Hey Daffodils, I’m back aboard Juniper, now the color of snow. I eat fresh papaya. Spiders spin silk webs into my head, then climb out my eyes. I am blind. I am alone. I am swimming through depths and currents of me, that not even I can see. I am looking for my crystal voyager.
The sun drops. Juniper’s spooks razzle and dazzle in the night. Engine oil leaks from a forgotten hose and my bilge becomes a putrid black swamp of eternal stink. Home is where the honey is.
Have you seen my crystal voyager?
It’s summer here in Tahiti and the whole atmosphere is wet with fever. The pressure drops. Water falls. Life absorbs and amplifies in bursts. The paradise of flowers blossoms. Grottos, rainbows, plumerias, thorns. I wander into blue lagoons lit by moondrops. I follow rainforests, meadows, and mountains to their edge and back. I bathe in a fluttering of emerald. Touch me. Touch me not. Touch me.
Turtles swim under the boat looking for jellies. Eels jump out of red rivers to kiss my tangerine lips. Ferns fall like fairies from the O Belvedere. And the dragonflies are all hot to trot, they do the reverse cowgirl mid-sky- wings flapping, eggs forming. Did you know female dragonflies fake their own death to avoid having sex with aggressive males? They’ll just freeze, fall out of the air, and lay limp on the ground.
I must start doing that to avoid aggressive things, like hurricanes and lighting and blue giants. I wonder if their paths would stray, should they think I am already dead? I wonder if anything dangerous would exist if you or I did not exist? I wonder why the things that make us bloom can also make us wilt? Wilt. Wilt! I wonder how much of my life is wasted in wonder?
Where is my crystal voyager?
My friend, Mato, says, “Fear nothing in nature.” I say, “Tell that to the woman who got murdered by a blue-ringed octopus.” Mato smiles. He is as old as the ocean and the sun rises in his eyes. Mato is the grandson of a Polynesian king. Mato talks to people telepathically through the moon. Mato is one of six Polynesian men who built and sailed a traditional canoe (Va’a) from Tahiti to China. He is a guru among goblins.
Mato sang the goddess of the wind into an empty coconut for me. He said when I hit the doldrums, I hang it from the boom, and the wind will follow. And so, it does.
I’m sailing to the flat islands (Tuamotus) next week, where the sands are pink and the pearls are pretty. First stop Peacock Island (Ahe). This area has the largest chain of atolls in the world and I can only enter the lagoons on a slack tide during daylight, because of the coral reefs and the tidal currents that rush like rivers and eat sailboats like people eat peaches.
Anyway, this leaves a very tiny window for entry into the lagoons, that nobody can seem to calculate accurately. The window is the size of the new moon’s sliver and people say, “When you see it, you will know, it’s time to go.”
I will probably spin in circles outside the atolls for hours on end. Mato and another friend, who is mapping coral for National Geographic, might join. Together we will spin. And I spin. And I am spun. And I am dizzy.
What has happened to my crystal voyager?
It doesn’t really matter where I’m going. I just like going. I do it for the escape. I do it for the rush. I do it because I find a great deal of comfort within my discomfort at sea, where I am dampened among the deep mystic, and reverberations run free, and there is no heartache, and there is only this moment, my moment with the sea.
Give me fish bones. Give me barnacles. Give me blue. Give me bubbles. My crystal voyager must be somewhere among them.
Truthfully, I like the sea most, because on land, my compass is broken and I am a lost catastrophe. I can’t decipher the pure from the polluted. I keep climbing the same kinds of trees, keep picking and devouring the same kinds of fruits, and keep expecting new flavors to form in my mouth, but it’s always the same froth and foam.
You know how truffles are buried deep in the dirt, growing on the roots of an oak tree, and can only be sniffed out by ravenous dogs and pigs. That’s what my romantic life feels like and I equate that to land. On land, I am unearthed and dangling in the mouths of pigs.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many abusive relationships I’ve been in over the past 15 years. Or how many times I’ve studied the signs of a dangerous man. Or how many hours of therapy I’ve had. Or how many red flags my mind has twisted into a bouquet of roses. And I’m most afraid to tell you that I escaped from another abusive relationship just last week.
And all along I knew “If a man abuses drugs or alcohol, he will abuse you.” And drunkenness is no excuse for disrespect and cruelty. I knew. I knew. I knew. But I didn’t want to believe.
Where is my crystal voyager hiding?
Maybe a part of me is insane, or maybe a part of me is so destroyed that it wants to destroy all of me, or maybe I’m just a total idiot and someone put a neon sign on my heart that says “Come all ye sea wolfs, all ye pirates, all ye bootleggers, and take ye treasures gold,” and then they come, and I let them in, and they wrap their toxic tentacles around me and I sink until I’m sunk. Puckered and puffed. I struggle. I break free. I gasp for air. I float on.
I really must find my crystal voyager.
Here is a piece of fiction, to cleanse your pallet and blow a breeze through your mind……
THE GRIT & THE GLITTER
Opal and Ruby went to the Curl Up & Dye Beauty Parlor to get all dolled up for the rodeo. Rhinestones and wranglers and ringlets abound. Opal was there to add curls to her straight blonde hair, so that she could look like Ruby, and Ruby was there to dye her curly red hair into blonde, so that she could look like Opal.
