the jump

Swiftly moving through the woods. Wandering with a purpose. The air is cool, dark. Blue and grey. It’s foggy. Early in the morning. When everything is a shadow. The trees. The rocks. The clouds. All silhouettes. Unable to distinguish what is real. What’s alive. What’s breathing. What’s beating. What’s waiting. What’s leaving.

Am I breathing? Is my heart still beating?

The wind is asleep. Air still and thin. I’m anticipating a faint whistle. A breeze. Something. Anything. I’m expecting it. Whatever it is. And in this place of expectation, I get lost. Forgetting I was ever gone. Forgetting I ever was. Memories fade.

The anticipation gains momentum. Accelerates. Snatches me up. Is it here? Can you feel it?

Getting close.

At least I’m not alone. At least I have company. My shadows are with me. They tag along. Keeping a distance. Skipping and playing with each other as I carry the bags. There are two of them. Both younger. Nine years apart. I feel safe and secure knowing they’re here. Knowing that they are home. My sisters.

Layers of emotions rumble in my chest. Don’t forget about me.

The transition. The shift.  The static. That sacred time between night to day.

I inhale. I listen. I wait. And I hear nothing.

I feel a quake in my throat. The pressure builds.

And then, an opening. A marked trail. A path through the foliage. I see it in on the other side of the train tracks. Urgency presents itself. I hurry across. My shadow sisters follow closely behind. I don’t need to look around for them cause I know they’re there. They always are.

My ears vibrate. Holding back tears.

We tip toe through the opening and get to a clearing. Change of scenery. No more foliage. Now, more rocks. Dirt piles. A boat ramp that once was. Gotta be quiet. Gotta lay low. We must remain unseen.

I close my eyes. Trying to contain it. Breathe.

We’re on the edge of an endless body of water.  Standing on a bluff. Looking down at this crystal clear water. Lifetimes beneath us. Worlds beneath us. I’m hovering above their crowns. Enjoying the aerial view. They’re getting ready to jump.

I close my eyes. Standing at water level now. Looking up at them. Try to get my phone out. My camera. I desperately want to capture this moment. I wish I could be where they are. I wish I could feel their excitement. I wish.

My phone is out and I’m ready to take the picture. Eager to document this beauty. It’s almost too much. Filled to the brim. The type of beautiful I feel guilty for even attempting to capture. I’m a fool for thinking a picture would do it justice. Nevertheless, I attempt.

They lift off. Headed straight for the water. Slow motion. Time frozen. Watching it through this tiny screen. Scrambling to snap as many pictures as possible. The camera follows them under water. I continue to shoot.

And then they’re gone.

The pictures turn out better than expected. They’re motion photos. Less than a second long. My sisters are flying. Soaring. Holding hands. Their clothes act like wings. Turning in to fins as they hit the water. I keep playing this picture over and over. Eyes glued to the screen. Feeling a painful type of joy as I watch them fly. Deep longing and sadness.

This joy is a place I visit. And I never want to leave.

But I gotta go. I resist. Continuing to watch them soar. Wishing I could touch them.

Wishing.

Waiting. Leaving.

Missing.

Tears, flowing. There it goes.

Heart. Still beating.

Thank god. 

 

 

 

 

 

this time it’s real

it’s the middle of the night, but artificial sun doesn’t sleep. the sky is illuminated as far as the eye can see. blurring the lines between night and day. it’s all so loud. the smell. the taste. the noise. i wish i could hide behind sunglasses. maybe that would make things quieter.

it’s easy to feel alone in a place like this. i usually would. but not this time. i’m with two others. maybe three. those comforting faceless beings who share the same blood and memories as me. we are in this together.

airplanes buzz around like flies. the harder i look, the more concentrated they get. and closer to ground. maybe i’m near the airport. that’s got to be why there are so many of them.

i’m no longer focused on where i am. or why i’m here. because i know what comes next. it’s always the same. each time it happens. one by one, the planes are going to start falling. just like in my dreams. only this time it’s real.

