The Itsy Bitsy Spider

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Disclaimer: This post is written based on delirious thoughts. Today at work I was singing children’s songs because I was exhausted and my body compensates for extreme tiredness by flooding me with energy. This is the result of my overreacting neurons…

The itsy bitsy spider. We all know the song. And most of us have sang it at some point in our lives. But have we really thought about what the song, deceptively simple actually means? Ignoring the possible philosophical connotations like the Sun being evidence of a higher power or the interesting contradictory nature of the spider which in reality is often consider bad or evil but when made “itsy bitsy” becomes manageable and thereby good which speaks to our desire for evil if it comes in small doses. Ignoring all the other big question type scenarios, what does one get when they examine this song?

A classic glass half full or glass half empty scenario. Well, not exactly but the concept is similar. Essentially there are two extremes of people in the world (which a whole spectrum in between), people who think the spider is a courageous go-getter who won’t let anything stop him from achieving his goals and people who think that the spider is a foolish daredevil who can’t seem to learn from his mistakes. Assuming that the water spout in this song is the pathway to some sort of end goal, or even if you want to stretch, assume the spout to be the in and off itself, sort of a journey is the reward troupe, we see that the spider is on a mission, a quest if you will. Characterized as itsy bitsy, we can already tell that the quest will be daunting task as it pits the obvious underdog against this herculean task. Then as we see the spider crawling up this spout for some reason that is not made clear but seemingly is of absolute importance, the rain comes down, an uncaring force of nature made malevolent in direct proportion to it’s effect of the protagonist. If that isn’t a metaphor for life then I don’t know what is.

The crux of this discussion comes from the next two lines. After being washed out of the spout, essentially sent through the wringer and spat out by the emotionless combination of fate and mother nature, we see the Sun come out and dry the spider out. Even though I said I wouldn’t discuss it, it’s impossible to miss the implications of divinity present within this line. The source of light, heat and life of earth seemed to if anthropomorphised, care about the spider which is by description itsy bitsy. The parallel between this and the almighty God creator of all things caring about humans is unmistakable.

But I digress, the focus of this whole rant(?) is this: “The itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again!”

What does this line mean to you?

How does this speak to you as a person on your own impossible and possibly meaningless quest that we call life? When the storms of life smack you around and toss you around like a rag doll and spit you out in a bedraggled mess and you are somehow blessed enough to recover how do you respond?

Are you the itsy bitsy spider, charging back up the spout, challenging the source of your pain again with no guarantee of reward or are you going to shake yourself of and say I risked it once, no more?

I am not making any judgments as to which I think is right or wrong but simply asking a question. Feel free to respond in the comments.

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Chapter One-The Nightmare

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The room was filled with balloons and the floor was carpeted with bubble wrap. The balloons looked like normal balloons but seemed to bob strangely in the air, as if filled with something. A small child is huddled in the corner of the room, fearfully facing the only exit to the room; a large red door. The door begins slowly begins to open, creaking loudly in the process but  no one but the small boy seems to notice. The door then shuts and the balloons and dancing guests part as an invisible force makes it’s way towards the young boy, the bubble wrap crackling with each step. The small boy whimpers and his lips can be seen mouthing “Stay strong my boy, Stay strong my boy”.

His lips quiver as he keeps muttering the mantra under his breath, eyes fastened fearfully on the advancing force. Then clenching his fist, he resolutely faces the creature as if determined to face whatever challenge comes his way. Suddenly the balloons start exploding violently, spewing puffs of color into the room. POP! POP! POP! Each pop shattering the silence like a shotgun blast. The colored fog that billows from the balloons eats up the air in the room and transforms it into a mystical shadow land, the chairs, tables and people acquiring almost ethereal qualities as they are consumed by the fog.

In the fog that is created, a silhouette can be seen. A blank area where the fog can con penetrate, and it is advancing on the young child who is now standing, fist clenched and face scrunched in concentration. The crowd, oblivious to the action bursts into song “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear Kevin…” The happy joyous song striking a sour chord, each burst of merriment underscoring the young child’s advancing death. The irony of a celebration of life on the eve of his death seemed to register on the young child’s mind. He glances fearfully at the incoming  menace and then with a shout charges into the mist hoping to get lost in the crowd and make his escape through the door. He moves faster than he has ever moved before, running as if he has gained wings, but before he can even reach the edge of the crowd the shadow is upon him. He can feel the cold clammy hands gripping his neck and drawing him back as if by sheer force of will. He struggles, his legs pistoning and arms flailing but it’s as if the very air is against him and he is drawn back inexorably to his doom.

