Saturday, February 20, 2010
Grapes and potato chips. The seedless sweet dark grapes and potato chips. I wish I got nostalgic and longed for the seeded, sour semi-purple globules I ate once. But I didn’t, I was wishing that the chips didn’t make so much noise while I ate them.
Chips apart, lets focus on the train. There were always trains, chugging, rattling, squealing to a painful stop and starting again. They moved through the beaten paths and left behind a trail of metal memories. Once I woke up at dawn to find one chugging around the edge of my toe nail. Ten years later I saw one entering an ear-shaped tunnel. For weeks I felt it crawling over the vein-covered cranium until it found a small gap on the wet floor. It passed through the crack and entered the secret garden within. The gardener was a dwarf covered with blue warts. It was a neglected, overgrown garden full of mushrooms and weeds. Later the train came out through another ear-shaped tunnel.
Imagine a super-long slug moving over a clump of over-cooked pasta. A metal-and-wood centipede on moving wheels. I am tired of thinking things that happen for real. The garden cannot be cleared and the dwarf cant be bothered. It had remained untended too long and was choking with fleshy pink , grey and white creepers, thorny stems, black orchids and cypress trees. Broken toys and green marbles lay scattered on the ground.
The warty dwarf stuck its hand inside its mouth and turned itself inside-out. Have you seen the reverse side of a wart? On the reverse side are tiny sparkling round mirrors. Have you seen a warty dwarf turned inside-out? It looks like a small, brown, oblong cushion studded with mirrors. The innards, intestines, veins and arteries curved and twirled into a rich and intricate embroidery over the soft brown surface. And the bones? They had long ago sprouted into giant mushrooms and got eaten by the slugs.
The train turns into a finger and runs over the embroidery, the sparkling mirrors and the soft surface.
You know what they say about shadows? Shadows are the anti-matter that remained after the soul is created out of reflections and liquefied emotions. It cannot exist by itself, the anti-matter, so it attaches itself to the soul and takes the shape of the body. It doesn’t have a volume or a mass, its just dark nothingness. Your shadow comes alive when you are sleeping and stand vigil over your unconscious, watching the dreams trickling in and floating out. At the waking hour they snip off the sharp edges, the umbilical cord of the dreams, fold them into paper planes and throw them out of the window. Or else the dreams will stay stuck to the mind and seep into your daily life.
The paper planes made from folded dreams glide along fine waves made up of wish particles. Wishes and dreams blend well, both are slightly citrus scented and very light to touch. They can be rolled up tight like toilet paper and flung into the air where it will form an arc like a rainbow and shower the world with watches, perfumes, coins, hot teas, party dresses, tickets and football jerseys.
Fear works better. Because fear is liquid, pure white liquid like milk. Pure fear without any adulterated contents like hope or faith is so white that it glows in the dark. Soak the tight roll of dreams and wishes in fear and squeeze it over the sleeper. A stream of sludge pours out. The sludge is red, colour of dried blood and fills the head with nightmares.
Lets get back to the train.
Its rattling over a dark city with twinkling lights. There are two fans stuck to the ceiling, encased in a metal mesh clogged with dirt and dust and dried chewing gum. There is a red panda above one of the fans. I thought I had seen his broken body lying in the dwarf’s garden. But now he’s here, in the train. He is grinning at me, only at me and not others because no one can see him. I know he is going to open his mouth and scream. He can make the train run off the track, jump over the wall and go gallivanting over the hills. I ask him to shut up. He blinks, breathes deep and rock with the movement of the train.
The panda is my old friend. I met him when I was 5. He came in through the window while I was trying to stuff back a dream into my head. It was trying to wriggle out of my ear and escape. I banged my head against the wall. The panda pulled out the dream and turned it into a gob of mayonnaise and threw it right on my face. Splat! The mayonnaise hardened and became a mask. Its pretty, the panda said, but it wont stay forever. Preserve it, here, use a hair spray every week and a coat of varnish ever year. He smiled.
Watery coffee, it’s the standard rule of the railways. Like the once-a-month hair-spray rule, the daily gargling rule and the million other rules. My nose is reflected on the surface on the coffee, each pore on the nose enhanced. It looked like a round, brown, mouthless monster with two dark sockets instead of eyes.
The passing landscape is played backwards, upside down on the milky, watery surface of the coffee. A fast moving coffee-world, where everything is brown, upside down and silent. Coming? the monster asked. I turned away. The panda jumped onto my lap and then into the cup after the monster, they disappear. In the coffee-world he’ll live inside a quaint espresso-maker under an old oak tree. He’ll eat crimson ice-candy, play with balloons all day and ride a bicycle over long windy roads. He’ll also get cute friends like Winnie-the-pooh, Mad hatter and Tinker-bell and he’ll forget me because I’m all grown-up now and don’t believe in fairies, toys which come alive after dark nor talking pandas who play with dreams.
I was caught somewhere between a laugh and a sigh. I drank up the coffee-world, threw out the cup. The mayonnaise was getting a bit gooey. I fished out the hair-spray and sprayed my face. The mask was fixed, perfect, not a scratch, like a smooth eggshell staring out of the window.
Only the grey-blue train rattled on. Grey-blue, the colour of the seats, of the fan, of corpses, of unremembered dreams.
Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind,
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves,
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach,
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
- Bob Dylan (Tambourine Man)