie to get you through the day.
Because that’s all it is, really. Just another example of the probability of possibility. Things that we know, for the most part, will never happen. Thoughts that, for the most part, we weren’t clever enough to have. These things that we know, and for the most part, we accept. Except for that little bit of us that doesn’t. The bit that we hold in our hands, watching it glow just a little, the thought about the thoughts telling us it could have been. It could be.

The part of us that lets us dream.

And dreams are right. They’re often wrong, but even when they’re foolish, even when they’re stupid, there is still too much right in them to ever let them go. If they don’t rule us with their wrong, they can be nothing but right. If we hold them tight and love them, and still accept the world.
They’re all the same, you see. All the dreams, all the words, all the ramblings, all the thoughts that we squeeze out of our heads on a daily basis, they all have something to them. Something stupid, something real, something true. And sometimes, sometimes, sometimes…something brilliant. We all have a moment, every once in awhile.

And so that thought, that concept we lost; even though probability speaks against it, that thought still could have been anything. That lost moment becomes something between truth and illusion, a world of possibility that never was and probably never will be, something that might have been your bright and shining moment. Some kind of insight that stays locked within a box, unable to be touched.

Schrödinger’s thought.
Treading the edges of fantasy and reality, the chance that we were brilliant is there, waiting for the chance to be found again. Or perhaps, the idea lost in a flash of diverting light was just you musing on how delicious it would be to have a restaurant that specialized in selling a good ol’ fashioned “Kentucky Fried Sandwich”.

Who knows for sure?


Monday, June 12, 2006

A moment of clarity?

It’s a common practice.

We take the things we see, the things we know, the things we do. The things we are. We take them, and we gather them together in a pocket of our mind, so that we may carry them around with us, day after day after day after day. Hoping that they’ll clack together and make a single spark, a spark that for one instant will give us enough light to make it clear.

I’m carrying something.

At first it was an image, something that I had picked up in a flash-frame of existence; a moment that my eyes saw as special, and my brain chose to remember. And despite my thoughts about it now, I can be certain of the reason that it was chosen to begin with. The image that I beheld, that moment, struck me as something to remember, something that I could look back toward in later years and say “Yes.”

It was something beautiful.
A face with soft features, lightly tinged with a rim of red light. Looking away.

It began as an image. Something beautiful to keep with me, just a nice thought to turn to on days when the sun burns down and the world feels like it’s preparing to boil over. It’s something different, now. Something different than it was initially meant to represent, all because of something else. Just another spark, and suddenly that moment -- that moment became clear.

Just what became clear? What sense did I reach, through the addition of sudden context? Somewhere that we haven’t quite reached. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet.

Apparently, I don’t smile very much.

People have said it of me. They’ve spoken of how my face doesn’t fit the cheery disposition of the collected conversation, of how the structure of my cheeks and the look in my eyes appears to telegraph sadness. I’ve never really noticed. But only recently, I decided to think about it. To think of a face. To make clear the notion that a face without a smile doesn’t always carry a frown. So what does it carry?

Why, nothing at all.

It’s our face. OUR FACE. Not the face that reacts, the face we wear in accordance with the context of situations. Not the face that serves to declare our perception of events, the one we bring to the roundtable discussion for the purpose of scowling when someone chooses to bring up the issue of creationism. Think about it. Think about how people see the things that your face says, how they think it makes you clear. They look at it, and they perceive. Perception shapes reality.

But that doesn’t make it real.

Look in the mirror, at your face that presents nothing. At the face you have when you’ve been quietly sitting in the dark, mulling over whichever possibility has darted out at you like a lizards tongue. At your shoulders, neither stiff nor slumped, simply there. At your malleable self. Is it clear what that will become?

Or is that what we are to begin with?
I think, I guess, I assume… it’s the real face. The one we have for ourselves.

The one that we keep when we’re locked in our own worlds.
The one that has no context, so that it cannot be easily understood; and for that reason, is the one that speaks with more clarity about what we want and who we are than any simple smile or frown. Something that takes work for any who wish to puzzle it out. Making sense of accumulated data, putting pictures on words and forming words into cogency. Finding clarity. But does clarity always mean quality? Is that what we need, just blocks lined up in a row, ready to be shot down by some hillybilly with a daisy air rifle and a "YEEHA!" welling in the depths of his throat?

It's just another thing I've been thinking about. Maybe it doesn't make sense, which brings us to the point, in some wackitudinal post-modern roundabout manner. Maybe it sounds good.

Maybe it doesn’t.

But whatever the concepts are, whether or not the reality of my perception isn’t real…the malleable self is there. And every so often, it comes out from underneath the underneath, a moment of silence in the midst of all the talk. Whenever that face comes out, all can become clear, if you take notice.

