Time spent with Sibyl

(Courtesy lottongallery.com)

(Courtesy lottongallery.com)

His home was on the water.

The water was a noisy neighbor. Constantly thrashing, gurgling and slamming as it hurried along toward the sea. It was rude and pushy because it had to be. Sometimes his neighbor would break into his house in a drunken stupor and tear his furniture apart. Chairs would be flung. Paintings ripped and torn. The walls would be stained.

And then the apology would come. The sun would come out and the birds would sing songs of riveting remorse. She would sing, too. She would sing in a voice sweeter than Orpheus.

His body would shake. He was bitter and distraught. Despondent. And then he would give in. He would forgive. Goodbye to the bygones.

He loved his neighbor. She was confident, maybe even gallant. Beautiful, yet quietly powerful. She had a way of being. Simply. The bottom of her dress flowed forever, despite the incessant whispering of a jealous breeze. Always confident, but not swollen with pride.

On warm days the aging man would spend all day patiently sitting with her. He would hear the river shout, and he would understand. This, he thought, is knowledge. He heard wisdom in her rapids. The fish spoke of the infinite knowledge of their landlord. Their landlord had seen the world. From the West to the East, North and south. She had met the Earth in its’ infancy. She and the Earth were childhood friends!

Among the water the old man felt connected. It was as if being among such wise company made himself wiser. He was wise. There is so much – too much – to learn among a channel of cool blue.

The old man asked about the waves in the ocean. He felt the answer slide past his submerged ankles. And what about the grass? A bead of water rolled down his hair and dropped onto his leathery, sun-bleached  back. He senses the answer. His questions about the stars and the moon. All answered. He implores about the wind and the glowing ambers after a fire has long since fled. And the answer comes.

He bathed in the river, and she bathed in him. He drank from the river while she drank him in. She was nurtured by him and he was nurtured in return.

Sometimes he would just watch Sibyl (she needed a name) as she carried on her timeless task. She was Sisyphus, but more graceful, and much more content.

Sibyl spent much of her life as a mirror. The sun looked down on her so the sun could see its’ own reflection. The old man would look down at Sibyl to see himself in all his imperfection. He watched as his youthful skin, once pulled so tightly over his cheeks began to sag. His muscles, once so defined and promenant began to wither. He watched himself decay like a flower before winter.A corpse in the ground, but his heart was still puttering along.

Sibyl never gazed at herself. She had no worry. She was perfection. She had curves in all the right places. And her clothes were always turquoise. The old man told Sibyl often that she looked best in that color. So she wore it. Everyday.

And one day as he lowered himself into the lazy current, he was startled. Something was wrong. He looked down toward the water and saw his bellybutton above the current. The old man looked up from the water and shifted his gaze in the direction of the bank. There was water-beaten dirt exposed. He told himself it was normal. Natural. The diagnosis was promising. It was nothing more than a common cold.

He awoke early the next day to visit his gaunt-faced lover. She was doing worse than the day before. And he cried. Not because he knew it was over, but because he knew the ending was near. There was so much left to do. So much left to see. Journeys to make. Villains to slay. And as he cried he prayed that his tears could fill Sibyl’s thinning frame. He cried until he had no tears. And then he just sat, convulsing and heaving like a worm cut in half.

Eventually sleep came.

In the morning, he woke to gloomy morning light. He was curled up next to Sibyl, hoping he could comfort her with his presence. When he looked into her bony eyes, there was almost nothing left. A powerless stream of water, no more than an inch wide trickled past. Sibyl is the ghost of her former self. The old man rubbed his eyes, half expecting the mirage to dissipate. His hopes were left out to dry.

As the sun spiraled down toward the horizon, and reds, oranges and yellows splashed across the sky, the old man went into his house and grabbed a worn brass cup. He walked, like a patient walking for the first time after a coma, toward Sibyl. As darkness began to wash over the world, he dipped the brass cup into Sibyl’s withering body. The cup, now partly filled, was raised to his lips with trembling hands. His body was shaking.

