I sit at a large oaken table, edges rounded and soft with age. Yet it is sound and unfathomably solid; sturdy and ancient. Many songs have been sung here, many roasted pigs carved and boasted over, and many mugs of wine slammed in emphasis. There sits in a plain bowl of carved pine, its light grain faded and timid, the firm grapes of ecstasy throbbing with divine nectar; the earthen purple of unpolished gems. The stems wind and branch like stony snowflakes, fibrous and fractal, green with strength and brown with wisdom. They dangle over the bowl’s lip, out of my reach; a torment to the point of dementia.
I lay in a warm spring pool, the sulfur, steam and vapors lazily drift off the shimmering surface. The clouds are white and sharp, like holes in a great blue canvas. It is chest deep, yet down through the cracks, it is endless. Crystal water tickles the loamy sandstone, lapping lightly against jagged rocky heights and rolling thinly over oddly smooth slabs, playing its bubbly music. There are no violent or offensive angles, but it is obvious that I am only borrowing something designed for another’s comfort. Minerals just arrived from the earth’s cellar are greedily absorbed by my pores; a nourishment to the point of delirium.
I stand in a dusty old room, gray floor boards curling up at the unnailed ends. A stale overcast light mopes in beneath the slanting and broken blinds of a single window. Two chairs are pushed against the far wall; one a simple painted brown frame with two cinnamon-candy red cushions and the other a pale yellow bar stool, well on its way to join the disposition of the floor. A rolled persian rug lays against the wall, uncoiling and leaning into a vandalised and chipped coffee table, resting on two legs. Two pale ivory cups are undisturbed, one full of dark green liquid, tilting and staining below the lower edge, while the other is gapingly empty, whispering with absence and conjouring a proportionally mountainous spectre of influence. It looms over my trembling shoulders; tendrils of shadow creeping into everything. My tea has grown tasteless and my hunger remains unsatisfied. My thoughts are disjointed, noisy, and my bed unfilled.
I walk along a fishing dock, its dim sand is brown in the dusk and its air is quiet while the gulls rest. A ship departs slowly, agonizingly, seeming to shrink noiselessly and calmly. One wonders if we are drifting away from it, or it away from us. The heartache stings like a bulldozer. The throb of memories carried away by the ocean’s pulse, exalted into a waterfall of yearning. I watch the flowing sails, doing their best to dance their way off the mast and into freedom; every neuron flickering like the firebombs of Dresden. Their thirst for the wind is unmatched and unquenchable; far beyond the field of our telescopic understanding. Hordes of mosquitoes are coming from the swamps, seeming to levitate en masse out of shadows and stale puddles. As the sunlight thins, the air slowly becomes electric with beating wings and insect hunger. Some bite hard and some go unnoticed until days after; every itch screaming with a drowning cerebral howl. It is a reminder that I am so alive, and so doomed.
I dangle my feet off of the Berlin Wall, all business and sharp angles. Below are frantic and defiant acts of expression and self respect, rainbows dripping with the haste of curfews and terror. On the far side, you can see the flight of an amateur guitar bird, its neck and throat crackling with untrained soul. Its wings beat with the march of the warheart, the tectonic drums resounding to a frantic fire left in the wake of stomping legions. Trees reluctantly poke through the morning mist, their leaves still drowsy with dew and night. Like other creatures in the morning, I look around with the curious knowledge that I am but a small leaf, destined to one day fall lightly amongst the grass with all the others.
I watch the pulse of night city traffic from the mountain’s foot. Each pair of tiny white lights is a blood cell coming to drop off new molecules, before receding as a pair of twin red dots; gone to refuel and cycle again. Despite the hillside colony’s resemblance to one another from afar, and no matter their normalcy; each is a manifestation of uniqueness. No one is alike, and each is an extraordinary occurrence against all odds. Rare as a diamond in a clam, and rebellious in their uniqueness; people are an amalgamation of fingerprints, snowflakes and butterfly wings. Their individual existence each so improbable, their nature is that of forgotten beauty.
I dig at tough old clay, my trowel both forceful and delicately precise. Slowly the earth reveals clues to our oldest friends and their hobbies, scattered skull fragments and petrified corn cobs. With sorrow, the dust is brushed off the mysteries of an older life, a familiar one that we will never quite know. Our brains are too tiny, the mental doorway is too stooped, to allow the full majesty of humanity to breach the heart’s walls. In the deluge of history, and even the present moment, we have room for one and one only to sit by our inner hearth, both warm and dry. As creatures of comparison and dichotomy, there is only one that can be exalted to the fullest extent that all deserve.
I change a tire, its last breath given out through its rib cage, on the side of the highway. The sun is setting over mountains, and the edge of the highest clouds is brownish green. A sunset is an event and a word, but each one is an experience and a celebration; never to be recreated or captured. Each one is our chance to reach the untouchable and cross the rainbow bridge into worlds of myth. Colors are so large and expressive, that I feel as Picasso’s fingers felt; captivated and enslaved to the surreal. The hand moves the way the art demands it to, and not the other way around. Surrounded by circumstances so bizarre, even the startled atheist will look at the swirls of cream in his coffee, and wonder if there is a fate is behind it all.
I follow a massive vein of coal deep underground. Layers of soot and black stretch; streaming along the walls as if blown by a breeze a million years ago and then frozen in place. The mine’s mouth closes behind me with the deafening crush of stony teeth and airborne dirt. A thriving fear winds its way up the spine; a sinister snake on the vine of bone and nerves. Silently brushing past leaves of hardship, its eyes are glazed over with mystery unspeakable and its tongue tasting the unknowable. Even through the stinging dusty black pitch, he whispers warnings, ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’. In a tomb there is nowhere to go but down, and misunderstanding is never far away with only the absurd to guide you.
I examine the summer’s handiwork; the farmstead’s walls sturdy and eager for winter. Upon my shoulders stands a congress of demons and angels, pensive and heated. Points and conjecture are thrown back and forth like spears, continuously hunting the elusive animal of decision. They argue the horrors of letting slip such wonders as would taunt and inspire poets for centuries. And those horrors are too grotesque to ignore, yet in equal strength is the beckon of frightful success. A conclusion so divine, that it could only lead through a shadowed and cool tunnel, to upheavals entirely unknown.
the grapes and minerals
the shadows in the wind
the song of the improbable
the majesty (and dust) of the painting
from the tomb crawls the animal
and it is she
© Peter Hauschulz, 2009