His flailing starts to slow and his body begins to grow limp. There seems to be no escape. Then from the resounding silence that had come after the balloon explosion and songs, a voice booms out, filling the room with sound.

“Boy! The whistle, blow the whistle boy! Remember what your father said, when facing death, blow the whistle!!”

The boy, moving as if through thick jello reaches for his chest where the whistle hangs. His hand rests on his heart for a moment and he can feel his heart trying to rips it’s way out of his chest. Grabbing the whistle and struggling to bring it to his lips even as the invisible hand crushes is throat, he blows with all the air left in him. The whistle’s piercing scream fills the air and the room is consumed by it. Time stops and the room is silent it the midst of the sound, each person frozen as they were. Then the aura of death, darkness and confusion is shattered and so is the room and everything else in it.

Still screaming, the echo of the whistle still ringing in his head, Kevin lurches upright, hitting his head on the top bunk. Panicked he looks around, eyes darting from place to place, thoughts running rampart in his head like stampeding buffalo. Where am I? What’s going on? Who…?

The realization hits him as he look around and sees the walls of his room and the scrunched up sheets laying in disarray and his bed that looked as if it was the victim of an aggravated assault. Sweat drips from his face and he rolls over and wipes it on his pillow in disgust and whispers “Why does this keep happening?”

Beauty (Revisited)

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There is an infinite beauty in living

Breathing and listening

To the rhythm of the earth

 

Artists merely tap into this haunting melody

And make vacuous shadows of the real

Beat that echoes

 

And heats the blood of men and women

And sounds through the dreams of kings

The symphony

 

Of a sunset, the staccato beat of the heart

As the body warms from a kiss

The music that roars

 

Soundlessly through the universe

The scale the world revolves in

With moans

 

Of the seasons, typhoons and dust bowls

Of the worlds pain and joy

The rumbles

 

Of a stampeding group of elephants

Charging the nearby store for bargain prices

And the percussion

 

Of the incessant tapping in class as the teachers

Drone on endlessly, the rhythm monotonous and

Overbearingly slow

 

Like the heartbeat of a great whale as it groans

Its sad song to the world, the sound vibrating through

The ocean wide, sonorous

 

The cry of a parent that outlived their child

Wild and aching, a piercing pain, sharper than the

Shriek of

 

Of pain as a tooth is uprooted and tossed

 

In it all.

There is beauty.

 

Memory (revisited)

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What is a memory but a moment immortalized

In the moonlit mind of a midnight dreamer?
A gem of golden gladness gloriously displayed
or a moment of madness mirshed with misery
standing tall, torturous in one’s mind

Solid and immutable as a diamond by stress formed

Is a memory a gem to be held, polished, and admired?

Or a deadly shard with which to cut oneself
is it so concrete and rooted?
Or rather a bubble of iridescence capturing a fleeting moment

Of sun and reflecting a million rainbows?

Each glance back casting the brilliance of experience

Upon the fragile moment and seeing the subtle nuance

Of the bubble sounds dancing in the breeze of time
a memory moment so fragile and mutable

That the experience of seeing it changes it

And the rainbows dance to a different tune.

So fragile that we grasp it or we try,

Our desire to know invisible hands reaching

For that moment until they have it

Then …“POP”… it is gone forever
A burst of air gone

The moment, the kiss, the words gone
as a bubble bursts and leaves behind air

So the lost moment leaves an aching emptiness

Is memory a river, rapidly running rampart,

It’s riotous rage ripping the bank of the past

And rising to the present
the inundation seeping through everything

And overwhelming now and sweeping everything to the past
Maybe a mountain, an obstacle obstructing openness

And overshadowing opportunities opening up
maybe a memory is a mystery madly made magnificent

 

Or maybe a mirror

Autumn is Chocolate and Freedom

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The leaves crunch under my feet,

orange brown flames that lick at my toes

and melt into my mouth.

The chocolate easing into my reality

drowning out forgiven history

Each step, each bite building a monument

that soars on the chill autumn breeze

a castle in the clouds but real.

I swallow this feeling whole and pause

the hole now filled while wholly unaware

by kind gestures that transcend miles

and discover depths before unknown.

