Friday, February 5, 2010

An Uncertain Guide to the Ancient Voices



I could be your guide.
Where are we going, you ask?
To Jacob’s Ladder.
We will climb down to where the Ancient Voices speak.

Have I been there?
Oh, no.
Well, maybe.
I’m still not certain.
But, I know you must go under.

Enter at your own risk, though.
We have to swim to get there.
Me?
No, I’m still learning to float.

I hold my breath, let go and lean back.
But, here, in these waters, you have to breathe.
Slowly, under your ribs.
There you go! You got it!
In and out.

If you forget to breathe?
No problem.
There’s a built in safety-feature.

Scary?
Oh, hell yes!
All those ropes that tie you down?
Keeping you from floating away?
From losing yourself?
They don’t work in these waters.

You could get lost in here.
There are many voices.
But, you can listen to mine at first.

And if you lose your way?
There’s always a Voice to guide you home.
How fast?
Hmmm. I don’t know.
It might take awhile.
But you're strong, you’ll make it.

I could be wrong, but its like whiskey, I think.
Like a magical brew that slows your thoughts,
clouds your mind, and then amplifies the Others.
At first, they might rattle, like old men’s breathing.

They might just ask you a lot of questions.
They may try to reason with you.
Most likely, they are angry.
They are tired and hungry from wailing so long.
They may all come at once.

They will drag you out to deeper waters,
Where your feet can’t touch.
Where the Great Mystery will cut your skin like ice water,
And clench your throat.
Your chest will get tight.
Now, don’t forget to breath.

And then, the voices will pull you under.
They do not look for revenge,
but only for the truth of things.
And these voices will lead you to Those Voices.

But, its time to leave.
We’ve been wrapped in our cocoon of clanging symbols long enough.
Search the skies.
It’s a sign.
There’s nothing left here.
Only fleeting platitudes and a grating cadence.

Wait, Another Way?
No, I don’t think so.
The path we’ve already tried?
No, it doesn’t lead there, remember?
We bought that whole load once.
We just kept walking and walking and walking,
but we never even heard
a Whisper.

Come on, now. Let’s go.
The Ancient Voices are speaking.
Where they have always been speaking.
You will recognize them. You heard them once before.
Before you were born.

Are you ready?
One. Two. Three…

image: Between Two Waves, Makoto Fujimura

6 comments:

  1. wow. good and unsettling.
    forgot to breath as i was reading.

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  2. i forgot to breath too! by the way, its okay if youre the kinda girl who closes her eyes while she sings. i'll get over it. AND, i wont laugh.

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  3. Yes!! Shows the witty social critic and emotional journalist has a incredible poetic and dare i say serious side to her that needs to be heard! I absolutely love this. You continue to be my favorite writer of the 20th Century!

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  4. just read this again. keeps getting better.

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  5. absolutely gorgeous. damn, girl.




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