the spark before the flame. the inhale before the exhale. a moment’s peace, balanced on the edge of the unknown, and then tumbling forward, falling, plummeting down, eyes tight closed but catching glimpses all the same, flashes of recognition, but they’re gone too fast, like a torch thrown down a well, lighting everything, but showing nothing.
a new world lays directly ahead, unformed and unimagined, but there. i can feel it. so much to say, to see, to show, to sing.
it begins like bartok smacking a xylophone, like monday songs began, a note, repeating, a lit match in a twilight cathedral, every revelation pointing to the universes left unseen. but the notes roll down the hill, and pick up others and soon it’s building, from less grows more, after months of separation, after a gallery of lonely portraits, a certainty arrives, a certainty that could unite the whole, the fragments assembling into a story, a book of stories, a library of books, a city of libraries, all unfolding real-time, all reflecting the same brutal truth, an army of blind men and africa’s largest elephant.
from certainty to singularity, an atom of thought, of possibility, a fission reaction, and the darkness, the shame, the loneliness explodes into the air, bursting free of this tender vacuum, the clenched heart of a frightened man, who for the first time knows a moment of freedom.
and the moment passes and he’s desperate to put it all back, lock it down safe and sound, he’d gladly live with that slow torture, that taunting pressure, acid digesting him one nerve at a time, he’d take it all back, the familiar comfort of deep dis-ease, but pandora’s box lays open, her heart bursts and a world screams into existence, the in pours out.
i can’t catch my breath. the earth is rushing up to greet me. the night sky feels too close, i’m falling down a well, turning the flashlight this way and that, bracing for contact, bloated with regret.
now there are lights below. a city? a town? something in-between. sound fills my head. has it been there all along? volume swells from piano to triple forte, splintering the soundboard. where does it come from? inside or out? an infinite television turned to a dead channel, a hurricane sung basso profundo, god’s shower, and feelings crash over me, forcing me under, urgent and needful. i’ll be torn apart in another moment, how is it that i am not deaf, bulleting toward the earth, surprised to find myself praying, the words unfamiliar, the voice not mine, somehow spilling through the cataclysmic splashclatter, pressing to make contact, not a prayer, a song? a secret? or am i just imagining it? we all hear voices when the white noise is turned up loud enough, rorshach for the ears.
but no, it’s there. it’s definitely there. a thread, a single thread snaking out from the tapestry, and i reach for it, filtering the ocean of sound to taste a particular grain of salt, chipping away at a mountain of solid marble to carve out a single pawn, shoveling aside the ordinary in search of a miracle, and suddenly, words. a single voice, insignificant beside the infinite chorus, sublime beside the hungry void, and as the pavement rushes up to greet me, the voice whispers in my ear, don’t be afraid, it only hurts for a moment.
and then everything goes dark.