and so it begins. i know which ones are going to be next. each one that i look at falls as soon it meets my eyes.  it’s happening far enough in the distance for me to feel safe. but only for a moment. and then i  remember where i am. this place is infested with planes. more so than anywhere i’ve ever been. and they’re all gonna come down.

they start crashing closer and closer to me. fire and destruction all around. i’m dodging the chaos. trying to shield my faceless companions. i want to tell them where to hide. what to do. after all, i knew this would happen. i should be prepared. i should know exactly what to say. but the crashes are getting closer and this is just the beginning. i don’t have time to plan. it’s all happening so fast.

i love you. i’ll see you on the other side.

i climb on to a picnic table and jump. once my feet are off the ground, i know there’s no coming back. at first i’m just floating. then i speed up. up and up toward the sky. further and further from the ground. why hadn’t i done this before?

the chaos is beneath me. fire from the crashes glimmers in the distance. i’m rapidly accelerating. i’ve finally escaped. relief washes over me like a cool milk bath.

suddenly everything goes black and i’m vibrating. and then it hits me. i left my body on earth.

no sleep

flying half way across the world to see him. unannounced. no call in advance. no warning. just a hazy memory of a shallow promise.

“you’ll have to come visit, stay as long as you want.” he said.

and here i am. but why? what am i doing here?

i’m running on empty. drove straight from the airport to his apartment. its been over 24 hours since my last shower.

the air is thick and artificial. it sticks to my skin. how did i know where he lives?

i park outside. hoping he hasn’t seen me. and if he did? he wouldn’t recognize me. or my car. he wouldn’t believe i’m actually here.

i have to kill time. i can’t just hop out of my car and show up at his doorstep. i have to sit in my car. there’s unfinished business here in my car. i’m not ready to face him.

i open up the center console and sort through my rock collection. which rocks should i bring with me?

i choose a purple one and an orange one and put them in my pocket. i’m satisfied with my selections. my distractions. but still not ready to go in.

my gaze is redirected toward his window. hoping i don’t see him. hoping he doesn’t see me. am i really here?

the seed has yet to be planted. it rests on the surface of the dirt for now. what’s keeping it there?

flashbacks of discomfort. anxiety. an inability to break down the wall. my beautiful, deceitful wall.

the feeling of the wall growing taller. minute by minute, brick by brick. as i sit in this parking lot.

i remember his wall being as beautiful and deceitful as mine. my wall compatible with his. comfortable. stable.

but i jumped over my wall last year. i breathe the air on the other side. no longer suffocating.

second thoughts come and go. second thoughts no longer second thoughts. those thoughts are in the double digits.

i have no money. i have no gas. i’m somewhere in china. and i’m surprisingly calm.

my decision has been made. i turn on the engine and put the car in reverse. slowly backing out of the parking lot. no longer caring about avoiding detection. i’m as good as gone.

i look at a map and start driving toward the green. feeling lighter already. i’m looking forward to sleeping with the trees.

the butterfly people

staring up at the night sky. with my anonymous companion sitting by my side. i want them to see what i see. and i see the stars. all of them. tonight they are going to put on a show. i can tell by the way they start to move. it’s subtle at first. one by one they begin to shift and shoot across the sky. warming up. building momentum. pretty soon they will dance.

and then pretty soon turns into right now. and right now they are floating and jumping around like a confused school of fish. such a lovely sight. i want to take it all in before it goes away. cause it always goes away. this scene never lasts longer than a few heartbeats. and my heart is beating. because i know what comes next.

the dancing usually turns violent. and i usually panic. anticipating doom.  the stars twisting and turning. swirling around so fast my head spins. i panic cause i feel powerless. no control. my human body stands no chance against the inevitable crash. and they always crash.

but tonight is different. tonight i am calm. i know the stars are going to crash because i’ve experienced it before. yet here i am. still standing. heart still beating. i always survive the crash. because the crash is just an illusion.

