Tuesday, June 14, 2011

higher tides

Jesse James: So it’s like everybody I know is there, and it’s lovely.

Hermann Hesse: Lovely?

Jesse James: Delightful.

Hermann Hesse: …

Jesse James: Surroundings of cocktails. Geared up for heading way up steep slopes, too. The road impossibly steep out the windshield.

Hermann Hesse: Who’s driving?

Jesse James: Not me. I’m in the backseat.

Hermann Hesse: That’s important. Everything and everyone is a symbol, something you’ve created for only you. Even people you’ve met once, you form a judgment about what they are to you. They can become a symbol of something deep within yourself that you’re struggling to understand or relate to, or let out. Think about it this way: the car is your life. Whoever is driving the car is controlling your life.

Jesse James: I don’t drive.

Hermann Hesse: See? The dream’s telling you something. You’re taking a backseat in the story of your life.

Jesse James: But I don’t even own a car.

Hermann Hesse: It doesn’t matter. It’s a collective-conscious thing.

Jesse James: I find myself walking through rooms of places I used to live, but they’re not really the same, the places that is, as they were when I lived there, but they are the same, kind of. There’s plaster dripping from the walls. Ceilings are caving in. Holes in the floor. Bare boards and exposed beams, termite-ridden rafters. And extra rooms that were never there with strange people in them. I’m always barefoot, watching out for nails, you know?

Hermann Hesse: Barefoot? That’s important.

Jesse James: It is?

Hermann Hesse: Yes. Definitely. The places you used to live symbolize parts of your life you aren’t dealing with well. Maybe it’s something resurfaced from a past you can’t quite erase or forget about, you can’t move on from or get over. Things are falling apart in these places. The past isn’t going anywhere; it’s just growing mold and waiting.

Jesse James: Shit. That sucks.

Hermann Hesse: Suck it does. But there’s hope for us in the letter-writing times we’ve left behind. There’s dashed courage lying around dead to applause, insulated from cheer, and we make choices and don’t even have to pray about it.

Jesse James: The poor cold days. Thieves behind us gathering wool and moss. That sounds like a drunkard’s plea in the wilderness to me.

Hermann Hesse: I’m dancing, from now on, until there’s something to dance about.

Jesse James: Sounds like an empty coffee pot left on the stove.

Hermann Hesse: If we’ve got time left for things like that.

Jesse James: Forgeries make themselves up out of the smell of just-struck matches.

Hermann Hesse: Strike anywhere. Just don’t strike on me.

Jesse James: The messages we get make the ones we don’t seem lost or indisposed by nonsense, which is the furthest from the truth you could get, really. Shark out what’s killing you, if the soup stinks of foul play. Don’t get yourself upset over nothing if it’s just something.

Hermann Hesse: And I’m here stuck with all of this hocus-pocus in the fuel lines.

Jesse James: If one of us grows deaf then one of us will be done listening.

Hermann Hesse: Talking is useless except as a metaphor. Tasting does the job better.

Jesse James: There are clowns and barbarians stealing my pillow right out from under my head. My eyes get stuck shut. I can’t wake up. I walk around in somebody else’s house while I’m asleep, and I know that I’m still asleep, but I just keep wandering around strange places, looking for what I know not, and the whole time just wishing I could wake up. But when I do wake up I only end up wishing I could’ve stayed asleep longer.

Hermann Hesse: A cold spell; or is it a snap?

Jesse James: It ain’t nothing but an x-y-z thing.

Hermann Hesse: Work at it, like water. We get so isolated in our spheres of habitual behaving. It’s hard to see outside of them. Take up the cello. Make a song out of your boringest days. It’s ideas of space and time that matter least when it comes to being you. Everybody shares whatever it is they’ve got.

Jesse James: Pinko bastard.

Hermann Hesse: Durations of what we call getting-through-the-day thoughts, roasting marshmallows in the same old fire, it makes horoscopes seem to sing, and we place bets on morning being there when we wake up. Shoemakers tell it like it is.

Jesse James: I hear that about them. I hear those things on the street; they go around. If a body should see a body when that body’s fast asleep. If another body sees a body sleeping. Well, I am descended from a long line of cave painters and pickup artists. It’s my blessing.

Hermann Hesse: Planes to catch and bills to pay. We get tied down, try to undo what we’ve done to get us that way, and what it means to you…?

Jesse James: Less and more each and every day. Sometimes it’s just trees, and they’re undressing, and we’ve got enough salad to last until dawn gets ornery with wind.

Hermann Hesse: Like sealing storms in a time capsule that you bury deep in your heart.

Jesse James: Sure. Maybe something like that.

Hermann Hesse: It goes with everything, this weather.

Jesse James: I wear reindeer-skin boots. It’s an adult thing to do, to be adult about it.

Hermann Hesse: Yes. We’re all about the same in our adult lives in the levels of our being grown up, no matter how old we get. It’s either young or old. Maybe a few ages we actually feel. That’s all we’ve got.

Jesse James: Stunned, I get chancy and three-headed monstered, sap-sticky, bungling through shifting landscapes, dreams that intertwine and go nowhere except around and around. In a loop, lapping myself. God’s not watching. I’m on my own. It’s not getting any safer or scarier, and I’m rarely nice in these dreams. In fact, I’m mean as hell to everyone.

Hermann Hesse: Nowhere to lean.

Jesse James: Through the thorns I lean, meanly.

Hermann Hesse: Oh, yes. That. That could help. Sure. But eat your moral vegetables too. Don’t kid yourself about the vitamin and mineral content of your soul.

Jesse James: Hardly does it.

Hermann Hesse: Keep dreaming.

Jesse James: No problem there. It’s not going to stop until…well, until something-something.

