Sunday, August 31, 2008

A burn on the world.

You could see it from the freeway. Going up, up into the sky, mingling with the particles of smog like blood pooling in water. It turned the air into a sickening yellow cloud. Anyone driving by, they could see it. Helicopters soaring overhead, vivid orange colors dotted, dancing through that nasty yellow. There sat slouch-backed I, one person, staring it down, watching entropy work its way upward towards the blue, hazing up the gentle air. The air that we happen to breathe.

Well, it happens, and we -- this stink of a sweatpit of a claptrap of a squeezebox of a limpet of a city, that sticks to the side of greater whatevers with a sense of purpose that doesn’t seem to make much sense -- are still here to breathe. As it happens, as it stands -- it’s terrifying. As terrifying as a day. As terrifying as a life. Watch it: there it goes on.
All the time, this happens.
All the time, this stands.

All the time, this is what we view, and keep on living through.
After the smoke went higher and higher, just like the Sun in the Sky, I went onward to the post office. It was where I had been going, all while something burned hot underneath the heat. It was full of people.

There they were, the lot of them in a holding pattern. Holding off on living for however much time they would be spending under those buzzing lights, smelling nothing but the sweat deposits building on people’s shoulders, and the scent of cardboard in the air. It was hot. It was something, it was something, it was something…it was something to see.

It really was.

Because the post office is like an airport, or a traffic jam, or a frigid street corner, where people gather while waiting for the bus -- it’s a place where people can be seen. Their fibers start to unravel, because of the heat and the cold and the tedious sways and half-hearted half-steps. It’s where people let elements of their façade start to flake away, falling down like their skin, hitting the floor, becoming the dust.

Outside, the world was burning up.
Inside, the world was burning down.

It was a place where people could be seen.
Like the balding man with sweat-stained shirt of robin’s egg blue, holding sadness back in his eyes, only letting it escape through the distance of his thousand yard stare. He looked worried about something as his young son came up beside him, gibbering happily about the dinosaur on the poster that stood to remind people about the eventual switch to digital television signals. His father nodded his head, while never moving his stare from their spot in the vicinity of nowhere. But he…he cradled his son’s head, carefully, delicately. As if it were the only thing that he knew was real. In the face of his terrifying life, that was the only face that he could feel, like the hands of the blind, feeling out love.

He was living through the ways of the world.

I got a new job so you dont have to worry about being paid on time ever again. Im sorry about everything.

That was the notice scratched on the back of a piece of scrap paper, pressed against an assortment of other things so that I could not see the other side. The man with the new job was sending a money order, with the note to be delivered alongside. He was two people ahead of me. He borrowed my pen.

He was getting by, as best he could.
All the while, things were burning.

Things are always, always burning. Out there. Way of the world.

I suppose so. I suppose it’s terrifying, in a way. I suppose it’s comforting, in a different way. I mean it. Because if things are always burning, that makes it easier to understand when things are happening closer to home. Things are happening, out there in the world. To people of mine.

And yet, as people speak in hushed tones, I find myself surprisingly unafraid. This is what happens, as the world out there continues to burn. This is what is supposed to happen, so that the world might turn. Sun in the Sky. People who cry. Moving on, getting on by. In a terrifying world, where people can be watched scrawling fear on bits of paper, where men can stare into an abyss but still hold onto something they know is real, then that which is always happening -- naturally, expectedly -- is nothing to fear. Entropy burns the world down, while life builds it up again.

So don’t cry, dear people. Look out there, out at the haze from the fire.
Look at it, and don’t worry.

Things will grow again.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

A series of cracks in memory lane.

Today, after wandering past famed director Rian Johnson and famed semi-useless lump Lindsey Lohan in relatively quick succession, I ran into an old friend. An old friend with a cackling sort of laugh, and a mouth full of yellowed teeth. I’ve known him for most of my life. And yet, standing there in the hallowed space of the Arclight entrance, under the knowing expanse of the big movie board: he scared me, a little.

His presence, and his grin.
It makes me think, if only for a moment. Which is just as well, I suppose. Moments are all that I ever seem to have time for, these days. So! Right then: I’ll take that thought, I’ll take that moment, I’ll take what I can, and see where it lets me go.

It seems, that as a person, I can never quite handle the past. My past, I mean. My memories of days gone by seem to fall out of my head like flakes of skin taking their leave of the body; layer by layer, I build them up, and layer by layer, they’re lost to the air. Persons places things, all those nouns that combine to form the elements of a life. Gone.

Replaced by meaningless trivia and odd, dangling things, such as words that are beautiful in their specificity. Case in point:

sup·pu·rate: verb - to produce or discharge pus

See what I‘m talking about?
See how grand that is? That word, that simple bloody word which serves no other purpose than to describe the status of pustules and sores, or open wounds from motorcycle accidents that are advancing in a stage towards healing. These are the things I remember. The things that none care about, not even I. Except I do, I do care. I care about the silliest of things that fill my empty mind.

On this very same day, I came across yet another remnant, yet another person from the past. A person that was a friend, while all the while not quite being a friend at all. He was the lover, the love, the person for that friend of mine. That one friend in particular.

The one who I remember.

I remember this fellow, too. The things that happened in his wake, the things that came about. The places that he supposedly went. I’d often wondered what had happened in the end. If only because he never gave back my copy of The Dark Knight Returns. Ashes to ashes, whatever that means. I was surprised. I was confused.

I didn’t know what I should say.
If there was anything to be said, anyway. Because c’mon…we weren’t really friends. He would give me discounts on my cup of coffee as an act of civil recognition, an act pointed more towards his special lovely than anything really having to do with me. I was her friend, and he chose to respect that. That, and he was nice. He still is.
I can hope that he always will be.

But I won’t…I won’t know. Because I’ll let this encounter drift, just like so many other things. Just like all those people from my past, the ones that others choose to keep in their spectrum, learning about their lives, the things that they’ve been doing, the people that they’ve chosen to kiss. My old, cackle-mouthed friend, he spoke of people whose names I had nearly forgotten, whose time might as well have stood still. My younger, not-quite-designated-an-acquaintance friend, he told me of the things that he’d been doing, the places that he hoped he might reach.

If I could just tell you what they were…

de·fen·es·trate: tr. verb - to throw out of a window.

There they go, there they go, there they go.
Out of the window, out of my world.
Out of the places that I can understand.

After all that, I went for a walk, through that shithole of a town that has slowly endeared itself to me through its gleeful tolerance of madness. So I walked through the madness, and I found a group of the mad. A sprawling, singing, drinking, laughing carpet of people, waiting for amusement in the waning light of day.

Together, they were.

All of them together, old and new friends, coming there to make a memory. Hardly caring about the weekly event that was scheduled to take place, not even noticing the monoliths of stone that surrounded the single oasis of this location, locking us in, trapping us within a wall of the things that have been done, and days that have since ended. So happy, they all were. Together. No singular person, no one fellow looking out over that bunching of banditry, looking for another to summon close and call companion. Except of course, there was indeed one. One person.

It didn’t take long before I walked away.
To do the things that I do, to think the things that I try to think. To be afraid of the things that frighten me, clawing out from the corners of sight, in such a narrow field of vision that I can’t quite make them out. I ate ramen, in the corner.

It was pretty good. Way of the world.

There hasn’t been much thought in my narrow head of late, and if I were being honest, I’d say that there aren’t very many thoughts on this page.
But there are facts, of sorts. There are useless things.
And there are words. One by one, brick by brick, layer by layer. Perhaps, that's enough for I myself to remember them.

And if I'm lucky -- if I'm so, so lucky -- I could call them a memory, someday.