DEPEND UPON WORDS

Writing for money is a perilous venture, and writing to support oneself is creative suicide. I have considered it, and each time I consider it I go running back to a job I am confident I can complete with my eyes closed in order to give myself completely, emotionally to my work.

Writing is work. It is morning after morning of moving from the dream state to the page, and letting that loosely held unconscious world sift upward into consciousness with itŐs clues for some possible understanding.

Every man deserves quiet solitude to attempt an appreciation of the images that flow past during sleep; images of cars driving too close to the cliff, velvet corsets with satin bows, puppies quivering in groups, old women in rocking chairs, fires, music for the ear and notes for the eye, black notes that run up and down the staff on the page with notations of sharps and flats and keys to be played in, interrupted by snow, melting on sidewalks, mixed with fragrance of the seashore, fragrance that reminds you of the family trip taken oh so long ago (a dream in itself) and the first time your father stopped for no reason by the side of the road, on the edge of the sand, to let you run into the surf.

Images, images that turn into senses, perhaps of dread, and you awaken to find yourself in the same bed in the same house, and wonder how, when you have been floating all through the universe can you be replaced once more in your own bed, as if nothing happened, and yet, there has been a passage to India, the interior of fantasia, a secret door into a secret world that even you cannot control, but can only be a spectator to clouds in the sky, clouds that turn into polka dots on a scarf around your neck, a smile that becomes a steak bone lying solitary on a plate at the end of a meal and you must come to your senses, shower and dress, move into the world and communicate with your colleagues, you must look into the eyes of the person in that office you struggle toward each morning as if all of you were sane. You must try not to register the brutal hatred you see, the resignation, the bitter lack of joy so often seen in their savage expressions.

This is where writing can be your friend, because writing can encapsulate those fleeting moments, those truthful asides, those shocking expressions that one bears witness to each day and does not know where to place them.

If you befriend writing, writing will befriend you, and no democracy, no capitalism, no imperialism which we are anesthetized to these days, and all live seamlessly in, can possibly touch you, as you float like a blue heron above the lake of your own private images from your own secret treasure chest from your own quicksilver that comes to you from the ethers each night.

Writing, unlike other art forms, depends upon words, and all words, by virtue of being words have inherent meaning. there is no getting around that, and because words have meaning, after all, the Bible says in John 1:1 "In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God and the word was God," because words have inherent meaning when we choose we must choose wisely. Saying our savage neighbor is not the same as our wild neighbor and savage he was, last night from my kitchen window, on a street like any other, with rows of houses like any other, I bore witness to a pathetic scene of violence; bottles broken, dishes flying, screams and recriminations on both sides, a turkey flew from the door, roasting pan and all, drippings splattering on the drive, and all of this was topped like a cherry on an ice cream sundae with the patrol cars inching toward the curb, (having been called by the neighbors, savage or otherwise on the opposite side of the turkey flying citizens in this fair community.)

The resignation with which the doors opened and closed made it apparent this was not the first call the Kansas City police department had made to this block. I allowed myself exposure to this scene as I was eager for some sign that made it different from any other routine cleavage in marital harmony. I was not disappointed.

As law enforcement moved toward the house, shots rang, an explosion was heard and suddenly, violently, a fire erupted that tore the house into flames. Those two men stood suspended in awe and wonder, suspended before a wood frame house on a block of wood frame houses, in a great big little neighborhood of American dream houses before rushing to rip from their car window the radio, shout code numbers, still in awe and wonder as the house blazed, blazed orange and yellow reflected in their silver badges, silver badges worn against the black pools of compliance, black pools of law enforcement, shadows of truth and the American way.

As the house blazed a side door opened, a small black woman emerged wearing a pink wool coat, carrying a cardboard suitcase and slipped toward the fence gate, opened and disappeared behind it.