just an illusion i say to myself. and something shifts within me. no longer worrying about the crash. no longer playing it out over and over in my head and bracing for the impact. this time  is different because i am looking forward to crash. i’m ready for what awaits me. and then a light goes on.

and the light appears to me as a star. but this star is not dancing. its movement and hue set it apart from the others. a tiny yellow ball of light. drifting with the wind. toward me. all the other stars are white. but this one is yellow. this is my star. and tonight is the night i get to formally introduce myself. finally.

the ball of light is getting closer and bigger. it has a dark spot. a silhouette. i see wings. a butterfly. i see the silhouette of a butterfly. a glowing butterfly coming my way. closer. nearer.

i extend my arm and she lands. perches. kind of like a bird. but her body looks like a bat. a bat with beautiful monarch butterfly wings. i am so lucky this creature has chosen my arm to land on. i can’t believe this is happening.

i blink and the butterfly shifts. changes shape. the butterfly has turned into a human. she looks exhausted. she says we’ve made contact before. and i tell her about the dream i had. the one with the path of butterfly wings on the sidewalk. and she nods her head.

she says that i may be one of them. a butterfly person. and only time will tell. they will visit me again. and over the course of their visits, lessons will be taught. and i will be tested on these lessons. i’m told to be vigilant. and vigilant i will be.

i look forward to the lessons. to the tests. the transformation. maybe one day i will learn why the stars dance. and learn how to dance with them up in the sky. and float down to earth. and check up on the people.

until then i can only dream.

sit back and enjoy the show.

the cycle

in the air. on the air. of the air.

off. the air. out of our vehicle. on to land. to this foreign place.

and here. the air. salty. dry. bright.

and the sidewalks. paved with dirt. fresh dirt. clean dirt. pure dirt.

feet sinking in to the earth with each footstep. like walking on foam.

no bags. no phone. no way of escaping the past, present, or future. i am here for the first time. with mother at my side.

she speaks no words. she is able to be. and she being is enough. we’re in this together. calm washes over me. i feel light.

i am her. and she is here.

how long will we be?

no matter.

looking down. i see the butterflies. everywhere. their wings littering the sidewalk. littering the dirt. littering our path.

bodies attached to wings. tiny bodies. or are they snakes? are they tiny snakes with wings?

no matter.

she picks one up. and it turns to mud. i feel the body crumble in her hands. wet and elastic.

one moment these bodies are bodies. and when they are no longer bodies, they are dirt. fresh dirt. clean dirt. pure dirt.

yet the wings that were once attached to these bodies remain. glittering the sidewalk. glittering the dirt. glittering our path.

no longer does this place feel foreign.

for. in this place. the wings are eternal.

and that is enough.

 

origins

please send me a message about my true origins. one that i will clearly remember upon awakening.

And then I drift…

floating. on a campus. through the concrete structures that tell us where and how to gather. the air is thin and frosty. and the sun is about to rise. but it’s still dark. foggy without fog. am i wandering around aimlessly or am i aiming for something to aim at?

i see crowds of people gathered up ahead. inadvertently following the advice of the concrete structures. a small cloud of breath forms above their crowns. it looks like smoke. as i near, the crowd appears more like a circle. and Or is at the center. attention is aimed at him. and attention flows right back to the attention givers.

words are not spoken because words are not necessary here. this is where we go to escape the noise. escape the need for words. residing in the static between radio stations. there is so much beauty and life in this silence. and this silence sounds like tambourines and laughter.

i remember a time when silence was uncomfortable. but discomfort is necessary. a form of suffering. a rite of passage. the moment we make peace with the discomfort of silence, we make a new friend named patience.

we fear silence because we fear change. we fear ourselves. not unaware of our capabilities, but unwilling to manifest. lost in the noise.

and here we are.

