Thursday, April 10, 2008

On and on

I’m skating in Birch Park, and I find the road populated with thousands of baby lizards. They complicate my speed, compromised two days ago when I found the road covered with smooth little caterpillars (or are they centipedes?) that appear to be black but on closer inspection are an iridescent dark green. These seem to be making a pointless pilgrimage from one patch of jungle to the other. The baby lizards do not seem to be eating them. They seem to be simply interested in youthful exploration. I dodge both groups with focus and effort that change my routine from pleasure to work. Where are the careless parents of these critters? What lunar coalition prompted this simultaneous reproduction? A large dragonfly swoops down in front of me and matches my speed like a traffic helicopter. I pass three lazy raccoons on their way to a dumpster. They look up at me long enough to realize that I am not a source of food. A shadow on the road lets me know that a hawk is circling overhead. He’s looking for small rodents. We are of no interest to him. Three pelicans glide by like tour buses on their way to the ocean.

Agendae. Purpose. Exultation. Youth. Destiny. Heat. Drive. We are all going some place. We don’t know why. We just do it. We move.

On that road are the squelched remnants of baby lizards and centipedes that met a fast death under the tires of cars or bikes or other skaters. I wonder if they saw the shadow of their demise just a second before it arrived. What did they feel? Deprivation? Chagrin? Regret? Probably nothing. What kind of god governs all of this? Wound up the clock at the beginning of time and said “This is how it will be. Some will die young. A percentage.” A car behind me softly toots its horn and I move to the right and motion it to pass. I am spared death as I have been for so many years. Sometimes medicine or surgery has saved me. Sometimes my own cautiousness. Like when I never went to the Mineshaft when my friends who are no longer with me did. I am still here, examining my face for wrinkles, and wondering how best to play this hand of frayed edges.

So much to live for. Should I make a list? Should I run out into the traffic with my eyes closed just for once? Just to prove to myself that I should be here? That it’s not my own design but my natural place in time and space? Tonight C will call me and tell me how his day went. He will remind me that my flight home is eight days away. I will pin myself to that thought. Bind myself to that moment. That is why I cross the road. Why I do not die.

We use humor to shield ourselves from the darker clouds. A blogger I have never met had an Auden verse on his/her blog. I recite it aloud while skating. I pass a woman with her little dog. She assumes I am talking into an earpiece that talks to a cell phone. I’m delighted to be given techno license to talk to myself.

As the poets have mournfully sung,
Death takes the innocent young,
The rolling in money,
The screamingly funny,
And those who are very well hung.



Oh well.

7 comments:

tater said...

Funny, I was having a similar train of thought on my walk to work yesterday morning. I pass by this same section of wall on Randolph Street everyday, and it is towering, leaning, and bulging out towards the sidewalk. Every time I choose not to walk around this hazard, but right next to it, I wonder if this will be the moment some omnipotent being, fate, or coincidence, will take my life in a hail of falling concrete sections?

I have been spared my life repeatedly, and I always give a sigh of relief that my tempting of Death was not accepted. This morning the building owner erected scaffolding, and is beginning the necessary repairs...

I will send pictures.

Mark H said...

Beautifully put, poet that you are. Wondering a bit about Mortality. It is the music of life itself. It rings choirs inside our minds about accomplishment, pasts, all of it. Thanks for making me pause and consider my current outlook. I'm one of the the old guys traveling from Oregon to see just what this blog gathering IS there in Manhatten. We are both looking forward to meeting people live who've inspired us in this internetherworld.

tornwordo said...

Oh my that was beautiful. I loved the frayed edges line. I remember something similar two years ago with little green frogs. Even on foot, we couldn't avoid squashing one or two.

birdoparadise said...

1.) “Sometimes medicine or 2.) surgery has saved me. 3.) Sometimes my own cautiousness. Like when I never went to the Mineshaft when my friends who are no longer with me did. 4.) I am still here, examining my face for wrinkles, and wondering how best to play this hand of frayed edges.

5.) So much to live for. Should I make a list?”


and 6.) “That is why I cross the road. Why I do not die.”

You have a gift for driving me crazy; you tell us just enough to tease. Those words above just cry for entries of their own. I have thoughtfully included numbers so that you may use them to delineate each new post that will no doubt lead to more requests. (Speaking of which: you finish those taxes yet?)

Thank you for keeping me thinking. It is a maddening delight to read your blog.

Birdie

SubtleKnife said...

I'm a her. :-)

And I just changed it! I try to change the mottos regularly, but thhe Auden was up there for a long time. Because it's so good.

And I also love the cover of technology to hide my crazy talking to myself.

cb said...

Awww, you couldn't avoid them?? I feel guilty for days when i accidently kill things.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear CB,
Where does it say I couldn't avoid them? I did avoid them. It was difficult, but I did. I passed the carnage of those less careful. Now tell me you're sorry for calling me a killer, and promise to buy me a drink at GBV in May.