downstairs. the types i learned lessons from about the world when younger. a blueprint for a world i don’t agree with. a world i don’t want to live in. so you get older, and you bring with you scars. the marks we bear from being pushed, prodded, thrown, and burned. the shape of a human who has been tried and weighed and tested and taught by mama nature.
you do your best, moment by moment. your actions grow to be gradually less and less selfish. you realize you don’t have it all, can’t get it all, don’t need it all, aren’t all that matters, and can do more than simply react in a knee-jerk way to the conditions in the world you disagree with or have found offensive or injurious.
you may come to believe that through your thoughts, words and actions you can help make a world that you do agree with. a world you want to live in. and it can work. it will happen, here and there. and it can be a beautiful, harmonious, very real, very moss rock in the hand, sandwich in the bag, sweetness in the air, child in the embrace, lover in the bed, full bottle on the table, sweet notes on the steel string, tangible sort of thing.
but as is the way with life, nothing stays the same. nor ever will. and as is the way with nature, creatures seek shelter, creatures fight over perimeter, dogs scuffle and bite over hierarchy, and when you are talking about human creatures, figure in a lack of instinct that can lead to destructive self-interest and disregard for the animal’s own well-being.
and surely, one day, such animals will happen into your path who don’t (yet, maybe they will never) live in the world of your choosing. they are written as antagonists in the soft to the touch, heavy as a truck, pages-of-vanilla cream-in-an-aquamarine-green-bound-tome you pen each night with a lightning plume in that barely-measurable moment before you fall into sleep. and the characters in this particular chapter do not yet know the techniques that will enable them to appreciate the nature of their geographical or social environment or take correct stock of the terrain around them. or how best to engage it. what approach to use. who does what in the area. who has done what. what relationships exist or mean in this context. what, even, the general rules of operation are. they have not learned the need yet, for a reconnaissance of all these realities. it is not for their youth, though that is a frequent correlative to their ignorance. you could know better younger…though you could be as ignorant into your dying days, too.
for whatever the cause these characters not only operate by and respond to that terrible guide you’ve thrown into ten neighborhoods’ worth of bonfires since. they will, in fact, only act in accordance with the hot pages in that cement-powder smelling, maggoty-skinned playbook. this time, they come freshly liberated from their parents’ domain and they come forth thinking the new, wide open world is theirs for the pillaging; for the casual acquisition of space, for possession of power, for command of sound. they know nothing. they feel entitled to everything. they think they live in a cartoon after-school special, or in a private dream where there is no pain or consequence for their actions; where the key light is always on their good side and the camera always focused on them.
and you…you sleep in full dress rehearsal. you could never forget the language required. nor the years of training. after all, you put it down out of choice, not out of desire or inability. and so, like a person lucky enough to have the right language for a dire and unexpected situation, you take back the common tongue. you wrap it around your wrists like twin boa constrictors. you find yourself, mid-movement, unfolding in configurations unscheduled. all stances hit with full lock; a pattern you don’t remembering studying for. deadly aim from years of practice. power efficiently channeled. bombshell impact on a point not broader than a dime.
there is only one type of energy to give to a noisy, blustery, slithering, proud, array of antagonistic behavior and that is a a direct cannon shot to the midsection. no hesitation, no preponderance, no reserve. ghosts will shatter and visions dissipate. cowards will quiet, or run. and who is left is very likely to be no one at all. but if they are there, you are warmed up and ready and you know why you are there.
in sum: it’s done.
know that if forced to leave the land of the lotus, i bring fire. remember that an open hand can have steel fingertips.
that is, if you are going to bring war to my door, please be very earnest in your intention. know that i will never look away. i will come directly for you.
there could (some would say “should”) be a chapter itself written on the cost of invoking such energy. everything balances out, of course. the choice is not made because it is an easy or casual one. it is made only when necessary, when the energy is available, and because nothing else will achieve the needed directives—and because hostility or ignorance seeping through the walls or creeping in my screen door or outside where my children play is not permitted.
but there is a toll for practicing an outlawed pattern. that is my due, and that is my business.