Spoiled food, spoiled goods. Oregon Trail and full-blown Windows 95 format. Dysentery, green type font. That little hovering underscore awaiting the next keystroke. Primeval graphics, 8-bit soundtrack. Wagon wheels in an imperfect circle. When computers would freeze up more often, when viruses were more of a threat (computer viruses, that is). Spoiled child, bad temper running away with her. I see a little girl in a pink dress with matching shoes and frilly white socks. And she is crying and quickly stamping her feet on the move as her mother is attempting to pay for something at the register. She is upset because she wanted candy, and mama said no. Something about the playful, colorful wrapper, and the sugary sweet promise that lay within generated the impulse, generated the desire to have it. But this warden stamped her foot down, using her parental authority. Now she quickly closes up her wallet and takes her plastic bag of just-purchased goods, and runs after her daughter, snatching her up into to arms as she screams and wriggles and cries. It is a war to put her into the car seat and belt her in. A common soundtrack played from the backseat as she continue to runs errands, rubbing her temples at a red light to will away this on-coming headache.
Five thin, cylindrical pipes of peace have been constructed as such that they are banded together and hanging from the backyard door, clanging together diatonic, pleasing, consonant notes, encouraging wind patterns and hell, even hurricanes. To be swooped up by gale force winds – what a ride, what a trip. Wind chimes make the birds chirp and increase the curiosity of squirrels as they paw the earth searching for spare bird seed and acorns come fall. Dreamcatchers of the wind. Whittled by hand and blessed by the tree from which their bark comes. So much significance in a living thing, so much significance in color. Dancing wind chimes, looking over a meager suburban kingdom.
When visited by spirits, sometimes wind chimes are known to move on their own, without wind as we know and see it. It has happened to me, and that experience will not be forgotten. Wind chimes as currency, navigating a brutal and unjust world with peaceful noise. Wind chime farm, all for sale, producing a cacophony of good will well wishes. Perhaps, sacred ground above where they hang. Slippery elm trees engraved on them, harkening back to their own Mother Earth. Their pipes twirl and hit into each other, some wooden, some metal, some plastic. Perhaps existing as an example and testament to say something along the lines of, “Let life have its way; We will go with the currents and still sing”. No more angry beating of drums and marching to old revolutionary fifes. No more defeated shuffling of feet, blistered and bruised. I long for a time of peace and meditation, overcoming with transcendence and non-engagement.
Tears fall like little mini waterfalls, pooling into streams as you tuck your face into the crook of my neck. Body shakes with empty hopelessness. I know this grief will come to pass but right now it feels like it never will. Far gone are the Neverland Peter Pan fantasies, "second star to the right and on 'til morning". Back when storybooks and 1994 computers could be enough to buoy and carry us through the turbulent tides of life. There will still be ocean sunsets and just because we don't see everyone doesn't mean they don't exist. Sometimes we stay up late to love, to fight, to swallow sadness, wallow in pools of our own misery, when it's too late to phone a friend, Regis. Sadness grips in between our shoulders and settles in our chest where it bubbles like hot lava and we're the volcano Earth, struggling to put a lid on this thing. Struggling to keep it tucked down inside. But even Mother Nature gets indigestion sometimes. Bottlerocket outburst as the cork becomes undone and here we are standing, hugging, telling you it's all going to be alright but knowing you're not hearing me, and I'm not expecting you to. But the words must be here and now and stable like the stump of an old oak tree that has been standing for years and years. It is firm, it is real, it is there, it is reliable and sturdy. Paper scribed with the names of our fears, burnt to dust so they will be destroyed. Spartan psychological ritual.
Brunette waves in curlers, she stands in front of her vanity, and gazing at her reflection goes to sit. It is early morning and the sun has barely made itself known. The twilight blue sky only just giving way to peaches and pinks, as the mid-purple gradient begins to evaporate back into space, back to the other half of the world where the clocks are all set differently than now. She is timing herself. Turning on the radio and sifting past static, she begins to read a magazine by her vanity light, licking her fingers every time she goes to turn a page. Today will be her 5th interview, and everyday she ignores the wolves of depression, invisible and always nipping at her heels, and wakes up early and goes through the beautification process. The only lesson her mother ever taught her. The only subject where these questions were ever answered. She is graying, and eyes herself suspiciously in the mirror. What happens to youth? Again, unanswered. Her mother now dead. Her timer dings and she begins to remove these tightly wrapped pink, plastic cylinders. Once they’re all out, she looks herself over and smiles. Now is time to open the shades and curtains, and apply lipstick. The radio spouts off the latest headlines before going into a buoyant jazz tune. She wants the music to take her away. Carefully outlining her lips she begins to lightly tap her foot. The house is very quiet everywhere else besides his corner. The sun starts its ascent and peep in through the window lighting up her bedroom. She had dreams once. And they never looked like this. Perfect, she thinks to herself as she completes her face. Standing up, she looks around and gathers what she needs before heading downstairs. Careful not to wake her husband, hungover and surely belligerent after a night of imbibing, she gently closes the door and turns off the radio in the bathroom. She saves her heels for the very last step, where she slips them on near the front door.
Pepper steak and eggs on a diner platter. There is a clattering of dishes as busboys clear tables. There is a smattering of lips smack across the restaurant, as all its patrons delve into breakfast pancakes running thick with rich syrup, savoring the salt of bacon and the pillowy, hot, fresh biscuits that seem to be coming out of the kitchen in conveyer belt-like fashion with no signs of stopping. There is no hesitation for the waitress to fill up coffee mugs with the steaming fresh pot she carries in her hands. Chrome-plated, red white and blue color scheme dances in neon bright lights, carrying some opposite SOS beacon across the water like, “Please don’t bother us. We’re having such a nice time!”. The trivial joys are rudimentary if you are lucky enough to not be taken prisoner by your own thoughts. Salt and pepper eggs with the runny yolk being caught by well-done toast. Corned beef hash can be a religion if you really close your eyes and try. Or not try. It actually doesn’t take much trying, it’s so delicious. Clearing your throat. Eating beyond your means. This grandiose American culture and entertainment. I unwrap my paper napkin rolled utensils. And begin to brace myself for my first bite. It will be triumphant fireworks reminiscent of the 4th of July.