It’s a feeling that glides in with the foamy water on to the shore in reach for what’s beyond, and just as regularly it rescinds back to long for the land where the people walk. If I reach out with my hand I feel I can touch it, but won’t, because the helpless feeling of being lost in the electric current merges loneliness in to the blood. The vibrating sounds run up through the wire and fill my ears in the quiet of night like a reliable friend. I’m not alone when the ocean sparkles so vibrantly and speaks with me. The many voices and colors on rotation flow over the levee and fill my head like a brain-shaped glass bowl of water. The water strobes with light and sound like a sugar high that’ll never come down. I don’t want to come down, because here on the banks I’m safe and warm ..but all alone.
With a press of a button there’s a screen burning in the dark that makes it easier to cope. It’s my boat out in to the electric sea, or at least it used to be. Like all things, watching from the shore was good until it wasn’t enough. Watching from the boat was good until even the rocking of waves was no longer enough. Capsized and swimming as best I can, the feeling of raw energy is fading as the familiar plateau looms. It’s on the horizon like an ominous moon, yet somehow my lazy and apathetic soul still contemplates the feeling of sinking under the surface for the rush of holding my breath with a stubborn and persistent nature I wish would’ve kept me from being here to begin with.
My hands are pruning and my vision is cloudy as I tread the incandescent water. I don’t know where the cycle takes me next, and it’s here that I find my very soul becoming one with the electric tide. First, I saw the others reflected out in the sea beckoning I join them like a hive of friendly bees, but it seems like now I can only see them on land? So now I’m reaching…gliding in on the shore for what’s beyond reach, only to feel myself rescind back to long for the land where the people walk…
There are nights where the feeling stays at sea. Nights where my own shore is untouched by the feeling of the watery tendrils creeping on me. Those DON’T make living here worth it. This ghost town with echoes of people being swiped in to focus threatens to meld me in to its ranks, nothing but a haunting hologram in a giant bowl to be snacked on for seconds at a time.
I won’t let myself need this so badly that it comes to that.
The lights glowed hazy from behind the smog and dust weaving through the crowd of buildings. Their silhouettes were like the shadows of monsters crouching down to bare their teeth and impose their menace, but for the mechanical hearts, minds, and bodies marching from task to task the imagination to see that was non-existent. They marched along lines unseen, but well-known, from building to building; to endlessly labouring machine to endlessly labouring machine.
Once, the landscape had served flesh and blood. The people bustled and absorbed all that was offered from the hands of the tireless machines. One-hundred-foot high displays, pixilated if one stood too near yet placed so high above street-level that it was never a concern, would speak words of such conviction that they’d be jotted down on paper immediately and without consideration. “God bless this place!” would punctuate the ending of each delivery, and the people would return it with force. Years stitched together through centuries and generations carried on this way without notice of the weakening enthusiasm. Instead of shouting in to the sea of light above them the people would say it aloud as if casually greeting an acquaintance. Their children would say it an octave quieter; their children would mumble it to themselves. When their mouths were soon covered to protect themselves from the air they struggled to wheeze in, they choked and coughed in the name of the voice, disembodied by the thick air and unseen.
Now only the machines remained; rusting and disassembling year-by-year. There were no eyes to observe their work; no ears to take in their news. They themselves did not observe the decaying bodies left in the streets where they’d collapsed, nor did they observe the homes, offices, and shopping centres littered with the same death. Loyally they served the long-fallen society, unable to observe the great die-off.
From the wayside came a voice like a mosquito in February. He was less startled by the abrupt noise than he was by the association it instantly connected. Like a neglected garage door rising for the first time in years, light shone on the dust and cobwebs of old things long ago stored and since forgotten.
Through the tiny paths made of space unused he searched frantically but without wishing to disturb much of what lay around. His eyes darted in directions nauseatingly quick in search, and without disturbing a spider or mouse he found what he sought.
“Yusuf,” He replied, yet the noise and bustle of the street washed the words away before they could reach.
Around them the streets were coloured with chalk and the air more so by the sounds of Saxophones, drums, guitars, and singing. The traffic of bodies flowed in no particular direction by street performers of all varieties, and to encounter a familiar face amongst this all felt like odds of the most diminutive kind.
“Yusuf!” He repeated, with the liveliness that lacked the first go around.
The two men embraced and spent the remainder of the day together. When the night came, they celebrated in raised glasses and old stories that spoke of the times they shared in youth. They laughed at the beards they’d grown and the wrinkles reaching at the corners of their eyes. When the hours piled too high and the drinks likewise, goodnight was bid to one another and they walked away from this quick intersection of their lives.
When the sun crested the horizon of the morning to follow, both men would carry on forward on bikes freshly dusted and ridden a short while, until the places and faces to come would bury them back in to storage and pull the door closed once again.
When the first few bubbles begin to rise from the bottom of the pot, with the promise of a boil coming soon, I wish I could tug on my sleeve and voyage a hundred thousand miles in an instant.
