“Somehow the way the sensations of the world just possesses you when you’re barreling down the open road, it seems as if Life just isn’t really your choice anymore, more like it’s a narrative unfolding and you’re following the script. I could feel the floor of the car vibrating some wild rhythm in tune with the engine, its almost like the universe was kind of focused on me. My preoccupation was upon the mounting tension I could feel upon making it back to Chicago. I was only a couple hours out, but I could already feel that icy blast of cold air as soon as I opened the door to 417 Reynolds Place. I was gonna hear it, the pure acerbic cries of Jody, and the distaste of her mother’s mother. The point wouldn’t be that I was back, but rather the time it took to get back, and the prior destination as if she didn’t already know, and how I was spending my time when I neglected to answer her daughter’s calls. But I already know how its gonna go, Jody’s mother wont let it happen that way, not for too long. God knows I hate her mother, not Jody’s, her mother’s mother. I’m still not even sure if Jody’s mine. Kira…if anybody could make space for me it would be her, Jody’s mother, Kira. If she’d spent half as much time paying attention to her own life as she did worrying about me she might’ve had her own place by now. She surely would’ve been finished with school; I know Jody will though, when it’s her time, of that I’m sure. You know driving down this country road like this kinda reminds me of the sort of stuff you usually hear as a kid like ‘the fresh air will do you good’ or ‘stay inside for too long and you ain’t gonna turn out too right,’ I always had trouble with that sorta thing what with growing up in the inner city and all. Most kids spent their times outside, I was inside listening to my grandfather tell me stories about the old country. How the family used to be much richer back on the island, all the weird shit people got up to after learning the secrets of obeah, and all the faint distant lies of what African royalty used to be like. I used to think that sorta stuff was cool if not a little bit scary, now I think its all pretty funny. Such a shame how the old era ended, now we’re stuck in the land of the Yankees paying taxes to colonizers while our county is being called a shithole. The same people who sign off on the paid leave of the men who shot my cousin down in the street like a dog three days ago, walk around my neighborhood eager to buy our property and purchase my aunt’s ‘ethnic cooking’. This is the last thing I want to think about as I’m riding across state lines with my dead cousin in the trunk, it’s the sort of thing that makes me remember just what I really can do when I put my mind to it. Don’t worry; the cops will never see me though…not if I don’t want em to.”
What lies at the core of worship?
Even the most devout atheist, in some form of another worships.
There exists, a compulsion in humanity, to latch oneself, an agent of transience, to The Fantastic, The Ephemeral, The Numinous. Whether it is to a God, or perhaps zealous adherence to secular scientific doctrine, maybe even The Artist who seeks to affix herself to eternity vis a vis her magnum opus, effectively becoming a saint of her craft.
In the simple work that we do…
In regards to the pursuits we engage in with ease, that feel as a natural extension of self expression; what springboards the individual towards mastery? For the hobbies we love, we enjoy them not simply for the sake of the act, but rather mastery of the act itself. I do not believe this is simply an outpouring of Western tradition, it seems worldwide people are not content to write a story, but rather write the best story they have the capacity to write. It seems a very human thing to triumph over and above oneself.
At times I have felt when I am writing my poetry that it is not so much me that is writing but rather I am having a higher metaphysical communion with a force or agent of which I am only capturing the bare minimum due to the poor capacity of my feeble mind. Forever relegated to snatch crumbs but never perceive the big picture.
But this isn’t true at all is it. The human brain is as of the moment of my writing the most complicated and sophisticated structure in the known universe. What am I really yearning for in my pursuits? As I live and draw breath and wake up with vague purpose, living through the banality of my day hazily and lazily until The Spark ignites in me during truly singular moments. Like when looking at a beautiful woman and being moved to a state of selfless expression. Or waiting vacantly for the maelstrom of ideation to take hold of my wanting consciousness. What moves me to strive? Above and beyond. It validates my existence in a way that is so existential I feel I could handle any great expanse of time or myriad obstacles The World would throw my way so long as I retain mere embers of The Spark.
For without my art I am lost…
A flame absent a wick on which to burn…
Even as I’m writing this something stirs within me…maybe a psychologist would have some designation for what it is I’m feeling, maybe what I’m saying is wholly insignificant, experienced by innumerable human souls before me since antiquity. But this feeling of being tethered to something greater as I pursue the highest capacity of this instance of my work, I believe lies at the heart of worship.
It is in these singular moments of silent, nigh psychic communion, perhaps with my subconscious or the metaphysical world beyond, that I feel lies the crux of worship. It is in these moments that I feel Death holds no sway over me and that although my flesh is bound to erode I am fundamentally impervious to destruction.
I am comforted.
