Tuesday, May 4, 2010

whole truthful infinite immediate us

Mariah and I are busy contemplating the ramifications of conception. We test ourselves to see if we can conceive of whatever events might proceed from our conceiving a child. We think we know what childrearing might involve, what labors it might cost us, and what the differences would be in the way that we go about our lives. Now we sing joy like knives missing from a silverware set. If a child were to enter the equation, if we had to take into consideration the life of another person who was dependent on us for pretty much everything, well, then we’d have to tone down the time of our singing. Do we want to partake in the reallocation of our days in this way? And our nights? Well, these are things we are considering, when it comes to the question of whether or not we will conceive a child together.

Mariah knows a few things about kids. She knows how to make Hamburger Helper. She says she can change a diaper rather efficiently, and claims to be swift and lithe with the wiping of a tiny runny nose. TV time. That is something we have conversations about. We have a back-and-forth about how much TV this kid would be allowed to watch. We both feel this is an important point. Children are shaped by what they experience during their formative years. A strong attachment to certain things may develop. Associations would configure on the kid’s mental platform. We would not want this innocent child to be too influenced by the medium of television. It is just something we believe is important when it comes to this concept of our possible conception of a child. The actual conception would obviously not be a problem. We’ve got that down pat. There will not be a problem in that area, let me assure you.

It is also the pregnancy, those long nine months, that are of a concern for us. I tell Mariah that it’s a one shot deal, that once it’s done then it’s over, and it’s not something we should concern ourselves too much about. She feels differently, of course, as she will be the one doing most of the grunt work when it comes to the actual pregnancy. When it comes to the actual pregnancy, she will be the one who might suffer from morning sickness, weight gain, a hollow leg, hemorrhoids, gestational diabetes, mood swings, the pain of childbirth, etcetera. When it comes to the actual pregnancy she has very strong opinions. I try to tell her that I understand, when it comes to the actual pregnancy, but I have my doubts as to the veracity of this. When it comes to the actual pregnancy, well, maybe I can’t ever really understand. I try though. I have an active imagination, and feel that I can feel empathy for others on a very high level.

Other questions are involved as well. Often I wonder if my fathering skills would be up to par. I have none now. Would they suddenly come to me out of the blue? Would I know, without any previous history or experience, what to say when my child asked me those child-like questions that children are apt to ask? Could I even teach another person to tie her shoes? These are questions that plague me nights as I lie awake while Mariah’s lilting snores poof and flutter from the pillow next to me. It is hard for me to fall asleep. When it comes to this question of us conceiving a child, when it comes to this, I am in a quandary. I am thrown into a tizzy. The thinness of the nights, the whole of keeping silent and still, while the bed creaks, while the crickets chirp their crepitant threnody into the cut of a thousand distractions, keeps me from my dreams.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a problem of results. What would result from this conception? What things would follow? So. Let me see. Okay. Yes. I drew a picture.

It was on one of those nights, the nights when sleep kept slipping farther and farther away no matter what I did to chase after it, that I drew this picture. I’d wandered and stumbled around some in the dark, and eventually found my way down the stairs and into the kitchen. I turned the dimmer up a little on the baffle lights, not too much, but just enough to have light to see by. There was some mail scattered on the counter, just junk mail and the likes, nothing important. I took a pen out of the penholder that was close by on the countertop. It was a Uni-Ball Gel Impact RT, which had a smoothness to it, a grace and liquid motion in every stroke. The soft rubber coating near the point provided great comfort for my fingers.

Apropos of nothing, I began doodling on the envelopes at random. I often doodle. One could say that I am a doodler, if one were so inclined to say such things. My stick figures with circle-heads are unparalleled, I do believe. So many things were on my mind that night, but so little of it seemed relevant to my current situation. I was leading my life, as I pretty much always had, sprinting along the normal lanes of my routine, spelling the names of rivers and shifting around couch cushions. One envelope in particular was very agreeable to the ink of my pen marks. It was an offer for an American Express Card. One of those ones that they send out in hopes of wrangling you into the grasp of their credit line. I never go for things like that. It’s all a crock, if you ask me. Anyway, I was doodling, as I said, and this American Express Card envelope was providing a really good surface for my doodling. It was white and smooth and had a lot of blank space. Not too much was printed on it, just that American Express logo and a line that read: “Time Sensitive. Return Service Requested.” I began to draw, just with these thoughtless and effortless wisps across the raw texture of the paper. I wasn’t thinking about anything. My hand seemed to have a volition all of its own. It’s not that I couldn’t control it. I just didn’t want to. Something was happening, and it seemed marvelous. I wanted it to keep happening, to see where it might chance to go. Events were unfolding in a way that made a thought come to me: ‘This is the way things are supposed to happen. I need to let them occur.’ I’d never had a thought like that before. It was better than thinking about the whole post-conception issue that I’d been bundled up in of late. It felt good to be just letting things happen. It was as easy as dreaming while you’re awake, or tossing pretzels at moonlight.

