Tick tick tick … tick tick tick …
My mind cannot help returning to 18 years ago to the date. As I walked the streets of Southern Bronx through projects, and my anniversary today being on the streets all day. Locked up in training 9 weeks but finally set free. The day on the streets, all in a language I could not understand. Amongst people whom I did not know. In places foreign to me. And all day was a fast. No food in the morning. No food for lunch. Much more walking through streets of the day, speaking of chastity. And I felt exhausted, both mind and body. The breaking-in was overwhelming. And all day thirsty and hungry through streets, apartments, place to place to place, on foot for 12 hours and then to rest.
My days of years past ticked away like the tick-tock of clock. A gal I knew wrote me some messages for encouragement. Eyes of Charlize Theron and body, too, but softer features of face and chin like Aniston, but the hair of Reese Witherspoon. And we had talked. She talked first. I had the first chance but walked away. Curiosities and a get-to-know-you. And she wrote while I traced the streets. “What a wonderful opportunity to get to know so many people!” she wrote me. And my steps clomped on in inch-sole Doc Martins. They were supposed to last the duration. People is one thing, life is another. It wasn’t about people, but about life, and I went ill-prepared as to knowledge of why, where, when, how Justice/Right/God/Good. And nearly 24 months later, ending my stint, I fell flat and never recovered. Swallowed in the fabric of space-time.
I fell down the abyss, the bottomless pit. But at the bottom there was a grid. At the very bottom, a grid that the Leviathon had built. A perfectly aligned grid good for hoops to jump in a society clockwork machine, a society of rows and columns of desks and papers and ledgers. It was a grid of lines criss-crossed to 90-degrees. Adjusted for ease of following a conformity, a system of regularity, of classes and degrees and authority. The grid, like the columns and rows of matrices. Like a perfect ring. Like a Teserract. And I searched the Eternal abyss for a key. A key to split open that grid and escape alas from its gravity. I went back to derivatives. Back to Integrals. I built cones and circles and squares of varied sizes and forms.
When I started out in life, I started as a portrait artist. All I wanted was to be a cartoonist. My youngest sister sat for an hour for me to draw. And painstaking details I wound in my pencil groove. But the oldest was dominant. I was the fourth in the line. At mother and dad’s departure for nights out, the oldest took over. Tending at 12, picking berries soon after, and regular work-force job at 16. Spending money for Van Halen and anything else of her RCA club cassette line. But mother caught her with a romance novel. I was standing as observe. A sentry of sorts for my future labor preaching God. “I can read what I want!” Shouted the sis. “You CANNOT read that in this house!” Shouted the authority. “You’re being unfair. It’s a book, and I want to read it!” “You will not read that in this house. My house my rules….” And so went the affair. Lions trapped in close proximity. Female dominance exposed. My introduction to feminism. And another day she the sis walked in on me in my underwear trying to put my work pants on one morning. No apologies. Just screaming for my older brother whom I shared room with. Another look at feminism. Although egos and bravado rankle hard no matter what the source.
But all these things that should have given me to understand God/Justice/Right-Wrong/Good just didn’t seem to explain me out of my abyss. Nothing more than a challenge to course on. And the brother acted out superiority, the second-oldest of us three boys, finding together we a Playboy magazine, he put it away, I go to snatch a second look, but his denial and refusal, as he had hid it elsewhere. I was puzzled, perplexed, confused about the rights of humanity, especially my own, whether abused against privacy and treated as lesser to insignificant. The words that I spoke were touted as naught. And all this did not make me through the abyss that I landed in.
But there was a key to rip open a tear, to split the two-dimensional grid that governed the world, open creativity, open opportunity, diversity, and understanding. Yet, the abyss once open, would not close again. The abyss after the base being shattered would strange creatures let in. Creatures from the other side, branded with fire but excellent impostors. Shifters into all kind and class of behavior response, who may initiate a classic inflammatory retort. Demons or like, they may be called. As a group from whose list and terror my name recalled. But numbers and names not written in lists, distinguished moreover by the sounds they emit. As rumble and crack and thunderous smack, as grumble, as a hiss emitted for terror. Not ticky tock of a forlorn clock, but rather measured moments and times by the strength of the emotion brought on in downs and climbs. To these, hours and minutes mean nothing. Life just an ocean flow of many somethings.
Before them, the clock dies as they squeeze its lungs out. No more oxygen, and it starts to choke. The abyss with the founded key gripped and set. Click-clock as the tumblers react. What’s going to happen? Does anyone know? Time as we know it will soon be a no-show. Time … tick tick ti… ___________________________________________