Harvest Moon

 “Autumn is the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ― William Cullen Bryant

Surfing ever-deepening grooves carved in this country road by repetitious smoothing from my extremely low-frequency sounding spaceship tires, I zone into my own private symphonic opera. A humongous full moon meets my high beams and swallows the horizon. Pitch dark street light free ribbons of black asphalt snake along narrow paths to home and back separating the wild from the man-made world. By their grace I live in this dirt and courage wilderness.

I wave, as is the custom here, to the other spacemen travelers inhabiting our lifeline corridor as we whiz past each other with that all too familiar catatonic stare that monotony turns all commuters faces into; a kind of crazy, irrational drunkard swoon that seems to us all too rational. We are compatible complaints; dutifully fulfilling our social contract and coloring safely inside the lines.

Our axis rotating planet is orderly and slowly releasing its summer soul; producing more dark each day than light. In the murmuring twilight the gloaming summer is lifting her skirt. Summers death rattle beckons the underbrush and she begins to whisper as seductive and dangerous as a woman’s breath in the throes of passion. The sun begins to fall faster and everything seems to take on the sighing autumnal ember colors of all the sadness there ever was.

The pumpkins appear overnight, lined up and stacked in pyramids of orange and white like harmless cannon shells strategically set along highway shoulders for some impending artillery battle. Battalions of corn stalks surround them and us and everything for more miles than eyes can see. They are zombies, stoically awaiting the farmer’s murderous front row cultivators, threshers that mutilate then bury the detritus that once winter ferments will resurrect. A crisp cool Canadian breeze foretells fortune tales of fall.

Flowers fade, fruits flourish and fresh vegetable Bodega glisten with a luster from the sky. You can feel the baby’s breath of winter. Harvest moon is the fullness of life. Leaves turn red on their last days full of life and color them beautiful in death as they abandon the twigs that sympathize with their decay. Albert Camus opined that autumn is a second spring. But the migrating geese and me agree; we put distance between ourselves and funerals.

It’s a Paul Bunyan land of ballgames and barbecues here; a feast of Walden Pond and Lake Woebegone. The thousand little compromises we make every day that eventually add up to the loss of ourselves, that decayed stench of hollowness, disappears. This life to death with beauty dance is the real thing. Welcome to Pleasantville, USA.

Fantasist

He who has a why to live; can bear almost any how”. – Friedrich Nietzsche

In a weird and wonderful netherworld of sting the spellbound supplicant reclines as voluntary captive; like a sunning harbor seal inside a Fleet Street barbers’ chair. Blood ebbs and flows in silence and no idle dialogue intrude. These sacrosanct moments make conversation unnecessary.

Hysterical spikes penetrate, retract and perforate, changing body to billboard in images appropriated from Modigliani, Botticelli and Picasso. Hieroglyphic marks an affirmation of control creating a true home and fit temple for the spirit that dwells inside it; a trans formative declaration of power, an announcement to the world: I am in control of my flesh.

Needles beat staccato in droning tonal repetitions; pin-pricks plow the earth and break the skin. Capillaries raging in a flood; the tattooist and tattooed together and alone feel the pounding in the blood. Skin etched in eternal pictures, engraved ornaments become everlasting cohorts now until their last day; colorful and exotic escorts to the grave.

The dermis layer penetrated with permanent makeup the Fantasists carve up a bleeding empathy and share a common triumph; one of talent and skill the other of symbolism. By this mutual gift they are joined in sacrificial union, relatives, accomplices, confidants of secrets unknown to any others.

We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe. They flow from the center of our self; communicating them to the world. Our personal poetry inked in religious act of scarified soft tissue, branded images that enhance the soul; scarred armor piled high like sandbags to prevent the flood of reality from ever seeping in.

Fantasy now embodied in reality, blood-brothers trapped open-faced like hot sandwiches, making indelible history, sharing quiescence, becoming one in spiritual communion, are in the last moment of their holy tryst bonded and supremely complete.