I personally am not necessarily all that religious, I am also a staunch proponent for much secular science, but in moments like this I believe…In the ever twisting and stretching limbs of Space and Time, I am significant not because my work will be honored, but because I have honored my work.
We are all vehicles to the destination of immortality.
Stranger things have happened…
Somewhere in the vastness of a churning ocean once, as waves berate rocks into sand.
Under a twilight sky of mystery and intimation, as stars alight dreams and daring of impetuous mortality.
Maybe if I…
Could steal some late hours from you.
Duality is selfless, its hold on individuality selfish.
Soft smile aloft fragile shying wings.
Can I twist the vapors that shapeth aero-space, for you?
Lay your pinions betwixt the aether, scrape aloft stellar parades for you?
March at celestial pace for you, lie in wait attuning Heaven’s gate for you?
Selfishness, that begets selflessness.
These things I feel. And are true.
Eyes that hum like levitation, in the silence of the cosmos, as I lay bare my truths to the peering, beckoning Sun.
Body built like obliteration, humility, worship…My last to be offered beyond my sake.
In you I am lost…
My center redeemed.
As soon as Abigail’s hands found themselves upon the handle of the door, the distant bell above the cathedral tolled as if to spurn the heavens into motion. Looking up the vision she saw unfolding above her nearly brought her to her knees. The previously unremarkable sky had completely transformed, golden light poured from every corner of the sky as if the entire sky had been repainted with the rays of the sun.
Gently falling from the golden sky like snow feathers bright as stars plummeted softly to the ground. Joyous laughter welled up from Abigail’s heart as a feather floated down into one of her outstretched hands. The profound and beautiful silence of the moment moved her to tears.
The giant doors to the cathedral were lighter than air to her touch and swung open eagerly before Abigail’s fingers. She stepped into the cathedral and was shocked at how small and comfy it was on the inside. Aside from a few rows of pews and an altar on the other end of the room the cathedral seemed to contain little else inside.
Abigail walked towards the altar trying to make out the strange glyphs inscribed upon the far wall. She stopped shortly and try as she might the more she studied the symbols the more bizarre they seemed. She turned her sweeping gaze across the other features of the room; there were no symbols in the room defining any particular religion.
The benches that made up the pews were crafted from simple cherry oak. She inspected the back of them hoping to find a Bible or Quran perhaps, nothing. The carpet stretching from the entryway to the altar was a simple red with white borders along the edges.
Some candles set inside of candelabra in the corner of the room on either end of the altar gave no insight. Upon the altar itself, white cloth and a jeweled golden chalice. “Communion maybe?” Abby thought to herself. She leaned over and looked into the chalice, nothing. Frustrated and slightly crestfallen at the lack of answers Abigail turned to leave.
“What have you come in search of?” The question most certainly ringed in her ears but was it coming from someone else in the room or her own mind Abigail wasn’t sure. “I don’t know,” replied Abigail aloud. Her eyes darted around the room for the possible source of the voice.
“What have you lost?” This time Abby was clear, it wasn’t coming from her own head, the voice seemed to be coming from the room itself, with no distinct center. “Faith,” Abigail said addressing the chalice on the altar. “No,” the voice responded.
The voice almost reminded Abigail of Nana but somehow distant, softer but somehow stronger. “What do you mean no?” asked Abigail defiantly. “Not it,” the voice replied simply. “You’re wrong, that’s why I’m here,” Abigail replied desperately. Her voice was quivering, full of doubt and fear, if this wasn’t why she was here then why would she be? “I’m not close, but I’m not lost,” the voice whispered.
“I-I need your strength…” Abigail pleaded, the words almost failing her. The voice did not respond. “Please, don’t leave me, I don’t know why I always feel so lost,” Abigail had uttered the words with utter humility; she was moved to speak to the voice by a force she did not know. Her pride and knees failed her as she cried out to the voice from the cosmos.
In the silence of the cathedral, as Abigail cried on all fours, she felt a warmth flooding her crouched form. “I’m never far,” the voice said breaking through Abby’s cries, this time distinctly above her. She looked up and instantly felt at peace.
The figure stretching above her filled the room with golden light. With wings as pure as ivory and eyes glowing with sunlight Abigail struggled to comprehend, the entity’s form. The Angel’s garb was a purely embroidered dress. She sported ornate golden jewelry all across her body. Her hair flowed as slowly through time as if woven with magic. The angel reminded Abby so much of her dear Nana, but also looked profoundly different. Maybe this was Nana when she was younger? But no her face was different, one Abigail couldn’t quite make out.
In the presence of the Angel Abigail could feel an immense power welling up from deep within her. As she looked down at herself, she could see golden light pouring from herself as well in the presence of the Angel. In the Angel’s hands, Abby noticed the chalice stretched towards her expectantly.
