Have you seen the end of your life? I walked up to the edge Toed it A little girl floated up out of the mist Velvety in the depth-less canyon Her auburn hair was tied in a yellow ribbon That matched her gleaming cat eyes “I thought this was the end,” I said She shook her head and smiled a shark’s smile “You’ve still got miles to grow,” she said And her voice tinkled Like the wind chimes Some masochist bought my wife for our wedding I hate those things “You’re standing on air,” I noted “Aren’t we all?” she waxed philosophical “Am I dead?” “Teetering. You wouldn’t be worth anything if you were.” Her smile surfaced again And I could not look in her eyes For they were hungry And I knew I was the meal Instead, I looked beyond her at the light Dancing in the distance Aurora Borealis on steroids She followed my gaze “But you can’t go there,” she purred “That’s for the special souls.” I pouted. “Some people say I’m special.” She shrugged, “Everybody makes mistakes.” I took a deep breath to shout defiance at her And gagged on the sulfur Rank in the air around the canyon Desperate, I looked left and right The chasm went on beyond my seeing in both directions “What are my choices?” I gasped. “This can’t be my end.” She licked her ruby lips, “Every end is a new beginning, “I read that on a greeting card once. “A carcass becomes a flower. “Take my hand and we’ll float down together.” Have you seen the end of your life? I longed for mine, watching ribbons of pale purple, Russet red and gentle blue light Dance in the beyond place I could not go I took her hand She tugged the yellow ribbon out of her hair And noosed it around my neck I woke on the floor Wind chimes tickling my ears A lying liar who lies Here awaiting my instructions
Here’s some original writing. A little vignette:
We ate the Artist.
He came so highly recommended. When he first showed up on the scene, we had our doubts, even though his handlers entered with ribbons in their hair and trumpets on their lips. He was something to behold: skin like milk and eyes flashing furious scorn. A god enraged. He was young and we panted at his prospect, but we noted he was worryingly tough. Who wants to chew on iron? Could he escape us?
His handlers reassured us. They patted us on our hairy arms. In the end, we did not dismiss him, though we doubted any salt would season him properly. He delighted in exposing our wickedness. He rubbed our pretenses in our faces and this stung. It could have fouled the meal. Time and again, he found the mediums (he even blogged and tweeted) and insisted he was an “Artist” and, gesturing in our general direction, claimed he was “above all that.” This kept us interested. We knew the signs. He could not tear himself away.
Nothing tenderizes like fame.
And we are patient. He had all the basic ingredients and time is on our side. He flung himself out and about and, like Ruth in Boaz’s fields, we plucked up his offerings eagerly with only a hint of shame. (Yes, we have read the Good Book, though we are pleased to forget the point).
We remember well the film he directed and starred in, with its pleasing lack of both a point and clothing. It was consumed like his TV Guide channel interviews and his rancid college short story collection and his unauthorized biography. We recognized these as signs of more to come, more of his essential self, and we gobbled them all, his leavings, their juices dribbling down our necks. Yes, they were tart and rude and objectionable. We admit to struggling to swallow some of it. His nascent and pungent political stylings in particular caused some heartburn, but the antacid slew of light romantic comedies he condescended to perform in with the “It Girls” of the moment helped keep the rest of it down. It boiled in our stomach and we craved ever more.
The halcyon days came. The big budget films and the adulation. He willed himself to power and we loved it. More and more he let slip out and we scarfed it all down.
Finally, he was forty-two and fading and for us he had reached his most delectable state. We gathered round tables and winked our knowing eyes and tucked napkins under our chins.
The Artist peered at himself in the mirror, a wasted cliché, empty, like the bottle of pills lying there next to his shaking hands.
One last performance. One final meal.