elizabeth lane lawley
michael "OC" clarke
e v h e a d
sweet fancy moses
wood s lot
m. melting object
Monday, March 17, 2003
Baby Grand Blues 6
More than anything, I wanted to, still want to, bless her life. Say yes yes yes, as we said to each other once, say yes, this too. Say yes to all of it. The depth of field, the clarity of the air, these mountains so shocking, immediate, the wrenching pain of separation. I tried to let go, to release whatever held me, held her back, tried to say go in peace. Do what you do, be what you are. That is what I loved in you.
What I could not let go of, what held me, what saved me in the end, was the adamantine, unbreakable knowledge that I could bless. This power I never asked for, never wanted. The knowledge that these words are more than words. In the name of love, Bono sings with U2 driving the incantation home. And it is an incantation. Not of the Father. Nor of the Son nor of some spooky pseudo-gnostic Zeitgeist. Three times no. In the name of love...
Los Brujos are not "ghosts." They are not "witches," too tinged with our thinly veiled Puritan fear. They are skinwalkers, dangerous to encounter accidentally in the desert. Dangerous any way you cut it. They are my brothers in arms, awaiting your return. Blessing and curse so intertwined they meet at the root of this magic. Hummingbirds and rattlesnakes both. You cannot choose.
I called her from London, a thread, a thin wire all that still connected us. Or so I thought, looking into my heart for a blessing I couldn't find. For me. For her. For what had been us. A love adamantine, I believed. Unbreakable. "I am sitting," I told her, "looking into myself. It feels like I'm dying."
"Well," she said, "you've come closer than most."
Closer to what, I wondered. And than most of whom? Suddenly I was not who I'd been to her, who I thought I'd been. But in a long line of others stretching back into a life I'd never known, would never know. Could not, from where I was standing then, holding on, my hands useless, eyes and ears stricken, unbelieving. In the year ahead, I would work hard to understand what had shaped that life, her heartbreaking habit of withdrawal. Habit, withdrawal; funny that those words have multiple meanings. Always a telltale that there's more tale to tell. And I promised myself if I lived I would write it. Say whatever sense I found in that life. Whatever sense I could imagine, make up if necessary. To survive it. For a long time, though, no sense would come. An empty past. A future measured in minutes. Keep breathing. Keep breathing. No letup. No solace.
"I would burn down the world for you," I once told her. She liked that, she said. Appreciated my devotion. Let me light a candle then, to recall that moment. Rekindle what I once felt. Mark its passing.
"We all like to think our pain is greater," she said at the end. Smug. Telling me how it was. How it is. Telling me she knew about this. Erasing me. Just a natural part of The Process. Something too horrible to hear. Her voice colder than winter. And this morning, this Spring, still trying to conjure blessing from these memories, I think instead of Bringing Out the Dead. I am in the ambulance, careening across an alien landscape of impatient traffic unaware that anything has happened. Uncaring, unconscious. But I am not unconscious. I am broken and bleeding, hurting more than I ever thought possible. Dying. Knowing I'll never make it to the hospital. That there is no hospital for this. And she is bending over me with a syringe full of morphine, saying we all like to think our pain is greater. Why is she saying this? Torturing me. She smacks her forearm, brings up the vein. I am watching in slo-mo technicolor. She slides the needle in. See? she says. Backwashes a little blood into the cylinder, pumps it in. And ah, she says, I feel much better now. I know that I've done the right thing.
Like all myths, the myth of the vampire is an attempt to explain something there are no other words for yet. For which no sense has yet emerged. But one day your head snaps back and you know it ain't no movie, baby. The myth of the vampire is not a myth. And I'd invited her. Cross my threshold, I said, and went down on her in deepest adoration, drank from her, and she from me. There is greater life, I said. We both knew it. Only in different ways. There are lies so deep there is no way to tell they're untrue. Some loves so false, they look hyper-real.
Do you feel like a victim, she said. Look into my eyes and tell me. Whatever you say, you are over. Look into my eyes and tell me this isn't happening. How conscious do you want to be for the operation? How much do you want to feel, remember later? Not that there's any anaesthesia anyway. Just wondering.
I prayed for death. For anything that would make it stop. I knew something that would. There's a liquor store two blocks from here. That would make it stop for a while. For a few blacked-out hours. All perfectly legal. Or I could get a gun. ("Why don't you just get a gun," Jagger was singing back then, "and shoot me through this heart of mine.") Or see how fast I could get my car to go with a full tank of gas. How big an explosion it would make run into a concrete bridge abutment at a hundred and fifty. All pretty much equal. I found a shrink who could prescribe. I said give me something so I won't drink. It was a rare act of humility. I knew I couldn't take it. I knew I'd get loaded in another eight hours, ten at the outside. I knew what it'd feel like to let it flood into me, over me. I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away...
The Magician bent over double, clawing the ground. Heaven and Earth disconnected, man and woman, sky broken to pieces. Pain adamantine, unbreakable. And people asked me, why? I asked myself. Can't handle his liquor. Can't handle his women. Not much of a man, then, is he? Pain like that. That can find all the places you're vulnerable, weak, uncertain. And pry them open for your consideration. For your ongoing education. You'll learn a lot about yourself from this. You hate people who say that. But they're right. And for that, you hate them even more. But yeah, I learned a lot. I learned what it's like to keep living when your only faith is broken. Discovered what breathes for you when you cannot breathe.
I knew she had friends who were comforting her. Supporting a sister in a time of trouble. Telling her she was being strong, making the right decision. Finding her own story, telling her own truth. Strangers, witches, feeding her bad counsel, whom I had held in moments indescribable, whom I had carried in my heart for half a lifetime. And she fed on it, grew stronger, the plunger dropping, shooting up what was left of my love. Flow Morpheus slow, let the sun and light come streaming...
I took back the fire from your eyes, and cursing the darkness lit a candle anyway. But not to remember. Blew on the little forked flame we had created. Fucked it into a different purpose, my Lady, than Lawrence had in mind. To torch every bridge that could lead me back to you. Gathered what I had left of words and burned the world down. Forever. For good.
And now how do you like your blue-eyed boy? What does it feel like to be walking in my skin? Deep in New Mexico, deeper than you've ever traveled, los brujos, my brothers, await you. Google offers to translate: "Beyond the fish the sea remained single. The roots had attended the burial of comets in the immense plain of which no longer it has blood, and were tired and without dream."
[to be continued....]
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