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August 28, 2006


Strong enough to stand here,
Not strong enough to cry.
Tell me about heaven as we die.

This has been my mediation:
The I-5. Here to someplace north of here.
Days or weeks, then back again.
The yellow land between.

At some point, always, the sky cracks me open. My soul rushes out to match the blue. In that moment, I know that it is not about the stories. Because of that, the stories get sweeter; I get permission.. so, I keep flying.

There are crops and cows and old dogs. Stories, not as they were told, but as I remember. There are people and places and smells and tastes. The stories I live, the stories I will tell, and the stories I forget to see. There is the thought, then the scream to domed sky and hot wind. or, at 2am, under the stars to the floating mac trucks: A request for the rabbits.

One more time, she tells me how sad she is. Under the last few dragon flies in Alamo Square. She alternates her sadness with the men who want to fuck her. I can understand her no better than she can understand me. we hold the opposite poles of loneliness.

On the side walk, people walking through, in the car through the streets and then in the parked at the edge of the square; post card row. I say, It is hard to love someone who can’t feel it. Not to say I love so that someone can feel it or so that I can feel love back. I’d love you anyway, I say. It just feels unmatched and unfair: I look at her and feel what I feel; she looks at me and feels pain. I don’t like my reflection in her eyes. it looks too familiar.

I say, I’m getting out of the car; there’s a wish flower behind you. She gets out too and lays at the edge of the hill while I run around blowing flowers behind her:

Tell me about beauty, possibility. There is still beauty left here. If only just in saying it. There is still beauty. Beauty…

Again: her touch and recoil. Not instant, of course; a few hour later. Then
back to the road.
The yellow and blue, the bugs smearing across my windshield.

In 5th grade, a woman came to our class each week to read a chapter. I saw her once at a baby shower. I was there with my mom and grandma and aunt. I remember her being talked about and not staying long; I loved her. And when we got to the part about the rabbits—really about the rabbits—on a hot afternoon, I felt the cold metal of the desk against my leg and also the heavy chill of the barrel at the base of my skull, rolling my scalp with its slight angle upwards: it didn’t say so, but I knew that Lenny was aware:

Tell me about the rabbits,
About beauty, possibility. There is still beauty left here. If only just in saying it. There is still beauty. Beauty.. I love you. I love you.. I hear the metal of the gun roll over itself and click into ready, I swallow from my lower lip awaiting that last bit of force…I love you. I love you; he loved him…so, he was letting him kill him.

“tell me about the rabbits, George.”
I used to scream this out the window as I drove. Sometimes I was laughing—joyfully at my edge—sometimes it felt like my last exasperated breath. At some point, I started texting it to everyone just to see what I got back.
This time:
Ashley: “u r hilarious!”
Bongo: something beautiful about the sunset. The setting sun the color of wheat.
Monique: “who’s this?”
Nancy: “the rabbits grow strong in the fields and do wicked thai yoga”
Christine: “I had a feeling this was gonna come up.”
Vic: “does George know about the rabbits?”

This time, my heart cracked open.
How could I be so blind! I’ve read that book ten times. And I’ve always missed it. George didn’t know about the rabbits. He held the earth so that Lenny could hold the sky.
Certainly, mine is not the same story…but as the analogy goes:
Deep down with Camila, to the “least excited state”:
The truth is, its never been equal. All this has just been our bouncing between.
But then I got why she wished her pain on me. I got how much I could never get it.
I got how it was another stab each time I asked her to feel my love. A violation of the pain. Now, this story that is happening—dramatic and about as original as a soap opera. But--Lenny and George--I can see what the story really was. Possibility juxtaposed to the truth of this world; a truth created in all good intention by very real action. George didn’t know about the rabbits. How dare I ask her to talk to me about heaven when she’s living in my hell? It didn’t matter whether Lenny meant it or not.

That was what it felt like. Now, it looks like a silly, convoluted analogy to Of Mice and Men; a flash of insight explained way past interesting. Now we have “space”. Now we feel our edges as they were pressed against each other and then released. I feel the cold air on skin newly exposed. Still, in question. I come to terms with the present as it marches and with the fact that she sees me as her past. I ask one more time, (please comment below. Serious or silly. In case you know)
Tell me about the rabbits.

About beauty, possibility--in the midst of it all. There is still beauty left here. If only just in saying it. There is still beauty. Beauty..
But I…
Strong enough to stand there
Not strong enough to cry
And asking:
Tell me about heaven as we die

How dare I?