Hmm. An exercise in Dali-esque exposition.


The clouds look graffitied today, or airbrushed maybe, but definitely undisturbed - except in one place where an errant palm did the impossible and tried to pierce the virgin sky, looking for all intents and purposes like a cannibal head stuck on an enemy's spear, hair green and face craggly like a pineapple. And I think to myself how oddly this gruesome, tropical scene looms above us here in suburbia, because we are not in the tropics and we do not experience tropical weather; no, we must have our fill of sunset-blanketed islands and bronze-dusted exotics by imagining ourselves onto glossy travel catalogue pages; but then again, who wants to sweat all day and suffer from strange diseases that enter bodies mysteriously through invisible osmosis, as if our insides were pristine and they are the Crusaders, sworn to topple our kingdom? No, it is not practical at all and I shall denounce it even though the signs are clearly there, and so what if the dead cannibal leers at me, challenging me to fight him in the underworld? I have no courage, I will not fight.

What the travel catalogues don't tell you is how wartorn and toxic these faraway lands really are, even though no one has enough gall not to cower from the truth. Sometimes I think I am more in love than I have ever been, with the overwhelming front page that features unnaturally chartreuse clouds, asphyxiated skies, the bright glow illuminating the faces of Middle Eastern refugees and the glare of the camera flash that narrowly misses capturing the fearful tears that succumb to gravity only after everything else has been obliterated. They never see whiteness or the blank slate of winter anymore because their years are filled like an hourglass, sand dunes and lead fillings and wood shavings spiking the hollow of a dark trail that leads to the last fallen city.

Not words nor volumes of peaceful teachings nor missionaries nor even love, all the love in the world, can really save them. Our grimy packages of cornmeal rations can fill their stomachs and our secondhand kitchen rags can cover their raw nakedness, but they don't see anything behind this half-baked effort; we are still pink in the middle. They can't feel our tetanus shots because mosquito bites hurt worse, and it matters not what floats on the surface of their drinking water or if they know the sky is hiding behind flying particles of death because to them all that matters is the arrival of yet another parachute, another flying American, to sustain them for one more hour.

I wonder too, who will pay them tribute, who will dedicate heartrending elegies to them, who will lay lilies on their gravestone. All of a sudden my funeral seems inconsequential; bury me with the refugees please, float me down into their cruel mudbanks in an army-green parachute so they can receive the ultimate paradox, wrapped all pretty in death and formaldehyde to enter the land of dead souls; and maybe I can even thrust my head up to tickle the clouds with my breath like the cannibal man down the street.