a pile of bricks

by tobias crabtree

The last part of yesterday slid out from under the horizon way off to the west as the dolphin made it’s ever-slow way to the west gate. That long streak of orange wasn’t unlike the one that used to shine out from under my Mom and Dad’s door at the end of the hallway. Seems like the world’s full of things that refer to other things, or maybe they don’t, and it’s my mind that creates metaphors and similes, analogies and allegories. Who knows, without a way to relate one thing to the other, I probably wouldn’t remember a thing. But I don’t mind the moon reminding me of an old lamp on my Grand-daddy’s desk, nope, I sure don’t. So I’ll keep referring to old memories as long as you don’t mind too much, it’s my own way of finding myself in this big ol’ sprawled out life.

The dolphin (my little r.v.) pitched and rolled it’s way down and down through yesterday’s evening. The little desert creepers were starting their big-eyed scramblings and they bounced and fluttered, all ghosty and pale, across the beams of my headlights. There’s times when I’m working hard to figure things out, my mind a little machine with smoke boiling, then there’s a time like last night, my thoughts were still and hanging upside down in my mind, tiny wings wrapped up and tight, quiet. I drove along with the nothing in my head and the stars blinking on and the kangaroo rats bouncing and the sphinx moths zooming. All the sky and the comets and depth of forever over my empty head and all the me inside and clunking heart and blowing lungs and surging blood, nails and hair and spots. Like roll call in elementary school, “tobias?”…”Yes, present.”

With the end of the day in plain view, the only thing left to do was park. So I did. This is not exciting, perhaps this need not be read, instead, maybe, the writing of this is only a practice to stave off memory loss. Maybe it is only of interest to me, in which case I don’t blame you for leaving me now with my pile of letters making words. Game of Thrones will be waaay funner to watch than what I’m writing next. Go ahead, it’s cool. But yeah, I climbed up into my overhead space and picked up the book, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. The mute in that book is wonderful, he says nothing with his mouth, very little with his hands, but his eyes are the story of all things. I don’t remember falling asleep, but I woke in the night to barking hounds and the lights were off and book was placed to the side, the cover, separated from the book, marking my place.

Sleep. I don’t sleep that well, never have. And dreams, this I do like a champ. And so maybe because I allowed my mind it’s “nothing time” the evening before, I am dreaming mad dreams, one upon the other.

and i am driving an old blue vw van and it has rust spots behind all the wheel-wells and i am at the house of the person who owns the van. i am talking to him and i know he’s a friend but only in my dreams because his face, as i think on it now, is no one i know. he has straw colored hair and is stout. he’s a surfer. we surfed together somewhere in the past of the world of dreams because he is talking about having surfed with me. he’s cool. i like him. we are working on the van together, something is wrong with the starter. my blonde friend is getting a tool from the garage and i reach through the window and try to turn the key to start the engine. the van begins to roll and i try to stop it, i am running desperately to climb in the door as the van rolls backwards down a steep, narrow drive and crashes into a pile of old bricks and some brush. i am completely bummed about it all. the van. the accident. my stupidity. the yard with the bricks is below a tucked, little house with cool looking windows and a view overlooking the sea (which is directly below, the van fairly perched on the edge of the sea cliffs). The owner comes out and sees me and the van. He mentions the name of the owner (i can’t remember the name, but it’s the blonde guy and he’s friends with this new fella) and asks what happened. He invites me into his house. His name is Mikey Powell and he’s got a bunch of tattoos. On the bottom of his feet are the seeds of various flowers, he is 6 foot and says when he’s six feet under, the flowers will grow from his feet and find the surface and bloom so he can breathe again. He calls his wife “Sweet, Hot Mama, Child of the Sun.” Her arms are tattooed with dark, beautiful writings from old poets. Mikey says we’ll get the van running again, not to worry about the bricks. We go into a room he’s rebuilding and there’s a huge plate of wavy glass, 10 feet by 5 feet, slanting out from about waist level at a 45 degree angle. somehow he’s randomly cut holes out of the inch thick glass and placed old, broken bricks in the holes. the bricks are perfectly fitted and the whole thing is incredibly beautiful. from the bench we stand on, we can look through the glass at the kitchen below where Sweet, Hot Mama, Child of the Sun is putting the groceries away. The sun is shining through an even higher set of sky windows and the shapes of the old bricks are scattered throughout the house. Mikey  turned and said some things to me about one chance at making this particular life as beautiful as possible in order to offset the sadness. it wasn’t until then that i noticed he was missing a finger. something in the dream caused me to remember i was dreaming and i told Mikey i had to leave. he walked me out to the gate and i could see the driveway and the trees overhead and the ocean below. there were flowers along the fence. morning glories and poppies and pansies and daffodils. somewhere along the way, i woke up.

There’s really no way of telling exactly what dreams mean. They are collections from somewhere. Maybe they happen in a second. Maybe they are happening all the time and it takes that R.E.M. silence in order to hear/receive them. I don’t know. I do know that I really liked ol’ Mike Powell. I loved the way he looked at his lady and the way he was building pretty things to offset the sadness of this life. I liked his house over the sea and the flowers and the seeds tattooed on the bottoms of his feet. Come to think of it, I liked that entire dream, start to finish. If it didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have felt good like I do this morning. I woke with the feeling you have when you’re close to things that are good for you. I felt like I was in love or something, and I was alone in my camper, under a waning gibbous moon and venus in the dark blue underneath. Hell, maybe I am in love…sappy as it sounds, in love with what I get to look at as I bump along this rolling river we call Life.

Coffee’s gonna be good today! Hell, yeah.