Sunday, February 05, 2012

I Woke Up - And Fell Into A Dream

Bird 2

I woke dead in my bed - and the world had gone ahead without me.

I ambled outside into a surrounding hazy grey sky - but it was the wrong kind of grey, a grey that forgot our civilized world of 60 second sound bites, no longer keeping faith with our glorious claims to fame. Grey mist fell upon me and grey I too became. In a twinkling the world had changed but I was not ready. How could this happen?

"Is this a dream? What finally cracked? Who are we?"

Who are we? What made me ask that? I saw bewildered shoppers in the distance streaming out of stale bricked stores, raising their clutching hands to the sky in gross confusion. That's when I knew I could turn to no other soul for answers. Then suddenly I realized I expected this all along. Not maybe this exact thing, but something to happen. It had been building for the longest time. Dew droplets of Spring's unreality sprinkled upon us in helpless abandon. What shall blossom from this?

The cars had stopped moving, left like skinned buffalo carcasses on the streets and freeways. I knew not to panic because everyone else already had. My thoughts turned toward the king - only I never remembered us having a king before. But it seemed the natural thing to do. In memory found I made my way to the throne of power.

The king sat upon his toilet throne in the great Barton hall corrupt in both smell and soulful shit. I wondered why only I had come to see, to know what can be known. My presence was not appreciated as our ruler snarled at my arrival.

"Ruined and rotted! Ruined and rotted! What have they done? The government's tool is evil! Hell's mouth has opened and it suffers no justice. Follow it or die!"

Only then did I realize he was not speaking to me. Rather it was like one of those android robots who speak when their motion detector goes off, alerting them to give their programmed speech. Walking behind I found the cables to reality cut in two. How far down the path of unreality had our king traveled? Dare I even stay?

"They made me do it. They made me be evil! Protect the polluters or die! I want to stand up for what is right. No man can stand for what is right! Kill it! Kill it now! Destroy the foul and feculent government before it's too late!"

Sparks of freshly shorted cables caused me to run away from the robot man of incarnadine hands, living in his world of shit. Did he not realize he asked for his own death? No, of course not - not with severed ties to reality. Where to turn? I rushed outside to see the thoughts of my blind brethren.

I viewed uniformed soldiers rushing ahead to the call of duty but their walk was hindered by an unseen wind. Then I heard a small girl cry out to her mother.

"But why does Grandpa have to go to war?"

"Because he's old, sweetheart, and we can't take care of him anymore."

Soon I was passing the grey troops in their infirmities. I wonder who the war is against that required the eldest among us to be called. No guards were present at the military compound’s front gate. I wandered furiously through the corridors to arrive at the commander's office. As I squirmed my way through a throng of old soldiers I glimpsed walls covered with lusty centerfolds reflected in the light of a booming playstation, the commander with a game stick in one hand and his own stick in the other. The aged men pleaded.

"But sir, you're masturbating away our time!"

"Yeah, I know. But you still have to do what I say no matter what! You got that, soldier?"

"Sir, yes sir! I am a good soldier!"

"Great! Now squeal like a pig, private! Yours is not to question why. Ain't authority great!"

When the pig noises started I fled outside for fresh air, passing an impromptu sign: "Life is wasted on the old! Save the youth!"

Across the way I was struck by a sign exclaiming over a building entrance, "It's A Man's Life In The Service!" I wondered why they even felt the need to say it. Knowing I'd regret what I'd see even before I saw I was pushed in anyway. Peeking in I saw General George S. Patton in a French maid uniform, barefoot with bare buttocks meticulously scrubbing a floor as a high-heeled lusty vixen watched in delighted disdain. The General seem quite proud of himself.

"This is where it pays off! The training and the discipline - God help me, I do love it!"

"You better love it, bitch," corrected the vixen. "Or I'm leaving your ass high and dry."

"Ma'am, yes ma'am! You're the reason we're fighting for!"

Unable to take any more, I staggered away possessed by the thought all wars were fought for no reason, never a noble cause. Who is not a desperate man? I don't want to know...I ran again.

Lost in a yellow-grey grassy field, I fell to my knees to grab my spinning head. "Can't be...Can't be..." I found myself chanting. Then inside me history reversed in my mind, telling me things had always been this way - the sky always grey and the desperate dead fighting wars. The urge to believe was overpowering and I knew not from where it came.

No...I had to believe the military minds had gone mad - but was it only relative to madness from before? I heard triumphant laughter from the other side of a line of evergreys. Maybe someone had found an answer! Fighting the nagging voices within I saw three men celebrating as if they'd conquered the world. Faces fell when they saw me though.

"Stay back! It's all ours! You can't have any! We're kings of the world now!"

Behind them was a hodgepodge pile of blank and lined paper. Notepads, yellow pads, notebook paper, copy paper - piles and piles of it. I was transfixed by their desire to accumulate and protect such a worthless stack of junk. They thought they could read my face.

"Wish it was yours, doncha?? Haha! It's ours, all ours! We gots the paper now! We call the shots. We gonna be livin' the life! Get your own paper! Them’s the rules! Them's always been the rules and we ain't never changing it now!"

Funny, but at that moment all I could think was I bet they hadn't changed their underwear in forever either. I scatted away in curious fretting of how anyone could think simple paper was a pathway to salvation. What if it burned up? Then what? Would their lives really be any different afterwards? Oh, hell! Damn this grey mist in my eyes!

