futility

If it aint what you lost that is more than you can bear then maybe it’s what you wont lose. – Black

fatigue had already set in as the hill approached. music fading in and out testing the final wire of semi-broken earbuds. the song came on beneath a layer of slow breathing. it was the kitsch lyrics that caught the quiet of the morning

No, it aint. I got what I needed instead of what I wanted and that’s just about the best kind of luck you can have – Black 

the peddling became automatic as the lawns blurred past. vision became the inside of the song. there was no turning off the energy remembering walking into that room, the beeping. the oxygen pumping. this heart pumping.  i realized tears were coming. there was no room for their escape. lungs already taxing. why so many years later this flood could come despite our breakdown.  you knew this shadow. a life without a road. it wasnt what you wanted but needed 

Let me finish. I dont regard my state of mind as some pessimistic view of the world. I regard it as the world itself. Evolution cannot avoid bringing intelligent life ultimately to an awareness of on thing above all else and that one thing is futility. – White

Cormac McCarthys words tonight remind me that the body continues dying. somewhere you may be breathing. it was not your desire nor your belief. who was more the professor – you or me – death was always black and white with no inbetween

Cormac McCarthy leaves us rather unsettled with “The Sunset Limited”. McCarthy pens another story that captures the dark side of the human psyche – but not without reason. This short play reminds me why there is genius in brevity; an art to minimal poetry…the tale lingers long after the page ends. “The Sunset Limited” is one of those short works that begs to be reread after you’ve contemplated its words. I stood with White, understanding his skepticism of this world and God. I cheered for Black to succeed just to see where it would take the ending. One wonders if McCarthy knew going in how this tale would end. I cannot tell you who ‘wins’, but will say, it was wonderful to wade into the depths of McCarthy’s blues once again. 

although our story ended before it ever began there shall always be a forever and again. this isnt a candle. this is the promise of a beginning when the darkness begins. if that darkness never comes then it shall be a surprise to all of us who forever wondered but never worried a path. do we speak in hush tones as we walk the road alone. perhaps it is the shadow that never escapes into the sun. if that is this fate then it was never undone. but somewhere there is almost a slice of your laugh remembered. you shake your head at this ability to stop living while breathing. it was what killed us in breath and what will kill the ability to live. there is no sunset limited tonight only the limited. you said you believed in what stood before you. did you after this shadow grew invisible. do you now ~ 

[bold quotes are lines from Cormac McCarthy's "The Sunset Limited"]

The Sunset Limited

The Sunset Limited (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

when a blind man sees

Do you ever close a book and wonder what the hell just happened? How can a book that is a mere 250 pages (perhaps less) leave so much unease, so much to ponder? That, my friend, is the brilliance of Cormac McCarthy. It is why I resolved to now add the Border Trilogy to my reading lists. McCarthy has a unique hold over my imagination. Damn, what I wouldn’t do to have a throw down of drinks with him some autumn night while the porch swing squeaks and a dog somewhere welcomes the rising of the moon. Yes, I do believe that would be magic….

Here is the brief summation I posted over at Goodreads:

When the final sentence was read, read again, read once more – I closed the book reluctantly knowing that McCarthy had presented me with a bit of knowledge yet to be absorbed.

What amazes me about McCarthy’s style is his ability to create a story in which one is immersed in the lives of the characters he presents without us really needing to know much more than the present circumstance. Their voices are important, but we never really care about them – that is not the point. Case in point in “Outer Dark” I followed Rinthy and Culla, but only because they were the portals into the outer dark. I never root for a McCarthy character to live or die – I just wish to see how their story concludes.

Many have called this Southern Gothic or Gothic, but for me it cannot be labeled as such since it could be as easily backwoods Appalachia today, minus the hangings and tinker. McCarthy’s minimal text does not mean minimal context – he has so much going on in this story that the mind still whirls.

Bottom line – if I were a biblical scholar (or even, just a bible reader) I do believe that this parable would hit me between the eyes. That said, the blind man certainly wants us to know one thing – he sees more than most of us.

The only thing I would add to that is the amazing parallel of writing style to the other book I picked up again today, Breton’s, “Nadja”. Granted, McCarthy is not writing as a surrealist, but this book certainly had that feel to it as we bounced about the story – characters introduced without warning and then reappearing without seeing the door open. This story was especially brilliant – a patchwork quilt whose pattern seemed seamless, yet there was a common thread in the end.

One thing I shall posit in order to help form a more cohesive thought in the future — does McCarthy use roads as a tool to tell a story. It seems that in each book read thus far, the road offers the story a mode of transport – no direction is ever a given, and often, a back road or a side road has to be taken in order to forge on, even if it leads to peril….

 

 

a panharmonicon :

38.
A note of note from David Shields’s Reality Hunger: A Manifesto,  ~ new type of literature as seen by Emerson, 1830,  ~ “a panharmonicon” – in brief, literature that included EVERYTHING… even the “lowest of personal topics” are permissible.

