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Aug 30, 2007

August 31st, 2007

The moon, in its supernal descent, is orange, large as the sun in its rising, but more dull. It rises into the eastern horizon and blots out the surrounding starlight with radiance. Driving down North Avenue I have a choice to continue east, towards this firey beacon, or to turn left on 10th Street and head home. I decide to turn towards home. Sometimes I can't handle it; the sheer wonder, of this creation put on display in such a naked way, the lunar body pasted out in the sky seemingly so close one could reach out and pluck it from the heavens, pocket it, and take it home to be used as a night light.

This morning on the drive to work I notice that during the night the moon has traveled the domed sky all the way to the height of the western horizon where it begins to dissolve into the paling blue sky, to fully disappear, biding until nightfall, only to rise up once again.

Aug 29, 2007

August 30th, 2007

It's snowing in August.

Not quite, but just as inspiring. A fine mist spreads over the land from the shrouded sky, drops so light and minuscule that they ride the wind like fallen leaves, feathers, or snowflakes. They do not carry with them the sting of winter's chill, but instead a soothing calm to the skin. It is so light I do not notice an accumulation until the tiny drops coalesce on my skin to form a larger body that goes on the move, and drips down the side of my face. The tiny beads gather on my arm hairs like delicate, transparent insects. I don't always know where this beauty comes from, but it's definitely there.

August 29th, 2007

Passion is like a liquid that swims inside us. Except we've all got a slow leak in our drain. We have a love for something, be it music, or art, or sport, but so often these passions diminish. This is a death, in my mind. Looking back, the fond recollection of things we used to do while operating with an obsessed mind, when you're involved in something you love so much you forget to eat. But how does one maintain, replenish, build upon passion? I don't know.

But it does seem that with age, this passion might diminish. I don't know this either for sure, because I haven't logged enough miles in this life. Are relationships, hobbies, and passions bound to become boring and dull? I don't ever want the desire to die. Passion is one of those things that keeps you young, like children do.

Aug 28, 2007

August 28th, 2007

Such a daunting prospect right now, all this white space. My literary mind hasn't risen to life with successive morning cigarettes. This page is like new life at birth, neither deemed good or evil, just simply there, a true tabula rasa. An aural appreciation of space, straining ears for the sound of silence, an unmolested mind. Flowers, or weeds, may grow here.

Aug 22, 2007

August 22nd, 2007

My office smells rather amphibious this morning. That scent of a lake enclosed by forest on a humid summer's day, of water meeting the damp shoreline, of fish and frog's backs. On account of the weatherpeople I held no expectations that the skies would part this week. But for a brief while today, riding the tail of the two and a half inches of rain that had fallen in the last three days, we saw a glimpse of sunshine. The soaked earth heated rapidly, and the ensuing smell was sucked in by the air vents outside.

Expectations. The world is ever-changing, right under our watch, but to depend on waking up to it each day is not so much of a stretch. After all, if the world were to disappear during our slumber, we wouldn't know a difference. To me then, this seems like a safe thing to expect.

What about expectations when it comes to human relations? It's such a dirty little world. With jobs or professions, there are expectations: perform in such a way, or meet these specifications, and you will be rewarded, will receive a pat on the back. But in friendships, in relationships, such a fine line to tread here. After all, is it in our own individual rights to expect that a person behave a certain way?

This all stems from a seed planted in my mind by a friend when she said to me that she tries not to have expectations of people, including myself. Expectations in the sense of demands, ok. But what about hopes and desires? Look into that blanket statement of "expect nothing" and sure, the philosophy seems easy. Expect nothing in order to never be disappointed. What about the dark underbelly of this idea? Is there even one? That place where it has been decided that the safest route is to weight no hope upon the shoulders of the human race? Is the most strength found in complete independence, or a harmonious interdependence between one another? To depend on no one is surely a safe place, but also a sad one.

I will expect, then, these three things today: That the earth will still be here when I wake up tomorrow, that when I rise there will be challenges rising and already risen to meet me, and that I have the means and resources to rise up further, meet them, and overcome them. And I will most definitely need help along the way.

I expect that we're going to make mistakes, we will over-harvest the earth's resources, we will be careless, we will shit where we eat.

