Sunday, May 17, 2015

on demons.

Just a quick brief little note
demons are terrible adversaries to have. you know, they're really quite small? tiny enough that you won't even notice them, take them seriously even as you see them around you, on you, you won't believe they're a genuine threat even as they work their way in under your skin... but it's only when you try to pull them off, out, that you see them for the grain of sand in the oyster, the moth in the circuit, the little linchpin that brings the whole machine crashing down, immovable...
but there's also a weakness they have that few use against them - as unbreakable, as stubborn, as unreasoning they may be, as completely able to subdue your will and read your mind, they're still trapped inside of your head.
their reality is the reality that you feed them.
they cannot be broken, cannot be fought, but they can be... deceived.
lied into little boxes, locked up in the dark cellars and a pleasant but heavy cabinet moved in front of the door, not used for much but scrupulously kept full and heavy. Once in a while it tries to move and you quickly push it back before anyone notices. sometimes when it's quiet, you can still hear the footsteps, the scratching, the growl... and you ignore it the way you ignore everything that can't be got rid of.
you ignore it like you turn a back on an enemy, but you can never forget he's there.
going to be forever a part of you.

the little lies are the tiny little silver keys that lock the door
the spoonful of sugar that lets the medicine go down

two hundred and fifty days now, and it still hasn't realized it's been caged

Sunday, March 01, 2015

broken

we all have things to do, places to go. 
people to be. 

and then there's some of the others, the ones who show up now and then. the occasional status update, blog post. a friend we caught up with after too long who mentions what he'd heard. a mention in Midday. 
the ones who did what they wanted. what we wanted. 

and when they intrude into our consciousness, so rudely shouldering aside all the comfortable preconceptions of all we held dear about our goals and place in life, it's a complex feeling. 
we're happy for them. they are friends, after all, and they did got something, did something extraordinary. 
we're also envious, because sometimes we want to be the one standing there. we want our face in the photograph, our name in the air. it's a reminder of the things we still have to to do, the things we now never will do. 
we love them because they're our past, and we hate them because they could have been our future. 

the broken ones. 
it takes something extraordinary to get to somewhere extraordinary, to do that something great. greatness is not a comfortable condition, not a soft, gentle, 'approved' state. greatness is a bitch. greatness drives us with curses and a whip, strips the fat from our flesh and later, the flesh from our souls. it drives us while we live, it drives us bleeding and struggling to our deaths, and it drives the spark that makes us what we are beyond that. 
it breaks us first, because the smooth, functioning, well-oiled cog the world wants us to be, that keeps everything moving along, is not what does great things, is not capable of achieving the extraordinary. 
it's only after we break, after we no longer fit in with the engine of the world, that we are free to walk that different path. 
we call them sacrifices. the family, the relationships, the career, the retirement plan. the house and the car, the degrees and the diplomas, the promotions, bonuses and increments. these are all the things we drop, we tear ourselves free of. 
it hurts. every one thing left behind is a rebirth, with all the blood and screams that come with it. 
some people are born just once, into that one life. 
others suffer their rebirths again and again, for a;ll the new lives they bring. 

but we don't see the agony, the suffering, the self-doubt and the regret, the failures. we just see the end, and it mocks us with the mirror it holds up to ourselves. 

but. 

but. 

did you think you were the perfect one? seriously? everyone has choices we chose. mistakes we made. 
secrets in the deep dark of our hearts, words and faces that will never see the light again except for those times when we revisit them, alone, in silent nights while our world sleeps around us. 
the world we so carefully put together. 
the perfect world that shouts out, i am whole, complete, all there. there's nothing wrong with me. 

but there's something wrong, isn't there?
something wrong with everyone. 
we all want that perfection, but nobody's perfect. we all want that shining glossy well-rounded life that everyone aspires to, but we know that under that pristine surface is things we did not do, people we left behind, choices we didn't make and hearts we broke. 

we want to build fairytale palaces on shifting sands. we do. 

we don't need to pity the broken ones their hard choices, or envy them their dreams. 
we are the broken ones. 
all of us. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

That one perfect word

It's a warm, starry, moonless night.
Let's go out, you and I. Walk out into the dark, lie down in the soft grass, and look up. 

...
See that star over there? 
Now, see that one? 

Now, see how in one glance you traveled a distance greater than all of humanity through all of their history, put together? How that one flick of the eye covered a time greater than the existence of mankind, maybe of the planet under us? 

That's the power of imagination. That's the power of what a phrase in a book can do, a million times over, a casual word spoken by a stranger in that perfect moment, that one unique context that your life, knowledge and being put together, that shook everything you were and everything you thought the world was and would be. 

The last electron that smashes down the lightning bolt, the last neutron that triggers the critical mass chain reaction. 

Little things, tiny things, insignificant things that can shatter universes. 
Ripples in the air, squiggles of pigment on paper. 

