Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dreaming Universe, the Almighty Tree in a park, St. Laurent and St. Zotique, Montreal, has shaken its leaves to the ground and with open branches, receives a major dump of snow, the first snow of the 2009 - 2010 season. Look at the tree in the park. It stands there and doesn't make itself useful; it doesn't try to look busy. It just stands there, without a worry in the world, and enjoys the seasons.
I encountered the tree spirit in late October, between cups of espresso, while traveling from Cafe Italia to Social Club. It was like in a dream, when a crowd of zombies showed up in front of my apartment, zombies walking with big smiles, in black coats and bowler hats. They were inviting me to my funeral. I thought, am I dead? I noticed the bitter taste of the human condition in my mouth and woke up. Outside, it was snowing.
I put on coat, hat, boots and gloves and went to the local library and looked at a book of beautiful pictures, exotic architecture, quiet courtyards, a marble pool, arches, domes, soothing dream shapes. I used to dream about the desert, endless sand dunes, temple corridors, opening into courtyards, basins and fountains, monuments, elaborate decoration. Gradually my feet got hot. I took off the boots to cool the feet. A guard came along and told me to put the boots back on. I put them on and listened to a man arguing with the library technician about a fourteen dollar overdue fine. He said: "Do me a favor and forget about it." "No, said the technician, "You have a fourteen dollar fine."
Then a grumbling woman appeared, followed by two technicians. The woman fumed and went to the exit, unwilling to be appeased. She took pleasure in creating conflict and getting attention. I noticed the tiniest flicker of a smile as she dismissed the technicians with a wave of contempt, satisfied to have made her presence felt.
I went to another cafe and witnessed the miracle of white, tappy shoes, clacky shoes, tapered toes, turned up slightly like the bow of a motorized canoe, brogue decorations, white, shiny, tappy shoes. They said: don't mess with me. I'm a man of the universe. I can do magic. Mess with me and I will heap chaos and destruction upon you.
Cell phone as decoration, ringing cell phone to make a Mondo Mystico call, one far out spiritual dude calling another, dangerous men who can see right through to your secret fears. There's nothing you can hide from him. He sees clearly through those thick-lenses. Truth concealed in his eyes, behind smoky glasses, he got up with a know-it-all grin and said goodbye to the manager before leaving the club. The manager was tired, at the end of a long day, but happy to see the place packed.
Don't look at him. Sit down to a cup of coffee. Do a table napkin drool doodle overdose on cheesie and chip appetizer, which later will bubble through intestines, get hyped up on loud volume of TV. Come on. Pull out your wallet. Let's see what you're made of.
Then I saw it again, the tree spirit, a murky, deep red shape against leaves on the lawn. I saw Oogah dancing around the tree. Blinding white light in the middle of an eyeball in a blazing triangle or star, inside the sun, I gazed a second or two too long at a naked light bulb, or rather, into the blazing sun of Oogah's third eye.
The vision dissolved into sound, reverberation, phaser-like waves, swishing around of voices. Each environment had a sound, the sound of hallways, roads, sidewalks, rooms with special lighting and people with types of breathing, short choppy agitated heavy exhalation through the nose or the smooth, even breath of a sleeping child. Breathe like a baby in a cradle until eventually, one day, one breathes the death rattle, final breath of a dying person. Bye bye, bubble burst, little world gone. Never again hear the sound of someone lifting the toilet seat to pee and the sound of flushing and the endless hand-washing. Out, out, damned spot! Wash your hands of guilt and shame.
I ran to catch a train. I sat down as a train roared off in the opposite direction.
It's comforting, after the train goes and all you can hear is electric buzz. Neon light, floor tiles, rails, hard plastic bench, stone trash container, tunnel, perspective, sound bouncing back on itself, distant roar of approaching train, rumble of the other train going farther away, wait for the train.
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