But I also expect to see pockets of sunshine in places least expected.

Aug 21, 2007

August 21st, 2007

A greyed horizon. A flock of seagulls in a reaped hay field. Vibrant, green landscape. Water droplets on the window pane. Beads of rain hanging on evergreens like Christmas lights. Silver power lines. Dry pavement. Creeping black crickets. Drooping, water-logged branches on a maple tree. Snapshots of a rotting summer, the birth of fall.

Aug 17, 2007

August 17th, 2007

How the summer wanes. How the sun slips further south in its rise as the season comes to a close, offering more shade now during my morning cigarette. When I arrived at the office, I noticed a peculiar sunlight had been cast across my desk, another signal that we are moving towards the next cycle: the leaves will be set ablaze in fall color, they will descend from the branches and blanket the ground and rot, providing an insulation from winter's chill.

The days, and nights this week have been rather cool. The skies, clear. Haven't been able to get out into the country and out of the city lights as of late, and I miss it. That sense of peace restored that I haven't quite attained. In time, in time.

Aug 15, 2007

August 15th, 2007

I like how when I look at my face in the mirror and can see where emotion has wreaked it's havoc. I'm too young for these wormy lines cut into my forehead, or so I'd like to tell myself. I appreciate how the skin under my left eye sags noticeably more than under my right, like that side of my face has taken more of the brunt from emotional injuries. How deep the creases in my cheeks are when I smile, how the flesh scrunches up at the corner of my eyes when I laugh, when I cry. Even if I can't vocalize it, I have the proof that over the years, I have actually felt.

Aug 14, 2007

August 14th, 2007

The skies are fading to the black of night. A large storm draws near. There is no shelter to be found to burn my morning cigarette. The only light in the office is a faint glow from the fluorescent bulbs in the hallway. Lightning rips across the sky, the thunderclaps follow behind. It will be a dreary, grey morning, though the earth does need this. Soft thunderclaps, the sounds of someone shaking a large blanket in the wind. Distant yet, but drawing near.

Thunderstorms. I trudged through one Saturday night solely to find a brief stint of relief from the heavy rains. Have to be willing to soil my feet if I am to make any walk of progress. How nice it was at that time to have the waters wash each measured step clean.

Aug 13, 2007

August 13th, 2007

The red-tailed hawk rounds the skies above once again. Drifting from the edge of the forest, to out over the open field, back to the forest, then over the house, it continues its call. On the next pass over the trees, another form emerges, the materialization of an answered call. This red-tail is slightly smaller, and takes flight quickly, following the other for a brief moment, over the house. Then, the first hawk returns into view, alone, calling out once again. The other is nowhere to be seen. All proof, on this fine summer morning, that searching will produce answers, whether desirable ones or otherwise.

Aug 10, 2007

August 10th, 2007

We walk together down the streets and she starts to tell me but stops herself, saying that if she goes on she will start to cry. Glancing over, I see the subtle shimmer in her eyes under the moonlight as we pass between two lampposts. I knew then it was time to say to her: plainly that, this is a gift that she is sharing with me, and she doesn't need to talk about any of it. I don't need to know.

Then she speaks.

Sometimes she doesn't want to be here. I understand what she means, but she asks to make sure nevertheless. It's not often, she says, and it doesn't always relate to external stimuli. The common response here would be, I understand how you feel. But I can't lie. I can't understand how anyone feels, only try to empathize in the ways I best know how; after all, I am stuck inside the rigid walls of this head, and it is only from there I can think.

Maybe people like you who are deeply rooted into the rhythms of this world, who can pull a myriad of emotions from minuscule to grand scales, from ant hills to full-out military combat, aren't as afraid of the mystery of death when compared to those whose lives are constantly about getting ahead as much as they can before everything ends, and they die. Maybe it's the lack of a heaven or hell. Maybe it's simply an imbalance, or a feeling of ennui deep within your bones that the world is in its throes.

I say none of these things to her.

