Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A presence felt; a quota met.

- Started on another day / Had to be finished, anyway -

Earlier this night (morning) I found myself sitting on the weakened springs of a couch with no cushions, one that had been discarded in a less than delicate matter in front of an apartment building that was nearly identical to the ones on either side. Sitting in that spot, taking my mind off the advancing cricket horde -- and make no mistake, they were advancing -- by replaying specific moments to myself. Letting them turn, thinking about what they meant to me.

I thought that I would know.

Know enough, anyhow. Know enough about my surroundings. About what I mean, in the context of those. Be able to figure something, anything from the things that were around and about, endlessly circling like the fan in the corner of the doughnut shoppe, tirelessly attempting to stimulate the air. If only it were that easy.

It’s awfully hard to know.

What things really mean to you. What you mean to everything, everyone else. Especially when you choose to spiral off into ridiculous self-indulgence (yee be warned). And yet, as is the case with so many things, it starts off easy enough. With one those people, the kind that makes stories happen, just by being nearby. Something about that presence, something in the air, something in the something, something going on. As always. Another time spent with a person dear, on one of those rare Los Angeles occasions when the cold decides to snap. Looking over at her, I could see her shivering, pulling the sleeves of the thin sweater that she had made herself over her nicotine-stained fingers. She was cold.
So I offered to lend her my sweater.

Nothing special. A reflex action resulting from the framework of a polite state-of-mind. If I see you, I might open the door for you, and so on, and so forth. Way of the world. Right?
She took my sweater, and with the smallest hint of a smile, she questioned whether or not it would carry my scent. And it was to both of our surprise when we found that it didn’t.

There was nothing there. Nothing. Just a cold and soft piece of fabric, worn down by daytimes of sweat and nighttimes of being rolled atop a Boulder underneath a sky full of luminescence, not giving a damn whether or not that’s the proper context for the word. I’ve worn that sweater. It was a gift.

And yet, it spoke nothing of me. Not feeling like me, not holding within it a trace of my olfactory presence. Nor any other. Just rips and tears, ones that could have come from anywhere, speaking volumes, but not in a tongue that speaks to the people I know.
What’s it take for something to know you exist?

What’s it take to have an impact? A presence?
Sitting in a room, one that’s easily familiar, one that belongs. One that is known. One that people have lived in, one that’s taken time to get used to. And then, in swoop of callous ease that mocks any consideration of effort that was put in to the association of oneself with the surroundings, something changes. And suddenly, the room is different. Quieter. Darker.

Nothing can be seen, the only light being the pale glow of a laptop screen, not unlike the one that is beaming these words into existence this very 4:04 AM. A single vestige of light.
Nothing more.

Nothing else.
A surrounding stillness, enshrouding the tiny bed in the corner, dwarfing its existence with an inky blackness that was always around, but was never quite so noticeable, not when other people were about, taking up the space and the time with their prattling and carrying on. With their being, their very presence being felt, even if it was only heard in whispers of breath across the way. And yet now, the room is empty.
Yet there are still things there.

The room is there. Somehow, someway, this something; this is known. It can be felt. Maybe something in the air, something in the sound of the wind that might eventually whip-crack the windows with such a force, sending glass flying across the living space. A different day. But that feeling, it’s still around. Giving feeling to the space that cannot be seen.

The truth of the ambient can be a terrible, terrible thing.

For the most part, we give them no mind, as countless bits of audio/visual/olfactory/ data are filtered through our heads on a daily basis, being noticed, but not truly being focused upon. But whether we hear them or not, the sounds/lights/smells are always there. They click and tick and wheedle and whinny and grind away in the distance, trying to break there way into our little worlds, but being mostly unsuccessful.



Every once, once upon our times…they catch up to us. The sounds /lights/smells/feelings that are always just peeking the tips of their symbolic claws into our business, the ones that we always hear, on the cusp of our cognizance. They break in. They take over. And they become the entire world.

I can still see that moment, being in that place meant for four people, but occupying only me.
I can still remember that image, one that couldn’t be photographed, not captured by pretty pretty lights with the gaping maw of that space staring down a lens. Hell, it couldn’t even be seen. Not really, not in the way that I remember, the frame of a lone figure huddled against a miniscule oasis of light; wondering where, oh where, everything was. I couldn’t see it. But I’ll be struck dumb by angry cannibals before I’ll say that I couldn’t feel it. It had a presence. It had a space. It had impact, one that had the presence to stare a man down without bothering to blink, somehow screaming with a disturbingly calm inflection: “I am here.”

Yes. It was there.
And so then:
Where am I?
Where are you?
Where are we?
Where is it, whatever it may be?

All around us. Our ambient presence. In casual gestures, in sudden outbursts, in shared endorphins splashing against the backs of our brains. It’s in whispered apologies, casual conversations, times wasted amidst other times lost. All the things that we do, in every waking moment. Making things real, making things whole. Giving us presence, that we ourselves can never comprehend. But others -- they can.
They know. They know something, which at the very base of everything, comes to mean quite a bit. It’s all rather confusing, I’d have to say.

But it works. Underneath the underneath. It works.
People call me crazy. Quite often, in point of fact. Not all of them, and generally not the ones I hold most dear. But still, some of them, some of the ones who chide in about my madness, manage to be my friends, in some capacity. They manage to tolerate my presence. And I theirs.

I wonder why that is?

- Madness comes to have its way / I apologize, this very day -


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