It’s certainly something beautiful. Just like a face with soft features, lightly tinged with a rim of red light. Looking away.

Looking away.

There it is. The instant where all could have been known, if I was only observant enough to bother knowing about it. But guys like me always think things are going well until we’ve been told that they didn’t. So it was, that the moment was gone, existing only as an image until this morning. This morning when it came back to me. When the image slowly morphed into something else. Perception reshaped my reality.

And so it’s trapped within me, that moment, that image, that impression. A face with soft features, lightly tinged with a rim of red light.
Looking away.
I’d like to think that it matters. It's a rare thing when I understand the context of any little anything that I suddenly find in my life.

That hasn't changed, not this day.

But thinking -- not knowing -- something doesn’t change how things are. Could be I’m wrong. Could be I’m here, making mountains out of molehills, musing about images that might have said something with the quiet of human expression.

In truth, it probably means nothing.

But there is still something. Even amidst all of this, all of this confusion and searching, wondering and thinking, hoping and dreaming, my malleable self can find something that molds it into a smile.

Someone said that they respect me.

And respect is real, if it’s been earned. As it stands, I’m not sure if I’ve earned it yet. But I can most certainly give it a try.

And that -- that is clearly something beautiful.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

A chapter.

<-Chapter 33->


There was a kind of poetry to it.

Even with his eyes closed, back to his table, he could hear its rhythm. The poetry of the Machinations of it all, to all the cogs piecing into the colossal machine. The real machines, the gears that clanked and clacked and whirred to draw him through the wall, as well as the really real machines, the ones built of intricate connections of men and jobs and ideals. But mostly ideals. It had to be, Nelson was sure of it; nothing other than pure ideals could keep people together behind this, locked down in places with a kind of moist air that had a tactile sense not unlike grease drippings from a fryer that hadn’t been cleaned for sixteen years(don’t ask).

He knew that the people were there. It was almost as if he could feel them, all of them moving through the honeycomb of caverns connected to the woven tunnels that slipped throughout the place without care for ease of movement and angle. Lives breathing through this place, this place, this place…

“What is this place?”

The thought was an intruder, a random thing that shook the foundations of the pyramid of concentration that he had been building up. He shook it off, and in that second between forgetting and once again thinking; Nelson could feel the building once more.

More than just feeling it; Nelson wanted to feel it. Some sort of desire, to see into the thing that he was suddenly a part of. To be what he was supposed to be, rather than not to be. Because there was something here. There had be something, something more to all of this. Madness -- but of course -- was a deciding factor, but still. Something else had to be driving this. Ideals, once again. Ideas, perhaps. Keeping this place moving, an alien network where people with X’s cut into their necks moved forward with the hive mind, day after day after day after day.

“It must be nice.”

Again. The thoughts were coming faster now, things that he didn’t want to say. Even though they belonged to him, as all thoughts do. Nelson was the sort who liked to keep track of thoughts. He wanted to think the ones that he wanted to think, lots of ideas and concepts and lives gleaned from his surroundings. Like this place. Looking at the scratches and the walls, feeling the non-existent breeze, it connected him to the place. So he could think about it. Take it all in, absorbing it so that the wholeness of it all could make him content. The world outside, taken inside. With him. Keeping them in his head so that he could caress them and sass them, like a child playing with a pet that he doesn’t quite know how to control.

Vicious thoughts, coming from the self, the tiny little bit of indignation spouting off whatever the shize they wants to say. Most of the time Nelson could keep those down. Keep them in their place, ducking his head out of the way in order to let the comic-book illustration of the words fly by his ear, refusing to let them tickle his delicate organ of corti with their slanderous concepts. But this time, he heard it.

And it bothered him. It bothered him. This place, it bothered him. It bothered him to be here, to be among these people whom he didn’t understand. It bothered him to be among people who knew more about the things that he had always done than he did. It bothered him. It bothered him that they actually seemed to care. They cared about what he could do. They cared about who he was. They cared about what he was, whatever the fuck that might mean. To them, to him, to anyone. It was bothersome.

“It must be nice.” He didn’t understand it. He tried to think about it. He tried to think. He tried to move. He tried move his head up, straining it against whatever was holding it down against the wooden surface of the door. Unfortunately, amidst all of his thoughts of himself, of this place, of the world as a whole; he forgot to the think about what he was doing.

He was flying, twisting, turning through the intricate tunnels that led from the bathroom to…wherever. And the instant his head strained itself upward against the motion, he brained himself against the pipe that happened to pass through the tunnel, while it was delivering its precious cargo of human waste to…wherever.

Had he been conscious, he’d be happy to know that he didn’t bother thinking about it.