Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Red Haze in a White Room... and so it goes.

He was born into a red haze in a white room, like most of us, and so was she- some distance apart and some time apart but none of that mattered in the small frame of their time and distance measured against immeasurable time and distance. And the both of them cried as they were forced from their nest into an upside down world full of new sensations that had to be catalogued and compared and somehow a sense of order and rhythm got into the mix. In the process pain pushed on one side and pleasure pulled on the other and the desire to know was greater than it would ever be again.

The two of them turned the world right side up and this allowed them to learn to walk- cause we all see upside down to begin with, just like those old cameras. And later it wouldn’t occur to them or us that learning to walk was a huge accomplishment. But there were so many huge accomplishments in that time, it was just another one and all the things ahead compromised any self reflection at the time, nor was there a capacity for it. In fact, the sense of self was very much a part of others. Later came the isolation consonant with the magnetic attraction.

They learned as they came to understand the language, that there were things they could do and things they shouldn’t do. Later they learned that these things were different for different people. One thing they knew at the time was that they wanted to belong. They wanted to be loved and needed and they never did get over that. It was a hard thing to learn. You had to pretend a lot of things so that similarities that didn’t exist would appear to exist. Some of them played nice and some of them didn’t. Some of them felt good about where they were and who they thought they were and some of them didn’t. There wasn’t any other world, just the world out there. And they forgot about the world they had been looking out of in their increasing identification with the world they were looking into.

After awhile their world divided. Where before they only had the occasional awareness of difference another curiosity began to flower; it was a part of the red haze from the white room. Now they had to learn to walk all over again and it was harder this time because they were thinking about it all the time. But they sort of got it, though some sort of didn’t get it and some never really got it at all. Time moves on though. It seems like just when you’re getting used to this you got to get used to that.

Hearts were broken in the process and with each new fascination part of the innocence from before died because they were finding out that things don’t go the way you want them to all the time, not even most of the time. And the harder you want it the more you have to push aside and the more you injure in two directions as you burn away whatever comes between you and what you want. And every time a part of the innocence died something disappeared until most of what they were was defined by what they saw. And most of what they saw was changing as they looked at it.

Whatever they had been was gone and now they were something else. She got a job and he went into the military and she learned that sometimes you can do something where you never see the meaning of what you do in terms of yourself. He found out that the spirited music in the movie soundtrack didn’t play in his own movie and that there are parts of yourself you never see until the red haze takes over and puts an end to white rooms and teaches you that the stars which shine in the gutter do so with a reflected light. He learned that you can do things you don’t want to remember and it made him wish that he had children so that he could teach them not to be like him.

She went on working and she gave herself away a few times while the interest rates kept dropping and then she met him in a bar where he was working while the thing that changed him sent him to school to learn to survive in another war where the enemy consists of the things you want. And they fell in love and didn’t stop falling after that; just falling away by increments from the point at which they met and the road divided- running parallel for a long time if you compare yourself to a butterfly.

They had a boy and they had a girl and they had a life that was framed by what they knew measured against what they hadn’t learned. So it was a blessing and a curse to find everything out after it had already happened and you couldn’t fix it. The furniture kept rearranging itself to accommodate the injuries and it got better and it got worse. Mostly it got wider and more compressed as the circumstances were to far apart to knit together and the people inside couldn’t get out.

The son went into the army and he died there somewhere in a desert and the daughter went off with someone who wanted to be far away and so there was nothing to hold them together and the roads bent away until you couldn’t see the other side.

Some years later they met at an internet forum and wrote touching things to one another because they sensed a kindred spirit but they didn’t know who they were talking to so nothing had changed except the way that it looked which may be one of the most important things and the reason why people lie to themselves. So they never knew and it’s for the best that they never met. They wanted to but he died from the drink and she cried when she heard and she wished so hard that she could have met this man instead and that her life could have gone another way. He died in a red haze in a white room and sirens caroled him to the bed.

She went on reaching but the weariness in her face only brought her into the company of people who made her more tired than she already was and so she watched television and her dreams became so real as they were played out by actors in a revolving script that she came to believe she was living them too. She began to forget the simple things you have to do to be independent; no matter how forgotten you are and so they took her to a place with other people who had lost their way and there they all talked at one another and the words hung in the air and pressed down.

When he died the last thing in his mind was that he didn’t know who his life had happened to or why it had happened. When she died it was the same. Bits and pieces of things swirled around on her exit and they blew away like confetti as she reached for them. She believed if she could hold any one part that the rest of it would come together but she caught at nothing until she blew away herself.

The fire in the haze... that burns in the gut... sets the world on fire when the eyes are young. As the fire is pushed from the eyes to the chest... and the heavy heart presses the dangerous flames downward... for safety from the intentions of the thing that endangers the norm with the risk of feeling... outside the parameters where pain is known to wait. That risk that was life became too much to risk and so...

The fire sucked inward and bent the frame and the body stooped and the shoulders curled and the spine twisted to one side or the other in view of escape and it went on and on playing hide and seek... going in and out... sweet to sour like the breath of age that has tendered permanence to form and all along the way if they had only asked, “Who am I?” “Who am I?” “Who am I?” Not the white room; not the red haze that blankets the world and courses through the rivers inside.

And they could have asked at any time and they could have gone on asking as if no single question had ever been so important. The pressure that was pushing them to ask got confused with the gravity that held the world in place and they will circle until the end of time, in and out of the seagull’s cry and the longing of the ocean. Someday there will be peace.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Les, You put words together beautifully

Anonymous said...

That is simply one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Your level of achievement is astounding.

z a

Anonymous said...

With this offering, you have painted an abstract awareness in my mind
This is something new you have laid on us - ?
tony-gg

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's a change of pace. Very beautiful and original.

ben

Anonymous said...

les, thank you. al b.

Anonymous said...

absolutely superb!

Bruce

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy Smoking Mirrors but I love this site. I suppose I love beauty more than outrage.

Erin

Les Visible said...

If you're looking for your comment here you should know that I have a policy about off the wall negative comments. I will let them stand if the poster identifies him/herself. If they do then they can say what they want. If not they have no rights. It just makes you a skulking coward.

I don't need to create personalities but you might give some thought to working on your own.