The Prophet

I’ve always been able to tell the future.

I could tell you your stories. It’s all in your hands, but also in the way you tilt your head and how you look a little off to one direction when you listen.

Every moment of your future is written all over you for me to read, and that fills me with a strange melancholy; to know the epics of your heart before they begin, to know your thoughts before your fingers lift; to understand the focus of your gaze before its object walks into the room.

So much useless, completely useless knowledge.

When you talk, there are a hundred voices, and they all speak in a timbre I can hear.

I can name them individually, and I do, trailing devastated fingers through the ideas you reject throughout the day.

I try to keep them in my pocket.

Have you ever been looked after this way? I’m here to tell you that you have.

Its not just the people I’ve known. The future comes at me all the time, sometimes with the force of a boulder. Shards of it on the subway; poking another stiff hole in my mind. The way someone’s fingers intertwine will hit me like a dagger and all the thoughts I was keeping leak out, while that future rushes in, filling the space.

It hurts a little but I keep looking, because I have to see how it will end.

subway.jpg

But I don’t see the two of us playing out, try though I might. Craning to catch a glimpse, I only see the walls of my heart, reflecting back my warped desires like a fun house mirror.

There aren’t even pieces to arrange. Other people’s futures obscure my memory to such a degree that I have no past to approach you with. It’s scary.

Some people simply trust their feelings.

But trust is a novel exercise for someone who sees the future. Faith is what you introduced me to accidentally, something I didn’t choose so much as grasp like a lifeline in the face of zero alternatives.

What happens tomorrow? Where is this headed? How does it end?

Today, I practice these inquiries, staring at the ceiling, lips form the familiar shape of the words; but my brain makes no room to receive the answer. I have stopped looking beyond what my eyeballs can scan, even while that scope narrows.

This is the deal I’ve made with the broad span of silence: Leave off this interrogation of the future in exchange for today; this moment, right now. Remember the joke? Only Zen buddhists and recovering alcoholics embrace the ‘now’ with so much enthusiasm.

But it’s not true. There are others: Every lady who has held something gently in her hand she couldn’t keep. I’ve seen all their stories play out, if my heart will only remember.

….I can’t remember. butterfly.jpeg

And that’s how it has to be. A prophet must be blind to walk the lantern path; love is the black night, the absence of foresight. I can only hold up my light to see the next footfall, and the next. Offer my bare shoulders to the naked dark; offer my heart to its predators, its accidents, the million things that can go wrong.

When your touch guides me, the darkness welcomes.

But underneath, I’m terribly afraid of the vast world that’s waiting obscured in shadow. There is finally so much to lose, and I am walking next to it blinded.

A regrettable exercise in point of view

The Chef: “Consider, if you will, the banana.” flourishes “Distinct, sweet, palatable. The food of monkeys.” chuckles

“But a secret weapon? Hmmm? The banana.” peels “So here is how we ready the ambush. When you prepare the sauce to marinate the Fricasea di Pollestri, slice the mushrooms and then the banana, very very thin. So thin in fact, that if you had a quarter inch of white chocolate syrup on a custard plate, you could drop a slice of this banana and it would be completely hidden from view. Vous voyez? The savory sauce must thicken just a fraction of a degree more than normally. The heat of cooking will soften the edges of the fruit, but the pieces must be in tact. The flavor will spread out over the tongue slowly, melding and dancing with the tender flesh of the chicken. Savory.. sweet… firm… melting. Voila!

And when they come- Ha! When ‘Food and Wine’ and ‘Bon Apetit’ send their most finicky, most demanding, most impossible critics… (and what is a critic but a regrettable kind of person who can not cook but can only dream?) When they come, stabbing their forks into my masterpiece, sneering with an obscene anticipation to be disappointed, they will stab a forkful of the dreamy, fragrant banana masked inside the mushrooms and the chicken, and their eyes will WIDEN! Ha! and their forks will still; and I will be the lauded master of all things culinary while they heap praises at my feet and beg for seconds.

swallows a wayward chunk of banana

“Donc là.”

The Banana: “Brrr… it got chilly. Did you feel a chill? Oh god. Something’s touching me. Something’s touching me! It tickles. Heh. Geeze… ha ha ha, hey! What the… OUCH! Stop it! Ouch! Auggh! He’s cutting me, he’s cutting me! Help! Help! ARRRRRRGH! Somebody, anybody, please, please help! Now you’re gonna boil me? You bastard! You fruit hating nazi! You son of a- glurgh mmph glargh fleedle. Gwah! Oggie, oggie..” *gulp*

“Fu-cker.”

The Food Critic: chews, swallows painfully “That… crazy… bastard put a banana in my chicken. And there isn’t any freakin’ water to wash it down with! Jesus H Christ, some days I wish I’d just listened to my ma and become a dentist.”