Sunday, August 8, 2010

Observations on the Human Condition 2

We Get High

The office was a hollow core of cubicles and silent computers. At 4:30 what could you expect? Still by habit he collected all the elements of his desk into a private regime passively entombed by the barriers of photos of his family and pen holders, file holders and the like. He felt modest advance by the plaudits he received for reducing the company’s debt. But nowhere had he put his hopes such as that which now rose up in the Internet. Bracing himself against suede he studied the stocks. Investments were up – way up. This was the break - this was it. He had imagined it could happen. Anything was possible now. We get high.

Light filtered through the stony niche that framed his hut. It was as chilly a breeze that swept across the earthen floor and seemed to flow up to his chest. He moved. The air followed him rich with the smell of Blue Blood Rivers. Sheep moved reluctantly away from the huge dog that shepherded them. Velvet grasses separated exposing a glimpse at the distant dark clouds. Sounds of the river rose and fell, washed from bank to bank and carrying an abundance of food to him and his. He drank the tea musky with saturated herbs that had been prepared overnight, until he felt his senses able to feel and touch and see things from the inside out. We get high.

Our group stays strong – it is observant. The council can ad new rules as is allowed in our bond. It is allowed. - but no behavior is allowed outside of those rules – our group is pure. Our group acts for the greater good. We never break our bond and that is why we are the most self-referential of the peoples and mix only with our kind. It must be right – we must be destined to be supreme – only we can keep our selfish urges in check. It is for the overall good that we are unified in our selflessness. We are pure. We get high.

Oak wood groaned as the soldier’s boots ascended into the thoughtless darkness. Stifled, steps, round and round – until nine steps could be seen, then eight, then the frame of a doorway. As vest coated men, bedecked in hard cloth armor, weapons hidden, assumed their positions in the vaulted chamber. Passions of every kind had been lived out and swallowed in this vault where the light was stained by colors, standing as high as eight men, and icons shed a level of order to every thought that was a partner to the old stories – unsettled figures paved the sides of the vault, only pronouncing the absence of human presence central giving space to that within. Every shade of brown escaped from the floor only to be turned into dazzling color. The sound of private voices making public pronouncements sang, almost inaudible. Then vestments and ancient jewels assumed their positions carrying staffs and incense, the smoke releasing pungent flowers into the air. Words and motions that had survived the plague, the reformation, starvation, all swept the rest of the light from the group and swallowed any internal dialogue, rushing it into a vertical firestorm of praise. We get high.

Three more staggering people came in to the house and flopped down on a massive couch – where did that thing come from anyway. Didn’t Rob borrow it from his old girlfriend – the new one that jumped him at Danny’s. Well anyway there we were laid out on the couch, feeling kinda bluesy, well no actually feeling young and right and ripe. Anyway the noise was so loud from pulsing music – images on the set were reduced to a silent movie which was actually OK because it was funnier that way and none of us cared 'cause we love indulging in indulgence – on the big couch. We don’t give a shit. We get high.

I like to be called “Chief”. That’s what they called me in Local 28. I like to reflect on my time there. Local 28 is really my baby. Why I decided to run for the council I don’t even know. Things were going so well. Then those vendors, looking for deals, looking for control of the South Section, chasing me around with there promises. Jesus how could I be so stupid. But I’ll give it one more try. Just got to work harder and put everything into this one. If I just don’t fuck it up. God how could I be so stupid. After my brother pounded on me for my first ten years – still can’t take care of myself. Of course my family is better equipped than every one of our friends, or acquaintances I should say. Just look at that new driveway – that thing is a piece of art. Even if I did have to pay the contractor double. We get high.

This day was a tag day. Last night honored the new and fertile women of the family. Those magic women who would perform on this day were now in the river washing off all the dusty horns of stained men, of stained animals, of the wondrous world of questions. Cutting time meant final preparation for bonding with men – girls, breast ready, and with wildly wet-oiled legs were laughing. Those girls– all the girls above the young ones picked their beloved cutter. Knives prepared to nip in neat rows the pinched tender skin of the girls. More lines in rows of corn and potatoes, under the soft and well curved pale valleys in each body; only this age, only this time until the sun sets on a life - this was it and as pain gathered, her other self stepped toward her to pull her up into every day and night since time began and then there was no mind of pain at all. We get high.

I am working with a brush that has had just about all of it’s bristles cut off – the ferule that holds the bristles is loose – the glue having faded that held it solid. Bristles so short will hold very little paint, so I am really scratching color into the canvas a half inch at a time. The loose ferule ads an element of unpredictability to the accuracy of the brush and therefore a consistent need for a dialogue between the brush and I. At times I need to whisk the brush over the canvas to get the paint to transfer – at other times I need to gouge my way along. I know what this image will look like when done but I’m rather hoping without reason that I will have further clues to guide me in the short term. Sometimes I adhere to the continuation of the line – other times I work from a point further down the line and work my way back to where I left off. Sometimes I release hardly any paint and medium into the line and then with the help of that moistened stretch it is easier to release paint when I go over it. There is something especially gratifying about working so tediously in step with my emotional frequencies – much like a brick layer with the knowledge that each small movement and gesture will eventually accumulate to be a building, but meanwhile right now the inspiration comes from laying that mortar on just perfectly before the brick is laid into place. It is in this play between expansion and smallness that the universe seems touchable. We get high.

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