It was a usual day in almost every aspect except for what was missing. There was an absence of a crashing roar that I had come to take for granted after a lifetime of living next to the sea.
“How long has it been like this?” the man asked me.
As well as I could remember the ocean had been functioning as normal the night before. Wave after wave came crashing in, spraying a salty mist which coated everything in front of the churning gray organic stew with a sound that, above everything else, I what I had come to know as the sound of the earth itself. Its breathing, its pulsing… if the earth was a living object, then surely, the ocean is one of its vital signs. Falling asleep, waves breaking at the base of sheer cliffs far below; whispered secrets of a forgotten past.
The assholes who had culled in the power of the ocean and that had choked it with an onslaught of silty poison… the fish that smothered and suffered under the weight of countless belching smokestacks.
I am the horizon, I am unreachable. Take four footsteps forwards and I will always be there, four steps further away from you.
We are on a journey that will take us to places that we cannot even imagine. The journey can never end until we are told that it is over. What are we walking towards? What are we expected to do?
I think of a woman; I dream of her – obsess, even. Men sense their own baseness, and we idealize and idolize “woman” as a vision of unobtainable heaven, one that can deliver us from all pain. It is a curse.
It is a woman that I am dreaming about when the idea of the trip first enters my mind.
…so we cut ourselves free from this life. We, the students of science, of philosophy, history, dying, impotent disciplines, in this poisoned environment. Academia stifles itself.
The present never pleases me until years later when today’s present is cruelly revealed as the finest time of my life: never had I been more handsome, more charming; never were my friends so exciting and so stimulating as they were in yesteryear’s “today.” Sometimes the only way to get through today is to see how it will seem a few years from now.
The trip took from what we feared and cast us into utter freedom. We had no support, everything was thrown to chance.
I was not happy with my studies, I was not happy with my life, I was not happy with my parents’ relationship, the only yardstick for my own which had just fallen apart. It was like the ground opened up behind me and I knew that it was time to leave.
I despised drama, always had, and never meant for my life to become one. I had never meant to do anything important, I simply needed to be free do what I was doing, finding meaning could come later.
I went to my last class not long thereafter, the image of the woman still fresh in my mind, but at the same time absent, like a memory stained by a perfume or a poison.
I am lost when I try to see the world poetically. All the “things” get in the way, and the best I can do is to try to juxtapose those objects in pretty ways. My first step was to go to a place that I had never meant to go. I wanted to see a desert, I wanted to see an ocean, I wanted to learn how to pump gas, I wanted to know which fork to use, I wanted to graduate, I wanted to have a good job, I wanted to be able to support myself, I wanted to stop wanting so much.
It is a way to get around, to go faster and faster through the routine until acceleration lifts you out of your orbit. Nothing is predetermined, I know that now, though I could have never convinced myself of it before my parents left each other.
Finding meaning in life is a trap; nothing means anything – I’m certain of that – but I still don’t know what it means.
Muscles and veins and nerves and bones make a man, and this one has a desire for a woman that is so strong that I can taste it.
On the road and free again, I’ll never know what is actually happening and what is just remembered.
I feel like I am in a hospital. The room is taller than it is wide or long. I feel like I am in a hospital because of the way the sheets feel starched under my naked ass. I feel a dull aching, like I had had too much to drink, and my throat feels raw, like I’ve swallowed a pinecone.
Since when did explanations have to be good, I wondered. Explanations just tie observable actions to motivations, and no one motivation can be any better than the other.
I am not sure how I got here, of why I need to be here.
I know that I am injured, my joints seem so stiff… my mind is too cloudy. I feel as though I might be missing fingers.
I know that I can fight, that I will not stop defending myself. I get angry and when I do, I don’t back down. It’s been that way since I was a kid. Today, I want to look civilized and demure with the veneer of a gentleman able to pass through an airport without enduring random security checks. I like having the illusion that accomplishments are somehow a suitable mask for the weak and ugly person that hides beneath.
Schooling is perhaps a way to mask our inability to deal with the real weaknesses lurking directly beneath the surface.