i float over the circle and i’m spotted by Or. He jumps up and joins me on my journey of aimlessly aiming. i trust Or so together we soar. higher than i thought i could go. excitement bounces between us, fueling our momentum. Or has done this before. his calmness comforts me and gives me confidence to continue.

we float above the trees. through the trees. through the branches. through the telephone wires. so far up that all we see are dots. sparkling dots. like artificial land stars. i am so happy that i’ve made it here.

i blink. and we go back down. our friend would like to join us. a friend neither of us have met before. but we’ve heard her call. so we show up. we show up because we care.

our friend has long strawberry blonde hair. i want to just pick her up. that seems like the logical approach. and so i do. but she is like a magnet. dragging us back down. she is so heavy. but the weight is an unnecessary illusion.

i notice that Or is keeping a distance. and he’s doing just fine.

so i try a new approach. she knows she can fly. i know she can fly. Or knows she can fly. we know she knows. now is she ready?

i think so. i think so hard that it tingles. i think so hard that i know. and so. she becomes weightless. her weightlessness is perpetual. and so she flies.

my crown is pulsing. now aimed at the sun. we are gaining speed. gaining confidence. and once again we are on our way. to the next radio station.

the sky people

restless. tossing. turning. sweating. eyes closed. ten minutes pass. or is it an eternity? i look at the clock. 4:00. it’s only 4:00. go back to sleep. close your eyes. nobody’s watching you. you’re the only one in the room. just you and your dogs. don’t think about it. stop thinking. don’t think. let yourself drift. back. where you just were. away from this room. out of the windows. back into the night.

and there you are. again. in the room. only now someone’s hogging the bed. someone intruding. taking up your side of the bed. a childhood friend. all grown up. haven’t seen him in years. that’s odd, i don’t remember inviting you here. maybe if i close my eyes he’ll go away and i’ll have the bed back to myself. i wish he’d just scoot over. i’ll keep my mouth shut and hope he’ll read my mind. i don’t want to be blatantly rude.  i haven’t seen him in years.

we’re both awake now. the lights are on. the room is orange. and there’s an infant sitting on his lap. smiling. giggling. we join in. giggling is contagious. and so is love. 

“love,” i say. “can you say ‘love’?”

the baby giggles and responds, “that word.”

smart ass.

my friend looks over at me and says he’s sold his organs for $50. classic move. he hasn’t changed one bit.

my window is cracked and i can feel the crisp breeze gently whooshing in. i want to be where its coming from. i want to be outside.

i feel the need to look up at the sky. something big is happening. something we usually don’t see. something carefully hidden. something that chose to make itself visible. right now. a glitch in our reality

a lion’s face lights up the sky. almost like its being projected on to a screen. and the screen is the night sky. captivating. enchanting.

the sound of helicopters and chaos echo in the distance. but that’s in the distance. i wanna get outside and catch a glimpse of the night sky before it switches back to how we’re supposed to see it.

i waste no time, climbing out of the crack in my window and on to the street outside my house.

it’s the middle of the night and all the neighbors are out to see this phenomenon.  almost like we’re being summoned by the sky. neighbors i’ve never seen before. there’s a sense of urgency. soak it all up before it disappears. 

i rush to the parking lot behind my house to get a better view. along the way i notice the time written down on the sidewalk in rainbow chalk.

four twenty something

they have tents set up. my people. they’re all wearing colorful costumes with body paint and glitter. and i’m wearing pajamas. but nobody seems to mind. it’s a celebration. a festival. how lucky am i to witness this in my neighborhood? in my back yard?

 

drums and flutes are humming in the distance. overshadowing the helicopters. all of these people are so welcoming and friendly. and so bright. like the stars. like the pictures in the sky. i don’t know what to do other than look up at the sky. that’s what i’m here for, right? they laugh and hand me proper eyewear. and invite me underneath their tent. we dance.

been here all along,
celebration,
a’nother day,
every night. coming out to play
only after we’ve drifted,
away they go
only then is it ok
the fae

 

your soul and mine

Today I am here exactly when I need to be here. 5 minutes early. 7:55.  A bus blocks me from my usual entrance. The sun has not yet risen and they are happy I’m here. The instructors. The teachers. The bus driver. I’m the final one. We can leave now. They are relieved they no longer have to wait. Eager for action, they rush me on board so we can take off.

