"The desert bears only a scathing sun, and nothing more."
"What about mirages?"

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The First Time.

I fill my time with people
In part
Because I'm scared
To admit defeat
To go home
And face this disease.
I'm afraid to be alone
With these thoughts--
They pinch each
Fibre of me
So much pressure
Behind my eyes
That it's all I feel--
This pain.
It feels good to hit something
Tear it down
And hate it,
Even if its me.
Skin flushed
Under fist.
Tomorrow it will blossom
And remind me
Of those thoughts,
And I'll ache
At the next dreaded night
Of trying to battle
With the inevitable:
Swollen eyes
Stinging cheeks
Singing limbs
Splintered teeth.
I hope one day
I'm strong enough
To face this.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Priest's Grotto - Mundare, AB.

Something about that small town--that grotto that we walked through, I keep thinking back to it. My memory is an old sepia photograph that I squint at. I keep trying o pick out the details, but time proves as persistent as it always is, and the jagged edges of hewn stone and wild hedges fade even as I recall them:

The place is old: you can feel it in the grass and see it in the stone, but it feels ageless too. It's like it will remain for a thousand more years, even when there are no more priests left to tend it. It is such a strange juxtaposition of stone and cement, a hard precise human hand and the wild ravages of nature. It is almost a paradox. It is almost perfect harmony.

The front of the grotto is a lush grass field lined with ancient trees. They grow beards of moss and whisper old secrets when the wind kisses them and command a respect that is unmatched by any sprig you will see in the city. Their branches reach over the field for each other, shield us from the sun with a canopy of new budding leaves. There is a cement walkway that leads up to the front of a massive stone structure in the centre of the grotto. It guides us onto a stone pavilion that is old and cracked and has seen the pounding of hundreds of feet. The centre is a sheltered area for prayers or ceremony, and on both sides are wide stone basins that once held fountains. They are deep and empty now, save for rusty bronze piping.

Next to each basin is a set of crooked stairs and a statue that offers us a story. One is the virgin Mary. The other is indiscernible. The fountain piping is bent crudely to follow the stairs. They creep past the statues and up to a cement reservoir at the peak of the structure. When you climb past the statues you find paths that wind around and lead you up to the top. You can run your hand along stone walls that line the path up. They are cobbled piles of rock and poured concrete. Everything is overgrown-- covered in moss and weeds and forget me nots  and other wild flowers. The priests have begun to groom the hedges and lilac bushes that line the pathways opposite to the wall. Though they still carry the posture of something that never stops resisting. They continue to grow and always the threat of them conquering the path lingers.

When you reach the top there stands at its very peak a rusting metal cross at least 12 feet high. It is covered head to toe in creeping vines dried and cracking from last year's winter. Tiny buds have begun to appear as the vine prepares for another summer of creeping.

I remember standing at the top of that place and being struck with the dedication of the faithful, and all that is needed to create and nourish a place like this. It has a sense of calm and serenity and age, but also the unnerving edge of the human hand and mind.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Time 1.

You told me today
that the only thing we can ever
truly give
is time.
It is so limited
and so precious
that my heart sinks
whenever I remember
every time I gave my time
to someone
who threw it all away.
I could have been giving it to you--
Or better yet--
I could have given it to myself.
So often we forget
that time is the only true thing
with transactional value.
Sometimes it's better to invest in
rather than live a life
of timeless poverty.