There was a strange baby that sang at midnight

A long line of strangers’ cars in the darkness, headlights off, idling or moving slowly. A little moonlight. People walking beside and amongst the cars.
Strangers all.
Near you, a strange woman has a baby and a lot of other things to carry. Maybe she is pulling a wagon. You hold the baby for her.
You want to comfort her and the baby, so you comfort her by comforting the baby.
You hold it gently to yourself, protecting it, and hum.
There in the night, among strangers, you hear a beautiful noise and it takes a while to realize it is the baby singing.
The night is quiet, people murmur, engines idle, tires grind on gravel. Footsteps and your tinnitus whining and whirring and jingling.
The baby’s song rises above all of it like wind whistling through a canyon.
You share a look with the mother. How wonderfully it sings, your eyes say.
How wonderfully the strange baby sings in the night.
What is all this, you ask the dream.
The necessary coexistence of the strange and the beautiful, says the dream.

Maybe this is why you’re so tired sometimes when you wake up

Odin like goes into your bedroom when you’re sleeping at night? And stands at the foot of your bed?

Odin can see really well in the dark, even with just one eye. Remember, the other one’s down at the bottom of that, that pond of wisdom that giant guy drinks out of every day. Who’d want to drink out of a pond with an eye in it?

Whatevs.

Look, he stands there, Odin, and looks at you sleeping there in your bed, he stands there in those black clothes and that belt  and boots and the one eye scrunched up  and looks at you with the other, piercing one and the long white hair and he doesn’t even try to whisper when he says, child you are beautiful and blessed and full of grace.

He holds up a hand when he says it, a hand that has held many a sword and old weapons like that.

Child you are beautiful and blessed and full of grace. Being a god, his voice wakes you up and you’re like, whoa, it’s Odin.

Beautiful and blessed and full of grace, and life is short so always do what makes you smile. Within reason, of course, you know the drill, but here is the thing: never wait until something is perfect, because you are beautiful and real and the beautiful and real are never perfect, only the creepy and fake are perfect.

And Odin stands there, like a negative image of Cab Calloway in a white suit,  and he holds out both hands and says, ‘inky dinky do,’ and does a little dance step, a sashay, to the left. Your ten-gallon aquarium burbles in the corner of your room, fish all fast asleep.

And the monsters under your bed stick out their heads and say, ‘inky dinky dee,’ and before you know it Odin is doing this call and response number in your room with the monsters under your bed and in your closet, the one in your mirror and the ones in the shadows cast on the ceiling by your curtains, even the little fellows in your wallpaper who, when you stare at the wallpaper long enough, march in long, crooked inky-black lines around your room like jerky 1930s animated cannibals only these are not racist imagry, they are not flesh, they are made of coal and ash and fire and lava, demons, or a cross between imp and demon and they dance with their little spears and Odin sings, ‘wagga wagga yappa do’ and they repeat it and the monsters repeat it.

And you sing along.

It’s a long number, and when it’s over, Odin says, when you wake you’ll forget all this, but remember what I said.

And you say, inky dinky do.

And Odin says, no, before that.

And you both laugh.

This happens about five times a week. Maybe it’s why you are so tired sometimes.

 

The god of the office and the god of weather

“How come you let such terrible things happen all the time,” says the god of weather.

“Why is it raining?” says the god of the office.

The god of the office and the god of weather are standing on the balcony watching it rain onto a bunch of May-green trees. May is the best month.

“See, I don’t make it rain,” says the god of weather. “Weather is the expression of a complicated system. And anyway, the trees need a drink.”

“There’s your answer,” says the god of the office. “And anyway, I’m just the god of the office.”

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t jump,” says the god of the ledge.

“Ozymandias,” says the god of weather.

“This too shall pass,” says the god of the office.

“Tomorrow shall be sunny,” says the god of weather.

“Everything eventually falls apart,” says the god of the office. “And everything is beautiful, anyway.”

“Those you worship will disappoint you,” says the god of weather. “By sacrificing too much for you and too little for themselves, or too little for you and too much for themselves, or by not making themselves happy when they are your idol and example…”

“…and you will disappoint those who worship you by not making yourself happy. Self-betrayal is not a worthy sacrifice. Sacrifice itself, I don’t know, is it obsolete or just ancient? But love makes up for all of this,” says the god of the office. “And everything is beautiful anyway.”

“These are the ground rules for an earthly existence,” says the god of weather.

Fighting bad guys

A minor chord sits on the sofa and wonders why this character in this police drama he watches on television sometimes gets under his skin the way she does. She is an afterthought! She has no dramatic function! She could be edited right out and things would still make sense, no one would miss her and no scenes would need to be reshot! All she does is make unimportant observations, agree with the other characters or once in a very great while provide a little exposition the writers were too lazy to squeeze in more creatively. It is as if the producers were contractually obligated to use this actress so ordered the writers to add a role for her in finished scripts and they did so, lazily. She has no profile. She is invisible, and yet there she is!

She needs something. She needs to battle a bad guy, be in peril, shoot a gun, jump into cold water, break a bone (her own or someone else’s). And not just stand there like a character in a show set in a room with an automatic door opener who tells other characters, “The door is closed. Look, the door just opened. Now it’s open. Now it’s closed again.”

The minor chord sits there and wonders what it is about her he so dislikes, and why.

It takes him a while to figure it out.

Meanwhile he goes to Oslo and sees graffitti on a wall in blue or purple (he forgets) block letters a meter high: “LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL”.

Thank you Oslo, he thinks.

Meanwhile, he remembers something someone said about having your love rejected is more painful than not being loved. Might just be right.

Still, life is beautiful and so on.

Debussy

Yesterday my masseuse put two bones back where they belonged in my spine, and shortened my left leg. I was all, no, just lengthen the other one, but that was not an option.

This morning, Debussy’s only piece for string quartet came on the radio when I was parking in front of the office.

Actually, it came on a little earlier, while I was driving to work, the last bit of my commute, and was still on when I parked, come to think of it. My first thought was, this is some sad music. My first reaction to it, before thinking, was to get all sad, see.

How full of sadness, and yet how beautiful.

It was the recording by the Jerusalem Quartet.

In case you’re interested.

I sat there listening. The DJ said after that the audience considered it decadent the first time it was performed. All that death and beauty rolled up into a maki.

Introspection

I saw the most beautiful thing the other day. I was at the eye doctor because my eyes were up to no good. My right eye, especially, was offending me. The eye doctor had me put my chin on a thing with a pile of little tissues on it and my forehead against another thing with more tissues and she shone this light into my eyes, one at a time, and looked at whatever she looked at. While she was doing this, the light reflected around inside my eyeball in such a way that I could see the inside of my eye. Or the blood vessel system, rather. This dark brown/black network of blood vessels on a bright, light sepia background, growing finer and more branched as they moved from the outside towards the center, which I suppose was the pupil, where there were no more blood vessels.

When I had gotten out of bed that morning, the insides of my eyeballs had not been on my list of concerns. They came as a total surprise. Thanks, life.