When I’m taken It’ll be to the canals of Amsterdam or a sunny park in California. I’d like to walk within view of the water in which ever manner it may stream and feel the sun not as a burden but for the warm kiss it can be. I’d pass a day in breaths that only come from the sunlight, which means that I’ll suffocate unless I return before night.
When the next day starts with me in my bed, I’ll start it anew with an idea in my head. This thought isn’t the same as the day before, at least not exactly, because today I know more. I had a chance to break from my routine and touch the face of the world in a spot that is less blemished, and I carry a new windy soul that’ll blow away the old worries like a tempest.
When the shadows seep in like malice and loneliness, my fingers involuntarily twitch at the end of my strings and tug at the worn ends of my sleeve. I wish to fall in to the sky. I wish to spin around and around as the clouds plummet at me as fast as I do at them, but the last second will find a gift from gravity.
When gently like leaves in the fall do my feet touch the ground it’ll be in a valley basking at the frosted tips of mountain. I’d like to feel the size of the natural wonders take my breath away for as long as they reflect the light of day. I’ll walk and I’ll walk with my feet in the grass without a mind for the hours that have past. Dusk though will know me for the tourist I am and return me home from my time on the lam.
When the next day greets me through the curtains of my room, I’ll rise with confidence born from the journey I went through. How could I remain the same after a day in a place so far away? A new and reborn me will be evident for all to see!
Until I feel lost and tug at my sleeve.
Here in my chair, before my spacious desk, I strike with furious fingers on keys that unlock no doors and make no music. Sporadically come the ideas like bangs of thunder in the stormy hours I’ve committed to my cause. I stand and sit. I open new tabs and wander. The nagging never falters in spite of the pauses, and contrarily I find they strength my moves of combat. I’m blessed to be able to pause between blows, in this war of mine, and strategize my next act. The successive boom can be strong and lucid with a quaking fear rushing out like a tsunami, or maybe just a rumble or two in wait of the next reverberation. It always delivers though on the other side of the undetermined pause because of my ire. That ire desires to rage like a fire in a spire higher than any funeral pyre and I need to let it go. Like a rapid dog left off its leash I need it to rush forward and bark.
It’s the news. The words and messages telling of messes both near and far by those who govern the lands we call our own. Every word either confirmed or not becomes another brick in my house of righteousness and conflict. This isn’t something I wish to carry a banner for, but when there is a side so wrong and easy to feel strongly against I feel I must be a reluctant body on the battlefield. There is no question. I watch the feeds and feel my armor build with every chapter title of the story of today. It is a destiny so complete for me that I feel lost when the fast grows too long. Too long without my armor makes me feel naked.
A whole day I spend striking blows at the unknown enemy on the wrong side. I reflect on my gear and realize it’s the helmet covering my face that makes me most secure. I may have also developed a tea addiction. I fight. I brew tea. I Pace, then sip tea. Rumble a little, then sip tea. Finish tea, brew more. High priority is the tea when I’m supposed to be so focused, but the sacrifice of course could never be made. These are the hours that I storm the battlefield, and on the odd day I reflect. Never once has one conceded to me. Not once have I ever felt a true triumph. The tantrum rages but never does contentment come. The questions must form natural with clouds darker than any I’ve ever mustered and the twister touches down: who am I? Without a name or face I am safe from being targeted, but has the mask I’ve adorned stitched in to flesh and made me anonymous to even myself?
In a small boat she floats and is carried by the stream. The rivulet is a highway for the patient, blessed with a view that speaks a soft statement. Words of swaying flowers and a cadence of steady rising hills reassures even the most troubled of souls while they float down the current towards whatever they sought or sought to escape.
The rich, warm light of the sun glowed on the crystal waves as the boat smoothly cut like a hot knife through butter. She rowed the oars in her own rhythm; breathed each breathe slowly and full. Time may be a river, but today she mustered the strength to enjoy it passing without rush or desire. It flowed, and she along with it.
The ocean in the distance, too far to see but always close enough to feel, awaited to bond with the waters rocking her. What would it be like to let it take her too? To turn and watch as the shore, the shore she has always lived, walked, and slept upon, fail to wave to her as she leaves it behind. Under the open sky and upon the open water; just a tiny dot indiscernible from the flocks of gulls from where the clouds observed.
Playful was the thought, but she knew the dock in which this ride would end. Wading to tie down her vessel, her wet boots pressing down in to the dirt brought her to land once more. The little rivulet behind her waving and smiling in hopes of a quick return.
We must make peace with ourselves like generations of men, woman, and children’s futures depended on it. Lock away the armament that threatens to dissolve a home in to rocks and steel cradling burning splinters of wood and turn talk of nuclear strikes in to harmonious games where both sides are cheered at on all sides.
The fear, the dodging, and the wallowing are beasts easily tamed when the fires of turmoil aren’t swarming in your mind.
Be the person you save first.