The cup was cold on his dry, cracked lips. It felt surprisingly pleasant. He tilted the cup back and felt Sibyl within him. She felt beautiful on his tongue. And as he took her in, he felt himself growing dizzy. And then he was tired.

So the old man lay down on top of Sibyl, in the bottom of the riverbed. He heard her whisper her final words in his ear as Sibyl went dry. And then he blew out his last breath.

And he died, atop his deceased lover. He died as Sibyl flowed through his veins. Temporary is life, forever is death. Forever one.

Let the world sink in

(Courtesy thestar.com)

(Courtesy thestar.com)

Have you ever let the world seep into your pores? I rarely do. It is an unfortunate calamity. I am quite certain that there are actions far worse than this, but I feel ashamed that I don’t. I should let the wind blow straight through me. The world should pour directly into me and fill me to the brim.

But I rarely let it do so.

I always hear the world, but I rarely listen. I sit with eyes wide open, but I have seen nothing. I chomp on life, but have yet to taste anything. I think thoughtlessly.

“Do you want a half or a whole?”

I see him in his entirety. His skin is a smooth carmel color. He’s someones father. You can just tell. He has a family. Something to live for. He spends his day working for someone else. Not because he wants to, but because he needs to. his family is worth working for.A thick black mustache sits above his lip. Coarse, well kept and jet black. His apron hugs him. It comforts him. It gets him through the day.

He cannot wait to be wrapped in the warm arms of his family. An apron is just too damn cold.

He smiles. It is not labored. He smiles because he knows that things could be so much worse than they are. The world is not balanced. It is not a scale. Goodness does not equal the horror. Good times do not have an equal amount of bad times. Some live a life served upon a golden platter. They drink ambrosia from a crystal cup. Grapes fresh from the vineyard. Others eat from a dumpster. Every day. Then they die. So this is good a good day.

It could have been bad for so long. A victory, no matter how small is a victory. So he smiles because it sure as hell beats the other option.

“Okay, so a half with roast beef. You got it.”

His smile isn’t labored. It was not placed there. It was meant to be.

His smile is broken only when the gentle rhythm of his voice is ready to flow, not from his lips, but from his soul. There’s a calming cadence to his voice. A wisdom that comes from doing, not watching. His voice tells a story. A story of experience. I think there is an accent, too. New York. Or maybe Boston. Could it be a bit of a Southern twang?

Experience. He’s lived. He’s been a part of it. Some of us never are.

“And what kind of bread did you want it on again?”

His hazel eyes hide behind rounded spectacles. Eyes that have seen so much. Is that not what eyes are for? He probably had to look at the sun. You can only stare at the sun for so long before you go blind. Sometimes you have to look at the sun. Life makes you. Life is too bright. Reality burns yellow and scatters color like shattered glass.

Why not look toward those shadows? It could be better to go out at night. That’s what I do. My eyes are protected. Safety. I am not meant to disturb the universe. The shadow of the entity is just good enough. The outline is more comforting than the actual object. The real is imperfect. Troubling. The shadow leaves a little to the imagination. Imagine perfection. See tragedy.

So I imagine. He sees.

“How does that look?”

He was an average height. Maybe 5’11” or so. Okay, fine 6′.

He was a giant. He loomed over all others. Experience nurtured his youthful body. Every day, he grew. He still grows. He is middle aged. But he grows. Endlessly. He grew. Just like a flower would. He grew most on rainy days. Sunny days made him stagnant. The sun can burn things into place.

So it rained. And he grew. And it still rains. So it grows.

I stand 1′ small. The sun dried me out. I am a sun bleached rock in a tired tourist destination. I am withered. Burnt out. I was afraid of the rain. So it will never rain. I fear the tempest. There is uncertainty in the storm so I set my sails for sunnier weather.

And then look only at the shadows.

“Great. Have a nice day now.”

Thank you. Same to you.




Inspiration on my mind

(Courtesy seeksafely.org)

(Courtesy seeksafely.org)

A touch of inspiration. It flows from my fingertips. It lingers on my lips. It is what flows from the tip of a pen and is what is dabbed on the edge of a brush. Inspiration finds form on the edge of a sculptors chisel.

