connective tissues

by tobias crabtree

whenever i hear my voice in a recording or on a video i wonder what happened. how does my voice sound so different when it’s not coming from inside me? i’m not going for self-deprecation here, i just can’t figure out how it goes from a tolerable sound to that squeaky thing playing out of some fool video. self-perception, man, it’ll throw you down the stairs and leave you piled up like trash on the curb.  truth is, i like to think that i’m moving along in the right direction, letting my soul follow the magnetic pull of truth, and not human truth, i’m talking a way bigger picture here. i’m talking about the truth you see when you look down into a volcano. the kind of truth you see when you are standing where the cyprus giants lean over granite ramparts and listen for the call of bowheads as they slip between sky and crusty mantle. THAT is truth. you gotta watch out for the truth that gets processed for you by some know-it-all with a fancy brain; seems like it’s real difficult to be human and not be manipulative. but hey, don’t take my word for it, go find it out for yourself. when you’re sick of hearing about how to make yourself 20 years younger or way more ripped or super rich, do yourself a favor — go out and watch a band of ravens on the wind. they’ll show you what life is all about, they are a pure representation of themselves. i have yet to figure out how to allow my soul this freedom, but i’m working on it.  i don’t think being 20 years younger would make me better and i’m more skinny than ripped, but i wouldn’t mind having an endless stack of benjamins so that i could thumb my nose at the powers that be and tramp off into oblivion.

i think it might boil down to something really basic. i think i am at my best when i am busying myself with a task that connects me to my origins. and when i’m doing this thing, my mouth is usually shut. and if i’m sitting next to you as you work on your task that connects you to your origins, we can feel connected. i think in this way we become more like them ravens on the wind. we are weaving our souls like smoke rising from a slow burning fire. and our goal is life. what i’m talking about here does not happen as you hurtle down some numbered roadway with millions of other hurtlers. in our cars we are separate. in our cars we do things uncharacteristic of our nature. we rage. we flip one another the bird. (what would happen if we did this kind of thing as we walk in the supermarket? maybe that’s where we’re headed if we don’t change. maybe we’ll figure out how to have a little floating screen above our head that is shouting at other people with their little floating screens…maybe we’ll find a way to never have to interact in a real way. i mean, conversation is so yesterday and communication is really kind of a pain in the ass, right?) no.  no.    i refuse to believe that we cannot find our way back . we have to.

i read about that ice-man guy that they found at the foot of a glacier, i think they call him otzi. i’ve been fascinated by his story ever since he was first discovered. he got spit back out from under the glacier that ate him 5,300 years ago and that’s where folks found him, lying there under the sun. there are all kinds of theories about what put him in that place and how he died and even what his position was in the tribe to which he belonged. more interesting to me, is what his dreams were. i wonder about the twinkle in his eye as his hands struck fire from stone in the days before his death. he had tattoos, you know? yeah, they were in the areas that he’d been injured and probably were a result of visiting healers. he died with an arrowhead in his back. i imagine he died alone. the cold came and covered his body. that ancient person, all he had seen as he hunted beasts and hopped across a stoney world, it all leached out into the ground that pulled him down and took him back. it’s lives like his that power the storms at sea. worlds turn on the fuel of souls. i have no idea of his kindnesses, his darkest deeds, but i am not more than him nor am i less. it’s our turning to dust that connects us. we are kinfolk. from the spark that lights a baby’s heart to the tissues that form our growing limbs to the mind that thinks upon itself enough to know that it is to the gaping mouth of that very last breath (yes, you and i will have one. we will have that last breath) to the wind that whistles a tune through the sockets of our skull. we all have this to link us together. and from the lowest to the highest, we all turn to dirt.

i sometimes worry over things undone. drawings i’ve not finished. shoes half made. friendships un-mended. promises shuffled under duties less important. i have words that i believe in that take dedication to arrange, dedication that i lack, and the words are all pretty but scattered and caught here and there like plastic bags against the fence. i will put one thing to the side so i can run and start something else that i’ll probably put to the side. i use examples of extraordinary people who i’ve read were scatter-brained like me and i hold them up as a shining light to what i might be. i run from the guilt that slaps me across the mouth when i find a half-written letter to my mama. and i find myself on the phone and saying things that aren’t as good as if i’d just finish the letter and send it. the ice-man was carrying an unfinished bow, arrows that needed to be fletched, he even had food in his teeth so i assume he hadn’t brushed. even five thousand years ago there were worries. i suppose worries and love were born on the same day.

i’m pretty damn sure i’ll be less famous than the ice-man. he is a great teacher. i’m sitting at the foot of his lectern and i can hear his lessons across the eons. we can’t finish everything in a lifetime, so work on the good stuff. love your friends in their failings. learn where the stars are hanging and teach a child to find them. don’t toss your cigarette butts out the window, it’s disrespectful to the earth that gives you air, water, sun, babies, food…um, that gives you everything. write songs and sing them, even if it’s to yourself. scratch an old dog on the ear. look at people and be genuine. make two cups of coffee and give the one you think is the best to your friend/lover. (although, if i make two cups of coffee, they’re both the best…i’m not kidding.) write a poem and send it to someone, like my buddy, brian, did for me.(thanks brother)

sure, it comes back around to me. it’s all opinion, the very thing i warned you about.  sometimes it’s not even put in a way that makes sense. on days like today, when i struggle to say what i mean, i’m more likely to end up with an essay that ends with the delete button. but after all that talk of unfinished bullshit i refuse to send this to the refuse bin. i have to look on the bright side, at least i’m not having to listen to a recording of myself reading this out loud. that might kill me.

alright, the end. (for now)