Friday, July 5, 2013

How to Read a River

Think of a river. Any river. The Mississippi. The Missouri. The Snake.

The Zambezi. The Yukon. The Paraíba do Sul. The Tigris.

We are all rivers. We vary as rivers. Rivers energize our romance and float our regrets and caress our words.

The word is held in my mouth but will not stay. The word is massive and must continually meander.
And the word is river. The word is red stick of merry diversions. The word is romance understood as emotional candy. Life in a pyramid sewn to a pillow. Hieroglyphic grammar sprinting across the stars.
The trickle of silver in sunlight. Railroad eczema. That first incision in the skin.
Map of my heart performed by crayfish in violent disruption.
Despair is only natural. It accelerates our ideas of transcendence. Flowing is primarily a horizontal business. It’s important to absorb things, indulge yourself occasionally, have a few opinions about things. Success isn’t money or property or power success is the ability to hold on to someone or something and endure.
Ask me about percolation. Percolation is a tin shoe on a tin floor. Percolation is hot water poured over a cone-load of freshly ground coffee. Denim trousers drying on a barrel. The first few drops of rain to hit the dirt.
I feel a compilation coming on. I’m all wrapped up in language like a Christmas tree on a houseboat. An insect of a peculiar color walks to the edge of a roof and takes wing and disappears out over the water until a fish jumps up and takes it in his mouth.
Her mouth. Who knows what gender a fish is until you see it up close and look it in the eye and drink in its energy and see the sky in the jelly of its eyes looking right back at you?
The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend, said Henri Bergson. Who also said: To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.
Far off from these a slow and silent stream, sang Milton, Lethe the river of oblivion rolls.
Drifting down the river, looking up at the stars. Does the universe have edges? What is time? What is will? What is death?
A reality and a hole. A little give and take. The final surrender. The big compromise. What else can we discuss?
I believe in reflections. I believe in reflecting and I believe in the images that are reflected on wet surfaces. I believe there are reflections on the surface of the water even when the water is moving and there is a face down below looking up at you.
You don’t want to catch a fish full of hooks. You do want to accept what is given to you in a spirit of friendship. Your engine can burn up if the current is too strong, but the human mind is charming, and there are solutions to almost anything, except what keeps a river from tumbling over a rock or doing a weird dance on a bed of sand.
Open a book and study the life of ancient Egypt. Tell your muse to get busy.
My story is simple. I break the water with one arm while pushing the water down with the other arm and kicking my feet and carving a stick of wood when it’s over. If I feel like falling up I will fall up. Or not. It all depends on one’s perspective. For some people down is up and for others what is up is down. Up and down are relative. Write this down and stick it on your toolbox.
You can experience almost any kind of food by putting it in your mouth and chewing it but you can’t describe how it turns to muscle or enriches the blood unless you do the math and sample a strawberry on the Mississippi. There are immense subtleties in the fold of a napkin and the rills and dimples on the surface of a river have important things to say about the bottom. I can grasp the meaning of a fistful of words if I put them together a certain way. But as soon as I rearrange them they mean something else entirely different and that, that my friend is how to read a river.
Perception is a form of thought and the river does not need pushing.  

No comments: