2012: “the shape of punk to come,” my blood still whispers
the weather is changing. they say it’s getting hotter. but it’s not.
i feel it to the bone.
it’s getting colder and colder. we’re headed for an ice age, man, the waters to surround the earth, embrace the wounded land, and to hold it hard like that in ice the earth. . . for a long . . . long . . . long . . . time.
we look at the blue sky and white clouds.
she says, you know what i like about the end?
everything is reborn.
no, i mean the end.
like nobody survives the end?
yeah . . . like never again.
um, what is there to like about that?
everybody’s equal. i want to see that. i want to be there. it slays all paradigms.
i want your heart, i say.
she says, i want your skull.
we’re on a boat. we’re the only survivors. you got to see everybody equal. you carry the wisdom of its witness. our boat is a ghost ship, with a crew of skeletons.
what is a ghost?–a restless soul.
like u saw this cat once get hit by a car, remember? SMACK! instantly killed. and you know that cat didn’t get to process what just happened. one second he was in his body just being a cat, and then he wasn’t. his body stops in its tracks. but he’s still zipping in and out of traffic, still being a cat, still trying to find his way. that’s a ghost.
the skeletons are the ghosts of such creatures as died without warning. there are fourteen. they are the ghosts of sea otters. one minute they were frolicking off the coast of half-moon bay, then they were blasted totally out of existence. someday, when some semblance of balance is restored, they will pass into the spirit world, and we will miss them. but for now they are with us, and the tragedy of it all is lessened by their presence. we see birds in the sky, too. but they’re not real. they’re just things we imagine. and we’re not ghosts. we don’t need to eat, though. when everything on earth was destoyed, we were in a buddhist temple. and in the ruins of it afterwards you found in the remains of monks some pearls we ate and discovered to be perpetually replenishing. we are aging, but much more slowly than b4. we are strong, and it’s with ease we climb the tall mast in the evenings and rock out on high, looking up at the ashen dome of death and imagining birds.
naturally, one thing leads to another. and the humanoid race is restarted. twin daughters, aurelia and bluebell, and a son, hercules. all are healthy. when they are three, the sisters divide like amoebae, there are four of them, and when he is sixteen our son dies in a storm and on the wind returns as an army of men of astounding genetic variety. we are proud of them all, and all call us mother. such things and others like them, things we never thought possible, they come to pass like it’s nothing. it makes us wonder, on a sea of wreckage under a sky black with smithereens.
you confess one day 2 something weird.
the earth was changing like the sea was rough. the winds were gale force and everywhere waves like skyscrapers crashing. we had all sails hoisted, every skeleton to an oar, all singing nina simone’s “sinner man”: power, power, power, power. below deck our sons and our daughters labored, keeping us whole with hammer and nail. lightning shot through the night like veins exploding light and thunder, and the thunder hit us broadside like cannonballs. hear me praying, lord lord, hear me pray, lord lord. a skeleton had been swept from its station and was clinging to the rail. was it to life it clung? we put our shoulders to the wind and made our way stubbornly to its aid, the deck tossed like the dealer does the cards.
we heard on the winds the roar of the beast. the winds smell of death as always. we saw the corpse of a whale thrown like a rock at the face of the moon and so hard it almost made it. i say, sugarz, there is no way. there is no way. i love you. i love you.
and you say, pretty baby butterfly, i need to tell you something.
just say you love me.
lately i’ve been seeing the future.
like in dreams?
no. like a view from above. we’re okay for now.
you say the main thing is to invent stories for our children to carry with them into life’s second chance.
i made up my mind that day. there’s a million ways to say things about it. but i got nothing to say. i’m here to stay. i decided it. my candleflames so counseled me. who are we to question?
we are lovers. and in questions we make out.
there was death on the installment plan, there was debt. the world is full of broken hearts, and there is war, disease, and there is evil. bombs explode and people die and numbers rise and ghosts abound, perplexed and full of sadness. adrip with greed and ruined are the feathers on beings god made to fly.
and there is you, and there is now.
you bring me like a present to the moment. and i trust you to be wise.
here, hold this.
ok. what is it?
i’ll tell you in a minute.
whoa! it’s really heavy.
don’t drop it.
what happens if i drop it?