I was probably emitting a slight hum as I drew on that envelope with my Uni-Ball pen. Music was thrumming through me, like I was channeling thousands of radio stations at once, and the cacophony of it all became a unified scrambling that serenaded me, the room, the paper, the space between atoms, from between my ears, and my voice trembled, and I wasn’t trying to speak or sing or anything. I was just awash in doodles. I wasn’t thinking about the ramifications of Mariah and I deciding to conceive a child, and it wasn’t like anything. It was more like nothing.

Something sprung forth from me, a leap into destiny, a ball-point pens’ smear, a door squeaked ajar, the grumble of a disappointed stomach, or maybe just a lapse in judgment, like a call to an elevator repair company when one has fallen down the stairs. The baffle lights buzzed and dimly illuminated the envelope before me, which took my scribbled images and seemed to scramble them, juxtaposing the cobweb-like lines as I lifted my pen. A clear white light crimpled upon the envelope. A sense of levity pervaded, and I can only describe the atmosphere of my thoughts as being crisp and still. Apples eyed me with glints from red patches like continents spreading out on the mellowing green of their skin. I wanted to wink at them, but I restrained myself, trying to maintain contact with this calm recess my consciousness was scooping out of the suddenly damp mold of my life. I took my time there, gesturing with the motions of a symphony conductor, my pen acting as my baton, and my hands began doing funny things, as if they were praying or plucking spinach leaves from a salad or dog paddling or silently applauding or tapping one end of an old two-pan balance scale or dolloping out a few splashes of bitters into a drink. I watched them. There was a fluidity and natural rhythm to them that I admired.

I was not a farmer. I didn’t make things. I bought things that other people made. I had no use to society. The world didn’t need me. I did not make the weather come and go. Hats rarely fit my head. Sure, I sang joy, but did that joy ever sing me? All I was left with was this lonely love for nothing in particular. It was a new type of love, one that I’d never come across before. It wasn’t vague at all. It had an object, a very definite thing it was shooting for, that it was chasing, and I knew that I never wanted it to stop. I put my pen to the American Express envelope, and my pen writhed and hopped about like a needle on a polygraph or a Richter scale. A picture soon started to appear out of the jumbled mess of ink. And it wasn’t The Virgin Mary and it wasn’t a ghost and it wasn’t William Butler Yeats and it wasn’t a trophy or a forest or a Burger King on the west coast of Africa. It was something born of nothing, and it was new, yet as old as anything that’d ever existed. A furrow emerged and clung to a brace of pintails, and suddenly I was steeped beneath reeds taller than chimneys. The word “bloom” would’ve done well to tell about the place I was marauding through. But a yen inside of me, one that I’d never even been aware of before this, was quelled, and I lost all sense of what panic was. There was no hurry. Everything was soft, and nothing mattered, and nothing was everything, and I looked at my picture, the thing I’d inked on that American Express envelope with my Uni-Ball Gel pen, this splattered mass of labyrinthine lines swirling, these twining leaks of blue-black expressing some importunate urge buried beneath the hard-packed clay of who I was.

There is a barn, and on this barn there is a barn door, and this barn door is painted red, as most barn doors are, and if you open this door, even just a crack, it’ll never close again, and not only that, but you’ll never be able to imagine ever again what it would be like if that door were closed, and more importantly, you won’t care, because it won’t matter, and nothing else will ever matter again except this new-born nothing that has instantly become a something now in your life-affirming arms. But, in the meantime, Mariah and I are busy contemplating the ramifications of conception.