(on that note…is it not intriguing to dip our toes in another’s still waters)

I will end with a recommendation – Cormac McCarthy’s Outer Dark.

Today was a day for escape. The mind has been a bit full, the heart a bit withered, the blood a bit thin, so, there was a need to create a different vista. CM’s books oft take me to places that remind me of playing make-believe from childhood, when the tree scrub behind the railroad tracks became vast forests in which I traveled far and alone. Outer Dark takes you deep into the woods – the backwoods -where the unthinkable happens – the reader  is never quite prepared for the next page.

The story begs to be read outside, preferably near a deep woods. There really is no such a place around here, so, the dog and I traveled to the next best thing – a small lake. A tiny adventure that left the spirit a bit more calm, but still longing for another vista. Tonight, the book is half done, and I’ve begun to wonder just how deep into the dark of the human psyche McCarthy shall venture. An amazing read thus far…

roots

roots

vista

vista

the chair was facing no where… just waiting.

guitar strings meld with a breeze that cries for thunder under a drape of southern sun. does this wind carry the cries of Isaac’s touchdown, surely it has swept into the echoes of yesteryear remnants. a land, a people, torn asunder only to revisit a nightmare that walks boldly anytime of day. 

a jet echoes our sky, the ground seems to sway under its lowing pressure. acoustic rhythm patterns a hard laborer’s hammer. he builds a dream of some other person’s castle.    

Is it construction, or destruction; we could argue, but there is no changing the West’s ways. We continue to get drunk on the oil of expansion, usurping all oil until we fight for that last dregs that shall shimmer in our enemies pupil, teasing us to try to capture its last weapon – mass destruction, we peril.

as the man lays dying, McCarthy describes the long look the weather-beaten horse gives from the shanty door. death torturing  the flea-bitten animal seems more mournful than the dark fate of one with four limbs – two to walk, two to destroy their kin with knife or gun. there will be blood – Cormac makes one cheer for the horse that races down the dusty arroyo, breaking free from the holds of its master’s whip and weathered boot. damn the man whose sole purpose is to hunt the scalps of humans. each animal that crawls from a wild moonlight breathes life, reveals a bit of humanity – isn’t it strange, that the animal is less beast than the animal not beast.

who in darkness shall spill blood out of an empty hunger? who under the shadows spills blood out of just emptiness? 

I took a random day off today…several hours of vacay are the one perk of living a boring, stable life in which one has held the same job for a decade. These thoughts were composed under a shade tree, a shady area that is a stones throw from where I reside. Pandora currently streams classical guitar (Christopher Parkening) while trucks next door honk with their filled dirt loads, signaling the next truck to pull into place. A constant chatter of hammers and nail guns compets with the random bird that doesn’t seek cover from the afternoon heat.

Heat rolls over the pup and me; flies dip for a taste of us; I taste the cooling coffee from an old glass jar. Cormac McCarthy  entertains with a brutal world of a wild west we’ve never experienced. He paints it heavily in blood and brilliance; not an ounce of compassion is spared except for an animal about to die. The 1800s were a beastly time – savagery on the plains and in the canyons, blood spilled was equal opportunity – be it white, black, red or brown,  down South, only the ghosts slept peacefully.

the chair was facing no where… just waiting.

Z and I went exploring – this is what we found after following a road that currently leads to no where. We rounded the bend to find this chair. What you cannot see is the nice neighborhood in rural suburbia that is on the other side. However, it seems more fantastical, romantic, not to reveal this bit of information. Instead, keep imagining a scrub of land where someone has decided to occupy time to just stare into where? Does he or she stare at the moon while whispering to the stars a lone desire. Perhaps the last  person on earth, too far from anywhere; too far to desire the last drop of oil or blood. ~

dreaming under the influence of McCarthy –

we were on a mountain. it felt like Colorado, it could have been anywhere, though, as my brother said at fourteen: if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. (he referred to mountains, but oft said such things about anything that bored his senses) i roamed a landscape  filled with washes of greens and greys, not the ochres and rusts of the Southwest. the South would make more sense since reading Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. memories, however, steep longer in our mind, igniting the senses with tasted reality, than a black font across the page that then triggers a formation of lines and colors. we become audience, passively whispering our thoughts into a characters mind who shall never listen to our wisdom. we wish they would listen for we’ve tasted their death, it has been rebottled and reprinted with a label bound for the bottom shelf awaiting closure.

there was a certain amount of closure in that dream. some how we said good-bye. scratching the surface after twenty-four hours of eyes open, the mind’s eye doesn’t quite peer that deep anymore. a cliff overlook where we dined as cars zoomed past us. where did we expect to go after that, yet there was a pause in traffic when we stepped down to meet the ground from the mountain. it was too late, nothing remained sane after that. we moved on; the light was too bright from the East and my curtains are the colour of champaign…good for drinking up, but not for sleeping in.

remembering then forgetting. my father told me the other day that i had seen the Smokeys when we drove to Florida. i said, i don’t remember, i was only six. he said, no you were even younger, five.

why do i recall a glimpse of Disney’s haunted mansion, and overhearing that girl in line warning to watch for men that snatch young girls off coaster cars? why does the image of agonizing over cream fish net tubes of preselected seashells conjure a smell of dank water and a midwestern grocery trying to sell fresh seafood? where did those mountains go? i know, perhaps that was when all 45 pounds of little girl body wedged into backseat vinyl trying to sleep while fighting brother’s bony feet every inch of that cramped car. thank god the mind does forget the tortures of being trapped under the mercy of waiting and watching, hoping that someday the answer will be, yes, we are there.

