Friday, June 30, 2006

dark water and pale skin...

sitting in a dull silence broken only by the low hum of the air conditioner as it struggles against the still pervasive heat of four a.m. in the deep burning south. the wings of insects beat against the thick moist air, hovering desperately. high overhead, like the sound of fragmented thunder, a few scattered planes disappear, their flashing wingtips mixing with the polluted light of stars. I cough and it echoes like a gunshot in a tomb. the long nights of summer loom, the long sweaty days. and with the rising of the sun comes the sinking promise of more, more rippling stretches of greasy asphalt, more hours spent pushing against the stone, more loss of the soul. with the dawn comes car engines firing, neckties and morning news, traffic and routine. with each new day comes more of the same. we waste our time too lightly here in the early moments of the twenty first century. we are satisfied with what glistens on the surface; we do not seek to know what bubbles up from the stinking depths, we do not wonder about the shadows flickering just out of sight, just out of comprehension.

and so the illusion of calm becomes the dream of safety. it seems as though we are happier with a well told lie than we are with the truth: we would rather believe that the polished glass shard slicing deep into our empty palm is a diamond. and eventually, that terrible shining object will be a diamond in the mind of the bloody victim; it is far easier than facing the reality of a handful of worthless broken glass. it is better to be decieved, it would seem, than to accept the deception. better to be herded, to be controlled, to be disinformed. better than fighting for the truth, no matter the ugly actuality. far easier to be told that all shattered glass, all broken promises, all suffering, all the cruelty of humanity, all of our failures, all of it, have become merely facets on the face of a perfect diamond, reflecting the death of our inherent outlaw individuality.

it is up to us not to be satisfied with hollow comfort. it is important that we refuse to accept the perception of the truth as the truth. we must always examine motives, we must look behind the curtain, we must ask questions, we must question answers. we must look to the poems, to the songs, to the paintings on the cave wall for honesty, for there we find ourselves. there we find our essences as humanity unsatisfied with the cold touch of the lie, desperate to understand those shadows, that broken glass, the dull silences and the rumble of thunder hanging above our mortal heads.

there we find the jewel.


Anonymous MOM C said...

My Favorite Poet has done it once again. He has crept into my mind and seen every thought, emotion, and fear in it and then exposed it to the world - what am I to do now!

8:32 AM  
Blogger j.b said...

mom c-

your son is able to do this for us all. it's frightening the prescience that your son possesses. it's frightening that he can crystalize precisely what he is feeling in such a way that it seems as if he is crystalizing precisely what WE are feeling.

great post, Brother Cunningham. it's true, we must scatter into the caves, back bent beneath the atmosphere of hate and bigotry and war, to find the truth. we must bark into the darkness of the cave, our voices resounding against the walls. we must scratch our names into the moist walls and let it be known to all who follow that we were here.

i am looking for that jewel, brother, as are we all. i will find it. i will polish it and lift it into the sun so that the world can see it glint.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous MOM C said...

Thanks, J.B. It is comforting to know that WE are of the same mind.

Trying to find that jewel in our lives is a challenge, but I wonder, do you think it could be in nature? Could it be in the beautiful birds and butterflies, or in mountain streams,or mountainous waterfalls, or even more simply in the touch of a loved one or a loved pet. I hope these are the jewels, because if not, what else is there!

11:50 AM  
Blogger j.b said...

i think you just nailed it, mom c.

this is where the jewel is for me. living in Utah, which is a jewel in itself nature-wise, i get to bask in the beauty of nature on a daily basis. and i think that's right, but what struck me even more is the idea of love being the jewel.

this is it. love.

it is the impetus for all of the best poetry and all of the worst. and not just poetry. music, art, philosophy...hell, even science.

love and a yearning for communion with another sentient being. i don't know which is greater: loving another or being loved by another. both are so amazing and so necessary.

good points, all.

1:07 PM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

if we can manage to leave a little love behind on this stinking rock, it will all have been worth it. real love, honest love, painful love, the ugly love of many years spent suffering and overcoming. the love of the word, the love of the note, the love of the splash of paint on the side of the world.

thanks guys. good stuff. I appreciate the kind words...

1:15 PM  
Anonymous MOM C said...

Look what you have done My Favorite Poet. With your words and insights you have created wonderful dialogue between two very unlikely writers - one who is stunning in his poetry and the other who just expresses her mind. Huh, maybe not so unlikely after all!!!

Enjoyed it so much!!!

Thanks for making my day brighter and more thought provoking than it otherwise would have been.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous MOM C said...

Oh, by the way, J.B. I am enthralled with "The Elegant Universe," even reading it at work - "when the cats away, the mouse can read??"

2:19 PM  
Blogger j.b said...

mom c-
i'm so happy that you like the book. Brian Greene is truly a remarkable scientist. so many are brilliant in a way that they understand things but can't relay it. Brian's use of metaphor is stunning (much like Your Favorite Poet?) and his ability to convey even the most wrenching formulae is truly a gift.

i'm so glad you are liking it! :)

i think you and i are from some planet far away and have transplanted here, with a few others. LOVE. it's hackneyed, it's cliched, but damn it, who cares? this is what it is about. preach on Brother Cunningham.

i don't care if people know me after i pass. i don't care to leave a legacy or to have my name plastered on the side of a building or what have you. but, if i can leave this world a small nugget of love (a love-nugget!) then my existence will not have been in vain. and i'm tryin', goddamn if i ain't tryin'.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Luis said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Luis said...

mom c:

I can see where Chris gets his skills.

"Could it be in the beautiful birds and butterflies, or in mountain streams, or mountainous waterfalls, or even more simply in the touch of a loved one or a loved pet."

This is beautiful.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous MOM C said...

Thank you Luis. Maybe I've given him something, but he has taken it and run away with it - to my delight, I might add.

4:38 PM  
Blogger j.b said...

i agree with can definitely tell the acorn didn't fall too far from the oak.

this is the old nature vs. nurture argument and both sides are right. we are born with it and we are reared for it (whatever "it" may be).

either way...thank you. without you, the world would be missing a great mind and voice. :)

5:17 PM  
Blogger cat said...

I am moved in many ways by this exchange. Always impressed by how Chris can take a complex thought and put it into words with such eloquency and effortlessness. Also, empowered by the simple goodness of Mom's soul put into words. I know that I am a better person for having them in my life!

I believe the jewel is found anywhere and everywhere we are willing to look for it! Yes, in nature, in the beauty of life and love, in both the hard and soft of the details.

I agree that most are numb to the jewel in everyday life...droning on through their ritual without realization. But there can be beauty in the ritual if you are aware, if you are willing to look for it. Perception is just that-how we CHOOSE to look at things. Without question or argument, we CHOOSE to not perceive things but be told things. It's then we become numb to the jewel that is simply existence!

8:38 PM  

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