Megayachts and manta rays float around the marina all day. The rays look like super heroes with their diamond shaped wing-tipped capes. Some call them “devil fish,” but I think they’re vigilantes. And when we’re not looking the rays fly out of water, turn into giant black birds, and haunt the people on the megayachts- keeping them in line and what not.
Everything always behaves differently when we’re not looking. Humans. Electrons. Insects. Manta Rays. In physics it’s called the Observer Effect- the mere observation of the phenomenon inevitably changes the phenomenon.
I don’t think I do anything interesting when you’re not looking. I’m a robot running down a dream, but in French I’m referred to as a lady with wings.
“Oiselle” means bird. “Madame” means lady. Mademoiselle, when broken down, means a lady with wings or lady bird. That’s what you call a gal before she gets hitched. Once she’s hitched, she looses her wings and she’s just Madame. I don’t want to loose my wings, birds without wings live in cages. I’ll marry the wind. I’ll stay in flight. I’ll fly forever because I need my wings like a fish needs coral.
I sit here remembering a man that I met once. He was beautiful and he didn’t know it. But he knew how to ride a motorcycle and he rode it all across Asia. Just him and the wind.
He landed in Nepal. In those Nepalese hills made of soft and rocky dirt that can drop a motorbike faster than a moth drops towards the light. I met him there, in the middle of nowhere. The year was 2007.
After he told me of all his travels and how he now called this nowhere “home”, I asked, “Of all the places you’ve seen, why did you decide to stop here?”
I don’t recall what he said exactly. Does it matter? No! What matters is the meaning beneath his words. That’s what always matters. Those underneath bits. Those bits that are felt not seen. Forget the facades of lipstick and flowers and multi-syllable words. When those wilt or melt or fade, you’ll wish you had looked underneath. You’ll wish you had always known what something or someone truly was, underneath it all, instead of seeing only what they wanted you to see.
I wish I had known about Junipers soggy underneath bits before I bought her!
Anyway, here’s what I heard the hot man on the motorcycle say…..underneath it all. He said, “I was looking for that perfect place. I rode my motorcycle across jungles and mountains and deserts. I saw devils and monkeys and angles. And I drank from the fountain of youth. And I held the harmony of heaven in my hands. I stopped when I realized that it didn’t matter where I went, because there I was. That part of me I was running from, followed me, no matter how many times I tried to shove his face in the hot sand. That part of me I was looking for, was still missing, no matter how many stones I turned. That part of me I couldn’t feel, was never felt, no matter how many cold rivers I swam. So here I am.”
I’ll never forget this conversation. Especially when my world gets really still and I’m alone with my head. When it’s just me and my thoughts and my breath and there I am. It’s important to stay there. To feel it all. To let the song play through until it ends and I am able to write a new one.
Here I am. With my face in the sand. I’m a sea cowgirl. I’m a black pearl rolling across the stratosphere. I’m an earth-grazer flirting with the land.
Last Sunday I sat in a park and sang. I was with the men helping me repair Juniper- Sam and Luc- and their friends and lovers and kids. We ate fifteen varieties of cheese and drank wine. They gobbled sliced animal intestines at a rapid and awkward pace…. delicacies in other countries are totally fascinating.
Sam’s mouth turned into a trumpet while he played the guitar. Most of the songs he played were tortured love songs, “Ne me quitte pas” (Don’t leave me) and another, about making love to a face dripping with black eyeliner.
He played until I was a pond filled with frogs, but there were no water lilies for the frogs to sit on. He played until the clouds were women, rising as far above the earth as they could get. He played until the sun shattered across the sky.
“Sam is collecting the tears of young women with his sad songs,” Luc said.
Me, I’m collecting too, but nothing as dreamy as tears. All day I collect the carcasses of fungus gnats. Still. So many. I’ve lost count. Hundreds. My latest trap involves the head (toilet.) I just keep whatever leaves my body inside of there and add a splash of soap to the mix. The gnats flock, they get stuck, they cease and suspend. It’s sinister really, me counting their dead bodies obsessively and the sick pleasure it gives me.
I went to a Catholic Church last night to repent. It’s yellow and was built in 1875. I’m not Catholic but I went to a Catholic school and I know how to talk to God through stained glass.
I said, “Forgive me father, for I have sinned. I have killed an army of fungus gnats and I want to kill a bunch more.” Then I said a “Hail Mary” for every gnat that I killed.
There was a choir singing behind me. And the entire crucification was painted along the wall to my left. Everyone depicted had bulbous heads and long fingers. It looked like the Bible set in some futuristic outer space realm. They were all aliens. Even Jesus. It was groovy.
The boat is coming along. The bow has been rebuilt from the inside. There are miles to go and a thousand islands to see, but I adventure into the heart of this volcano and touch the lake of the Eel King and swim with whales, when time allows.