The girls were both sitting cross-legged in lime green chairs. They wore matching purple sequined tops and the fluorescent lights were flickering above them like the glowworms of summer that flicker in the grass. They spoke to each other through silver mirrored reflections with sideways mouths and loose tongues.
Opal said, “You ever think ‘bout what life would be like if Adam and Eve never did eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden?”
The salon smelled strong of bleach. Ruby had a glass heat-lamp on top of her head that looked like an alien brain-eating device and Opal’s head was pinned up like a poodle in curlers. The hairdresser set a timer and placed it on a counter between the girls.
Opal and Ruby, weren’t friends, they were twins- aged 16. Both of them were cowgirls all the way down to their vanilla hearts. They could rope ‘em, ride ‘em, and steer ‘em. They called themselves the Gemstone Sisters and everybody said they were the best trick riders that side of the Mississippi. People came from counties far and wide just to see them ride.
Before they entered an arena, the announcer would say, “If you like it wild, if you like it glamorous, then please welcome to the rodeo arena The Gemstone Sisters.” Then the audience would turn into a jungle of thunder.
The name of the twin’s horse was Pistol and together they would sit on him and run around the arena in a sparkling streak of acrobatics and horsemanship. They could ride sideways, upside down, standing without hands, stacked on top of each other, and through burning rings of fire. There is a dangerous elegance to trick riding and that’s what the girls both loved- the grit and the glitter, the mud and the make-up, the boots and the blood.
Ruby replied, “If Adam and Eve never did eat that apple, we’d all be naked in Paradise right now. Yep, we’d be naked and Alligator would be riding bulls in nothin’ but his birthday suit. Imagine that!”
Both of their eyes got as big as bullfrogs. Alligator was to bull riding what the girls were to trick riding. He was 18 with six feet of muscles, yellow hair, and blue eyes. Imagining Alligator naked on a bull got the twins stuck and glued to thoughts that stick with lust. The sisters turned into a carnival on the inside, they could almost feel Alligator mounting and riding them in a naked paradise.
Opal swiveled in her chair so fast, that it made her curlers bounce up and down. She looked straight at Ruby and said, “I didn’t know how to tell ya this sis, but Alligator invited me to be his date to the square dance tonight and afterwards I do plan on seeing him in his birthday suit.”
Ruby couldn’t even pretend to stuff her jealousy inside. Her face got red blotches all over it just like a tomato patch, and everything in her body soured, making her look like she’d been sucking on a lemon for far too long.
Ruby made a sharp inhale and said with steam, “I liked Alligator first! If you even think about going with him to that dance, I’ll tell him your big little secret. I’ll pull that secret up from the dirt along with the dead cats it’s buried next too. I’ll tell this whole salon that secret. I’ll tell the whole rodeo that secret. I’ll get a t-shirt with that secret printed on it next to an image of your face and give it to Alligator to wear while he rides.”
Opal started crying cicadas and she was overcome by that heaviness that only grows in the heartland. Opal said, “But Daddy said if you told anybody my secret then you would suffer the wounds of Christ and start bleeding out like one of them stigmata’s.”
Ruby yelled back, “Well just cause daddy said it, that don’t make it religion.” Ruby kept on going with words that cut deep, like the fangs of a snake, “Plus, I don’t care if I bleed like Christ, at least I can put a band aid over my wounds to cover them up, but you know once your secrets out, you won’t be able to hide from it, there’s not enough perfume in the world to cover up the stink of it.”
With each word Opal was more torn up. She looked at the green fireworks out the window, she looked at the park where the lavender grows in droves, she looked at the bubbles, at the kazoos, at the peaches and the balloons. Oh the lemon. Oh the lovesick.
Opal felt like she was an earthworm and Ruby was a bird with a sharp beak that was swallowing her to death. Opal was so hysterical that she could only hear single words and short phrases coming from Ruby’s mouth now. “Lot lizard,” “loaded pistol,” “reptile,” “blob,” “lone star,” “daydream,” “regret,” “backstabber.”
Ruby wouldn’t shut up, so while her head was jolting from side to side like a crazed chicken, and while the fire was flying out of her mean mouth, Opal snuck that timer off the counter between them and she cranked it to 30 minutes longer. Opal didn’t know exactly what would happen, but she knew that if she left her cakes in the oven passed their timer, then they got hard and weren’t fit for consumption. That’s what she wanted to happen to Ruby, to make her not fit for consumption, so that she could have Alligator all to herself.
Opal then stuck her fingers in her ears and started going, “La-La-La-La-La.” In between the La’s she could hear Ruby saying things like, “you tick,” “bad frequency,” “grasshopper humper,” “sun,” “mercy,” “upside-down,” “betrayal,” ‘immortal.” It went on like this for the next thirty minutes.
Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. The timer went off. The hairdresser walked over, removed the heat lamp from Ruby’s head and started sliding off the foil. Whole chunks of Ruby’s hair came right off with it. When the foil was fully removed, Ruby looked as bald as a baby and she was so hardened she had no words, only shrieks.
Opal locked eyes through the mirror with Ruby and said, “Looks like God is givin’ you a little lesson on envy,” then laughed loud and long.
Next the hairdresser came to take out Opals’ curlers and as she did Opal’s hair fell off in all the places the curlers had touched, leaving Opal with hair as short as a little boy. Ruby looked at Opal in the mirror and said, “Looks like God is givin’ you a lesson too, sis.”