Reading can be a terribly dangerous thing to do. It can be terrifying, if you think about it. That one word will suddenly come around the corner of the next page you turn, the next link you click, and change everything. For everyone. At any time. 

Terrifying.
Exhilarating. 

A storm of thought that can rip off your mind's sails, wreck you, sink you... or take you to a new continent, a new world. 

That's why we keep turning the pages, riding the storms. We fear it, yet we seek it, a glimpse of that one perfect word. 
Maybe follow it. 
Maybe... one day... if it doesn't rip us to shreds first.. capture it, make it ours. Tame it. 

It has the power to make us the master of our universe. 

Monday, December 08, 2014

Waiting for the Singularity

Nearly there. 
It's been a long ride. We nearly didn't make it so many times. We still might not get there, but we can see the ribbon stretched across the track now. 

I's a relay race that's lasted thirteen billion years. Physics of gravity, nuclear transmutation and supernovae, to chemistry of elements becoming molecules and complex hydrocarbons, to biology's replicating strands and evolution, to the oxygen-making algae, complex multicellular organisms, that first step out of the ocean, the hand and the opposable thumb, sparks from a flint into fire, charcoal marks on the cave wall that told stories and sang songs, from the domesticated wolves to the invisible virii that delivered gene-modifiation therapy, to silicon minds and global networks... 

We nearly didn't make it so many thousands, millions of times. That bacterium smashed into space under a world-ending cosmic bombardment, only to return aeons later. That specific configuration of planets. The asteroid that hit, and all those that missed. The Ice Ages, the Black Death. A Nuclear Winter that almost happened. Maybe others that did. 

A dying planet unable to cope with the demands we make of it, a species ripping itself apart and all others around it in paroxysms of imagined slights and self-destructive responses. 

We've danced on the edge of the cliff for millenia, and it's second nature now. 

Just another generation, maybe two. Then we can hand over the baton, sit back, and settle peacefully into history as our successor solves all our problems once and for all and goes ahead with Life. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Touched by a Dark Angel

I see Her sometimes out of the corner of my eye, a flitting dark shadow far away, right there in front of me, going about her work, and I always try to watch the expression on her face. She's sometimes absorbed, serious, curious... sometimes wistful, even compassionate... and sometimes there's a cool, unimaginably alien indifference as She shatters lives and breaks hearts, a remote blankness the ant sees on the oncoming car's wheel... 

We've never spoken, but I could swear She knows what I'm planning, exactly why I'm trying to stay just far away enough so She can't reach for me, but keeping Her close enough to watch, make sure She can't sneak up on me on one dark night, around a blind corner. So far She's mostly amused, not insulted... and why wouldn't She be? She's seen this before. So many billions of times before. The ways and means have varied, but in the end it's all come down to that moment, when the light fades on all the pleading, the tears, the fights, the pain. 
The moment when the light fades away into the silence. 

A baby and a middle-aged man, one a stranger, one the remotest acquaintance, yet...
One is dead, the other is dying, and behind each unknown face I see a familiar one looking out, through that tangle of hair, and is that a wink?

We've all been there, she whispers, done that. Give it your best shot. You're interesting. Maybe I'll give you a little chance. Just to see how far you get. I got the razor to your throat, the bead on your head, but... let's run, anyway. It's fun. 
And who knows?

She's looking directly at me now, like the few times before, and wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, I can feel that glance, sliding in like an abstract icicle shard, a diamond-edged scalpel slicing through hopes, dreams, fears, desires, wants, plans, every resource I've saved and every defense I've built. Straight to the heart it goes, and stops, with the faintest single crystalline-cold tingle of a touch that reverberates through my life, then goes back, a little reminder of how close she can get, and how ephemeral the world and all I held close in it was, to begin with. 
A little reminder of how it can all end. Anytime. 
Anytime She wants. 

That's fine, I whisper back, I know you're there, but let's run anyway. It'll be fun. 

And her razor grin widens as her whipcord body relaxes, and - yet again - that tiniest nod. 
Go.

And we run. 

We run through traffic, through blaring horns, skidding rubber, and hurtling metal; we run through the billion, trillion little killer lives hanging in the air waiting to take root; we hurdle open manholes, dodge fizzing, spitting power lines, skate under crumbling, creaking edifices, and past dark alleys glinting with watching eyes and waiting steel. We run past claws, teeth, stings, and talons, we run through deserts, skate over thin ice, jump dark chasms, through freezing cold, open flame, and a witches' brew of poison, we run through night and dark as thunder growls in the building clouds... 

We parkour through that dazzling, dizzying obstacle course called Life and and I can still see Her, still here in the corner of my eye, effortlessly pacing me in the distance, and She's laughing in delight. 

And She's laughing because, no matter how tired, how damaged, how heartsick, I'm laughing too, and I will keep laughing till all the laughter runs out, into the silence at the end. 
But for now, this is the most awesome thing ever. 

And we run. 

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