The leaves are dancing before my eyes

earthy fairies released to bless the air

with glints of their red, brown, orange and yellow wings,

transcendent in their sacrifice

like the gales of laughter

and bubbles of joy that from me rise

each iridescent color a perfect marvel

I stand alone in the dusky wood,

framed by a timeless sunset

older than time and beyond forever

but younger than a newborn memory.

I watch the butterfly leaves dance death

rejoice life and make parting sacred

I take another bite and swallow the moment

and then I dance because pain is precious

made perfectly poignant by pity personified.

The moment, a canvas

and pain the brush, the brush

in the hand of an artist

who kills the sun and bleeds it

smearing the sky with its sacrifice

the fiery orange, pale pink gold and royal purple

of faded glory illuminate the sky

to offset the darkness within

and without as I dance alone

each step a history, a memory

eating the moment and tasting in my mouth

chocolate and freedom.

 

Dedicated to my friend Granny Lica

I am dead.

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I am dead. I understand this with clarity that can only be gained once the useless blood and muscle distractions have been shed. I exist as an entity, and expression of someone once living. But I am dead.  I don’t know when I died. Time is a mere abstraction in this space, this grey space of endless possibility. But within me there is an image. Flashes of color in a room and a sense of resignation and a warm body writhing where my lap would have been.  I remember her watching me. Or at least the sense of her watching me. Within this space my death is of no consequence. But yet something within me yearns for the knowledge of my demise. How did I lose my baggage? That lanky body that I loved and hated for 22 years of my sensory life. If I focused I can almost reach out and

“Wake up!” her voice oozed into my subconscious mind with the languid ease of water soaking into desert dry earth. I snapped awake, my eyes glaring around the room suspiciously, the sudden motion causing Trevor to jump of my lap and bark at me reproachfully.                                                                    “You had that dream again didn’t you?” she demanded, blocking the light from the dim light bulb as she leaned in and examined my face. Dazed both from the dream and from the heavenly scent of her perfume I could only blink up at her and work my mouth trying to make words. Snapping upright to her unimpressive height of 5’2 she folded her arms at her chest and flicked her hair back, the rippling length glowing auburn gold in the soft light. “You need to go and talk to someone about that, it can’t be healthy.”

I sighed, preparing to launch into the same reply I had made the last 23 times she had made that same statement but then he walked in. Bradley. Beautiful Bradley, perfect Ken doll Bradley. Boyfriend Bradley. I smiled at him, the only betrayal of my true feelings the tightness in my chest and the small yelp that Trevor made from the lap he had just climbed back unto.  “Hey, man” he said with his perfectly manly voice. “What do you need help with?” Desperately I tried to make eye contact with her, my eyes screaming at her to not say anything. But unfortunately humans haven’t yet started understanding body language and she turned to him, even the concern for me fading as her eyes lit up at the sight of Brad. She leaned in and sunk into his lips and they stood there, perfect and beautiful and I sat in my chair surrounded by fakes plants and some holiday decorations and holding a small mutt. The painting on the wall stared at me, accusing me as if it could read my thoughts and see my naked desire which in light of there kiss seemed like sacrilege. The moment lasted what seemed like an eternity. I shifted uncomfortably and the multi colored blanket my grandmother’s mother had hand-woven fell to the carpeted floor with a barely audible whisper of a thump. But even as quiet as it was the moment was broken.                                                           

“He dreams he is dead” she said, her voice still breathy with desire. “I don’t really understand it but I can tell cause he always jerks awake with this panicked look on his face. “  Bradley turn and looks at me and at that moment I know I am going to kill him. He looks at me with those same eyes. I hated those eyes as a child, that pity laced with disdain and self righteousness. Before he could open up his mouth and seal his sentence I quickly rose from the seat, upsetting Trevor for the second time.

“I am fine!” I demanded, my eyes flashing and my jaw clenched. The look of shock in her eyes showed that I had put more force that I had intended into my objection. Softening my voice I said “I don’t mean it like that, it’s just a weird thing I have. It’s not really a serious problem. It’s not like I’m killing people or something.” I choke out a laugh and look at them daring them to continue the discussion. An awkward silence ensues then Bradley joins me in the laughter and slaps my back and for a moment I love him for his kindness. The moment passes and again we are just people in a room and the feeling of death passes and I am alive.

“Let me go change and then I will be ready to go” I said my voice light and smooth, and I walked away from them each footstep echoing the beat of my heart.