Diving down on my stomach, both hands protective across the back of my head, I am dunking behind a snowbank as I am pelted with snowballs. Frosted tips and sunglasses. It’s a deleted scene from Jack Frost. It is so so bright out. Despite my refuge, there is nowhere to hide. I am found out everywhere I turn. 360 panoramic camera view, I breathe and I am discovered somehow. The white, bright snow that reflects the light of the betraying Sun makes me squint, the cold wind whips my face, and I can’t help but cry. My nose is a helpless faucet turned on. Still on my stomach, I taste the purity and promise of winter. But as the barrage keeps coming, I think of all my dead snowmen comrades who have come and gone each winter. The wind finds passageways through my winter jacket, scarf, and gloves. I am wet and betrayed. Suddenly, there is quiet and silence and hope. The attack called off, my trembling heart starts to decelerate, taking its foot off the gas one toe at a time. Summer is never this hard. I feel someone approach me and cower. But it’s only a helping hand who helps me up and dusts me off. No face on his body, but I am glad to see him. An avalanche of attraction. Marquee with big lights, floodlights on a stage. Dancing the can-can but knowing that I can’t-can’t. Sipping his beauty through a straw slowly; Afraid to spoil it. Afraid to waste it and waste this moment. This has only been a scene in a snowglobe and I know am I trapped here. Know that I can’t get out. But this moment is so nice, so worth it. I will live out this time loop forever knowing that this is how it ends. It’s that simple. My mittens slide off my sweaty palms and my insides are warm climates and palm trees and coconuts. The face starts to defrost into marketable features and sear themselves into my brain. They say, “Do not forget me”.
Do you know what it’s like to be hungry late at night in the dark? Eyeballs peeled open at the sound of your stomach rumbling like a thundersheet? Like the palpitations of Eric Whitacre’s Cloudburst? The feeling of that rumble is like drilling through a pond; It ripples beyond the stomach so that you feel the tingle in your hands and chest. All encompassing compass, pointing North to your hunger. In past lifetimes, I have dipped my hand into wicker baskets of grain, cupped the spheres of wheat and barley, raised that promise of Lady Liberty herself, and watched those little hardened pieces fall one by one back into the basket. And in this moment I am a hourglass, Time herself. The pieces of hardened grain that trickle out of my raised palm each make a sound, making contact with their brothers and sisters, safe at home in their basket. This grain was harvested by my ancestors, cooked by my ancestors, fed.
Look at this crystalline form. Transparent cylinder full of promise. Thirsty for more. Delicate. This is my heart. Feeling my pulse pump through my hand as I’ve acquired a cut. I wasn’t careful. I was clumsy. Shattered. This is also my heart. A mess I now must clean up. Take the dog; Make sure he doesn’t step on the mess. It’s all my fault. Guilt and aggravation. Should’ve known better. Should’ve watched myself. There goes my heart. I take the broken pieces and sweep them up, but them in the trash. Hoping I got everything, even the pieces I can’t see. A blind man gluing together a broken plate. This can also be my heart. Time is like starfish mending broken limb. Regeneration. In a year’s time all is forgiven and forgotten. Memory of planting seeds to forget this one, true human gift. You can’t regift it. It has been tattoo’d on. Soul after soul after soul. Down the Styx we all go. At least we don’t have to paddle with our hands. Take your coins to pay the ferryman and unwrap them. It’s chocolate. It’s Hanukkah. Dreidels spinning in Vegas. Slot machine idea generator. It could be anything. Endless possibilities, but yet one true path for all of us. One true root in the San Marianas Trench. One true quake that never stops shaking us. Until babies turn blue and stop crying. Will we ever learn the lessons we need to? In Venice, where they are famed for glass-blowing, are their businesses threatened by water? By climate change and floods? Are they still making their beautiful glass? Is it colored deep and rich with vibrate hues the likes of which I thought I’d never seen? Are gypsies still in St. Mark’s Piazza selling Louis Vuitton handbags and running from the police? 2007 was so long ago. But why does it seem to fresh and simple in my mind? Threading together two different threads to make it all connect. Checkerboard. Moving pieces. Playing by the rules. Have I cheated before and just don’t know it? Listening close to xylophone notes. Lollipop energy. The candy looks like glass. One firm sheet. Is it sugar? Do Willy Wonka and Christ know each other? Have they met on some golden rainbow of his creation? Do they know Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? Proposing marriage in these questions. Gene Wilder on acid 25/8. Helen Hunt on Crank after.
salt flats. mal blum and Peruvian delights. Joseph Smith smoking under Utah’s gaze. Starlight bound somehow after death knowing nothing but this. Eyeglasses in circular frames watching clocks tick. Granules and molecules watching Magic School Bus reruns on TV. Entertainment and science with minimal effort. SuperPretzel daydream treats with yellow mustard. Baseball game wooden baseball bat cracks and cheers. Two glasses clinking. Satisfying sensation that can become overpowering. Stick out your tongue. Let me watch the snowflakes melt. Let me see your green eyes gazing into my own. Hold my gaze to see your winter hat frame your face. Your freckles almost don’t seem real, but painted on my some Monet-aspiring artist. Palette in frame, sugar in glass. Don’t you wanna know who killed her? Following clues, tasting iron on blood, salt in fever. Basic building blocks of life. Carbon. You can smell it. Decay and earth, tones of God. Washing your brain is making up your mind.
Little flame flickers away from Time. It is the only thing that is holy and mysterious, self-containing wizard. Wax drips down and solidifies. I nudge it with my finger and it gives. It is a shapeshifter. Odo in the night who doesn’t know who he is. The wick will never fail us. It is God at the end of the Lincoln Tunnel. Abe Lincoln in the 1850s, reading while Mary Todd scrubs the laundry. Cold, drafty log cabin house. Maple syrup drizzled on a snowy day. Aching for more. Aching for warmth. Candles are fear and love. Hot wax in a con artist firefracker. It could light up the sky. And I am too awake for this. Morning spell has broken, I am too aware of myself. Trying to get it all done. Candle as weapon. Candle as projectile. Church, prayers, Christ on the Cross, and Capital Letters that have no Meaning except the One we Assign Them. King James Bible and therapy for life. Songbooks and dinner shows. Communion with a cracker. Wine tastes sweet. Dinner with the in-laws. Fishing on the boat. FDA does not approve. Afraid of fire, even the flicker of small flames; Together, many look like eyes. Watching, watching, watching. Waiting. Their patience is legendary. The light is not enough to write. It can relax or terrify. It depends what kind of trip you want. Salisbury steak on an airliner, chicken dinner on trains. It’s travel, it ends up in the toilet. Plunging my mind half-heartedly, distractedly. Break the candle in half to find the wick, the rope, holding it all together. Now it is crippled and maimed, but still maybe usable. Still functional, but not what the store intended. Shopping carts filled with candles, long cylinders of loneliness, dominoes down the stairs. When will it ever end? Candles that smell good and sweet, candles that smell like nothing, candles that try too hard and end up smelling awful. I can taste the smoke rising from the birthday cake as the candles are blown out. As we take them off, we lick the frosting one-by-one. A preview and teaser of what’s to come. Chocolate cake with vanilla pudding filling. Probably from the supermarket.