When I think of leaping – I’m speaking metaphorically here – the literal image that comes to mind is standing several feet back from the precipice of the Cliffs of Moher. It’s a sweeping abyss so sublime that it warps any authentic sense of perspective. Nothing seems far for everything being so grand. I was re-calibrated only by seeing the gulls flashing along the stratified face, jerkily adjusting course like airborne seesaws to solve the wind’s puzzles. Diminished to the size of ants.
What I was good at was crouching down as I approached the unbounded edge until I was on my hands and knees, peering gingerly over the vertical corner. Not that running at full speed until there was no ground under my feet – literally – was ever my desire. But the limitation holds metaphorically. Momentum, momentum, momentum…crouch! In that split-second space before braking: “How many people don’t actually fly? And when they don’t what happens? To what degree are conviction and faith of that sort cultural myths? Are we just hearing from those who have taken off, while those who end up bloodied and disembodied lie in a silent pile at the bottom?”
In truth, I am likely far better at inspiring people to leap – literally and metaphorically – than doing it myself. I enjoy that about teaching. I consider it my job. But in truth I am also a hypocrite. For crouching. And waiting.
I'm still afraid. There's so much potential to do something worthwhile. Growing food and feeding people, for instance. Teaching folks about inclusive performance and play, and how those activities intensify the bonds within local communities. Forming economies of trade and mutual generosity. Moving across the earth to learn about different peoples; dispersing those experiences by the simple act of traveling to the next place and striking up a conversation. So much possibility.
Yet I remain afraid to unmoor myself from the steady job that accomplishes none of these things. I keep thinking: next year. Or someday. When the means present themselves, perhaps. But when will that be? Or, probably the better question: will that be? I suspect the answer is no. Without some sort of radical leap, it will not. As long as complacency – as long as fear – hangs in the air, there can be no momentum towards anything. So…how does one find the courage to leap?
Are the easy things getting harder?
Are there now reasons the sun rises?
I never bothered with them before.
Are there places on the playground too high to fall from?
Are there people unworthy of my trust?
They all seemed to live up to it when I was short.
Have I learned too much? Is the world undone?
The picture is in my head.
The pieces are smaller than ever.
The whole was easier than its parts.
I will sing my song,
The sun will smile me home once more.
the near side
i am my mother’s son
she calls for
she calls at
what was easy
now at rest and not at peace
she reveals conspiracies that i know not of
in which i am intimately involved
i am becoming an unwilling warrior
idle of body feverish of mind
far side near
choice subjected to inertia
inertia becomes the boy
and what you might be
the sea of pink liquid in your belly swallows
are you allowed to be loved
are you sure
you’ve been in here a long time now
you never tried the door
it has never been locked
speak your truth
before it drowns in its own momentum
separate it from your fiction
write yourself a new one
a tiny death
This spine cracks
revealing more bone
exposing a half pound of faulty rhythm
These shoulders roll forward and back
trying to relieve the compressed capillaries
This sternum plunges into the cavity of this stomach
strings and percussion
Flesh tears away from your third dimension
and the compass needle spasms for a north
the ecstasy burns
the ecstasy burns
your eyes moisten to douse the flames
you are allowed
…shredding your heavily fortified corpse
…reminding your heart what it’s for
The viscous joints unhinge and drip
Sleepy sinews stretch and whine
Oddity retakes your ground bound eye
lifting it skyward
and the clouds design angels
to join the descent
a new birth
feel the shiny feathers preen peel
and fill the creaking void
wisp the air
shudder themselves alive
These plumed appendages are not yours to direct
They do not direct you
Lifted soft by air
Sprung into the question
Draining the emptiness
Ringing the moon
Responsive only to love
Defiant of gravity
Shrinking from intention
Tips of toes tickle the ground
Your flight must fail
All the rest is frenzy
rapping on my forehead
it’s beginning to leave a bruise
and soon perhaps it’ll benumb the knocking
which wants to get in
sit in the burger joint
say fuck it as i rise to lead the beggary
holding out an outstretched hand
come take it last
so i hobble forth on these cracked and truest wings
hearing fingernails almost click against the glass
the fingers beckoning
and the rest
She said it came upon me suddenly
That I had figured out just who to be
And though she smiled she smiled most skeptically
Accepting my changed heart most gradually
But gradual was how I felt it done
The threads of fear clipped one by one by one
The clouds dismissed the sky embraced the sun
The dams fell down and let the rivers run
Nerves sometimes seize, they quiver and they quake
The past has taught my heart well how to break
Yet shields fight kisses no better than sharp stakes
And walls hide truths the same as they do fakes
I shall not fight nor fear what is to be
Yet can she now accept me suddenly?
I live closer to the east side location and I already knew that it was ridiculous. A snaking line every night and quite often during the day as well. But the phenomenon seemed to hit new heights of the ridiculous today. Passing SW 3rd Ave., while traveling east on Burnside Sunday in the early afternoon, I turned my head to see a line approximately two blocks long and a sidewalk wide. Hovering over these supplicants was a minimally formed god-monster outlined in neon; its edible idol inside the red door below. The internationally renowned Voodoo Doughnut.
I won't lie. I've patronized the northeast location on more than one occasion, and I've paid upwards of four dollars for a single fritter. But only after drinking. And it's never been worth it. And I won't wait past the first turn-back in the line no matter what. Because people: it's a doughnut! It isn't a unique experience or a chance of a lifetime. It's not the most scrumptious thing to eat in the city at 2:00am. And they definitely aren't the best doughnuts in the world. They're not even the best doughnuts in Portland.
You're going to get the munchies in the wee hours of the morning. So plan ahead. For about the same price as a high-end Voodoo model, you can get an infinitely superior Cuban dessert from Pambiche just up the street until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Or go kick it at the much friendlier Rimsky-Korsakoffee House. If you get desperate, you can probably buy a quarter of a cake at some 24-hour Safeway. Don't waste your life waiting in line for a pink box. They're more abundant than they might seem.
You know the little reel-to-reel symbol that indicates a voice message on many mobile phones? There must be an entire generation of people now using these devices whose members have no idea what that symbol refers to beyond voicemail. It should just be a cloud. And I still see sets of television listings accompanied by a little box with antennae sticking out the top. Who is using rabbit ears anymore? It should just be a cloud. Why is Twitter – or any service – using URLs at all to link people to content? The mish-mash of symbols and alphanumeric characters is really unbecoming; a blight on aesthetically interesting posts. Why don't they just display little clouds that whisk users off to the intended destinations? Map keys and Internet navigation buttons and children's picture books and freeway signs…all would benefit from clouds replacing current iconology. Much more elegant, and much more honest about exactly where our information and relationships live. My girlfriend is doodling in her notebook across the room. She should practice drawing clouds. But I'll bet she's not.
Oh no! No no no no no no no please no. Today I saw a package of Hormel Compleats Chicken Alfredo sitting on the shelf of a local supermarket. Unrefrigerated. Intentionally.
For those of you unfamiliar with Hormel Food’s line of Compleats microwave meals, congratulations. Still, take a peek at the variety of meat-based dishes that appear to preserve themselves…for extended durations…at room temperature. I suppose it’s no marvel. Food scientists have been doing the same thing with horse meat in cans of dog food for decades. The experiment must have gone on long enough to prove such vittles fit for human consumption. Now look at this gourmet menu we have to choose from. Even kids.
If you are a food manufacturer, please don’t make things like this.
If you are a food vendor, please don’t sell things like this.
If you are a consumer and you encounter something like this, please don’t buy, prepare, or ingest the packaging or its content. Neither is food.
That should cover it.