Now I admit that there is no science in art and that there is no art in science. A person cannot live always inside of themselves.
When the Japanese first started to import foreign literature, Western translators discovered that no Japanese word mapped well to the western concept of love.
Imagine a whole island full of people living for thousands of years with no spoken way to describe an abstract feeling that in the meantime had become a central aspect of European culture.
I want to be in the crux of a y, I want to be there the moment that the ocean stops beating.
Ocean waves are the earth’s heartbeat. On the day that it stops beating I want to be on the beach looking out over the glassy expanse with a flat stone in my hand.
I want to be there on the day that the earth dies, sending out a shuddering sigh that shakes all of our cities to the ground.
I want to understand all the things that I never have.
There are always two rivers flowing through the minds of men. One is flows in the direction that they are meant to go in and the other is flows in its own direction. There is no place for insanity in a disordered world.
Who knows what I am meant to do in my life?
Not me; otherwise I would have done something about it by now.
I want everything but can do nothing.
I am living a world of the mind an don’t even know what I want to say.
I do know however, that I was sitting in a basement bar in Taipei drinking myself into oblivion one shot of tequila at a time. I was writing by hand, page after page. I knew that I was going to finish my whole notebook and that I would read it the day after as my body voided itself of the poison I was feeding it. I would drink until the words flowed freely, and then I would keep drinking until my mind was empty; until I was unable to put pen to paper to form a letter, a word, or a sentence, a story, or a message. Then I was going to write an email to a woman.
When we get to the point that we can say nothing more, that I when we will truly find out what it is that we have to say.
This was the idea at least, the rhythmic nature of the ritual of drinking hypnotizing myself into a state of suggestibility and then I would tell myself what this as all about.
I am in a car I am on a street. What do I want to say? What the fuck is wrong with me? When I write I can make the pen move and dance on the page and actually see how I feel without being able to understand the language that I am writing it; when I type the whole game changes and I am somehow separated from the story that I am telling by a screen that burns my eyes. What is the story here, who are the people? Where is the death? Where is the sex? Where is the passion and how am I ever going to get to it if I am not able to even show my emotions on the page?
Before writing for me was such an intellectual thing, now I am flooded, soaked with emotions and I am finding that my old vocabulary is sadly and sorely insufficient to describe new things that I suspect are central to what it is that I want to write about.
Indecision, passion, flowing and loving, feeling and opening and connecting and getting past the things that get in your way just by keeping you what you always were. It has to be a search, it has to be about lost opportunities and forgotten pasts.
There is a world of worlds out there, each one with a different heartbeat. Our earth has a heartbeat of liquid water, whereas Titan has a heartbeat of liquefied methane. It is a flutter of a heartbeat, it is light, it sounds like it might faint at any moment, an intricate dance between figures in a book, a beautiful dance between numbers in a calculation.
The sound of a dead planet, the sound the ice on Pluto. Its heart has stopped. We know it as Pluto, as Pluton, but there is no way to describe what it really is. It is a “small planetoid,” sure, but there is still nothing on earth that we can compare it too… were Pluto to come and lie on earth somewhere, what would it look like? A giant marble on a plane? What would it feel like? Cold. Smooth? Would it be a round beautiful marble like jade spheres for sale in snake alley in Taipei?
What would we think of it if we could see it and smell it? Everything has a smell. We could bring samples of the moon back to the earth, but would they ever let me pop a piece into my mouth just to see what moondust tastes like?
Where is it.
It is time to get focused. Do I have something to say? Yes, but that is exactly what I should never say. People who say what they want to say are annoying – you can see right through them. The story that someone wanted to tell is so transparent compared to the story that found itself, that asked itself all the right questions and was able to tear itself out of the terrible state of non-existence!
There is a lot that I hate about training myself to be, to quote my MIT friends, “a goddamn miracle of modern science,” but then there is a lot that I love about it too.
Am I a hard drinker?
“Fuck no,” says the brute, smacking the little shit on the crown of the head and sending him downwards in a pile. The world can blink out of existence for just a while as I sit there in silence. Why does a man meditate? What is it that goes through his mind?