Today we’re having a field trip. Who cares where. It’s an escape from the mundane day to day routine. I’d much rather be on this bus to an unknown destination than stuck in that damp brown dimly lit building. Listening to the mumbles of regurgitated stories and false interpretations. Fighting the impulse to close the windows and wander to another land. Middle school classrooms. No thanks.

I spot Eliot on the bus. I am so happy. Thinking about it makes me happy. Really happy.

It’s 7:58 and we are on the road. Through the woods. Over the bridges. To those familiar concrete cities. They are sunny and white. Sterile. There are no trees in sight, as if anyone’s even looking. I have to wear sunglasses for protection. Instinctively. Or, at least, as instinctive plastic eye shade can be.

We get out and take our tours through the museums. Nothing strikes me as unusual. Or interesting. I’m subconsciously in limbo so I let them lead me. Obey their rules. Submit to the talking clipboard. I suppose I blend in. Calmness shielding me from the danger that is recognition, lucidity, what I do not want right now.

With each stop, we get closer. Nearer. The sky is blue with just the right amount of cloudiness. Reflecting sunlight. Through the wilderness and desert. Green pillows of rolling hills. My chest flutters. I don’t know where we’re headed but I know its where we’re going to be. Where we need to be.

We come to a halt. We’re here. I know this area better than my classmates. Somewhere in New Mexico. Or is it New Orleans?

This place is magic. A beach. White crushing waves meeting the clouds in the distance. Blending together as one. We’ve reached infinity.

Time to shine. Show them around. I feel superior cause I’ve been here before.We’re on my turf. And they need me. Without me, they’d be lost.

I’ll let them get out ahead of me. Explore and dip their toes as I gather my things. My stuff. As I fumble, shuffle, and fight it. They are free. Breathing in that salty sub zero contradictory air.

Last time I was here, I swam in circles.Trying to get away. Away from land. Swimming in circles. My strokes became effortless and I began whirling around. And just when I thought I was lost, I found a tunnel. I stepped through. Getting familiar with the motion of walking again. Teaching myself to use my legs for  stepping, not kicking. Heaviness.

The tunnel led to an escalator. I hobbled down the escalator and looked to my right. Fish tanks. I looked to my left. More fish tanks. I looked up. Fish tanks above me. Why are there so many fish tanks? What a strange place.This tunnel through the ocean. Why do you need fish tanks in the ocean? Or could I be misjudging this tunnel of fish tanks. Of course they look like fish tanks. I have been fooled. There never were any fish tanks. Quite the opposite.

The fish were actually holding me captive. Cutting off the door to my world. The dry world of air and land. This tunnel is a human tank. This is what I get for testing boundaries. This is what I get for swimming away from land. Swimming away from security. Now I am walking in captivity. I start to panic.

Nerves. Firing. Blood. Flowing. Eyes. Twitching. Eyes. Opening. I. am awake. I. am on land. I. am safe. It was just a dream. Just. A dream. I told myself. 

But. I. am here again. Waiting to get off this bus. I’ve been here before. And this time its snowing.

I want to get off this bus. I can’t get off this bus until I gather my stuff. My stuff. My things. My baggage. My phone. My phone case. My bag. My shoes. Tie my shoes. Do all these things. You can’t leave the bus till you do all these things and grab all this stuff. Your stuff. You must carry it because it is yours. Don’t leave your stuff on the bus or else you may never see your stuff again. Your stuff will disappear. Your stuff will become someone else’s stuff. What are you without your stuff?

Ignore those thoughts. Let them pass. Feel them move through you. Entering. Exiting. Gone.

