before the moment passes, I write it down here.
on the phone I look for something, I know, as my thumbs swipe; I am looking for something. but now I know that I will not find it there. the thing I am trying to find is something nameless. I wonder if it is even possible to listen to it in cities, or in this city; if it doesn't emerge in the interstices of the mundo, mundus, the world. or: perhaps there are other ways of listening, ways of being alive to the world, ways of staying present, every landscape with its dispositions, a million ways to be.
the thing that I seek emerges when I am still. quiet.
I am back. am I ready to be back? no matter; I am back. I am here in the whirling heart of it all, the belly of the beast, the center of the propeller. the cab going home thumps faintly with the sound of dance music. a million headlghts peering out into the dark, going home from jfk. two suitcases in the back. after I pile out onto the sidewalk I look up at my apartment. two and a half months ago, I left in a car. two and a half months after that, I arrive with suitcases.
what has changed? what hasn't?
(the next day)
for the first time in a long time I think: I do not want to be here. I do not like this place anymore, or at least, right now, with its manic energy, too dense and packed, too insistent on piling more on top of more on top of more. surely this is a beautiful way to live, as I’ve experienced it before. but not now.
behind this weekend music festival and the throngs of tourists who frequent my neighborhood, everyone dressed so well, the stores wanting you to enter, imagery so polished and perfect, everything retweetable or story-able, behind all of this is the moon, and a gorgeous set of clouds, and the setting sun. just that. what I miss and love about burning man is that sometimes it feels like New York, just with the logics of city and nature inverted. hedonistic excess and creative experimentation and raunchy curiosity, yes. but in that one, sometimes, the photo backdrop, what they call an infinity wall, is torn. underneath this all is the desert, the raw hot cold dusty harsh desert, pummeling you into realization of the world we live in, the bodies we have, the deaths that await us, sooner or later, the preciousness of the lives we hold and don’t realize unless it’s too late-
perhaps the feeling like sorrow I have felt in my chest - perhaps it hasn’t been exactly sorrow, but something else. perhaps in my wanderings I’ve found a way to listen more deeply; I’ve become more attuned to myself. and my antenna shares a hunch: perhaps this feeling is a longing, a yearning, a pull towards somewhere that calls me, and the gap between where I am and where it wants me to be. to some extent I am already there; to some extent I am wanting desperately to be there, further.
right now this call is manifesting as a desired to be listened to; here in the city, I want to be listened to, it says. but out on the road, out in that valley, I was the one doing the listening; I was the one drinking in the world. what gives? but it was the same feeling, the same tidal push and pull, the same subtle patterns of waves lapping onto my heart that I felt, unmistakably. is this how desire gets conjugated - to be listened to, or to listen?
maybe what I want to ask is about the thing underneath. do you feel it, too? underneath joy, fun things, interesting things, underneath fears, sadness, underneath a life accomplishment, a career goal, underneath friendships even, or love; that thing on which all of these things are written. do you feel it? do you know what I speak of?
a few days into New York.
I am on the subway and I reach to open my phone, and look for.. what? some new absence fills my being, something I am hoping for, looking for. is this because I am no longer looking up to see my view filled with sky? because there are no more deserts here? what was I missing?
a few days later.
why post (on social media)? why post at all? there is nothing at all there for me. I am clutching at a fishing net, trying to swim in the sea.
a few days later, about ten days after returning.
the city is so loud. has it always been? I miss the endless solitude and stillness of the desert, I do.
a few days later after that.
I see. there’s joy and energy here, too. oscillation is the logic of the speaker cone, the eardrum, the nervous throat, the wondering heart. oscillation is to waver, but also to activate, to ambulate, to pulse.
out here, in my corner of the world, I am prolific, pulsing, emanating. restless. I am a channel, a teleportation gate, a wormhole, trying to bring something back to this city that resists, this city with its own cacaphonous pulses, this city with its rollicking rhythm, atonal and unpredictable but keeps you nodding along somehow.
In these words I am free, free to pour myself out onto the page and find how it crystallizes later. crystallization, as I understand it, is the process of molecules in a solution finding energy-efficient structures as they begin to precipitate as the solution evaporates. what was always there, finds a tighter shape as the context dissipates over time. time dissipates. underneath these words, the __ that I write for emerging. does this happen? do you read into this, dear future self? what are you noticing? I pour myself out onto this flat surface, anticipating a harvest, years, perhaps even decades later.
at this point I am at a juncture; or I say that I am at a juncture but I have already gripped the wheel and am turning left with glee. I shout out, wind through open window whisking through my hair, shout out “I shouldn’t be turning left!” as I do, joyously, jokingly, the big joke is about the shouldn’t, the knowledge I hold about the clear path forward versus this off-road trail I’ll drive on for a moment, or for the rest of my lives, or for the rest of a life amongst the many I’ll have, to find the paths that are right, and thus to make them. “I shouldn’t”, as I do, the joke is what I say and how my body and my hands seem to know, the gleeful state of presentness, of navigating along the deep gut, of going in the direction that feels right.
here, look back on me here. here I was. do you remember? I spent two and a half months traversing a landscape, both external and internal. I spent time with people, with friends, with myself, and with the nature and its spirits. I slept on top of my car. I was present. Things were sacred and mundane simultaneously. I was tired and cranky. Elated and happy. lonely and lost. Excited and present. Any and all of the above, E) other, filling in the blanks. That was that was that was that. Amidst it all the sense of what’s at stake, what lies underneath the cobblestones of a life, what vibrates in your life.
here back here I listen with keen ears. I try.