Saturday, September 16, 2006

Trip Mckenzie and the Desperate Man

A desperate man tears at his oil paint hair. His eyes wildly stare at what?

At you, at me. We are the second party.

All the world's desperation turned upon the observer. See what is in my head, see what I face. How will you live with that? Now deal with that.

Piano keys fall out of the sky, exploding in rioutous fireworks. The sounds, stagerringly beautiful and utterly out of context surround and envelop you. There is nothing there to produce them, just an empty park. The sky. Grass. A bench. No fireworks, certainly not a piano to be seen. But still the sounds come, surround. And you cannot handle it, it is too much for your heart. Squeezed tight to keep the blood pumping but unable to handle this unexpected load. The increase in pressure, too much is asked, too much blood, too fast a rate. It explodes, splattering the inside of the ribcage with whatever it is that hearts are made off. A chain reaction begins, first the lungs, then the liver, kidney. God I don't know the order, this is all a fantasy anyway. Chain reaction, organ after organ, the inside explodes. Crashing against the structure of bone and skin but not making a dent.

I fall down. The fireworks keep exploding. The piano keys tumbling all around me. I can see them now. Somehow they are falling perfectly in pattern, black next to white, in whatever order it is that piano's have their keys arranged. I could not recall it if asked, but I know that what is unfolding around me is correct. None of this makes sense.

Piano keys, explosions, organs... none of this fits the picture. I'm lying in bed, alone, outdated drops of semen drying on my stomach. I wish there were piano keys around me and fireworks in the sky. That would make this scene far more beautiful. But its just me, in bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking of nothing. Feeling like nothing. Always just me. I close my eyes, I try to think of the music, picture the epic that is my life. I close my eyes and what I see is a desperate man staring back at me. His eyes pass the desperation over to me. How will you live with this he asks?

I shall sleep, is my answer.

I shall sleep now. And when I wake I shall still sleep. I shall walk through life asleep. I shall even sleep through my dreams.

I don't say anything of the sort. That would be even more desperate than the plate that the man has handed me.

What I tell him is this:

You are desperate because you dream of greatness. You may not know what it is, you may not be able to picture it and you may feel that you shall never find it. But still it is what you dream of. You feel it every minute of your life this greatness. And that is why you are desperate, you want to touch it, to let it envelop you, to lose yourself in that greatness. You are desperate because you dream but you believe that it is only a dream.

And you are right to think that you shall never find this greatness, but you are wrong to despair. You will never find it because there is no greatness for you to touch, no greatness will surround you, you cannot lose yourself, cannot drown in the greatness that you feel in every minute of your life. Because that greatness, that thing you feel, is not out there. It is not apart from you, how could you feel it so readily if it was?

The greatness is you.

That is how I shall handle your gift, I tell the desperate man. I tell myself. I shall reveal its truth, its emptiness. I am not empty, I am not desperate. I shall be great.

(inspired by Gustave Courbet: The Desperate Man (Self-Portrait), M83 and a non-existent love life.)

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