I don’t need my phone. Get off the bus now. Get off and explore. Be where you need to be.

Someone is on the beach digging a hole.  There is no sand. Only icy bluffs. But it is a beach. It is a beach because there is ocean and there is waves. She’s digging through the ice. Drilling. She’s humming a familiar tune. She needs my help. Digging. Deeper. Deeper.

I am death, cried the vulture.

Gil Scot Heron. I know that song. That poem. I can’t remember the words.

Remember the words, Grace. She needs your help. Something something something-taking babies from their mamas. C’mon c’mon you know the words.

A bell rings. An alarm. Ding. I remember the words. That’s it. It has to be.

So if you see the vulture coming, flying circles in your mind.
Remember there is no escaping for he will follow close behind.
Only promise me a battle, battle for your soul and mine.

 

 

the friend and the barrier

i am waiting for a long lost friend. jitters swimming through my body. fluttery and anxious. something rattling around inside of me trying to escape. too bad, you must stay. anxiety is part of the human experience.

it’s been three years. will he look the same. will i look the same? will we laugh the same? i hear the car door slam. shit.
i didn’t know he drove. is this the same person? is that him? oh god. hide in the closet. no, a bathroom. look at yourself in the mirror. why am i looking at myself in the mirror? why am i afraid of what people will think of me? why do i give a shit about people who give a shit about this shell i’m stuck in? fix your hair. he doesn’t care. i wish i didn’t. be cool. be cool.
as the door opens, time sends us back. forward. upside down. what day is it? cut that out, theres no room for these thoughts. instinctively, we hug. adhering to obligatory socially acceptable greetings. standard protocol.
thank god he brought alcohol. why did he bring alcohol? is he nervous too? is this a crutch? or is this just part of the human experience? numbing ourselves so we don’t have to deal with each other. i must size him up. see his insecurities. so mine feel smaller. i want them to disappear. i want to disappear.
part of me, the overwhelming majority of me, the winning side, is thankful for the alcohol. we need something to break the ice. no no, it isn’t ice that separates us. something else. something more malleable. stronger. softer. gelatinous perhaps. whatever it is. this barrier. invisible to the human eye. is keeping us from seeing our true selves. prohibits us from feeling a deep sense of comfort.
my stomach is empty. i feel light. i feel closer to god. i take a sip. i feel drunk. not drunk in a conventional sense. not a drunk I’ve drank before. it feels like home.
i start to dance. forgetting when i started dancing. forgetting where i am dancing. i’m probably in the street. its ok. cars don’t come by often. not that a car would stop me. or even notice me. i am feeling the air. entering my body through my pores. i am consuming it. the air becomes part of me. i am part of the air. i am light.
i remember why i’m dancing. i’m dancing because i have no real interest in exchanging words with this old friend. we are beyond words. together, we know.
i continue to dance. feeling lighter and lighter. i am smiling. it’s working. no time to question what it is. no interest in knowing what it is. but it is working. whatever it is. I’m going with it.
i am so light. i jump and feel the barrier disintegrating slowly. my friend watches from a distance. looking at me like a proud parent. watching their offspring take its first steps. or a bird. watching their baby fall but not hit the ground.
he is pleased. the potion he gave me is doing its job.
as the barrier is disappearing, so am i. lets see how far i can push this. the pavement gets further from me feet. i am kicking and moving my arms. using my limbs for flight. swimming in the air. swimming away from my house. i see the rooftop. my friend looks small. i am at a comfortable height. i do not want to go any further. i take this experience in. breathe. let it enter my mind. i can’t forget this. once i’ve had enough, something switches in the control system of my being.
i decide i want to come back down. knowing i will confuse my friend. knowing what is waiting for me on earth. pain. part of the human experience. i let myself fall. gravity takes my breath away. i brace for the impact. thud.
my friend is puzzled. you were doing great, what happened? why did you come back?
unfinished business.