The Age of Ambition

When I was growing up I would lie awake at night until it got very quiet and then go outside.  We lived on a hill that looked down on a canyon where the coyotes lived, and they would howl not only when the moon was out, but also straight up at the dark sky.

The night would smell crisp, like you could reach out and snap it, and the darkness rolled over the hills like a living, breathing thing.  On the other side of that darkness was something, and the night, like a tarp, would shudder from something moving very rapidly on the other side of it.  It felt full and crystalline, like just one false movement would spark the air and set the whole valley aflame.

Then I would go back inside and have dreams of immense power. My mind went straight into that darkness – there was never any light – and reached for something, but it was always just beyond my grasp. It was living and breathing, but it was just beyond me and my mind reached fruitlessly into that darkness and tried, and tried again, because it was just this side of a complete thought, and without knowing what that thought was I knew that was what I was looking for.

It was infinite, and every time I reached, I was disappointed but for some reason I had the power to reach even higher, soaring with infinite strength and hope. That search took me so far beyond my conception of the world that I felt like I had tasted infinity – and it was bittersweet, because I would never reach it, and when I woke up my arms and legs were swollen and my back was crawling stridently and I would have an erection the size of a flag pole, and I woke up vowing to prove myself.

The Old House

What I would give now to go back to the complete
and utter banality of that moment in the modest
house, a lazy Saturday in October.  Lunch had been
eaten, and with no agenda except to wait for dinner,
things were said and done, but what they were – I
don’t remember.

I only remember that they were plain and ordinary,
full of hope and ignorance about the future.

And I only know that my mother will never move
like that again, with the vitality of a much younger
mother, that my one sister is no longer a baby sister,
and that my father will never stand like that again,
that tall, much younger man that I remember.

Who would have thought that such a boring
utter non-event would become a memory that I treasure.