I didn’t feel like writing a regular blog today, so I wrote this instead. Random stream-of-consciousness fantasy typing.
Your mind conjures up a sunset and a cigarette, an empty beach and a back porch, the warm salty sea air licking up against your face, just you and the seagulls, you and the waves, you and the forever horizon, the dunes and cliffs, the setting sun and awakening moon, the promise of what once was, just you and the thoughts rattling around in your head, too many to count, they keep coming and coming like a swarm of bees, and so, what else? Maybe Miles or Trane floating out of the sound system, keeping the thoughts company, serenading them with something blue, muted, soulful, modal, precise, in a silent way. And a cold beer, yes, a cooler of beer, iced down lagers – something light, Danish, almost a pilsner – something smooth and easy going down, pairs well with a big pot of chili, simmering on the stove.
Shit, the chili!
Did you add the paprika? Did you add enough cumin and salt, did you sauté the onion to the right degree of tenderness? Should you go stir it? Are there enough frijoles? Should you dump in another can of tomatoes? Do people add paprika to chili, is that culinarily correct? No matter – you add the paprika, you do, maybe only you but you do that voodoo that you do so well – you’ll add the paprika if you want to, along with the cumin and chili powder, la carne de vacuno, the Mexican spice trio, and a ton of hot sauce – just keep pouring it in, hermano, don’t stop, you’ll know when to stop, you’re in your world now, your world will tell you when to stop.
And there’s a game on the telly, yes? Yes, there must be. Some kind of game, some brand of sport, volume muted, big screen, HD, electric wired-up comfort food, you’re not even watching it but it’s on, you’re outside and it’s inside, but you need it on, you glance at it as you pass by – Touchdown! Home run! Backhand winner! No-look pass! Header into goal! Nine iron, tight to the pin! – reminding you that there’s a world beyond this world, even though this world is what you need right now, and nothing else in the world.
How weary you’ve become, how spent and used up on the sound of your own voice, the thoughts in your own head, the sound of other voices, the thoughts in other heads. It sucks away the oxygen, this eternal ruckus, the
cars, trains, buses, traffic, noise, crowds, buzzing, slamming, grinding, shrieking, yelps, yells, sonic booms, slamming doors, honking horns, loud voices, any voices, and
the anger and grievances, the vitriol and battle lines, see them erupt like a volcano on the microchip machines, in the grocery line, at the tube stop, on the Capitol steps, higher and hotter they go, full of invective and conspiracy theories, oh sweet Jesus, but what hath our brains wrought, what becometh of our powers of Reason, whence our Sanity, our Humanity, how did we become such infants, throwing our lot behind witless boobs with tangerine hair….
We humans have a special gift, and let us now embrace it, and keep it near at hand, this gift of imagination, the means to flip the script and switch the channel, turn it off, reset, reboot, reimagine, see what’s not there, live what’s not here, out there on the empty beach, beyond the waves, the high cliffs and sandy dunes, the cold smooth lager going down easy, numbing the brain cells, massaging the soul, Trane blowing blue and low and slow, life in B flat, and no place you’d rather be than right here, on the back porch, with the warm sea air and the setting sun, the imaginary props of a temporary world, locked inside your head,
where none can enter.
And it’s time to stir the chili.
*The illustration accompanying this dream is courtesy of the author, who has taken up drawing of late. It’s called Cliffs and Ocean.