She says it doesn't last long, that there are a million people who from time to time feel just like she does. No, I think to myself. There are more than just a million people who from time to time feel like you do. Thing is, you are uniquely beautiful in the grand scheme of things. You realize that we were born into this world in order to struggle to make it a better place; and on that grand scale many will argue that we are failing horribly.
You are unique on the macro level, and always will be, and on the scale of the anthill, you've made this world more wonderful than you may ever imagine. Maybe that's why you're still here.

Aug 8, 2007

August 8th, 2007

Last night just before I go to bed, I mash my little toe against the edge of the sofa. This is painful, and I'm almost positive it is broken. Adding to that, the toenail is jammed back into its root, which produces a substantial amount of blood. I hobble into the bathroom to scrutinize the damage, leaving neat little puddles of blood on the white tile, on the toilet seat. I wrap the injured toe in a swath of toilet paper, and leave the trail of blood for the morning, as evidence: Yes, Burns, you are still alive.

Aug 7, 2007

August 7th, 2007

Fog everywhere, hiding from view the edges of what the eye is able to perceive on this warm summer morn. We were blessed with a steady rain throughout the evening, and you can almost hear the torrid land sigh as the water soaks in.

Visibility during the drive to work is at most a quarter mile. Tearing down the country roads in my car, what waits ahead is revealed slowly, and on either side flanking me are great walls of haze where normally there would be a grove of maples, and a field of corn.

Life is that way, revealing things slowly as you navigate the path. And how much more I would've seen had I been on the road a mere hour later, when the fog would have been chased away by the sun. Either way, it is impossible to see all things clearly when we only drive through once.

Aug 6, 2007

August 6th, 2007

I will sleep here under the naked sky
And the fossils of clouds, how they sift moonlight;
for tonight my lullabye is the song of crickets and the rush of field mice, and
I will remain here until the morning paints my eyelids white.

Aug 2, 2007

August 2nd, 2007

~ for Claudette, my beautiful sister

Last Thursday, as I was dining outdoors with friends at a restaurant located on one of the busiest streets in this small city, a car filled with three teenage girls rolled by. The car halted at the intersection, just along side of where we were seated. From the open windows I heard one of them squeal, "A uni-brow!" This was followed by an attempt on their part to crouch down as low as they possibly could, giggling and out of view, as if my gaze in their direction were enough to set their hair on fire.

I have a pronounced brow. Think of Ernie or Bert--can't remember which one--from Sesame Street. Now take that dark line across his forehead and imagine someone tried to take an eraser to the midpoint on a line of black ink, in an attempt to break the flow in two. Faded a bit, yes, but still there. You can pluck, wax, or shave it or there's a cream you can use to thin it out. Yes, I know these things.

When I was in the 7th grade, the most beautiful girl I'd seen during my twelve years on the planet transferred to my school along with her best friend. And there I was, let's say, maturing more quickly than is the average, so I had to deal with bouts of acne, the awkward attraction to this girl, and the thick eyebrow. And it only got worse.

Her best friend spotted the Uni right away. The youth are quite ruthless in the way they tease. They'll sit down right in front of the object of their ridicule, point, and laugh. My third eye had not opened. This was definitely not a good thing. The worst part of it all was that each time it happened, my crush would be at her side, giggling also.

After a time I decided one morning that I was going to get it over with. I would take the razor that I'd already started using on my chin to separate the conjoined twins. So I did. It took longer than I had anticipated for my classmates to take notice. However I knew that a day wouldn't go by without my crush's best friend focusing on it for at least one round.

To my dismay, once it was noticed, the fact that I'd shaved my eyebrows became the new reason for ridicule. One of those no-win situations. Should've seen that one coming. So starts a number of years littered with insecurities and bad choices mostly relating to girls.

I think now of those teenagers in the car; if those two girls back in the 7th grade would've known how much they had upset me I'm sure they wouldn't have continued. So I stood there on the corner, smiled and shook my head, a battleworn veteran of that sort of abuse, long since having embraced my perceived inadequacies. Someone's always going to be better looking, smarter, and wealthier. Someone will always be in more pain, poorer, a better guitar player, a better singer, a better writer, and a better lover than I. That means I am the only one who can validate myself.

I wish I could've learned that sooner. This body and mind is all I've got to develop so I'd better start thinking about the best way to use it, or I'm going to be unhappy for a damn long time. Like so many others.