Saturday, August 11, 2007

tom taylor - chthonic

‘…the chthonic /comes up through the soles of the feet / blows up out the top of the head…like we had some kind of choice in some of this….’ Rant of dour poise, the joyous precluded in its history by a nameless head of steaming noise at the beginning of the day’s remonstrations you might recall them all along the quay at the climate of morning in the small fishing village by the shores of the Mediterranean. We’d not been there before nor did we speak their language. It was all nod and blink and arm and hand signaling to get anything anywhere at all. But that was its comfort and its challenge, more to survive the need for food and water than to correct the tempo of the ages, far beyond our intent or desire. Soon the ship would come to carry us south into less safe regions, to teach the stragglers dependents and the ambitious on the huge air base known to have carried too much too long to too many for not enough of anything….
Now the largesse was declared in excess of time’s flowing matrix in the image and patronage of the ocean itself, another mirror for the mind’s recreation of big bang sentimentality, expanding universes aparted from the maze of the heart’s discoveries. We’d taken the time off from life to explore something outside the realm of chance terms laid as they were on top of more immediate memories. The wide, paved oceanfront sidewalks drew upon the shops the chai houses the winding streets of the village at the foot of a cliff of volcanic rock where the road above had been carved by hand a long time before us, an imaginary landscape set in the midst of small, brightly painted boats skiffs and scows which drew out from their own distances into the deep blue waters which let into the sea beyond. An away-station from the heart’s disturbances long ago in an empty landscape surrounded by our own fields of dream and scheme.
Now, here, the hours recall nothing. The sand dragon ekes up through your shoes and eats your soul in its’ way out of your head into the cool air which surrounds you. Maybe not today. The glue which holds it all together, the joy connectives themselves have all but disappeared from common life, although occasionally in the shopping malls and parking lots of the day around us, some accuracy descends to open the door and let you see through and into the totality of what has only before been imagined or sought. Here is the tempo of modernity, allayed into some kind of willingness by the seeker and the quest, both allowed their pressure by the sheer force of flight and repose, by the hours and days of motion on the face of the planet’s increasing weight, moving slower now, finally coming to rest in an otherwise empty field, itself a memory of what had preceded.
The roaming eye declares a point of focus and destination. Color marks the distinctions from each other as objects melt into a landscape which is unfamiliar yet bears some accuracy from its singularity, a shock, a reminder, an allowance for the time served and for the observations of all the links and passageways along the cobbled stones in the village itself. The busses come and go from the center square by the ancient fountain where the girls come each evening carrying now brightly colored plastic jugs to ferry the water home, walking past the boys in their best clothes who linger at the edges of the fountain’s space, dressed as they are in their best clothing, showing their best manners. The reminiscence of this benign dignity follows me along the signs of decay and wilderness which surround me now – everything unfinished and constantly beginning again from wherever it was before now. Now is what there is. Now is the lesson itself. As if we’d made an answer out of this particular moment, as if we’d had some kind of choice… this is the hollow tree at the edge of the plain where the bees keep their own largesse and penitent calm in the hours of sunrise and sunset…this is the open day.