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Twenty-Second Sitting

Hey crunchy-people. We have a ton `o' flashbacks for ya today, here at the book-destroying emporium, and by the time they're done, the author's experience will have been objectified and distorted to the point of orgasm. My, oh my, oh my. Where to start? What piece of the puzzle has escaped you? That one in that part of the picture mostly covered by TREES, perhaps? Oh, my dear, for you... for you I have trees aplenty....


I was not in Alaska. The trees were many and various; She tried at several points to teach me the names of some of them, but damned if I can remember them. Just trees: fat trees, many artificially supported with chemicals periodically pumped into their roots, saving them from Dutch Elm disease and the like. The forest preserve was well tended; every summer the giant wild grassland in the middle was burnt to the ground, simulating the natural brush fires; the river was kept generally clean despite the two factories within spitting distance and the train tracks only a few feet away (also spitting distance, but less reliably so, especially if you're spitting from the train as it moves. Just remember: you're always spitting distance from yourself).

I had gone there because I made a mistake, because I needed to talk to Her, but I had walked out for fear of saying something stupid and petty. Five minutes later I had calmed down and needed to unburden -- of course needed to unburden. But she had gone -- was no longer at Their house, was no longer packing to go. I went to the preserve because that's where we ran together, where our rhythms had matched, where she might have gone if she was upset that I had left, that I couldn't sympathize. I thought as I walked around that I should have brought a tape recorder to rant in, because ranting was the thing, and it's damn good entertainment.

...Just another disappointment... Don't expect anyone else to be a romantic fool, to go the fifteen extra miles over high and dangerous seas just to bring you coffee. Don't expect anything even close. So repeatedly I had been force-fed the lesson that I have no power, that no matter how sweetly and gallantly I behaved, no matter how much I shouted, no one would be moved -- no one that mattered. People do what they do out of semi-random fits of their own, and other people are at best witnesses. To be an actual cause and not just a place holder, to move someone when she was not just hanging around waiting to be moved by just about anyone, ah! The beginnings of the murder instinct in modern Man...

Oh, stop. You knew what You were getting yourself into, so suck it up. Don't make stupid generalizations from isolated incidents. Just because she wouldn't even ask Him if the idea bothered Him, if He'd mind if We just came up there after She left, got My own place, worked there for a little while. It's not like She'd even have to see Us that much of the time; it was My decision; She had told Me essentially to take it out of Her hands, that She had moral difficulties but wouldn't have them if She lacked control. I certainly have no such difficulties...

At that point the trees squished tighter around the trail that I stumbled down. They pressed closer until they formed a smooth circle, a cylinder with me inside, revolving as the floor dropped out like one of those standard issue spinning-cylinder-with-the-floor-dropping-out-so-everyone-gets-stuck-to-the-wall rides that lurk at every amusement park in the cheap-to-free world. My brain fled to the sides of my skull, leaving the remaining cerebrospinal fluid thick and still, as if it were still an inertial reference frame, which it was due to the funky spatial topography that was going on at the time. I don't understand it. In this fluid, the point is, was Calm... distilled, underlying Taoist calm built up through years of repeated brain damage by various blows to the heart. There's only so long one can be mad, and for me it's about ten minutes, and I usually even get through those ten minutes without breaking anything, though Tracy Partridge knows I could.

I had long ago abandoned the concept of fault as utterly useless. This is not just because I studied philosophy, where simplistic Free Will Reactionary Rightists just make you want to disavow everything they believe through sheer annoyance, but because it has no function other than getting more joy out of being aggressive, of feeling righteous about one's indignation and hate, of feeling good about needlessly punishing oneself. Read your Nietzsche; you'll get it. This doesn't mean there's no point or call for getting angry at anyone, but whether your reasons for doing so are good are much less important... If you're going to behave like a beast, go ahead, as long as you realize that that's what you're doing and don't off anyone out of spite. So if you kill my non-existent children, I will be mad at you, whether it was an accident, or you were insane, or whatever. If I don't get mad at you I'll get mad at God or Fate or whatever, which is futile, as you can't belt God a good hard one like He deserves. My thrashing you is an equally insane act whether you did what you did on purpose or not, or whether you really did it at all. I'm not advocating pacifism here, though it certainly is an easy strategy for dealing with most situations that aren't likely to be reoccurring, and certainly a more healthy way for ME to live. When in doubt, just kill yourself, okay?

