|The Dome of Heaven
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|Author:||BBerntson [ Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:25 pm ]|
|Post subject:||The Dome of Heaven|
Another precious angel come and gone, an acute stab of pain piercing his breastbone, and he bows his head in shame. Another chance to be a gentleman, to prove his worth, his courtly demeanor, but to no avail. Opportunities wasted on himself. Perhaps he was not as courtly as he thought himself to be. Everything was imagination anyway. If not for imagination, he would not be radiant and beautiful. He would not be strong and valorous. If not for imagination, he would not know love in its purest, most resplendent form.
These scars run deep. They are only dreams, fairy-tales, imagining what it would be to be a man wrapped in those arms, laughing with that face. 'Sing to me again,' he would say, and her smile would spread wide, issuing warmth that moved over his head, his scalp, and along his back. Let her weep upon him a thousand tears, broken, wail in anguish and fury. He would be everything she needed. I could be what she needs, in every way, he told himself. I can feel what you feel, see what you see, dream what you dream.
Susceptible to every hurt, to every woe and jab. Men should not be allowed to be this vulnerable. Men should not be made to hurt like this. What happened to armor, to the steel breastplate of strength, able to withstand every affliction and scar? What happened to valor, the courage of the battlefield, that thing that should make him feel stronger, but instead made him whimper in defeat? Was there strength in this? Something to be proud of? Was this what other men had that he did not? Why he spent his days alone in these mountains, buried in caves, while everyone else lived happily ever after?
He heard that she'd gotten married, but did it matter? He would've never known a star like that, a famous singer, gotten the opportunity to make an impression, and what would she want with a creature like him when there so many better ones to choose from? He'd come down out of the mountains and saw her on one of the televisions, a music video, in the store-front windows, and fallen in love instantly. I see the way you really are through the sound of your voice, through the lyrics, and the passionate way in which you sing. Can't you see that this must mean something otherworldly? He told himself her husband would never see her the way he did, love her the way he did, think she was beautiful the way he did. That must count for something, right? That must mean they were meant to be together.
Beauty going far beyond this, deeper than the surface, more than physical. Lasting beauty, so intense, so powerful, he recognized it in himself, the reasons he wanted to reach out, knew they were perfect for each other, if he could just find a way to communicate it to her. Thick, black curly hair. Pale eyes set in pale skin, looking deep into his, through him, and beyond. They rest on something far away and behind him. He doesn't know what, but he wants to be whatever that is she is resting her eyes upon. A dream turned to dust, turned to shame, turned to hurt. Open to hurt. Open to pain in every way, he is a vessel, a magnet to pain, and on and on it comes, because he thinks about what it must be like to love someone, to love something, and to have something love him in return the way things are meant to love, but he can only imagine it.
Her songs run wild through his brain, over and over, a ringing fire stirring blood, making him warm and torn asunder. I can see, he wanted to say. I can see beyond this surface, beyond everything everyone tries to be. I can see. Please. Dear God. See me. See me here. See me now. I am throwing the inside of myself back at you, so you can see me, too. But you are not paying attention. Maybe you cannot see like me. Can't my anguish travel to you? Can't you feel me, despite this distance, crying out to you? Surely, you must know I'm there. You must hear these words on the wind traveling louder than your lover's do.
“Just don't breathe, do not climb up. Do not pay attention to any of this inside of you. There must be a reason you are made this way, little Gollum, little gangly arms and legs. Simple paper to write your notes upon, professing all your shame and weaknesses to someone who will never love you, whom you will never meet. Your too-vulnerable heart. Do you think people actually care? Do you think they want to see this side of you? Can't you see she wants someone stronger that doesn't reveal this side of themselves? What is it, really? Just another name for another degenerate weakness? Proof you are no man at all, just another tepid weakling in a world of mighty Super-heroes. They are all stronger than you. Every one. Handsomer More intelligent. Successful. Stronger. Don't forget balanced. That's a big one. No up and down roller coasters for them, not like you, no crazy voices, screaming in your head, temperament to set off a volcano, tear down the strongest dam. And still beautiful, you say. Outshines all this, you say. Hope, you say. They are more romantic, too, sensitive in a way that actually counts, sensitive that is actually a strength. Not like you. And sense of humors, too. They have real skin to touch, can take them out to nice restaurants. They don't want something that has just been skinned alive. Run, run and hide, run far, deep into those hills where no one goes but you, feast on things with four legs, hide in your damp, dark cave that smells like death, mold, and decay. These are the better places for you. All the others have important things to give, not like you. Everything you are not. They are healthy through and through.”
Uncover all these black feathers, giant black feathers that have been raining down for centuries, and see how crystal clear it is underneath all this? See, this glow, this shining, blinding sun? Know this is how I was made, born for some knightly status, made up of dreams of chivalry and of noble race.
But still, unprotected. Alone. I know what it means to be alone. I know aloneness like no other, which is why I can be what you need, the patch on your pain. The hand you can always rely on in your time of need. I know the silence that echoes back no matter how hard I scream. I know the touch of my own hand to soothe me. I know all the imaginary games I play, and know they are more unreal than anything, but still I try to make them real. I know my mind is the only refuge I have, that keeps me company and creates all these friends I have, all these beautiful friends that love me and want to be with me, and tell me about all the beautiful things I have inside that no one cares to see. Someone else's voice, some voice I cannot mimic, that is not just another timbre of my own, making up things along the way. To walk with someone besides myself, through a jungle or two, share this patch of wilderness where you can see every star in the sky, if you just lie down right here and gaze upwards. And have you tell me, “You're right, Gollum, you can see every star.” But I would not be able to handle that. It would be too much for me. I would want to bring you the highest summit, and show you the land all around us. I would want to put these feathers on you, so we could see it all from a better view. But my mind plays all these tricks on me and I can't tell anymore what's real and what's pretend. It all gets mixed together.
