Shine On, You Crazy Diamond!
Featured in IMAGE WRITING
For my cousin – brother – best life-buddy, Steve
(Who Loved Floyd)
“I know you’re shining, somewhere!”
Based on real life events
This lucid dreaming is a tricky thing…
You know what I mean
because we talked about it
way back when you were still around.
You get this little flash, this momentary
I must be sleeping!
This has to be a dream!
I can’t really fly
And yet look at this,
And I am perfectly aware
Of how impossible it is.
This lucid dreaming
Is supposed to be a tool,
A pathway to Discovery so I’m told,
And you can teach yourself to do it from the books
Or go to seminars
Even (so they say)
Developing the art of astral projection
If you do it right.
But it’s most disturbing when you’re still awake!
And you know you’re awake
Even though again, the place
is clearly Beyond the Possible.
Well, like the night you waltzed into my bedroom
There in California…
Would have been a trick either way, given you were in Chicago
But you beamed in from much, much farther off
Given that you’d died the day before.
And even then, I didn’t say a word
Thinking, “Can’t be him. He’s much too big!”
Because I’d seen you two weeks earlier
And you were down to 90 pounds
So I barely recognized you, looking normal
(which suddenly you did).
So now I know, the Soul isn’t shackled to a State of Being like the body is,
although it does make me wonder
what’s with all those castle ghosts?
Still hauling chains around
and all those gruesome apparitions
with the tattered shrouds,
when they can choose, apparently,
to come back looking like they did at 32
before wasting down to nothing
from incurable disease
Or even age
Or maybe getting mangled in an accident?
It was only afterwards, I realized
the You you’d chosen
was from 1984 or thereabouts…
The You (exactly) in the photos
From our expedition down the California Coast.
The time you hoped to get some sun
But all we found was fog
All the way from Stinson
Down to Moonstone Beach
The time we nearly plunged off Highway 1
somewhere north of Monterey
Because the guy was out there with a grand piano
in the middle of the road
And I didn’t even get a photograph!
That was the time we stayed in Asilomar
And I was so determined I would
photograph that ice plant.
Would have been flamingo pink
blankets of it
foaming off as far you could see,
waterfalls of bright cerise tumbling from the cliffs to meet a sea of molten turquiose
but in heavy fog
dull and pewter grey
all of it!
Worse, it rained.
Not a shot worth keeping
(film, in those days)
so you stayed in the room
lit the fireplace
watched tv and
ate a lot of donuts
but at night we had the hot tub to ourselves
which is where you told me
you’d been diagnosed
and I pretended not to know a thing about it
(what a joke!
I worked in San Francisco
I had lost too many friends from AIDS by then to count.)
Anyway, you weren’t supposed to get it
not being Gay
(as though the virus had some kind of homophobic prejudice).
Just another lucid nightmare,
so I shrugged it off
Or I pretended to.
(Hey Cuz, pour me another glass of wine!)
By then, the stars were twinkling
through the cedars
diamonds cast in incense.
We could hear the boom of surf
above the bubbling of the water.
“Don’t bother me
Please. No Bad News.
Not in Paradise.
Like in 7 thousand years!
And I don’t think I’d want to hear it then
That would be a better place
for news like that,
Maybe in the dead of February
when it’s 25 below
in some greasy diner ~
better yet, a run down corner tavern
down beneath the El tracks there on Damen Avenue
Division, or Pulaski Road
when it’s sleeting out,
when all the snow is black with soot,
when sirens are wailing up and down the boulevards.
This is not the news you want
To the music of the breakers.
Not amidst the perfume of the pines.
Better, diesel fumes and
old wet ashtrays
whiskey-odors, stale gin
the South Side Stench
for news like that.
I will say, you kept the deal though
one you’d made before
and one I paid scant attention to
being Scully to your Mulder
(no, wait, you never saw that show!
being gone by then.
It’s hard to keep the sequence straight at times).
But I was the skeptic,
you were the believer.
It was, “Don’t worry Cuz. If I go first
I will prove to you
there is an afterlife!
I will be there
and you’d better do the same for me.”
The first time you said it you were 10
and there it is again-
another lucid dream
(were we ever really kids?)
Must have been!
It’s just like now…
Chapters come and chapters close
smoke-curls in the wind
hard to picture afterwards
what I see today
is that it’s ALL a lucid dream!
Which you once said too
in the 60’s
“We are just tiny droplets in a cosmic spoon”
as I recall
so I imagine, even then you knew
how difficult it is, to tell the Real
from the Not
and this is why I know that even now
I may not see you like I did that time in Oakland
but I know you’re there
Sometimes, ever after 20 years
I can hear you now and then
from that Other-Realm you live in now
Farther off than starlight.
Yet for all I know, you’re just around the corner
Looking in from time to time
the way you always did before
in that other lucid dream,
you know the one—
Back when you were still around.
I believe (hope) the story here speaks for itself.
I used several backgrounds for this image (all changed). The figures are from stock but the faces are “The Real Thing” (mine and Steve’s). Multiple layers of texture and colors are applied.
About that piano…
I never learned what was going on. As we rounded a curve high above the sea (Highway 1 is like a corkscew curling up and down the California coast), why there was a guy in a tux with a grand piano, in the middle of the highway! There was no place to stop. We careened around him, nearly going over the precipace. I tried to get my camera out in time, but failed. I said, “They must be filming!” But I didn’t see any trucks, cameras or equipment. Just the grand piano and the fellow in the tux. Possibly the most surreal thing I ever saw.