Understanding dawned in Abigail’s mind as she reached into her pocket and withdrew the feathers that she had fallen earlier. Lowering them into the empty chalice, the feathers turned into a glowing liquid. Abigail pressed the chalice to her lips and drank the contents full.
Instantly she could feel the effects, the liquid making her body feel as light as a feather. Deep inside, Abby felt an old wound close. The Angel smiled and wrapped itself in its wings vanishing in a radiant glow of light. “Wait!” Abigail cried out. “Never far,” the voice echoed, this time inside her mind. The light from Abigail muted substantially in the empty cathedral, but a portion remained all the same.
Even now, Abigail could sense herself stirring, waking from the dream. She tested her lightness, and surely enough, as soon as she willed herself to, she found she could fly. Facing the empty chalice and altar, the glyphs on the wall illuminated as if lit by an eternal fire. The walls around her were beginning to fade as she began to wake, a single word churned into being like fire in the darkness, Gratia.
It took Abigail more than a moment to quell her quietly seething rage as she stood before her exam’s classroom. Mere thoughts of having to speak with her sister caused the unease of their frequent past arguments to surface in her mind. “I have to focus, I’ll deal with her later,” thought Abigail shaking her head. She adjusted her glasses and performed a reality check, pressing the index and middle finger of her right hand against the ones on her left.
This seemingly bizarre act to an onlooker would be easily understood by any other lucid dreamer. “I’m not dreaming am I,” she asked herself already fully knowing the answer. “No, I’m not. Now lets be done with this.” With her mind clear and resolute, Abigail turned the knob of the door and embraced her final exam like an old friend.
It took Abigail no more than thirty minutes to finish her exam. After enthusiastically shaking the hand of her excitable professor Abby flew back to her dorm to pack away her things for the break. The time elapsed quickly as Abigail packed away her belongings, only the most essential of which she planned to freight home with her. By around three o’ clock she had already finished her lunch and called a taxi.
Twenty minutes later the car pulled up to the school’s main gate and Abigail settled into the backseat after stowing her suitcase. She spent the roughly half hour cab ride to her grandmother’s house silently writing all manner of wonderful works, almost none of which would ever reach the eyes and ears of the needed. When the car pulled up to the familiar old gate, Abby couldn’t help but sigh blissfully. All manner of fond memories welled up in her chest as she stared at the slightly aging house.
The driver removed Abby’s suitcase and she thanked him curtly with a stiff nod and a crumpled note hastily removed from her wallet. As soon as Abigail wheeled her suitcase up to the front door it opened expectantly. She was greeted by a waist high precocious face smiling up at her, which then proceeded to press itself into her knees.
“Abby!” The muffled face squealed as it hugged her legs. Abigail chuckled weakly, “Hi my little munchkin how are you?” It was her cousin’s son Kevin, although to Abby he was more like her nephew seeing as her cousin was more of a sister to her than her actual one was. “Come on let’s go inside,” Abigail said as she strained to carry both the boy and the suitcase in each arm.
As she crossed the door the familiar faint smell of incense and scented candles greeted her. She looked around, the entryway as she remembered, the dining room to her right and a case full of dinnerware and piano in the alcoves of the opposite room. Ahead the staircase loomed leading up to the bedrooms, around the staircase to the left was the living room, and to the right the kitchen. The house was small but cozy, a bit dimly lit and chock full of all manner of accouterments. From the numerous pictures scattered about the walls and the candles around the house lighting various rooms Abigail felt a remarkable lightness she hadn’t experienced since moving into her dorm.
From the kitchen Abigail became distantly aware of sounds and activity. “Mommy Auntie Abby’s here!” called out Kevin. Immediately her cousin rounded the corner into view from the kitchen, tall and fit as ever Abigail’s twenty seven year old cousin grabbed her son and proceeded to vigorously draw Abby into a deep hug. Her cousin Gloria was a fitness trainer, a major inspiration to Abby in terms of both confidence and physique; she also was the one who did her hair. “Oh my gosh! Why didn’t you say anything! Nana come down, Abby just made it home!”
From upstairs Abby could almost feel the labored heaving of her grandmother’s scurrying. Now eighty-eight years old, the doctors recommended much bed rest for the old woman, but Nana was never one to remain still for long, especially when she had a valid reason. Abigail climbed the stairs and met her grandmother half way.
As soon as she met the kindly old rich brown eyes tears of erupted from Abigail. Feelings of deep gratitude, joy, and utmost safety welled up from a place far beyond Abby new and she found herself again weeping into her grandmother’s arms as the old voice just repeated the same words “I know baby, I know.” After Abigail composed herself she raised up so her grandmother could study her. The powerful searching eyes roved her face and probed her deeply.
