Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1618237-Wormwood
Rated: E · Monologue · Philosophy · #1618237
mid-life rant
In the desert, a man forgets that he has a name. He remembers the name itself; but, walking alone in the desert, he likely wouldn't answer to it. Anyway, the name is just a word - sometimes he would repeat the name over and over to himself, trying to fathom what was living at it's core, until it was slowly drained of all meaning, and made a sound that he had never heard.

A man walking alone in the desert doesn't wander about in great circles, or weave a knotted course down to the sea. He travels always deeper into wilderness. His path runs a hard, straight, iron track that was laid long ago. He often stops for a moment and turns, squinting into the low, giant red sun behind - then tries again to swerve from the track - and, if they were saved, trace the lineage of his footprints home. But the desert wind blows always at his back and scours his face with sand, so he turns again, with fractured vision - walking always deeper into wilderness.

In the desert a man has a lot of time to think - there is nothing in the bright, aching light of the desert but walking and thinking. Sometimes, he catches sight of something before him that seems like a large bird; something he imagines is covered with grim, black feathers, wheeling and turning just ahead. When he trains his eye directly on it, nothing is there; but, if he looks away, keeping the spot where it vanished in peripheral view, he can perceive it still ahead; though what it really was - it was mystery - and the world that contained it had no room for an observer. As when the dreamer really works at it, is consumed by the act of fullfilling his dream - he becomes the witness that just disappears - and not being there, he can see everything in diamond motionless clarity. But in the bright, bright desert, a man sees nothing other than a great black thing ahead - flicking on and off like a faint star as he travels deeper into wilderness.

Walking alone on the fearsome bright, flat-iron desert, there are no shadows for a man to mark, and time stretches out like soft taffy, crazily narrowing and lengthening - chasing the frightened horizon. He then starts to think about how little he knows - about everything that must be learned somehow - all and every of the streaming bits that were not already inside him when he opened his eyes to the madly whirling soup of sound and color. About how you have to learn to die before you die - you can't die first and then surrender to the void - you can't let go and then unclench your fist.

Most of the time he thinks about the past - if it's vast, staggering bulk could be raked, smoothed, and re-carved, but the womb is spun-round and swaddled with something like silk wrapping a spiders egg-case.

When a man walking alone in the dead-white light of the desert opens his mouth, crying and pleading, it makes no sound. There are no sounds in the desert - save the occasional, distant songs of sleep-dappled thoughts that are quickly drowned by the blare of a marching checkerboard legion of evil memories. It helps to keep walking - when he is moving, the marching legion seems to trail slightly behind, parallel to the track - but if he stops, they swarm and crush until his back is bowed under the tangled pile.

Eventually, the air becomes thick in his lungs, he weakens and tires, walking deeper into wilderness, but his pace seems to quicken - perhaps the track that he follows declines, the air growing denser from loss of elevation - as he accelerates into the tumble-suck of gravity. This is comforting - that much closer to the end of the journey - even as the air gets closer, heavy, without oxygen - like lead, all radium spent.

This is where time compresses, where the drain of the hourglass destroys reason and smothers him under an army of fearful faces. So, drowning, he casts about; alone in the dry, silent desert, in frantic search of any arms - of gods or of monsters - to lift him up where the air is moving, and might run cool and thin into his lungs. Then, in the very sink of the desert, his chest heaves full - blotted up and soaked with every flowering capillary awareness; not appearing in glimpses, but shown in sudden, terrible whole - that in truth - there is no loving light, no rememberence, there are no arms to lift him, and he sleeps.

© Copyright 2009 Dr.Benway (stevedoc53 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1618237-Wormwood