**********************

how do you wish to die?

it was certainly a statement, clipped. it didn’t ooze patience. no, it was thick as blood off the lips of one whose questioning was calculating a motive. one could reason mortality with such questioning. does that mean it is up to me how i shall meet the final exit.

his hands flexed, fingers thick rolls of flesh with nail beds that showed sins of godlessness. how to reason with someone who views  your last breath more as sport than game. could i outthink him to make it an ending of less pain. could this vessel be broken without being broken into. there was a whispering, somewhere. 

will you really honor which ever way i say?

glazed eyes gleamed briefly. a glimpse into the machine. power ignites, there was no doubt his wheels were turning, waiting for a version of my dream. lie, it was the only way. 

i cannot say.

i cannot give you an offering at such stakes. 

it is not a fate i’ve ever dreamed.

the words came out in strings carefully stated without begging, without a sign of anything. his body remained in state. hand rests. the mouth drew a thin white line. heavy brown brows furrowed until a dent formed between his eyes. sweat begins to form.

it was an odd sensation, this feeling of being underwater not breathing while air kept sending strands of hair sideways. i prayed for wings. i prayed for fins. i prayed though i’d forgotten to whom to pray ~

(tbc)

the road, but not that road…that road, the one with no path

It was a dream in segments. Reordered now that flashes have co-mingled with the jarring of real life. What is reality, really?

flash

The table, mahogany, three leafed, brass hinged; it is much finer than the antique of great grandmother’s walnut one in their basement. How peculiar, this one, with its one leaf folded down adorned with an embroidered tea set somehow glued on it. Garish. Ghastly and ugly in its pastel, kitschy glory. The man seemed so proud of it when he presented it to his old bride. She seemed suspect; perhaps wishing a diamond for forty years of endurance not a faux tea set embellishing a table she shall only have to pay the help to polish.

flash

We stood on the sidelines. I remember a Chinese double door lacquered bright crimson.

Look at that! The man imploring me to turn was my father, though younger, ashen hair still thick upon his head. He wore ugly brown loafers I’d never seen in our real life.

flash

Shoes – shoes kept creeping into this dream. In the scene before, the shoes of interest were silver platforms. They belonged to my best friend, but they were not shoes she normally would have worn. Hooker shoes, or at least of Gaga nature. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from those shoes.
Why was I there, just dropping in any way, she wondered.
I wondered that, too, for it wasn’t my nature. In a split second there was a knock at her door.

flash

Why are you here?
We raced from the storm. Everything had turned black. The city streets clogged with shoes and tires and screams.

Is it a fire

No

Is it a storm

No

We headed away from the charcoal thickness that began to choke our throats binding our eyelashes shut.

Look at that! He pointed to something otherworldly; Pixar created, a segment from a childhood dream fantasy. An industrial pipe a block wide was heading down the street. It had a gigantic head, a round gaping void of gunmetal grey, spewing waves of ash like a Chinese dragon shoots flames from its curling red lips. We ran.I’d entered The Road.

I had never watched, nor read, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road  before the above dream. Many years ago, an old boyfriend read it and left it in my home telling me it was my kind of book – dark, he said, you’ll like it. I fashioned a bit of the storyline in my mind from cataloguing the DVD for the library… Viggo’s hooded form sticks in my mind, yet, there was no great study of it beyond those picture flashes.

A black trade paper with copper & white lettering now resides on my bedside table. I dug it out of a cupboard where it has kept space for at least five years. Just a few months ago, I thought about adding it to the donation pile, but something always stopped me.

~ Flash forward 24 hours ~

The above was written after reading the first 50 pages of The Road. The dream was so vivid, even 8 hours after waking, that there was a need for documentation. The dreams of ash spewing mimic McCarthy’s constant reference to a landscape of ash — curious. The father/child dynamic has the mind ticking. The book itself has captured the imagination. There is something there that is for me to see…there is something in that dream that continues to hide. It is in books & dreams where the real action often takes place. I pray for another flash-filled night. ~

(a photo of me & z…it was 100 out, but The Road is one of those books that is best consumed in the enviro. I’m lucky, despite the hell of living in ‘burbia, a plot of land one block over is undeveloped with trees…a blanket was all that was needed.)

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