Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Survivor



SURVIVOR

I remember the days of running.
They were days upon days of slippery running on glassy ground
under an electric forest, with whispering wirey trees
tangled together into angry knots.
And the birds did not sing
or breathe,
but lay everywhere still,
like colored shadows in the long twilight.
Days upon days, every day the same.
Every day we were running, running away,
feeling forever in a winding tunnel of wind and echoes,
a path of perpetual survival.

"Run, scream,
scream to hear yourselves.
Run, scream,
feel the life inside you and hold hard on it.
Follow the little soft lights.
Stay in the shade,
or you will burn away
and become skulls with empty sockets,
and forever-frozen jaws."

I remember the days of running
with a huge roaring crowd,
all of us with electric shoes that jumped up and down,
each footfall shaking the floor, a great thumping sound,
flooding the room,
flooding our heads.
Sound upon sound, gigantic, total,
always the same, the unceasing clamor,
clatter, crashing rush
of running to save our lives.

"Run, scream, shout the song
with your synthetic throats.
Shout with the dance of the electric feet.
Shout and run and stay with this beat,
because music is dangerous; like fire
it will consume you utterly.
But we are running to survive, day upon endless day,
and we will never change."

One day
I remember running.
It was very early in the morning,
and the blue rain was falling all over my face,
splashing, stinging, vanishing into vapor,
into the florescent cyan mist that was light to my withered eyes.
One day among all the days upon days,
I was running
and I turned my head.
I did not intend to turn my head,
but I could not help it.
I thought I saw something.
My eyes were fixed against the edge of the sky.

"Run, run, and never stop
for in the stillness you will die.
That one over there has stopped and turned:
his face is white.
He says he saw something.
He says he is hearing something.
Now he vanishes and runs no more.
But we run into the day, and the days upon days to come.
We are running with those who survive."
A man was sitting in his lounge chair going through his Twitter feed and it was all the usual stuff, you know, nothing ever changes, but then he saw a tweet from @XX and he always paid attention to @XX's tweets, so he read it and it was just HORRIBLE NEWS! He thought, "Lives keep being snuffed out! What a brutal world we live in. But this is especially unbearable, to be so young with so much vitality and so many hopes and dreams, and to just get killed like that. Why did this happen, why, why?"... but then his lament was interrupted by an inner urging: 'Look look look!' What? 'Look look look! Look there! Look there!' "Wait," he thought, "There's something to see here, if I'm willing to look."
I stopped running one day.
I looked.
There was a flash on the horizon,
not like the dawn that comes every day
mild and sweet and seldom noticed.
No, there was a flash
like the convergence of a thousand suns.

And even as I turned to look and listen
the sky spoke thunder
and white hot light swallowed the earth.

There was no time.
No time to dither or complain,
to flee or to be afraid.
There was no more running
and nothing was the same anymore.
Everything had changed.

Everything, and yet...
There is a strange space of passage, still,
inside this flashing moment.
For who calculates the division of this instant;
who can fathom the depth of its duration?
Who knows how to measure the distance
between the beginning of the end
and the end of the end?
What we know is that the moment has come,
the time is at hand.

I am still here today with my scars
and people call me a "survivor."
But in this gifted interval which I cannot hold,
I tremble and hope and speak of what I have seen and heard.

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