The last time we spoke you asked me when the end was coming. I didn’t have a good answer for you, wasn’t even quite sure what you meant by the question, the end of what? Of time, of your life or mine, or merely the end of a conversation we had been carrying on for as long as either of us could remember. That was some time ago and I have thought about your question quite frequently and seeing you today, you walking by me without acknowledging me, I realize the answer should have been and most certainly now is that the end came the moment you started your question.
Walking down this road I would like to see a rice field golden in the morning sun with a great mountain rising behind it just around the next bend. I would settle for a town its lone Temple quiet, awaiting the morning bell, the call to sit, with maybe a cat at the base of a statue the Bodhisattva. I am ready to bow deeply to the first monk I see this day, but my reverie is broken by the barely dodged wave thrown up by city bus running late and fast down the crowded street of this upstate New York city.
Tonight a blood moon will rise. This isn’t about lycanthropy although the moon will have the fullness that metamorphosis demands. The sky will be clouded the now crimson moon, the planet that wears the palette as its nature will lurk out of sight and we, lost in dreams, will imagine what our eyes are unable to see.
The lake in Central Park and its cousin rivers reflect the gray of a cold sky, an April afternoon. None of this is seen by the multitudes traversing the streets and avenues, a people who barely remember the sky.
He wants to know why we draw a distinction between dreams and what we like to call reality, as if the former is somehow less than real. We want to laugh at him, but we listen anyway. If all my senses end up in my mind then all that is real is real only in my mind. But my dreams exist in my mind as well, so they are just as real as my daytime reality. And, he added, with a smirk, nothing is real at all, but both dreams and reality are equally real, and with that, he closed his eyes and we all ceased to exist.
My ancestors stole your tongue and left you mute in a world you could not grasp. Now as I search for words of forgiveness I can find none, for my voice is clogged with foreign phrases that once told of your ancestors who lived amid these rocks. We schooled you, stealing your spirit, which whispers to us as the sun climbs slowly over the great stone set deep into the endless desert. When the wind comes down from the north, it sings a song which cuts through our coats and deeply into our bones. There is no one who will claim us when we are plundered for display in some museum, no one to sing a blessing to ward off the spirits that will haunt us into the next life. The ghosts of your people walk among us and we can, at last, hear their whispered entreaties carried on the wind deep into the canyon.