THE CITY IS HERE FOR YOU TO USE (THE FIRE)
I wake up to a sound that I feel in the roof of my mouth. Holy crap I’m deaf, I think, and on lake shore drive. There is a fire in the loop. Silence. I see the broken el tracks and the trains running over them like water, piled up like sausage links. There is no sound, but I can feel the vibration in all sorts of places in my body. The pounding is random and each crash surprises me. I think I’m getting closer. Oh. Wait. There’s not a fire in the loop, the loop is on fire. The antennas are gone from the tall buildings. Then I see something larger than anything I’ve ever seen before. It fills the horizon. I’m having trouble focusing on it. And it’s moving.
COOL & STRESSING (THE WATERTOWER)
I was crying. The only reason I know is the dust is sticking to my face along the tear tracks and it cracks when I scream. At least I think I’m screaming. There is no sound, or I’m deaf or there is too much sound for my ears to pick up the tiny vibration my vocal cords are making, or something. I guess I should head for the water. I know that we said we should meet in Lake Geneva, but I have no idea how to get there on foot. I haven’t seen a car heading north since I woke up. Something important is happening in my home town and I know I’m just debris getting swirled around. I’m on the beach now, and heading east along the shore, going into the water when the fire is too close. I know that I will eventually get to the cottage in Michigan. It has a wood burning stove and guns, I think. As I relax a bit and start to get cold, my thoughts turn to my family. Mom, dad, Michelle.
Without any undue hyperbole…holy crap. I have to revise my statement about the largest thing I’ve ever seen. For now the largest thing I’ve ever seen is fighting with something larger still. The only sense of scale I have is the broken skyscrapers against the skyline. I have to keep moving, I think, so I walk backwards away from the city as the two colossi attend to the matters set before them. The avenger is here to remove the destroyer. I’ve been walking for along time and I can still see them. Past the steel mills, past the beach homes, and everyone along the way seems to be ok. I stop when I get to the Michigan border and sit with a cute hippy girl and I realize that I am really deaf. She produces a can of corn and a can of beans from her shoulder bag. In the moist sand she writes that the same thing happened in Detroit where her parents lived. She thinks they’re dead by now. I tell her where I’m going and ask her to come with. She writes: “No. Friends in Milwaukee. Walking there.” I tell her to be careful as she passes Chicago, there was a giant elephant fighting a giant woman last time I checked. She nods to let me know she can hear them. She smiles and sticks out her tongue and draws her name in the sand before packing up her cans and walking away. I walk to the cottage on the shore, build a fire, load the guns and fire them both into my skull.
GOOD MORNING (AMERICA)
Now. Now I have a headache. Both bullets glanced off my oversized temples and up through the ceiling. Dust and bits of wood float down like snowflakes and suddenly I’m ashamed. I’ve never shot myself in the head before, so naturally I made a mistake. Or maybe my head moved out of the way at the last second. No time to dwell, I’m clear now, and I’ve got something to do. My retreat is over, it is time to attack. I’m running. Back to Chicago. There are more refugees coming this way, black against the sand. I’m on the beach and moving fast, both guns in my hands, kicking up cold sand over my head. I’m still deaf but completely focused. It’s as if my mind is deaf too. Not a thought in my head but my own velocity and how to increase it. Lucid. Logical. I know I have to run faster, so I do. I know I would be there faster if I could fly…so I do, and in a moment I’m above the clouds and the sun is shining. Nothing I’m about to do matters, but you can extrapolate that statement to apply to everything. Our lives, this planet, the entire universe. My motive is unknown to me. It’s a beautiful day up here, but I know the mess that is concealed beneath those clouds. I don’t have to think about direction…in that moment, I’m here. The beasts are still here, one from fire and one from water. One to destroy, one to avenge. And now me. Here to kick them the fuck out of my town.
THE THING IS (The End)
“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
The thing is…we’re all connected. We think of empty space between us, between everything, but it couldn’t be less true. Our actions are plucking the guitar strings of reality. Some strum, some pluck and some hold their hands over the strings. Everything you did, do or will do, effects everything forever. Your bones will be back in a star someday. Neat.
Anyhoo…I unload my pistols into them. I need more bullets and with that thought, I have them. I think of bigger guns, and I have them. I don’t know which one is good, who is evil, but I don’t agree with their policy, so they get bullets. The first barrage hits the beasts and they finally turn from their struggle and pay me some attention. But by then, it’s too late. Check’s in the mail as they say. They fall as the last of my barrage hits them. My feet touch the ground, and it is over. The hiccups stop, the world slides back into its groove, and the song continues. The guns turn back into the old revolvers I picked up at the cottage and fall from my hands, clinking as they hit the ground. Clink…I hear a clink. My hearing has returned and someone is hugging me from behind.
I don’t usually do commissions, but I made an exception for an ex-lover. I won’t reveal her name to protect her privacy, but she wanted something special for her husband, Ben Affleck. Unfortunately, by the time I completed the painting, they were talking divorce, so she didn’t want it. But the good news is I sold it to someone else, so happy ending as far as I’m concerned.
24″ x 18″
Acrylic on wood
48″ x 24″
Acrylic on wood