Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The young black lady was prepared to save our rotting southern community, lord knoweth how or even why.

She was the director of something she called Fascinating Theatre. On the surface, it looked just like any cineplex. It was the largest building ever in our town, and we were all convinced by the simple fact of it. Such grandeur is very impressive. Its erection showed she had faith in Fascinating Theatre in our town. Now, we didn't truly understand the theory, but with such grand developments, we didn't figure we had to, no more than the sun coming up most mornings. Most everybody not otherwise engaged, which was most, became a shareholder, an employee, or both, of Fascinating Theatre.

She taught us that theatre could not be confined to the ten screens within the walls, but must follow us all the day and into the night. All of us must attend the movies, and when not inside the Theatre we must be working for its success among us, and grateful for our very existence as a direct result of Fascinating Theatre.

She convened a meeting to show us what she meant. The city manager (this was the little bigshot Napoleon complex who was the boss in our office once upon a waketime) was trying to manipulate her. After all, she was a woman, and Black besides.

"I don't think we need both me and the mayor for this ceremony..." he laughed. She must've agreed. Immediately, he was out of the project, and only the mayor stood at one side on opening night.

There was developing a Theatre class, and a detritis of the left-behind. I was over there across the street come opening night. Here come the Director, with another one who resembled her. She was dancing, an African dance, scooting along the walk together with her follower, on the edge nearest the street, grinning broadly, their arms syncopated in a motion like the drive wheels of a locomotive. It seemed to be directed at me, standing there in blank stupefication, but maybe all the left-behinds felt that way. I stood across the street, in front of the old Drive In Theatre, which was decrepit and dying, just watching.

It resembled a dance the natives of the Serengeti might have performed to mark the coming of the white man's railroad. It was a celebration of the successful introduction of Fascinating Theatre to our town, or maybe the failure of the old way, or both.

All that the Theatre class did during the day related to Fascinating Theatre. You tried to catch their eye, thinking, you're kidding, right? but they never blinked. When they talked, they did so in banal boosterism, advertising the savior of their community. They sounded like TV commercials. We laughed at them, but we were unnerved. There were few of us, and we had after all been rejected by the Fascinating Theatre.

He is a professional forensic craftsman. He is taking apart a revolver, and he is dusting the shells, and he puts the works through a variety of very close order chemical tests there on the table while we watch. He is sweating.

He cannot find what she wants found. He shrugs. His hand is shaking now. She informs us all that probably they must now tear down the front end of the vehicle. I don't know what she means, but he does. His voice cracks as he says, "I can't do it now; I've been here for sixteen hours!"

He is afraid of being taken off the project through failure, or exhaustion. Then he would only be one of us.

There were chats in the coffee shops, casual encounters at Clayton's Grocery, wives in their turnip patches bent double at the waist out on the broad flat field, men sitting on summer evening porches running water from a hose at the St Augustine...

No more. Now in our town nothing else is but the Theatre.

Monday, September 19, 2005

He has a plan, and he's going through with it. That Black gentleman over there. He has an idea for a community. It will be built in the treetops.

He will flatten and level the crowns off a triangle of redwoods, and he will cinch them together and draw them tighter and tighter. He will build his city on a platform set atop the three redwoods.

It will be powered, this city, by Dynamic Tension. You may remember this theory from the backs of magazines in the fifties. In just fifteen minutes a day, Charles Atlas would make sure no more sandkickers bothered you and your lady at the beach. The principle is an irrestible force meeting an immovable object - and you don't need logic to buy into the phrase. You apply all your force of one hand against the resistance of the other, basically.

And so the force of the treetops trying to spring back to plumb will develop sufficient power to run his city. It worked for Charles Atlas, he said. But power requires movement, you say, and he says, it worked for Charles Atlas.

I don't know where to begin. But he isn't listening to me anyway. I will build this city, he says.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I am running along a dirt road which is a loop to a mountain two-lane blacktop. I am chasing another vehicle. I don't know if I've awakened into my dream (Reloj once wrote of wakening from a nap during the night on a street of Mexico DF running at full tilt after someone who had lifted his wallet) or this is as far back as I can ravel from sleep come dawn.

