In the Sand

Every morning, the sun slips into the sky, the cold water moves itself and the old man is summoned. He’s gathered to the edge of the beach; he doesn’t gaze at the living ocean or the red giant’s rising, but fixates on the sand. He holds a long, metal arm with a flat head hovering above the sand, and walks slowly down the edge, barely avoiding the water’s receding touch. He searches and the metal arm helps him see. Sometimes, the arm alerts him with a pinging noise; this is when the old man slowly bends down and digs at the sand with a tiny shovel. Some metallic object is uncovered and pulled from obscurity, for now, and is dropped into the old man’s pocket. The old man continues on, no change in expression, always seeking a treasure that sparkles in his skull. A few more treasures and then the old man’s body fails, dies. But it doesn’t matter—the old man is replaced; another old man with a metal arm becomes tethered to the same march along the sand. The essence of this scene is greater than you and I.

This scene, or one like it, will move along even as its original players drift from the spotlight; it may come across differently, but the import will be sustained. It may not be an old man, or his imperishable search, but those things are just vessels anyway. Meaning will touch you by other means. The old man’s searching, which has remained with me through the years, will dissipate once I die, but others will see what I saw in other things, and live with it. It’s the meaning of the image that will live longer than me, its mere recipient. But for now, the old man remains, perpetually searching the sand because my mind deems it so for, like the old man, I too grasp for something.

Meeting Joe

Let’s look at Joe.

A low darkness has taken the place of his home. We enter through the window, approach a door; it opens. A light hums here, revealing Joe standing over a sink. There is no mirror so we don’t know what he looks like–we just know the back of his head and neck. Where is your face, Joe?

Morning enters, Joe disappears. His world is no longer concealed; his apartment is small. There are things on the walls. Trophies have fallen from their mantle. Plates on the floor and the table is hidden underneath papers and magazines. What do you read, Joe?

He returns. There’s his face, but he has no TV. Joe opens his computer and plays his guitar for it. Another song from Joe. He has written thousands, none good enough for ears. But we can hear this song. It’s a good song, Joe.

Joe looks out the window, watching the cars. There is no phone. We watch Joe walk around, we watch Joe eat, we watch Joe. There’s nothing there, we think. Joe sits down and his eyes are fixed in our direction. He isn’t looking at us. He can’t see us. What are you thinking about, Joe?

Night fills everything once again. Joe is hidden from us. No lights are on tonight.

The Hack

I walk in and Brad offers to show me another card trick; I humor him. He’s a tall, middle-aged man whose spent much of his life dedicated to one thing. Most of the time he’s morose creature, but there are more amusing instances where he turns into an animal recently released from his cage. He tries to suppress himself, modulating each word to the same volume. He hates “modern magic” which he insists isn’t really magical at all, but dangerous and nonsensical tomfoolery. But his anger isn’t most concentrated on the likes of Criss Angel, but puppet comedians. He sits his faded, black top hat onto his balding head and begins to perform.

[Unemployed magician Brad the Brilliant on the talentless prick Jeff Dunham]

The stage is his and the audience
has already collapsed into
his cum-encrusted fingers.
His hand dances in the ass
of a Southern cartoon, making the Yanks piss
with enjoyment. I like Nascar!
Oh you, oh you! But I don’t blame
the dolts in his grasp, I’m not swollen
with contempt–it’s fun
to laugh at the dirty, dumb
beer bellied cousin-fucker,
or the ancient crank who never used
a cell phone, or the Mexican.
I don’t even blame the jackass onstage,
the empty hack, rich, and poor
because of it. He will be swallowed
in dust and nothing will remain there.
He’s in his gold mansion, spending
fifteen minutes on hackneyed jokes
and the voice that will justify them.

He will be gone.
And so will you,
but great monuments
are released from the torrent
of dust and the leveling of time–
I’m not fueled with disdain, I’m not
fueled with envy. I cannot be. I have to be
focused, my hands continuously carve, unbroken
from their duties. The dummies can keep
their hacks, their fading con men, their smug asswipes, I will be forever,
if I play my cards right.