Inspiration is a puff of white in a blue-stained sky. What inspires a cloud to dance across the sky? It is as if a puff of nothingness feels most free gliding across a canvas of infinite proportion. The driving force of life doubled as vaudevilles finest actor on a stage finer than any London theatre.

What inspires me may also inspire you. You inspire me.I think that you are glorious imperfection. I let all your missteps and nervous habits guide my fingers across a patient key board. That single strand of hair that lays out of place guides my pen across a sheet of crinkled paper.

The best part of being human is being. Being is so difficult. So we do it the best we can. We do it wrong, but by god that is oh so right.

I love how nature brings attention to the irregular. We notice the piercing white fur of an albino deer. The tree with roots bursting out of the Earth; the ground is too weak to hide such power. The runt of the litter. Attention is brought to the obscure because the obscure is beauty.

Be weary of the unhidden aesthetic. Beauty at face value only runs surface deep. True art is the painting bred from a tired hands brush strokes.

True beauty is you. It is me. It is the odor of mistakes. God, I reek of missteps. I smell poor decisions. It is intoxicating. It is exhilarating. Don’t. Stop. Being. Imperfect.

I have lived for perfection. Prayed for perfection. Sleep has been lost in hopes that maybe perfection would find me in the dark.

It has never come.

There’s no reason that I should write this. I was inspired though. Inspiration tapped me upon my shoulder and begged my thoughts to align themselves into something legible. Yet when I read this, it is illegible. The words are jumbled, and the grammar out of whack. It is so far from the ideal.

It must be beautiful.

To each their own

(Courtesy NYTimes)

(Courtesy NYTimes)

It might be the gentle snow swirling to the ground outside my window. It also may be the numbing warmth of the feather blanket I’m cloaked in. I’m feeling optimistic today… and that worries me. Is that pessimistic to say that?

Oh well.

So what’s on my mind? It has been a while since I really sat down and put to words what is going through my head. It might be easier to list what isn’t going through my head. There are always ideas. My ideas are apparitions. They come to me in the dark and appear from nothingness. I sense their outlines, the way that blackness slowly gives way to something tangible. From emptiness, form is born. Vivid. Heart stopping. Curious. And then they disappear. Gone. Lost in an unreachable void…

But eventually you reach for them again. Painfully you pry into your subconscious. You  rummage around frantically. To no avail at first. Then, just when hopelessness abounds, the idea is back.

It was there the whole time.

Have you ever thought about the passing stranger? I have. Their story is as remarkable as your own; probably even more so. The lips that form the present smile were the same lips that said goodbye for the last time on that still autumn morning. Those are the lips that believed. The ones that hurled hopeful words into the sky, hoping that somebody — anybody — could ease their pain.

They are the lips that kiss. That lie. That curse. That offer words of encouragement and words of sympathy.

They are lips that can tell their story. It is the story that they know so well, but understand so little of. It is an epic story. A tragic story. A comedy. A romance. It is a little bit of everything all at once. It is a NY Times bestseller. The critics applaud it. Unanimously.

I have a habit of forgetting that each interaction I have is with someone who is living a life as real as my own. It’s certainly a thought to “sonder.” We all worry. Love. Hate. Feel the acidity of jealousy festering in our heads. We get bored. We’re entertained. Sadness. Happiness. Pain and tranquility. After a tempest there is always the calm.

It doesn’t take long to hear a story. Everyone wants to tell it. The human story is painstakingly dramatic, but it is also infinitely romantic. Life without both is like an ocean without water. Every story has high points. It also has low points. Stories of triumph and defeat.

So what’s the point of me writing this? I might not even be sure. It could be to get someone who reads this to inquire about a stranger’s story. Maybe I wrote it to give you time to reflect on your own improbable story.

I wrote it selfishly.

This is what’s important in my story right now. This is today’s page. This is my idea before the apparition dissipates. It is about to dissipate though. I would like to get down all I have to say bef…