Even now the old woman was still formidable, graying fibers sprouting from her head, mottled brown skin, back firm and straight, and the scent of lavender pleasantly wafting from nowhere. Nana or rather Ms. Christine Willard was as mighty and eternal as ever.
“Goodness, you look ever more like your mother every time I look at you,” said Nana shaking her head slightly. “Lord, lord, lord you must be killin’ them lil boys down there ain’t you?” Abigail laughed softly “Oh come now Nana they don’t” “Now I don’t want to hear that now child,” said Nana abruptly cutting her off. “You been opening up girl, you gotta open up now child, these boys they want a strong woman now. I’ll tell you now when I was young your grandfather thought no one could keep him down, but I tamed him.” Abigail laughed and shook her head. She remembered her grandfather well; he passed when she was about fifteen years old. “Come on downstairs child, let’s fix you something,” Nana said as she clambered downstairs towards the kitchen.
Sacrifice is the foundation of love. It is love at it’s purest. That is the role of a gift, a superficial way of demonstrating love. That’s why dates or a gifts are so important in the earliest stages of a romantic relationship, it’s a visceral display of “love”. A sacrifice of money is befitting of this stage in a relationship due to the fact that neither you or the other has stripped down to the core of the others character. In the beginning your partner needs to “see” your love for them, as time passes, they need to “feel” it.
Acts of sacrifice are important for developing oneself…it is an important tie between the disparate forms of humanity. Humility and service are important for that reason, giving of time and self to enter pure communion with others. Not social networks, nor transhuman ascension. This is why truly and meaningfully helping someone feels so filling and empowering to you. In the pouring of oneself into other, gratitude is returned unto you. That gratitude stays with you, and in turn that person forever lives in you by shaping your actions and memories from that point on. It’s easy to rest in peace when at the end of the road you are not alone.
A profoundly selfish life is sure to leave one with regrets and terror. Living for oneself characterized by, academic or professional veneration, and blind pursuit of pleasure, will weigh heavily upon oneself and serve to isolate you by virtue of the fact that expectation and lust are empty and leave no profound positive change on the psyche once the day is over or the setting has changed.
This leads to a life of distraction and sedation, a person becomes utterly dependent on substance and circumstances to distract from the profound emptiness in the core of their being. In a worst case scenario, they view a person or simply being in a relationship as an object of distraction. Clearly any relationship where a person finds their core in such behavior is doomed to failure. The key to overturning this then is not further development of oneself, but rather an unburdening of one’s ego, and humility directed to others, empathy.
Sacrifice is at the core of mastery. In order to attain mastery the sacrifice of time must naturally be great, and ultimately that’s why it is hubris to view oneself as a master, one can never truly make the sacrifice necessary given our mortal condition. There are virtuosos, yes, but even the gifted must sacrifice to retain their talents. Love is also at the core of learning given the nature of sacrifice, and that point is easily missed in traditional academic settings. Commonly we believe that we love subjects that are easy to us. But this is a superficial sense of love towards the subject much like a cheap date.
We may always want to pursue that subject because it feels the right fit to us, but also consider the alternative, when you come to a moment of clarity in a subject you hate. Perhaps when you are studying alone or listening to a tutor you suddenly get that spark of understanding, and that one concept illuminates other concepts in the subject which you formerly could not perceive. Be aware of the feeling of invigoration and empowerment you are awarded in that instance. As that concept illuminates others, you are in a position to see the subject in a new way and ultimately, frees you to see the subject’s beauty.
A very thin thread ties together all knowledge, and if you can appreciate the beauty of subjects you don’t particularly enjoy, it becomes easier to see that thread. But also there is no selling short the feeling of content when one transcends their weakness through determination and time. And that’s why the price for cheating is ignorance and hollowness. The Universe is profoundly fair, any price paid is always repaid in kind. If you truly love the world, no sacrifice in learning about it should be too great. Give up on a teacher maybe, but never on a subject. And above all never give up on yourself. After all attaining enlightenment doesn’t come down to having something you feel you don’t posses, it’s about giving up something we all posses, Time.
The sprightly spider spins it’s silk as thoughts give way to dream. The dawn weaves through eaves of leaves towards hallowed eves of rites belonged to dusk…
All against the still wood.
Nests nestle, songs settle, birds bellow…
All against the still wood.
As life endeavors to the sun in mottled leaves and aged fibers, deep channels, and stirred soil, Steel tries it’s might. It must yield as stone does…
All against the still wood.
Fire maybe or poison perhaps, all is sheltered beneath the frayed fractals of the still wood.
Air exults as rain tumults, force fractures the sky. And still against calamitous end perseverance tensed it’s roots.
Stalwart seeds sift through space, tending towards the terminus. Solemnity is ripened and plucked as humility is laid to rest…
All against the still wood.