It is the dog days of summer: hayrides and Abraham Lincoln impersonators, majorettes twirling batons passing on batons to the fresh faces beneath them, forever aging, forever being born, always dying . . . and the bit in the middle . . . oh the soft squishy viscera of the bit in the middle! The baked and boiled bones of it all passing by in a skeleton key dream. It’s frame floats fast rushing through the smokey cloudy haze of survival that curtains off the truth from those who are too delicate to see it face on, devoid of the seven veils that provide shelter from the light that burns the retinal tissue of those not ready to observe the heat of the laws and the fire that is suspended in the eternal night. We are tumbling into fall. We are falling into winter days, but not before it all burns up once again and chokes the good health and good air out of us. I live far away from the soft squishy parts of the middle, away from the guts of the country, out of the edges. I prefer the crispy edges of everything, baked into a hard crust. I like my feet on solid ground, but the smoke descends here, wanted or not, laughing at the ocean and El Nino and offers itself up grey and pallid up to the brilliant blue September San Franciscan sky.
There must be a clown somewhere? Is there a clown out there? There must be a laugh-jockey to pull the Big Joke down and blow some more good strong narcotic smoke on me instead of this burnt wood stench that heralds dark thoughts of planetary death. No? Have I offended the Knights of Laughter? Have I sent them scurrying down their mouse holes to hide beneath the floorboards and scuttle under kitchen cupboards, waiting for the dream to materialize? Am I a woman or a mouse? Am I a masked dream in a cloud of candle smoke. Have I sought out my fortune, or have I simply sought out survival. Fortune spat on me and survival cocked its bulldog snoot. I don’t even get transparency. I have lived too long in shadows. Clarity frightens me. I prefer the curtains closed, the veils drawn and the skies dark. I am that coward that I mock. I am that frightened one that I turn away from. I am my own worst enemy.
Another summer done and over. Another year barely begun and now is on the way out. Time is spinning out of control. It should be March, heading into April, instead I am staring Halloween in the face and breathing in wild fire smoke, wondering how time goes so quickly, and gains so much speed and traction in these later years. Time rolled through molasses when I was younger. It felt as if I had forever. Now forever was a lifetime ago, and tomorrow lays waiting in the wings, hurrying in on the wind, barely able to wait to be able to turn into yesterday’s old news.
I need a clown to turn up, painted face and red nose, striped pants and a bouquet of flowers in his hat. I need a few neat tricks, a spurt of water into my face, a string of flags from a gaping mouth, a quarter from behind an ear, perhaps. I need to laugh at it all, because the joke has been on me for long enough to deserve a giggle, to need a laugh, to require something to erupt from deep within and bloom into an outburst of ridiculousness at the realization that I, the butt of the jokes of clowns and jesters, find the world beautiful after all, and love life despite the pain and the loss and the suffering and the speechlessness of the spinning world around me and mine and everything I have ever loved and will never let go of.
Laughing, turning, falling . . . California smokes and smolders around me, with the fallout from the North drifting downwards also. Everything is sinking, drawn downwards by the dying year. Everything is drawn downwards, a victim of the gravity of the situation I find myself in, and I can’t help but feel a stomach lurching sense that life is about to crash around me. I cannot have comfort. I cannot have peace. I cannot have safety. I can only have silence and veils, smoke and mirrors, and to sit here in survival, desperately hoping that I can overcome gravity and fly once more.