But I realize finally, I'm chasing a vehicle on foot. I'll need my own auto if I'm gonna catch up. I must retrace my steps to where I parked my ride.

Someone is inside it. There is standing room, as if it's a large panel truck. He is very unconcerned, going through a drawer as I approach and make get-out noise. He is utterly unperturbed. Which of us is right? I think, this is a handy time to flash a pistol, but I have no weapon. But I must continue the chase, so I fire up the engine and head on down the road, with the interloper a passenger. He doesn't mind. It's all the same to him.

I accumulate riders; family, friends now. We must split up. Here is one ride; there another. I think, this puts the invader guy with one of my friends, alone, and I don't know this guy.

As we head out in our vehicle, one asks, "How long has he been working at Microsoft?" I have no idea; I don't know anything about him. I didn't know where he works, and say so. But this biographical data renders the guy less mysterious anyway.

In my mind all during the chase, I do not even conceive of a `why?'

Monday, September 12, 2005

Me and Jack, we're leaving his place for mine. We're walking through his house. He asks in passing, as we can look out through a window at the church next door and see folk performing janitorial duties, why I don't help clean up anymore, and I say, "Because I don't go to church."

That doesn't seem to sit well with him, and we're a bit churlish now, and when I leave on my bicycle, I go ahead, although he hasn't joined me. I figure he will if he wants. Maybe he's sulking.

A little reddish longhair pup is racing along the street beside me. I have to protect the little guy. Why do they allow him to run wild? The streets are dangerous. I must see about him.

My bike is gone. How can my bike be gone? It was right here a moment ago. (This is the second dream I've had recently where I cannot hold onto my valuables. I think maybe it's a metaphor for aging.)

I must procced on my route home over strange obstacles; hilly lawns under dark oaks with viny masonry walls like in old movies. I somehow recognize a spot in the brush, although there is nothing there to even suggest what I'm looking for. I reach and hold and pull...and my bike comes out of the dirt!

My bike. (I think right here in my dream about the classic film The Bicycle Thief, and wonder if it's true society cannot protect my bike does it follow I may consider nobody else's bike is covered by law or social etiquette either.) It's my bike, all right, only it has a new seat and other accessories. How can this happen so fast? It was right here a moment ago.

But I have it now. Except I must surmount the wall. Is there glass set in concrete on top? I won't know until I'm there. I begin to scurry down the grassy knoll and clamber up the wall.

Wait a minute, I think. I look back. Sho' 'nuff.

My bike is gone again.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I am part of an on-going project. I see the way it is going. It is creating history to fit with legend, which is news, which is memory, which is everywhere and nowhere. I live here.

There is a legend about Shakespeare of Stratford. He ran away to London because he and his mates were caught poaching deer out of the Forest of Arden, specifically the estate of Sir Thomas Lucy at Charlecote. It is a very nice story, but it 'stands on your eyelashes,' to quote an old Reloj Spanish saying.

The problem was, Sir Thomas had no estate at Charlecote in those years. What to do? The history was being rewritten in slow turns; that was the project. You begin with the myth and you repeat and repeat everything that fits and omit what acquits the Bard from the poaching charge.

This is what is happening. I am there and do whatever is needed to continue my own role in the matter, for I know of no other. It is a matter of one or another opening doors and coming in and then after a nondescript time going out again. Everyone seems to be casually busy and there must be some purpose else why would they all be so engaged?

It is in service to the myth, then, and I take my part. I don't really have to analyze it any further. You think all these coming and going are worrying about the plot to our story? I don't think so.

There, that last segment of the vast journal of our lost days, right there, see? The lease on Chilcote? The dates are smeared. I cannot read the dates. And the journal is to be the only resource, for all other documents appertaining will be lost.

I mean, come on, some kids takes a deer that doesn't belong to him, or he doesn't, four hundred years ago? Who wants to spend time proving long-dead innocence? Especially if it does harm to the legend?

A lady, somber, opens the door and enters. Out there are plenty of other doors in the hall, and a stairway. There are myriads of them, walking, frowning in boredom, entering and exiting. See them go. There they go. Go, myriads, go.

There. Sir Thomas Lucy. The page just plopped onto the pile. Overly protective of his deer, it says.

Tomorrow it will be precisely the same as memory.