Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How Johnny Moonlight ended his life

I am going to explain to you the forfeit rule of three-sided chess. This is if you have two players on a three sided board. Set up the pieces as if for three players. If only two are playing, then either one of the players could move a piece from the impartial or playerless side when it is their turn, provided that that player forfeits or sacrifices one of his own pieces.

I open my eyes. It's three a.m. and I am Johnny Moonlight again, waking up to a conversation about my own death. Someone says, "There'll be no surprises if it's an overdose." "But the cops...?" a second person asks. "That's why it has to happen in Treasure Creek or thereabouts," says the first person. "My cousin Dale runs the mill and he goes fishing with the county sherriff every other Saturday." I want to laugh about the "cousin Dale" bit, but I don't dare. I've just remembered that we really are on our way to a place called Treasure Creek.

I close my eyes. It's a game. One move gets Johnny Moonlight out of the tourbus and into a damp forest clearing. He doesn't remember running the distance, but I move a rook and he's off the grid. Storywoman sacrifices a castle and Johnny Moonlight has no ground to lay down on. I slide a queen forward and a messy attic-like room begins to shape around him. It fades. Something tries to draw Johnny Moonlight back towards the road to Treasure Creek. Back towards that death that never happened. Storywoman moves a pawn. A theatre poster on a wall reads, "Who killed Johnny Moonlight?" The death becomes a story, played out on a stage. Beyond the applause, we hear ghostly cries of rage and anger. We clink our wine glasses. Our killers lost their quarry to a story.

I open my eyes. Blackness. But there are voices in the darkness of my skull. "There is no such thing as death," says Johnny Moonlight. "I read somewhere that you died," says Reenie. "On the internet or in a magazine." "I'm sitting here talking to you," Johnny Moonlight replies. "Does that look like death to you?"

I close my eyes... To continue, click here

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Clouds are the beginning....

Have you ever looked up to a summer sky and watched the clouds changing from moment to moment? Clouds are the beginning. The trick is to take all the things around you, all the things in your life and to imagine them as mutable as clouds. To take the solidity of nothing for granted. Clouds are merely the beginning. Everything else follows clouds.

I open my eyes. I am the machine that breathes for me. My only voice is a blip on a screen. I am surrounded by all the strangers that know me. Far away from the friends that do not know me. The cables of artificial existence are strangling the life out of me. When everyone in the room sleeps, I wake up and Storywoman stands at my bed. She touches my skin and the cables and machines grow insubstantial. "Let me take you home," she says.

I close my eyes. I am flying across the ocean. Two wings. Two worlds. In one, I am sitting in a plane. My mouth feels dry and I am drinking too much. It is crowded. Somewhere a child cries. Somewhere a man rants. In the other world, I ride the air streams between dimensions on newborn wings. I fly through birds and planes and things I don't have names for. Sometimes they tingle for a moment after I passed through them. Sometimes they smell of the spice and incense of faraway islands. Either way, I'm homeward bound.

I open my eyes. I am standing right in front of one of my best friends, but he has to pretend not to see me. Between us lies a staff picked from the forest of the Great Silence. Which he says does not exist.

I close my eyes.... To continue, click here

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

We have all killed...

We have all killed something. If not a life itself, we have killed dreams, relationships, jobs, friendships and time. Every step forward, you thread on the possible you that you are walking away from, crushing it just before it slips beyond the dark matter of your anti-history, your anti-life. Every step forward is across the bones and corpses of lives unlived.

I open my eyes. I stole a camel once. I wanted to escape to the solitude of the wilderness and my idea was that the camel still had the desert inside of him. All he needed to do was to find the path that led back to it and then we would both be there - under the full moon and the stars. The camel drooled over my shoulder and led me around and around, like I was its little human pet. Worlds changed and shifted around us. Someone touched my shoulder and the camel was gone. One of us kept moving. The other had abruptly come to a halt. I'm still not sure which of us it was, but without warning, we were in different worlds. I don't know if I will ever see the desert, but a reflection of the camel remains inside of me, like the faint ghost of a dream.

I close my eyes. I am sitting in the command chair of some scientific research station in the distant future. Everything is made of ice. I want to shout, "I don't know what I'm doing," but strangely enough, without thinking about it, I do know what I'm doing. My first officer is Reenie. I am relieved to see her alive. We act as one, without a word spoken. In some way, Reenie is me, or at least some extention of me. Through every porthole, I see colored puffs of smoke, twisting and whirling. Struggling to maintain its integrity. I discover that I can boost individual puffs just by focusing on them. The more I look at them, the easier it is to see what they really are. Souls. And each puff becomes a pattern, as distinct as a fingerprint. Now I know what I'm doing. But as this realization dawns, it is me that disintegrates to formless smoke. I reach for the controls, but I no longer have anything to reach with.

I open my eyes. I am lying on the beach, looking up at the sky. Too many beers inside me. All the other people in the world are balloons, lightly floating above me. I am the only one who is heavy and earthbound. All around me, balloon people are encouraging me to rise, to find my inner balloon and release it. I want to say, "No, no, you don't understand how different I am," but I feel too heavy even for speech.

I close my eyes... To continue, click here

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Everyone you know is dead

Look around you. Everyone you know is dead. They may have died two days ago or thirty years from now, but once you rise above that giant superhighway called time, it makes no difference anymore. At some point they do exactly the same thing you are doing at this moment. They open the car door and get out. After a while, they discover that they don't have to walk on the highway anymore. They don't have to try to keep up with the cars that drive right through them. That's when the highway begins to fade. The people in the cars call this death, but once you're outside, you know that this is when true life begins.

I open my eyes. I am leaning over the dead body of a girl. She is about 24 or 25. Black jeans. Combat boots. Dark hair. This is Reenie. I know her by that name and I know her face, although our paths have never crossed on that great superhighway. I feel an instant connection to her. I want to reach out, to talk to her and feel her, but I realize that the body, although familiar, does not need my affection. _Where are you?_ Then I see her. She is beside me and a part of me. Her energy is a densely wound ball of silvery yarn and smoky impressions emanate from it. Reenie reading at eight. Reenie walking the streets of her city. Reenie as the middle aged eccentric she will never become. It's like there are a million possible Reenies superimposed on each other. Can she really be all of them? We always see death as an ending, but what if the very first thing you knew about somebody was that they are dead. What if that death becomes the seed from which all probable lives emanate.

I close my eyes. I'm on the beach with my family. They're on the other side of the beach, though. I'm around seven. There is something in the waters. A mermaid. She is different from storybook mermaids. More fish than human, with scales all over her body and greenish skin. She moves very fast, too fast for anything of this world. It is only a glimpse. Only a moment and she is gone. I'm not sure whether I really saw her or not. Part of mind says no. The other part still holds a very clear impression of the memory. I'm not sure which to trust.

I open my eyes. Reenie's body lies on the tarmac, as the sun rises. Her death, a few hours earlier, remains undiscovered. A few meters away, another Reenie shivers because she just saw an angel, or at least a puzzling clue to the passing of one. I suck the blood from my fingers, where a window's broken glass cut them. I did something, but I'm not sure what. Now there are two Reenies. One Reenie's body melts into the tarmac, smudging the surface with a brief smear of color, before it is completely gone. Her essence watches with me. She and I have stranger paths to thread. The other Reenie is oblivious to us. For now. She will continue a little further down the superhighway. I am still awed that I was able to reach into her world and change things. We will meet again, but not soon. The new Reenie will remember this night, though and so will I. A world died with the dawn, but no one slumbering in the silent houses all around is even aware of this.

I close my eyes... To continue, click here