Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The quickest way to become something else is to imitate it. To wear it's skin so to speak. Not to build a contraption that will take you there, or to change you into the other thing.
We were in San Francisco. The sky was cosmically blue and black with twinkling stars that spoke of their pains. It felt like I was doing an art show, but then my brothers were there, so it also seemed like we were doing a concert. I just knew that there was some kind of performance I was going to do, a painting, a song, and a dance. I felt as ready as anyone who works hard would feel. Blazing neon signs inverted shadows flickering along the McDonalds cinder brick walls. Red, green, yellow and white lights blurred the streets with aura like persistence. Floozy dresses with pink umbrellas floated amongst hooded slouched figures. We were talking, not to say anything, but more to fill the space. To hold every thing together. The night flashed by in a slurry of glistening moments, a clinking and clanking of ice and wet glass drinks. We sat in a Foyer, a plaza like enclosure and stretched out, our legs, so worn by the hills and surfaces of the curbs and gutters and gum filled sidewalks. Security Bank Building stood before us like a towering heap of bricks, scrambled together in rows of shiny windows. I pulled out a gun and told my brother, Abe, to check it out. "Try it out." I said. I believe we were at the Del Webb Building, but on the Fulton Mall. He said he didn't want to and dismissed my invitation with a flick of his hand. John looked at me quizzically. He looked at the gun and said, " Where'd you get that?” I mumbled out some lame ass story about needing it and said, " Watch this man! I'm gonna hit that window!" And I aimed the gun up to the top of Security and pulled the trigger. I was horrified to hear the blast. It wasn't loud, or flashy, it just sort of clicked, and then banged, and definitely I heard a second later the clicking of glass. My eyes focused on the poor window, one glistening speck, splintering out to the rest of the window before shattering into shards of deadly spears of glass. I was mortified, because there were no bullets in it the last time I had checked. My brothers, looked at me with puzzled amazement. I looked at myself, like I was dying. I hopped up and shifted around astonished, paced the floor and encouraged everyone to come inside. I definitely wanted to disappear, or wake up. I couldn't imagine what to do. At one point I was hoping John had something to say, but more and more I began to feel like, "What the fuck is wrong with me? Am I an idiot?" The hotel we went into was already panicking, and me, with the gun still stuck in my hand, looked around and tried to figure out where to put it. I think only one person saw me. I looked behind vases and corners where plants stick out, but never would I step out that door. I can already see red and blue lights flashing on the walls of the city. I finally found a place, the fire extinguisher, because for some reason if all this blows off, I might be able to get it back. I was sorely disappointed to see that they had already swept the building up, and there were some cops talking about finding the assault weapon. There was one guy that appeared to be in charge, a tall black guy with a thick mustache and booming voice. He seemed to know that he was going to solve this little mystery I created. I walked around, getting coffee from the vending machines, pretending to be an innocent bystander. I cooperated with all that was being done and even stayed visible as I watched them proceed with their investigation. The building was surrounded and going out only made you look guilty. So I waited. Soon it looked like they were packing up, and so I thought, "Great! Looks like it wasn't that bad after all.” but the flashing cop lights near the Security Bank Building concerned me. I kept hoping that there was no one under that falling glass, or looking out the window when that bullet pierced the glass with it's angry destruction. I hoped that when I arrive there, there are no people chopped up by the windows suicidal jump. I felt criminal and stupid. I sat in a bench reeling in anticipation for what might happen next. I'm gonna step out of this building and it's gonna fall to pieces. I'm gonna look up into the sky and a plane is gonna crash. I was scared, but not panicking. I went out the doors casually and looked back to make sure they closed. I was going to look for Abe and John, and my other brothers. Not more than 20 feet away from the sliding doors, the lights of the building went off and a single light flashed before my eyes the bright and knowing glance of authority. I was caught. Lieutenant Carl Jenkins waved his hands to someone behind me and shined the light onto my waist. I could see him better. He had a smirk on his face as if he didn't have a shadow of a doubt that he was going to "get his man". Two cops wrestled me to the floor and there on the asphalt of Holiday Inn, near a dirtied gob of gum and a mouthful of snots reflecting the gambling fun signs, I sat, like a sad captive, below the knees of the rest of society. They lifted me up ruthlessly to show their superiority and took me into the building. The lieutenant interviewed me. He was kind and resourceful. He didn't mince words. He was inquisitive, but very persistent on letting me know that I was in a lot of trouble. Jail time! he'd say. And then he'd look at the gun and shake his head, "You know, Mister Walker, up on the 18th floor, the man's window you shot out, wants to know why you wanted to kill him." Then he'd continue, "the people that you cut to ribbons, over there by Security, want to know why you wanted to kill them." I thought about it and just as I was about to say that I didn't want to kill anyone, I said instead, "They're dead?" Dread started filling up my heart with painful certainty. I couldn't believe that all this had happened. "Well, Mr. Walker is not dead, but he still wants to know. There are two who made it with cuts and bruises, but one at security bank was sliced up so bad that his skin or his muscles couldn't hold him together. He blew up like a water balloon. Awful mess!" The lieutenant was nailing me with scorpion like precision, injecting me with god's own kaiser blade. I felt worse more because there was no need for me to even bring the gun. Why did I bring it anyway? What was I thinking? Did I expect to have to use it? It seemed as if the Lieutenant were reading my thoughts, and his eyes seemed to page through my thoughts as if they were not the right answer. He seemed to say with his eyes, "Come on, man! None of these things are true, so just tell us why you'd want to kill Mr. Walker?". "I didn't want to kill anyone!" I told him. "I mean if I did, why would I do it from way down here? Surely there is a better spot." He looked at me with knowing doll eyes and said, "Look, I'm trying to help this situation out, but you better be sure that no one is going to buy that story. You aimed straight at his window. I'm thinkin' life in prison if you don't confess. About 500 times I thought about John coming in to help out here, but he never came. I waited as if I no longer had anything to wait about. They were going to drag this incident all the way to timelessness.
