A cornfield grows in downtown L.A., thirty-two acres where the railroad used to run. Used to run through my backyard when I lived poised on the verge of a female future. A female future that each year fades further into distance. In the distance, skyscrapers loom under white sky of late afternoon. Late afternoon, in the shadow of cornstalks, we dance discretely to the rhythms of the drum circle. Circles within circles; I fear fractals, echoes of old patterns I can’t see. I can’t see your blood under my fingernails, even as you hold my hand.
My hand holds the erupting volcano; I lie still beneath scalding lava. Scalding lava, trembling earth, uncontainable water; our planet can no longer be calm. Be calm, even as we enter a city of exiles. Exiles, these tall stalks making music with the wind. The wind carries the ash of burning countryside, carries the small cries that escape me when your skin meets mine, carries news of the dead. The dead are no longer afraid of fractals, nor of carwashes, or standing in line behind a rope. A rope to bind my wrists while you submit to your prayers.
Prayers cannot bring the promise of tomorrow but they provide some way of reconciling with today. Today is the first day of a journey you never dreamed. You never dreamed of the furrows dug into the earth, or the unseen river that barely pulses at the edge. At the edge we pause for the sheerest moment, before we leap into eternity. Leap into eternity with me, pirate; release your ship to the drowning. To the drowning, the sky looks impossibly far away. Impossibly far away, the origin of the universe and yet, it’s right here in your eyes.
Your eyes overlook the way each breath brings us closer to death, closer to losing one another once more. Once more I ask you to dance with me in this field of urban grass, over which fly industrious crows. Crows brought the gift of corn, as all blessings come on dark wings. On dark wings we spiral into consciousness, each turn another painful birth. Another painful birth, how we circled one another for a year, exiles longing for home. Longing for home, I cradle the spewing volcano, even as my eyelids singe. My eyelids singe in the effort to really see.
See, I told you not to be afraid, pirate; your blood under my fingernails cannot be washed away. Washed away, so many easy assumptions that the future would look like the past. The past seems to shadow us as we walk, seems to whisper, “I have always been here.” I have always been here, but my view has never been large enough; that is the message of fractals. The message of fractals is that each moment will return to us, but utterly disguised. Disguised, will I recognize you the next time you reappear to pinch me? Pinch me, god, I’m in a cornfield.