The Wrong Kind of Magic


I happened upon the wrong kind of magic.

The key was lost in the movements;
a sequence designed to be impossible to master
unless you sacrifice all to become asetic, turn your dreaded hair into knots and paint your face gold.

Even then, the magic may not work.

You need many – thousands even – moving at the same time with equal bodily freedoms: twisting and folding, rising like Lazarus from backbends, walking as if crabs and pounding the ground like snakes turned to staffs.

All together. All at the same time.

Therein lie the trap, the false promise that was bestowed upon me by many teachers, a spoonful at a time, and all these years later I am still a baby in a bib eating mashed peas.

But what of this magic?

It was whispered in a dream that it opens the door to a larger question, which gives rise to a spectrum of other worlds, where chasing the answer to who I am, and why am I here has no end, only more doors.

And dare I open these doors?

I fear what is behind them, for I know the terror of the unknown, of ancient subway systems turned underground highways filled with small men in flying capsules and black eyes, where I am a stranger with my yellow hair and milk fed bones.

Neanderthals cannot navigate such a place.

Not alone.

Not with the wrong kind of magic.

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To a Friend: The Button and the Cliff

When losing a button
becomes the end of the world,
and you think this is as far as you can go,
you’ve reached your edge,
the limit of what a human can endure.

You think of the struggle:
waiting in traffic at the tunnel,
the man who flips you off,
on a street cleaning day
that leaves your car blocked in
so that you can’t get home
so you write a note
saying how pissed you are
that goes unanswered.

Is this worth it?
Does any of it matter?
Is anyone listening?

You close your lids
and stare into the emptiness
where you watch your breath
move in and out
and label your thoughts
past, present and future,
and soon you see a splotch of purple
that turns into a palisade with a
darkened sky and dancing trees,
but it has nothing to say to you.

Another dead end,
which makes you think that this too
means nothing.

So you return your attention to the present,
which is in the room where you are sitting,
and you can hear the voices around you,
and the music playing softly;
you can feel the breath and the sweat,
and the warmth of lights on your skin
and the floors touching your thighs.

These are just atoms, you think,
made of nothing until they are labeled,
but they do matter,
to you.

So you get up,
and do it all over again.

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