“Entre la espada y la pared”
The fire descends on the head like Diablo’s hand.
Fan blades ruffle the air,
A mild chill glides across the body on the bed,
The burn moves south to the thorax,
Just a flash as the treatment continues.
Just a reminder.
“History is like therapy for the present; it makes it talk about its parents.”
-Maya Jasanoff, The Dawn Watch Joseph Conrad In A Global World
“He seemed to find my life negligible. I found his horrifying. Oh, well,”
—–Paul Theroux, The Happy Isles of Oceana
Return to the battle.
“Charcoal cloudbank belly rolling east
We’re staring down the dark eye of the beast
Seek your shelter anywhere you will
Don’t let your life depend on standing still”
The right hand pocket of the bag slouches open—-racquets protruding like some sick surreal Freudian statement. Dirty white grips with the vague odor of human sweat extend at various angles in defiance of Pythagorus. The bag sagging on one side from the weight of the sticks. A pair of used-to-be yellow balls in repose adjacent to the bag on the grit of the green clay. A third one has attempted escape to the far baseline. A lone frame has found its demise six feet from the bag, a large twisted spaghetti strainer resting across the mini-trench it formed with its final moments. The surrounding air still sizzles from the verbal expulsions of the destroyed racquet’s human assassin.
It was “just a game” like so many other matches on so many other days, and yet…. The emotional and psychological thicket those glib words camouflage make Stanley’s trek toward Livingston slide into historical insignificance. The murderer walks the streets without malice, is beloved by friends and family, and seldom ventures beyond the boundaries of propriety, and yet… Well compensated, praised, even honored by colleagues, the game has exposed a fire in the player that often becomes a conflagration.
A third double fault hard on the heels of a migratory forehand finding a home six feet beyond the baseline proves to be steel that strikes the flint in the player’s soul and generates a spark that detonates emotional plastique. The explosion is transformative. Self-worth is no longer bonded to true identity. Rather, in a quantum leap worth and worthlessness are to be found in the outcome of relatively meaningless physical interactions with inert contrived instruments of “recreation.”
Recovery from the dark hole of imagined lost worth requires much less time than the changing of the tides. Order will be restored, worth reconstructed with a screaming forehand return of serve that explodes the sideline and defies the speed of the opponent. Yet Dr. Freud’s statement has been made as the mangled racquet is interred in the court side trash can.
“The past is such a big place.”
—–Neil Young, Waging Heavy Peace
“I am not deeply versed in physical science, but there are certain things about water that fill me with wonder and amaze.”
—- H. G. Wells
“It is not down in any map, true places never are.”
—- Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Old tears are heavy like spent uranium rounds for a 40 mm chain gun. They have a half life of a million years. They are sprung from wells that reach to the far side of the womb of all life. The echo of their fall roils the waters of existence into waves of meaning grinding pain into the beaches of peace.
Old tears wash gullies into the bedrock of souls who have witnessed more than sunsets. Old rodeo posters make ancient bucking bulls cry cold old tears for torn cowboys who rose with dust scarred bodies and broken dreams from unremembered 8 second wars. All wore the clothes of defeat.
Old tears pour from each rock struck by every would be Moses after their verbal expulsions send yet another entranced dreamer into a mislabeled valley of hope. Old tears flood those deep slits with the heavy water of remorse and disillusion. No reservation required.
Old tears float weathered wooden boats carrying fishermen beyond fear colored horizons in search of one more net filled with immortality. The white whale swam in old tears. He cried them for Ahab.
Old tears fill watering holes in hot stinking valleys of death where nearly forgotten cuirassiers’ horses wander over heroes’ bodies from Platea, Ypres, Dunkirk, Saipan, Ia Drang, and other lost human efforts. The holes never go dry. The clouds rain old tears.
Old tears dry into the diamond hard foundation mothers perch their children on. Formed into crystalline jeweler’s loops that magnify the hope for a future they focus the light of the mothers’ souls into laser beams of purpose. All mothers’ tears are old. They taste and smell like eternity.