Straight Lines (beyond b&w)
Here it was, and here it goes again. I sift by; I stand and peer over the patio fence overlooking the hills and smoke a cigarette and listen to the sound of cars rushing by on the free way a few miles to my left. It is the industrial ocean, and despite being artificial, it helps if only slightly to ease the restlessness tipping me to and fro. The ambient, the white noise, hurried lives with haste past my quiet apartment at seventy miles an hour past my patio where I stand lost in thought.
Mostly the thoughts round in and again and over. They circle Melrose St. and can’t find a place to park, and then they decide they wanted to go somewhere else anyway, so they head for a taco shop and take a wrong turn and find their way back and find the taco shop before realizing there is still nowhere to park and so they go straight, into a residential area, and then they are back again when they first started when they realized that the shop at which they wanted to eat dinner was closed and so they will have to find something else to do which was the taco shop but they still can’t park. These kinds of strange paths lead down to the frayed ends of disjointed cylinders through which any direction but straight will not do, but the tube is so disorientating that straight becomes a series of angles instead of a line. Those kinds of thoughts should be pruned, dead leaves or rapacious weeds, pulled out at the roots with leather gloves and thrown in the trash.
So then, the garden run amok, have let the weeds win this war, and they live in my prefrontal cortex and assault my hippocampus and spread seeds into my amygdala, which sprouts fear all over my ego, id, and superego, which are all aligned against distress; the lattermost implores we pick the weeds from the roots one-by-one, the former sings sweetly to itself in hopes of forgetting the infestation entirely, the one in-between stuck in-between a rock and a hard place with stinging hands it knows it can neither solve nor avoid the parasitic bulbs, but it cannot very well do nothing.
So, says the Buddha, just breathe. I cannot breathe, or at least not very deeply. My lungs, decrepit and constricted after being choked by poisonous fumes stuck in a torture chamber under my skin weakening again and again every time I try to jolt my conscious mind into check with a puff of tobacco. Those lungs, yes, these, mine, they don’t want to expand much and let the world into my body too much because they are in pain and crippled. Just breathe, says the Buddhist monk, well how can I breathe if I cannot breathe? Each time I remember to “just breathe” I remember the problem that I cannot “just breathe”, because I smoke cigarettes, which I smoke because I am overzealously stressed out, part of that stress due to being a cigarette smoker, and the more I think about what a problem it is that I smoke and how badly I need to quit I instantly want to pull a Turkish Royal out of my purse which will make “just breathing” even harder.
I realize the ludicrous nature of this paradox, wholly contradictory and totally inescapable and patently absurd. But there are some problems that rationality cannot fix. There are some answers that are not evident, because the only way out is through, and the harder you try to avoid some pain here and there, the more you avoid a hard thing to escape doing it, the farther deep you dig in, and the more labor you will have to invest to pull yourself back out. There is no way of escaping a difficult thing, there are times in which you have to accept that things will be difficult, and there is no getting around it, nowhere else to go, a tunnel on a one-way road.
But we human beings can’t help ourselves. We dance, squiggling lines, oil and water, around this issue, as long as we can, zigzagging until we combust or accept the truth. We are little jumping beans, bouncing blind bunnies, funny little squeals erupting from our lips, hopping stupid hares; drinking booze and smoking cigarettes and throwing up in the toilet and popping pulls and starving ourselves and driving too fast on the freeway and killing each other and raping children and shooting drugs with long sharp syringes into our arms and cutting our skins open with knives and jumping off bridges and giving guns to children and making buildings explode and thinking we are gods and prophets and scientists, etc.
One day, no longer pious nor pitiful, one day, no longer black nor white, I will see the center of the earth beneath millions of miles of mantle and crust and molten lava and liquid plasma. One day the ground will evaporate all at once, a rapture for limestone and dust that will soar joyfully into the clouds, and I will look straight down and instead of seeing earth I will see sky.
Instead of seeing a universe I will see an infinitesimal pinprick vibrating ever so subtly, a tiny little speck, a ray of heat hovering on the fringes of this reality, flickering in and out of existence, just enough to catch within my palms and I will stare at it. The longer I stare, the more my sight will zoom in, and zoom in, and magnified, the complexity will jump in exponential proportions and in this increasingly smaller space new clarity of resolution will define itself. So that eventually I see within the microscopic dot there is a vacuum, and within the vacuum there is dust, and within the dust there are elements, and within the void there are forces, and when the dust condenses through forces there are suns, and when the suns explode there are more elements, and when there are enough elements and forces and suns and dust there are planets, and when the planets are positioned correctly in proximity to the suns they have water, and when there is water life can exist, and when life can exist it can reproduce, and when life can reproduce it can evolve, and when life can evolve it can become conscious, and eventually within the infinite magnitude of this tiniest microcosm I will eventually magnify the microscope infinitude to the scale of infinitude necessary to meet my own eyes staring back at myself who is staring at miniscule me in a universe that is my own.