22SEP2011 – I was walking through Prospect Park. I had my camera around my neck and I was enjoying an ice cream cone. Completely at random, I decided to walk along the pond. A two-man maintenance crew just a few yards away was hard at work pulling the red and green canoes off the water and loading them onto a large black truck in preparation for winter storage. There was no one else around.
As they worked, I could hear weird chatter coming from their handheld VHF radio and it literally made no sense to me. It was a string of words chosen at random and strung together without thought. Complete gibberish, the Latin filler you read in examples of Word documents:
“Neptune five, blathering, sassafras grapefruit gumshoe, guitar neck brace, cat fur dwarf sex…”
It made me think that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be in that part of the park at that place and time. The moment was obviously not fully constructed. Not finished cooking, if you will, just as it is impossible to travel into the future because the future isn’t ready to receive visitors yet. It’s still blurry around the edges.
Construction on our reality continues during each and every minute of our existence. Only in the final seconds of the next minute will the construction crews close the hidden maintenance hatches after themselves, allowing visitors into the world they have created, accurate down to the last detail.
18JAN2012 – I am commuting home on the Brooklyn-bound 5 train. My headphones are in. (I would be wearing them regardless if music was playing – it gives me a false envelope of privacy.) No one in this car is talking; their eyes stare straight ahead or up at the shitty ads for sleep apnea, bedbugs and vacations to Italy. Their faces are full of the stress of the workday. Everyone looks pissed.
Casually, I look to my right; an elderly black woman wearing what looks like a tattered nightgown, a faded pair of blue Crocs and an open winter coat is seated a few feet away, talking to herself. No one seems to be paying attention.
Suddenly, the woman struggles to her feet, exclaiming, “Thus sayeth the Lord!” It was a pronouncement of sorts, as if she’d just reached a conclusion. She begins to march briskly along the suddenly-open length of the car — straphangers subtly turn aside — delivering a disjointed sermon at the top of her lungs and accentuating her sentences with a birdlike stamp of her feet. She has a Jamaican accent and many of her consonants are mashed together. Her words are like holy machine-gun fire, her eyes targeted on something none of us can see. Whatever she believes, she believes.
Three minutes into her increasingly frantic performance and her voice has gone hoarse and whispered, but she does not let up. She passes within a foot of me and I can see that her fingers are gnarled, her nails are wide and there is perspiration on her face. Her neck is thick and bulges as she shouts. She clutches a battered, coverless bible with dozens of bookmarked pages as she continues to stamp and rush about, exclaiming, “THUS sayeth de LORD! Thus sayeth the LORD! Him make de man and de woman and de stars in the sky!” As the train pulls in Franklin, her words cease to be coherent, merging into full glossolalia. The doors close behind me.
In the dream, I am standing at the very edge of what I know to be an enormous wooded ravine, nearly a mile deep. The valley is completely obscured by dense fog. There is a taut steel cable running at a downward angle through my chest, the sort of thing multi-braided thing you’d suspend a cable car with. I am impaled on it. I am not in pain. One end of the cable is bolted to an eyelet on a telephone pole up and behind me; the other disappears forward into the depths of the valley below. Someone is beating on the cable with a large wooden mallet once every few seconds. The resulting sound is a deep, yawning roar, long, low and vaguely electronic, like the echoing song of a mechanical whale, like the Metatron. It is an overpowering, overwhelming, all-consuming sound. The vibrations echo through me, rearranging me. The man with the hammer is summoning something from the valley floor, something enormous that lives down in the fog. The crashing of trees can be heard…
At present, I feel the ‘pause’ button has been pressed on my life. I am waiting for something, but I don’t know what. I can’t see as far ahead down the road as I used to. My plan is no longer clear. Time is catching up to me. Windows are closing; walkways are retreating. Options feel fewer. I made a few good decisions, but will they be enough? Can’t stay here, can’t go back. Sometimes I think about the years and the memories and they don’t feel like mine…
We’ve built so many clever things, so many amazing machines:
“Yeah, but we still don’t know how the pyramids were built!”
Fuck you, the Egyptians would have killed for a cellphone.
You need to solve one disaster before courting another,