Cycle it all forward... a different flashback, with the same mood, bordering into the indescribable one during which I wrote to her. I am so damn predictable; my triggers are so obvious. The frustrations build, well up, thrash around, and come out elation, or at least a strange, aesthetic sense of wholeness, of the gestalt as the Big Damn Unjudjable entity again. How are you supposed to feel in the face of that? People, including me, just do what they have to do, what they're programmed to do, not a whole lot differently than trees (which, as I have just shown, are often programmed to simulate an acid trip -- not that I would know, being a non-beat poet kind of para-intellectual: a very rare breed). So the flashback is of me in an empty house reacting to that certain music, letting my muscles move as they are called to do in some effort to harmonize, engaged in a poor dance consisting mostly of spinning, because I am confused, am adrift, don't know what I want among the second-choice alternatives available. She is gone and I aligned Myself to it, set her as my spirit guide and set out to be strong, to not waste my time left, but now after all that She hints that She wouldn't mind were I to be there, were I to use the plane ticket that I had not yet picked up but had not yet canceled. I was offended at first to be so jerked around, that even my pains to adjust were driven to obsolescence, but She did miss Me, and in a manner at least as strong and dignified as my own. So spin, Mr. Beast, until your confused mind comes to rest.

And this morning, too, Sep. the 10th, to stand and spin on her kitchen floor, the same song going and the same intense energy, but this time distilled to a carefully balanced joy, for last night, oh my God last night... She initiated... twice... thumb war. No, I'm not joking, and I'm not being euphemistic (those are different things, for you folks of the low vocabulary, though they come from the same Latin root... probably). As she stood showering yards away, I waited for the coffee and the bagels and the milk that I had all set to flaming to perfect themselves in time for her arrival. The third night on the floor was one of insomnia, Hers spreading to Mine, in a wash of conversation that left us both completely wired. I got through the whole aesthetics lecture, the one that says all preferences and chemistries are malleable, so there's no excuse not to wholly apprehend the one you love. I popped up early, still being on Eastern Daylight Time, and dove to morning preparation. And the tile floor on socks was slick...

When you can only think in lyrics, when you can only talk to clouds, where does that leave the one you love? Is she hazy in freakish morning light behind a veil of cliché? Does she nightly as she turns in her sleep and a few fragments of speech escape? To be drawn together until past each other by something I will neither understand nor remember very clearly six months from now, unless by some freakish coincidence I am still in the same life.

Try singing the preceding paragraph to the tune of "La Cucaracha," and maybe it will make some bit of sense. Let's see... have I gotten my point across? The point that I am a little weird, that everybody's in an isolated existential hell, even if the furniture is pretty. I haven't really gotten to the part yet about two people pretending they aren't isolated, and so making things much much more tolerable, but that has been a major hint. There should be some big thematic stuff filtering through around now too, relating this whole narrative thing to the Tripe which it its daddy, stuff about the relation of that way of thinking to actual communication (which implies intention and is therefore usually associated with purpose, which, as I have intimated, is pretty inappropriate for real people who just want to be together and aren't allowed to fool around). There's also the whole Death/God/Him nemesis thing, which will of course eventually bring about a tremendous dramatic climax, even if I have to completely make it up and drag on for sixty pages with a scene that could be describing one of those really heinous civil war battles where two million people all got individually bayoneted to death because all the rifles sucked so much. My plan is to make some actual connections and continuity with the early part of the book even if it sounds forced and uninsightful. This would even make for a good theme: that being locked in a room alone/on a desert island/in a self-consciousness hell does produce insanity, though of a healthy kind, and a very Taoist (see as I abuse that word) purposelessness that natural mental proclivity reinforces, but that the whole result of this endeavor, the energy and the goal that arises from it, is the desire for communion, which in turn turns the organism purposeful and hence makes him totally unwise. I don't know if I really believe that, but it does sound cool. Well, jeez, enough of that. I've got important topics to deal with, like the reincarnation of implausible bugs as airplane food. Also: DOGS. Many dogs. Cooler than trees, though certainly smellier. Stay tuned.

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© 1993 Mark A. Linsenmayer [ Contents ]