A Conversation with a Small Cactus

Some thoughts about that: if not in an opera house then here under the girders of a new civilization in which the contemplative norm is that of a cheeseburger with a face full of sesames.  McCheese is one's neighbor and mayor, and his clown same-sex partner is a cook of sorts, and I guess a lot of people go there.  I have to admit I stopped years ago.  The fried fish sandwiches were about all I could stand and then they started to make my heart hurt.  21 hours ago I was just thinking of coming to work and had a couple fig cookies in my fist and a cup of tea.  That's my last bad, I forget the word, procrastination.  That's nasty when a word just gets lost down there like a submarine.  Anyway, there was a question of where the young dude left his guitar, and he was asking me if I had seen it.  I said no.  But I felt crummy that maybe someone had pinched it and was running off with a stolen guitar to some secret band practice beneath the old railroad trestle.  Things go like that here.  I'm not juiced, nothing electric here.  The perfect girl with the perfect hair and legs walks past with her head down in invisible mode.  I imagine it's because of all the perfection, it makes her a little uneasy.  The rush of air creates a felt music.  How many times can I say "anyway?"  There are so many people evolving back into dolphins in this city, and we are no where near an ocean.  It just makes me a little worried about when they make it all the way back to dolphinhood, what are they going to do then?  I imagine we'll have to pour water on them and keep them soaked in wet blankets while the big trucks with the water tanks arrive.  I think it's a good 12 or 18 hours south to the ocean, and I think its a dead zone down there.  Geez.  I hate to say it, but my dolphin-evolving friends are out o'luck.  Yet there must be a reason why they are bending their DNA that way.  I figure its just another step.   Even they navigate by the stars, don't they?  Too many questions.  The thing is you can just relax there, it's a new room.  It echoes with all the things you haven't moved in yet: the love seat, the uncomfortable chairs for all your friends, the stereo you inherited from your sister.  Enjoy the emptiness.  Buy a piece of cake and some wine and enjoy it as the light bulb dangling above you dyes everything yellow.  Night has a tone poem for you made from broken glass and something digging in the garbage cans and the sirens of police chasing someone in the dark.  If night were an ocean, you'd be at the bottom of it in your little yellow room with your long legs drawn under you as you sip your glass of wine and sink a fork down through the layers of your cake.


When I have students I tell them this: no critics.  That includes the bee, wasp and butterfly demons that have been trailing them since childhood, the money lost in the cement cracks, the hidden oil in the mud that surfaces in spring, the automobile submerged in the deepest pond in the county.  If the sky had a zipper I think the next 747 would open it wide and what you would see would be like the snow of a television screen in the epileptic fit of trying to grasp a signal, only it would be infinitely infinite so to speak, swirling with potentialities and your mommy's lost recipe for Hungarian pot roast.  This is normal if you don't struggle against the infinite electronic snow.  It's where we came from as beings.  And it's where we are going.  


I can make five minutes last forever.  The trick is just wanting it to be over very, very badly.  It's like watching the pot not boil.  It will never happen.  You too can live forever.  


The truth is there are so many people who have no use, had no use, and will have no use for our so-called civilization.  Their artwork is top quality, their bowls hold water, their arrows kill efficiently, and their leather strung traps are flawless.  I like the print of the crows attacking the carcass of the two-headed boar.  I like the ceremonial bowl with the eagles whose faces metamorphose into the waves of the sea.


The last sentence the pain goddess wrote in her final email to me was cold.  Truly an "oh, well."  I clearly am still alive, perhaps with a few aches and pains, but what the hey.  I suppose sadness means to droop like a willow tree watching its own reflection in the water.  Soul was invited to a party today.  It involved a complicated knot of transfers and connections by bus and subway into the heart of Harlem.  It was intriguing.  The invitation itself was a work of art suitable, if not for framing, at least for stabbing with a thumb tack.  I wish I could print this day.  Isn't that the perfection of art, to realize it's uncapturable?  All you need is to slide back the confession screen of your heart and stand there and say yes.  The colors, the wild moving things.