Photo by Christopher Jug George *St. Croix River* October 26, 2011
There’s pain in there somewhere, I realize, pain I thought I’d conquered. It poured out of me this past weekend and I started to wonder if it was real. Had I been guessing when I told myself I was ok? On Christmas Day I was watching 8mm home movies of people, of family, of strangers, of strange family, of Christmas, some of them I used to know, some I never met, one who disappeared from the world on that very day. They were so happy or pretending to be happy or sad, I couldn’t tell. I forgot what year it was on the street in front of my house and had no concept of time inside my house. I was lost and overwhelmed and had to press stop. I went outside to feel the present. I found myself on a path cutting through the park that ended in the middle of the road where I was dodging cars and further still, along train tracks then sitting beneath the Summit Avenue bridge watching my dog bark at birds as the world darkened and while sitting there I went further into the woods, where I saw something I thought I’d lost or forgot or made up. I saw a flash in the distance and even though I couldn’t see it clearly it was enough of a glimpse for me to know I’m not the great conqueror I thought I was . . .
Or maybe I’m still that boy from 1999 who wrote the same thing, in a 12 years ago way, in a novella:
I had to run but all of these people stepped in my path with indiscriminate looks on their faces, faces with no real connection to my current situation but rather just happening to move that foot, inch, or five feet in my direct line so that I was running through them and they were only concerned about tea, or how to get to the Nevesky bridge or what was said about them under someone’s breath, and every large person in the district gathered in one spot and pushed their pianos to that spot with them, and I scaled them swiftly as if I had the ability of the tiger that I saw within my dead Uncle, and next a thicket of thorny bushes that attached to my jacket only to get to a brick wall that I somehow managed to pass through, orange and black stripes flashing through my skin only to encounter every one in the Nevesky Prospect eating dinner in a straight line that adjusted to my path so that I stepped in people’s soup and on their meat and they acted as though they would be disappointed if I didn’t when finally I reached this point of isolation, these woods surrounded by birds . . .
I’ve been battling forever: with myself, with others, with memories, with life, with death. Fighting in a quiet way, mostly with my eyes and my thoughts. I’ve run from you, I’ve hurt you, I’ve tried to dismiss you, but, ultimately, I just ignored my wrongs, my rights, my gifts, my pain, my struggles with reality and then I think of a day like this one, when I was happy and oblivious. When I realized, for the first time, the world sometimes looked like my dreams and my heart pounded because of how golden yellow could be, how beautiful dying things were, how the landscape rose and fell, and gracefully gave into forever.
Photo by Christopher Jug George *St. Croix River-Gold River Diana* 4/28/10
You are a river, Diana, you are high. You are rushing and taking lives. I’m not even sure when you took mine. I’ve been negotiating a merger between the surreal and real for a long time. The deal is about to be struck. I was not here before, I will be gone again.