Lush and lurid atmosphere

by dschapman

I can feel it within me, this changing. Not within me with my heart and my lungs and my liver, but within me deep in of me, something which has only been defined as Man, as the insoluble self of man, human being breathing. Breathing… I breathe. I can feel it, and I know it, and that’s the most illustrious part of it; the knowing. It’s a feeling which quells and overcomes all others, a magnificent certainty which rushes in to fill the void of childlike wonder and awe and make the trade worthwhile. It began in earnest a few years ago… at first I realized what a mistake I’d been making all along. Just – mistakes. This itself would prove to be a mistake – I would later learn that in mistaking myself so, I had done perfectly right, and so I was perfect. I realized what a mistake I’d been making and I swore to never make it again. Of course I did, for years more, I mistook it – but then, well into my stature, well into my standings, indolent, immeasurable, humble and proud and ready to start flexing, all at once, by the time the law allowed me to drink, I was drinking, and I was a man. I could feel it and know it and there was nothing to doubt or admire about it. But I did both. I doubted it; I admired it. I am still in the midst of my admirations. They are wholesome, gracious things – threads of light and fantasy – true true stuff of earth, solid wet and tangible, really here and imperious, really true and fruitful. A knowing; a certainty. Whole worlds opened up to me; vast, tumbling, limitless deluge – an outpour of interest and possibility, impossibly grand and impractical, connections, transfixions, transgressions, the muddled new practice of time, imperfect – the categories arise, like skyscrapers, and stake their claims to the light of the sun, to the right to cast her precious shadows. It is not that I am wiser, better, good – I still am mistaken, I still live with a pathos of farce and regret, I still stumble into the waves, I still wrap my cars around trees. Telephone poles, lightning bolts, anything will do. The revelatory procession of absolutes and invariables, of oneness by oneness by oneness ongoing – it is refreshing, it is observable, it exists. From the blackness, something warbles – something is altered, you can sense it – an empirical thoroughness of known – balance of the stars, all the countless untraced constellations. To come of age… only once, only once in the span of a life, only once this metatransformative pleasure, this convulsive expansion of self and identity, a sense of place, a taste of virtue, tasteless. True tasteless virtue! There is nothing to fear in the dark – I am no longer afraid of the dark. I stand in the middle of the hall with the lights burnt out. I raise my voice to the darkness; the darkness responds with a shudder. In the belly of the whale; and I feel safe.

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