I fought to stay composed. I didn't want to make it look like I was some crazy bank teller who'd gone mad because he lived in poverty from lack of work. Shit I was accustomed to being poor. The Lieutenant brought me to a darker side of the room lit with a single corner lamp that illuminated his trench coat and inner vest. His gun shone like he polished it every day and never had to use it. His badge proudly next to his belt buckle glistened mockingly. He took off my cuffs, and invited me to sit down. He said that Mr. Walker was on his way down, That he wanted to see his assailant. I kept thinking, "Assailant?". He sat down across from me on a sandy colored sofa. He put his head down studying some papers in a yellow manila envelope. I began to be filled with anxiety and terror. Who is this Mr. Walker guy? What does he have to say about me? I could not even imagine who he was and grew in fear at the prospect of him turning that corner with accusing eyes. My terror grew until at last it was no longer bearable. I woke.
My brothers and I were camping, hiking along the pass to Sunrise Lake in Yosemite. We passed through meadows and deep forest before we realized that we must have passed the lake without noticing. We stopped. I took a look around and noticed that one of my brothers wasn't present and so I asked every one. They said that he never came...that he didn't start off with us, he had to work. Somewhere in my mind I thought, "oh yeah, that right". We went on our way, trails of fern and pine, open and sunlit hill tops quietly chirped as we crinkled our way through the soft and feathery duff. I looked ahead and there was my brother sitting on a rock, picking something out of his shoes. His backpack snugly between him and a tree trunk. I asked him. "Where are the other boys? They ahead?" And he looked at me, sideways and befuddled. I turned around because there had been some annoying mosquito, or creature that kept popping out from my peripherals. Something that is expected while you traverse through the green arms of nature. I thought maybe my brother was seeing it too. I saw something black move behind a tree. It was soft and matte, like silk or felt. It sort of moved behind the tree and was out of sight. I turned to my brother who must have moved on out, because only the tree, the rock and the duff remained. "Hey!" I called out, moving around the bend to see where he had gone. This mosquito thing got worse. It buzzed along my face and ears like it was trying to kick my ass. I swiped at it a few times fruitlessly, but it continued to hanker at me, wildly swinging from one ear to the other. For a moment I thought of live jewelry, a living necklace, made out of these horrendous bugs, but soon dismissed the thought as useless and stupid. I continued on to the trail where I thought I might find my brothers, but after a long while I suspected that they might have been on another trail. I began to think about the brother who didn't come, and that I had distinctly saw him unloading his backpack from the trunk of the car. But, no, I guess that was another time. Soon the mosquito, or whatever it was stayed only on one side. To my left there was a straight line of pines, and behind them a lake, silver black, like a deep hole filled with clouds and sky, and upside down granite peaks. Something in me kept vigilant, like there was something to be remembered, like I was missing something. Behind one of these trees, near the bank of the lake, I saw, again, a fluttering black movement, like a kerchief waving in the wind, and then a coattail emerged, a tuxedo and a hand. I looked for my brothers, but none were there. I looked at the coat. It was a man, with other men carrying a coffin. They were all looking down, profile, except for one, who looked directly at me as if I were some creature, a mosquito, or mouse or something, that annoys and is feared. All in one sudden impact, I remembered who that man was, and that it was highly odd to have a funeral procession out here in the middle of Yosemite’s vast jungled backcountry. I remembered too that my brothers had not come, that there was no "trunk of the car", not even the car. I suddenly remembered that I couldn't remember shit, and soon I was spiraling into a confrontation with this asshole again. I was so apprehensive that I woke up in bed, unable to move and a nagging persistence on my back, which I couldn't turn to see or look at. I tried to shout, but it came out like cotton - too soft to be heard. My mouth mumbled silent screams and my arms were useless, like turnips in the road inevitably to be run over. I opened my eyes, and there was Irene’s hair swirling away from me, at the speed of light, like cosmic oceans of interstellar dust and macro planets of all kinds. They were moving away as if never to come back again. I was getting smaller and this thing on my back kept grabbing me in the rib, to the right side of the sternum, electrocuting me with these exotic shocks of discomfort and pain. I screamed and screamed because I knew I was asleep, I just couldn't get through the door. My mouth was like clay; I suddenly realized that I didn't know what it was I can do, I was caving in - succumbing. I would literally have to move my mouth with my hand if I could just move my hand. Empty, silent, laconic screams, while this devil had me in the back, in my rib and rendering me between being awake and being dead. I summoned every atom of my body to tell my mouth what to do, and one last desperate and deathblow time I shouted through lazy lips "BlrpBlpt!" It hardly came through. My mouth was not going to help me.