Tuesday, March 20, 2007

when was the sky food

Woke up with the sun on my bed all over my face. Went through my normal routine at eight thirty and chucked about like I was a piece of my own dirty clothing on the floor until I decided it was best outside. Went out, walked. It is still cold but the snow is melting and I walk by backyards where the grass is growing. Green, with dogs barking and everyone milling and wandering. Where are they going? Do I want to know where everyone is going? All those people, and all of them with a place to go to and something to do. But then I can start thinking about the people who don’t. Maybe they are just out and then go back in. As if prisoners given some time in the sun. A taste of hope until the guards yell out, ‘Line up! Its time for yer’ cells again,’ and they all, in sluggish movements—some of them praying to god under their breath for escape or salvation—shuffle inside.

Sometimes I feel like that. Tasting life. When do I get a bite to eat? A meal that will fill me up so I won’t be hungry anymore. My stomach is wringing in pain, I lie looking up at the ceiling of my cheap room, and want so desperately to be full. But it doesn’t happen and I can slump down inside this cell of mine. ‘Tapping the inside of my mind.’ And telling myself. All in here, there is so much, but look how none of it changes a thing.


A last town before the frozen tundra and North Sea gasps for air at the tip of the world. Svalsbard is higher up. With frozen ice sheets balancing delicately on the water. Small forms of humans on expedition up North, searching for polar bears and something that only the ice and frozen winds can give them. Where there is nothing. And if a man wants to stare at himself in the face, then he goes there to do.

But Tromso is before all that and occupies cuts into the sea, where tiny red and yellow houses are fences on the landscape. With roads of dirt and snow and ice in between. And the downtown area can be walked up and down in ten minutes. From end to end. Until there is nothing left for the eyes to see. Then we look up!

I saw the Aurora on Friday night after eating sushi and drinking a couple of beers. Pointing off in the distance. Unsure whether its clouds or the sky of fog. But clearly it morphs from a dull line of wisp of grey and green. And we walked out to the darkness of the end of a dock in the harbor of the North Sea. Looking at it. Watching it change from that light color to moving hands—three of them—all green and playful in the sky. A light I have never seen before in my life. Nothing like the clouds and sun colliding together. Or a sunrise across the flat land of the desert. Dipping below and turning purple and orange all it once. No! It was just an alien green of fingers in the sky. Moving from one end to the other. And then the Aurora started dancing. Slowly and pacing itself. So slowly that eventually it seemed to be moving away.

All I could do was look up and wonder if the people that lived here always looked up into the sky to watch what I was watching. And I thought rather sadly that they cared little after knowing it for so long. But I wanted something deep and profound to come to me. Something that only few would be able to write or utter. But instead all I could do was watch and my mind was all blank. I thought maybe this was a moment of such joy that I could cry. But there were no tears. Just the green lights up in the sky dancing away.

We walked away after it seemed to die and fade slowly back into the stars and black. Shivering and cold. And when we thought it was done we were approached by a drunk man claiming to be a sailor.

Short and stubby. He smoked a crushed cigarette and glanced at Alex. Wondering why fairies were out on such a cold night. And why such a creature as myself. Deep and in dark colors stood there with such a light creature. He had a beer shoved in his coat pocket and glanced around, thinking maybe, ‘Maybe she will capture me with a riddle or spell.’ Because Alex would start speaking other languages. And he would try to keep up. While I stood there watching silently and engaged in no dialogue and no talk with the man. He would only glance my way slightly from time to time to see if I was still there. A shadow in the night. And as they continued to banter as if this were a play. A comedy in the night with the Aurora.

Oh! I can imagine it now, Shakespeare diligently writing away in drunken stupor. About yes, oh yes, here she stands, ‘With red hair! And metal beneath her lip! Gifts from rock dwarves deep in the Iron Mountains who catered to her as she grew her wings. And now yes! The great oaf and sailor who has lost his way and stumbles upon the duo. The silent man who slowly treads after the fairy. Searching for something. Nothing to be found. And as an only companion, there is nothing else. But to make sure there are no snares and that there are smiles!’

This was our play. And their dialogue, his lies, and her jabs continued. When I grew bored and looked up into the sky and pointed with delight. The strange hands were back. And now brought partners in tow. All together.

The sky exploded!

There were explosions of lancing lines of purple and green and I thought deeply, I still having nothing grand or profound. Just me, standing there, trying to capture the strangest sight of light I have ever seen in my life. Moving across the sky. It arced back and forth and drew circles. And then far away in a distance a green line curved from the mountains off far away into space. Like an emerald road. And the old sailor pointed and said, ‘Yes, that one there. Is a beauty.’

I nodded in agreement and we all stood there in the comedy of the night. Observing the Aurora. And eventually it faded and the man bid us farewell. Before telling us he was studying the event for weeks. I asked him, leaning in. ‘Do you have something written about it?’ He closed his eyes and then looked at me and then up at the sky and his lips were cracked. He then had a strange epiphany and remarked nothing. I smiled and was almost about to say something but thought better of it and the red haired fairy and the shadow of the night moved away and we drank some more and then slept as the night continued on in practiced revelry to fight the cold. The day ended and we slept until then too.

And my mind always scribbling in my red notebook. Capturing the event. But still, nothing to say. Only to tell about it. From here to there. I wish I desperately had some sort of thought, a moment of clearness. But nothing, and I thought it would be perfect. But that sort of thing eludes all minds and everything that lives and breaths and then dies.


There is one more thing to say of importance regarding Tromso. A spot up in the mountains. A cut, a pass of road from top down a cliff and towards the sea.

Alex, her friend the bartender, and myself drove up to this spot. Where our host graciously waved his arms about and showed us the frozen peaks of the mountains and down below was the sea so far away. With the lights and houses of the town. A road below. We walked around and they went up a hill while I stood by a fire for a while trying to muster something out of myself. But I was spent. And all I wanted was to lay down in the snow forever. Maybe with the winds blowing layers and layers of ice and snow on top of me.

The sky, here, was so thin and it felt like I could slip between it. Then I would not be here on Earth, and I would not be in space. But in a sort of in between state. A sliver in the hand of the world. I thought it was beautiful. And because of the cold the sky was frozen and dull. A pale yellow, a pale orange, with clouds that were struggling to breathe. We left after getting cold and went back and the trip was other things. But it was those things that I brought back with me.

Now back here. I am still spent. I am still worn and I need something. I look at pictures of groups of people. All standing around with hands waving, shaking about dancing, moving and being erratic and caught in the grip of joy of being together. But I can’t have that because it doesn’t fit. Just puzzle pieces, and I don’t want any of it forced into place. But I do want something. Where I am getting at is, I miss my friends. The people I relate with. And all the things that make them who I know.

round round, round run away from those waves

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