Heavy is the burden he carries; it bends him to the earth, breaks his back, makes his spine a curve of jagged ridges, painful to behold. He wears a mantle of rusty metal and broken glass, and this he carries with him wherever he goes.
My mind is my worst lover, he thinks. It does not transcend time and space. I cannot go vertical. I take this walking stick wherever I go. I see the conditioning of the world, how people are raised, what they are told their dreams should be. I have dreams, too, to be a beautiful bird someday, but all these shards get lodged underneath my skin. I live in the thoughts of an impossible future, going nowhere, always elusive. Everyone trembles at the sight of me. Nothing makes sense. See, my pasty white skin shines through this transparent shirt as I crawl around on all fours, trying not to see myself as a beast, but I know better, slavering drool making huge pools between my feet. Confrontations with my own reflection that terrify me, send me screaming and running for safety. If only I could exchange my head for another, wash it all out, scrub and scrub until it shone better, shoot a firecracker into a star.
A worthier name, a worthier calling beckons. He pants and breathes, laboring on, mainly for breath, trying to break free, trying to understand anything, mainly why. That always seems the best of questions, and the shortest. One word. One simple, short, three-letter word. Why? But he has no answer. He wonders if he ever will. Too many things keep getting in the way.
A beautiful face, parted, moist lips whisper in his ear. The night descends. But it is only pretend. There are no stories left in here. It is just a hodge-podge of disenchanted images, scrapings off the bottom of some sickly floor. Caked dirt begrimes his face. Beautiful, he thinks. Beautiful in here. Something beautiful is in here. Someone. Something. Something can love me. Something. Even me. Still.
But he just tells himself that to make himself feel better; he isn't sure he believes it. He lives mainly through the memories of others, things he creates out of basic imagery. He sees them together, hobbles and scurries from the mountainous terrain, and peers at them, watching from behind thick trees, or high up in the branches. He watches them walking hand in hand, and his imagination takes flight, like it did with the music video. He wonders how they met, what they have in common, and he daydreams about how beautiful and perfect it must be. He stays in the shadows, hidden from view because he does not want to frighten them away. He puts all these things together, the best way he can, and creates a beautiful story he can go home with and tell himself over and over is real. He is a wretched, miserable creature banished from civilization because he wanted to love something and he is a hideous creature, and this is his only contact with the rest of the world, but dreaming all the time. He spends the majority of his time picking flowers for someone he can never give them to. His cave is packed with mountains and mountains of flowers he wanted to give to someone, anyone, but they are all dead now. He would not make a good household pet. Claws pluck at his sleep. Long, slippery wet tentacles tickle his chin. In his dreams, he is beautiful, strong, and handsome, and he holds an inspiring, lofty position above the earth. People are clamoring to love him, hear his story, and he gives them everything they ever wanted. It brings tears to his eyes. Everyone loves him. He has a thousand friends. They never wished him away. They always wanted him near. They want to help him.
A beautiful thing holds him close, hands soft and warm, delicate, and tells him he is beautiful, too, and it makes him cry. He has never felt this. He never thought it possible. He had given it up long ago, despite the way he dreams.
And then he wakes, and the dream is so vivid in the real world, he really does cry, because this is something that happens every day. He should know better by now, but it doesn't get any easier. He whimpers and kicks his legs. He tries going back to sleep to recapture, to go back there, but it's too late now. He wonders about the cruelty of it, and why, but he still doesn't have any answers. It is cruel, he thinks, brutal, heartless trickery, a black and bitter betrayal. But what can he do?
He cannot go back to sleep. He knows these cold wet rocks better than anyone. Fancy again comes to life, something pretend, walking side by side something, anything, as long as it's alive. He doesn't care. As long as it isn't cruel. He doesn't want cruel. Alone and cruel he knows. Alone and cruel he knows better than anyone. He dreams that someday it will liberate him. He doesn't know when, or if, but it's a dream he has, and that is what he knows. Loneliness and dreams. But he sees it. And maybe that is all that matters, this thing he sees. This clarity, this ray of yellow silver light, penetrating everything, warming his skin. He never knew what that felt like either, but he likes it. He has never had warm skin before.
He climbs up the rocks, higher and higher, grabbing hold, his hands and feet made for this, steep, jagged rocks that disappear into the sky, blanketed by clouds, and up and up he climbs. Up and up he goes, stopping once to look behind him at the rest of the world, a sea of mountains, trees, rivers, and clouds as far as his beady eyes can see. There are lights far off, the rest of civilization at the edge of the world where he falls in love every day, and every day has his heart broken. So, thinking this, he turns and continues upward, not knowing where he goes, not knowing if it matters, not knowing if he cares. It is just something to do, something to put more distance between he and the rest of the world. Enough distance and maybe it will disappear. Maybe he won't have to worry about it anymore if he just keeps climbing and climbing until he can't climb anymore. It will all be erased from his mind the farther up he goes and he won't have to worry about anything anymore, about the black feathers that cover the private song he sings.
From the distance, he is a lone light in the darkness. He doesn't know it, but he is. Anyone and everyone from the world he leaves behind, from the edge of civilization, can see him clearly. They watch him carefully as, like a star, he moves up toward the dome of heaven.
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