I sought a safe place of my youth, a park by my elementary school. There was an overhang there where I could think - if I still dared to think. But when I got there I saw masses of children with choke collars held firmly by cross parental leashes. The neck of the parents had been stretched six inches too high yet none seemed to notice the deformity - or did they? Constantly they pulled the children along, berating them as they marched in circles.

"Tell me you like the collar and I'll take it off!"

"No! I hate it!"

"Rebellious brat! This is my life I tell you!"

Whenever a child yelled too loudly a man in a black coat and pointed black hat rushed in with black pills for the resisting child to ingest. Like a surreal epic painting, it played like a great battle scene of chaos and despair. Only in this battle it was life that was feared, not death. Not a parent believed taking the collars off might bring peace.

My inner ears ringed with the sound of mayhem. What was this ever louder voice telling me all is as before?? No, it's not! It can't be! It's the grey! Somebody stop the grey mist! It came when we weren't even looking!

I climbed to the top of the highest peak, hoping to rise above the maddening mist. From there I saw down into the valley - revealing why I stood alone on this vantage point of perception. I gazed upon thousands - maybe millions - of chained, toiling slaves connected together in rows that disappeared over the horizon.

"But we're free!" I helplessly retorted.

Grey Mist Lords walked among the slaves taking bites from their bodies as nourishment. Some of the Lords played games of chance and if they lost made the slaves pay with their lives. I knew nothing at that moment but that I must put a stop to this, find a way out for everyone.

But as I got closer I found no lock bound the slaves to the long poles of bondage. I approached a particularly pained person, asking why he did not set himself free.

"I can't do that!" he spat. "Everyone will hate me if I do!"

"So fucking what! Give yourself a chance."

"No! Never! Never!" Then his eyes returned to blankness.

I asked the same of another man but he swatted me away, cursing me as "the enemy". Starved for hope, I tried one more, only he smiled a toothless smile at me in return.

"Ah, that's OK. I plan on doing this to my wife when I get home."

I thought to myself: But you're not going home. I backed away as if an invisible hand pulled me back to safety. "These men...these men...where will they go?" Once more, I stuffed my ears to any answer. Grey was here, grey was there, grey was everywhere. I had to find a light.

Then I saw one, a glowing dome in the distance, a beacon of hope.

"THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD" it proudly proclaimed. But it was not a natural light but an artificial one of burning bulbs on their last legs. I slipped inside a grand and great room where every man was dressed as a working man, arguing in roundabout circles shaking scepters in hand. They had too little currency to keep the lights ablaze, a solution must be found.

"If 2+2 equals four all is lost and we'll never have enough to pay!"

"It's eight, I tell you! Eight! 2+2 is eight!"

"It can't be eight, you fool! Have you no sense of living?"

"You call getting the lights shut off living, Mr. Know-it-all?"

"Let's compromise on six. I vote 2+2 equals six. Who's with me on this?"

"Eight! Only eight! Save the light or die!"

"It's gotta be four! Anything else is a deadly lie! Moving from eight to six is like proposing to fix only half the hole in a ship."

"Better half than nothing! Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good!"

"But you'll still sink!"

"Not if I brainwash myself otherwise!"

"Eight, I say again! Eight! Eight! Eight! Eight! The loudest voice wins!"

"We have to take our medicine and admit it's four, there's no other way."

"Idealistic fool! No one is going to accept four. Grow the hell up and face facts like an adult. You've been outvoted, loser!"

Propagandists hate facts - especially the one they have no vote on truth or reality. To me the answer seemed simple: stop requiring currency for the lights and they could stay on forever. But these were unhappy men, closed of mind and heart. Rulers make bad lovers. I guess they hoped to pass laws to make that not so. Another false faith, another deluded deed, another manic man.

Blindly I ran till I found myself on the steps of a steepled church. Maybe the folks inside could quote an answer, an understanding of the fate of the world of which they often did speak. Maybe I don't know so much after all, I hoped. Reverently, I creaked open the great wooden door, expecting a warm light from within to give me sanctuary. Instead I whispered,

"Grey! Everything's grey!"

They had painted every inch - even the light bulbs. The high priest in robes dripping grey was performing a ceremony of "purification", painting grey onto each member who stood in a line. Those not yet painted were anxious and impatient, roasting alive to be in a state of non-salvation. Those already grey lay prostrate on the floor in divine thankfulness for having been saved. I overheard the sorcerer's words.

"With this I make thee of the grey world, blessed of the world and divine in the eyes of man. May thee be covered in the glory of the great and good grey god and made whole with it. I lift thee from hell's confusion and give thee calm certitude of the one true answer. Those unmarked may neither buy nor sell for they are agents of the enemy who must be purged!"

Naturally at that point all eyes turned to me and before I could say a thought I heard: "Death to the truth-sayer at the door! Death to all who undermine the world!"

Must have been something in my eyes that told them I didn't want to walk around covered in grey shit. But what was going on? An outcast I be! Nowhere to run to...nowhere to hide. Was the grey mist melting our veneer, dissolving delusions from our desires? Too much to take in...must get away...are the subways still working?

There in the underground as yet untouched by the grey, the prophets' song came true when the words of the prophets were written on the subway walls.

"Into the Knowing we are thrust and once Knowing we can never turn back."

But who is ready to know? Who bravely trudges forward into life? The past is gone.


You decide which is more real:

The glossy glory of Georgie:

Or the hazed and abused life of Private Pyle:

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