Hermann Hesse: Get a load of the airfares on this guy.

Jesse James: First class just won’t cut it anymore. I’m my own cheap tickets, bargaining away my good sense, at that. Cloudy? That says the least of what’s most…mostly, at least, gone.

Hermann Hesse: If there were, perhaps, a little kid in these dreams maybe I could be of some help.

Jesse James: Another something I’ve left behind?

Hermann Hesse: A famished thing. You think you can’t afford to feed it anymore.

Jesse James: One of these days. One of these days. I think I’ll get on back home, one of these days.

Hermann Hesse: Apparently that’s not a new thought to you.

Jesse James: It’s just making believe. I do it well. Bedtime for sweeter things than these. I catnap in the arms of strangers with a wild card up my sleeve. There are things that even dreams can never tell.

Hermann Hesse: Boyish and uneasy, never resting well, boiled in icy waters. That’s what you don’t tell yourself about it.

Jesse James: If it’s dangerous to be beside yourself with the broke stuff then I can’t manage the sumptuous also. Variation is calling long distance for a better deal. I’m tired. Tired of kidding myself and everybody else.

Hermann Hesse: Could’ve had you any day.

Jesse James: Yes. Out of kindness.

Hermann Hesse: I suppose.

Jesse James: Always late for something, running out of time, in these dreams. That’s another thing. There’s never enough time. I’m always packing, scrambling around to try and get things in order, and everything’s falling apart, and I can’t get any clothes to fit, and my oldest and best friends are leaving me behind, moving on, and I’m stuck with an expired plane ticket and a calculator watch whose giant neon-green display just blinks 999. Sometimes I’m on a bike, but it won’t ride over the gravel road, it’s so steep, and the wind’s so cold, and I keep thinking I can get a ride, you know? Hitchhike even. But it keeps not happening. And my legs won’t work. They get stuck, like in slo-mo, and I keep thinking that I’m late and there’s nothing I can do about it, and it feels like it’s the most important thing in the world that I’m missing out on, and there’s this awful feeling of being left out, left behind, being the one not picked for a kickball game at recess in grade school. I’m alone. Everything’s moved on except for me. And then I wake up and it’s way earlier than I want it to be. It’s not pleasant.

Hermann Hesse: The past doesn’t ever go anywhere, does it?

Jesse James: No. It just comes back to stub your toe when you’re trying to catch the last bus leaving to where you think you’ve always wanted to go, to be, to live out the rest of your life.

Hermann Hesse: Something like that, maybe. But in the meantime, well, get yourself some rest. Nobody’s cut out for this kind of self-torture. Let yourself sleep.

Jesse James: But…but, per chance to dream?

Hermann Hesse: No. Well. That’s not what I meant. Still, don’t treat it as the enemy. It’s too easy to defend yourself from your own attacks. Be patient with others. They’re not out to get you. And if they are? Well, that’s just selfishness, and why would you want to be involved in the accrual of yellow bile?

Jesse James: Maybe a better question is, “What is it that makes me the person who I happen to be?”

Hermann Hesse: It's infinite, no?

Jesse James: …clouds go shuffling by the moon while I count seagulls and monitor my pulse. I grow tired of others’ sock situations. While imbibing isotonic beverages the glow of a TV lights my room at night.

Hermann Hesse: But who are we to tell ourselves who we are? It’s just something, maybe, that we find out the more we get used to living the way we do, the more people who come to know us and whom we get to know, it all just figures out, even if it seems phony or trite or dismally normal. We somehow manage. And sometimes we even get to paint tropical scenes on coasters with toothbrushes. Dream of running water; wake up parched.

Jesse James: I’m being used improperly. Killing rattlesnakes doesn’t have to be my business, my only way out, the strangling of serpents. I get by, hang my weary head from the torture of my day job, and every night, from the great heights and distances of my dreams, I quit.

Hermann Hesse: You grow older and spend money and come to depend on necessity to get you from here to another here. We’ve inherited things like hiccups from our fishy ancestors, things that only get in the way of breezing through our normal existence.

Jesse James: As the sun goes around sprinkling diamonds over bashful clouds, well, we get sleepy and called out looking on strikes. A trembling in the leaves, or more like a shudder really, as the stiff fingers of a sharp wind ice through, stingy, crackling, and the lightning hasn’t happened yet but the birds are aware of something brisk and indefatigable, a hunter with too much prey so she stops aiming and just shoots in a fish-in-a-barrel way, hoping without much to hope against. There’s plenty of me left; I just don’t know what to do with it, where to put the stuff of my life, the who-I-am that drives the jonquil from the kiss.

Hermann Hesse: Driving. Driving. That’s more to the point than floriography could ever get.

Jesse James: Where we go, well, Jesus, ain’t nobody knows, right?

Hermann Hesse: Listen, the peacock doesn’t get along as well as the peahen, even though it looks pretty with its fanned tail of a thousand eyes. Being okay or better on the surface isn’t ipso facto the best way to survive. Maybe the fancy plumage that you go around showing off for others is really just a wimp’s hiding place.

Jesse James: The sky’s shiny platter forebodes necessity, and perhaps a chance at rain. I don’t look deep enough into things. I get distracted by the lacquered charm of the façade. And then what if I think, not just to myself, ‘The smell of cigarettes is better than smoking.’?

Hermann Hesse: Maybe drop the kids off at the cleaners and go bowling.

Jesse James: We sleep through our dreams most of time, don’t we?

Hermann Hesse: It does seem that way.

Jesse James: Pathetic, isn’t it?

Hermann Hesse: Don’t ask me. I don’t even work here. I’m just passing through on shore leave from Higher Up.

Jesse James: Figures.