(she’s so heavy)
o, shit. quick, gimme yer skull.
[INSERT HANDS SPINNING COUNTERCLOCKWISE SWIFTLY: FADE TO BLACK, VERSION 2: FADE TO LIGHT, NO WITNESS].
i drag you screaming and kicking on a journey to the center of the earth.
let me go, you scream.
the cave is small and the rock is dense and your voice dies, it’s awful.
i’m sorry, sugarz. i can’t.
i want to see it, you sob. i need to see it.
you claw rabidly and kick.
we can’t. we’ll die if we see it.
we’ll die anyway. do you know what it means to be damned? we are the damned if we don’t see it.
we are not the damned.
i drag you to a chamber and hold you down and unwrap blankets. the mountain shakes. we are deep. and alas, you are tied up–i stand up and step away and pant with relief. i hear you weeping. i light the only candle we got. it shines like a glow bug. you are beautiful in the glow bug’s colors. i must see you. death may be any moment. i must see you even if it’s to see you hate me. god knows i hate myself. we must try, i plead. wisdom isn’t everything. damnation is our only hope. you are wiser than i am, and it scares me to take control. but i need you now. be with me, please. i’m scared. i’m not a buddhist like you. i’m a dog.
a sorrowful droning grinding is the sound of everything dying, and in the wake of it falls a silence so deep, the air so totally still, our hearts rap with terror at our throats. we hold our breath. our blood is the blood on earth still in proper motion. and one thing leads to another. we are engulfed in flames of our own making as meteors hammer the planet, and we howl with ecstasy.
we discover we don’t need food or water. all you need is love.
in the months to come, i listen at your stomach to our baby, like i used to at the stereo my vinyl. forty days and forty nights a steady rain washed out of the heavens like a mudslide the remains of global cremation. beneath the stars our daughters are born, but life is hard, bitterness comes easy, and our love falters. without love, we starve, and to save us you breastfeed everyone, yourself included. you say the milk is made of ghosts. we bear many children this way, you giving and giving. we barely age. our love grows strong. but nonetheless, life is imperfect, and every so many years, in order to survive, we must slay and eat one of our own children, like america ate its young. we live with ourselves by dying on the inside.
to our children, u sing:
can i scream?
we lack the motion to move to the new beat.
we lack the motion to move to the new beat.
i play double bass: doduhDUHDOdoduhDUHDOdoduhDUHDO.
and i sing:
i want to see the sunrise.
waiting for your surprise.
cannot believe my eyes.
where have you been hiding out all this time?
and you play double bass: buddhabuddhabuddhabuddhabuddha.
knock knock. who’s there?
who was there?
you were there. and i was there, on the inside. deciding whether to let you in or not. i was peeking out thru all these different holes. they were different shapes.
did you let me in?
yeah. but when i let you in, i wasn’t there.
where were u?
i was in the kitchen. u r like, where r you? i’m in the kitchen. i don’t remember if i let you in the kitchen. i may have made you stand in the living room.
it felt that way.
it felt like that, like i was standing in the living room. it was a struggle. i almost gave up.
you never left.
i gave up almost like three times.
no you didn’t. i don’t believe you. not like shut the door, i’m done, this is goodbye for real.
oh, no, not like that. don’t say such things.
you went into the closet. you went into the closet like a little bird and waited. waited for the female bird to come get you.
and did you?
and then what?
and then we mated.
it’s bright out here.
close your eyes.
then i can’t see.
no need to.
is that safe?
it’s only safe.
put your other foot down.
right where it fits, perfectly.
ok, what’s that feeling?
YOU and I falling away.
d.. “2012: `the shape of punk to come,’ my blood still whispers.” pen on paper. a dog and a buddha are in love. it is the end of the world. they are of different views. in and thru love, they fly on like jimi hendrix and sweet angel.
d. is an artist in Portland, Oregon. Prior work has appeared in *The Collagist*, *[PANK]*, *Birkensnake*, *Fringe*, *Tattoo Highway*, *Split Lip* and other places. www.organizedvoice.org