Bring on the Cycling Dawn

By Jon Hillenbrand In Poetry


Tragedy, joy and all manner of experience befall the individual in the night, for what occurs under the purview of the moon can seldom be explained entire in the plain sight of the sun.  Is the night stronger?  Maybe the night isn’t stronger as much as we are weaker at night from being brought up to not fear the day.  Look at how we are taught…alleys are always dark and wet when they are sets for wicked deeds, the river’s journey is into the Heart of Darkness and the most baffling crimes shock the world when they are committed in broad daylight!  Or maybe experiences in the night are of a purer form than their sun gilt alternatives.  For example, take a moonlit walk with your girlfriend along the lake and stop by a white gazebo.  Sit her down on the stone seat and kneel before her.  Reach around her to turn on pre-positioned holiday lights which bathe you both in attractive warm tones which dance in the cool night breeze like candlelight.  Let her take your hand briefly enough to turn over the dark purple velvet box you are holding and open it to reveal a clear diamond shimmering in light and dark tones only possible during the contrasty night and see how far you get into your proposal speech before she jumps into your arms.  Then try the same proposal at high noon, after being at the beach, while hot, sweating, annoyed by the nearby beeping mid-day traffic on Lake Shore Drive, while the high sun emphasizes your worst features.  Chances are she’ll initially think about how your sci-fi books seem stupid when you talk enthusiastically about them, not about the slow dancing you did together in that unlit, roped-off ballroom at the Drake after dinner that one special night.

Plainly speaking, the world is flat.  The world traveler knows this when they taste the same oasis water separated by vast deserts.  Experience is experience is experience.  They are all the same.  The beauty (or tragedy) of them is beholden by the individual.  Your picture of that experience, or your poem, or painting or blog post serves only to prick certain sets of engrams which hopefully recreate the temperature and humidity conditions from which the clouds of memory originally formed in the viewer’s mind.  With luck, those clouds will respawn and rain down appreciation in the form of a “Like” or comment or $78.1 million purchase, as in the case of Renoir’s Bal du moulin de la Galette.

And what source of subterranean magma does this cynicism erupt from?  Why, of course, it’s Love, Love, Love.  The search continues for my future, and yet the whole endeavor has the heft of a treacherous instrument in my hand, unbated and envenomed.  The foul practice turning itself upon me, I look at myself with the same false acumen as I use to judge other potential loves.  I feel like Conan having conquered his foes sitting upon his throne, a heavy gold crown weighing down his wrinkled brow, the future of his kingdom at risk for a mate and heir, the court jester making light of the situation as OKCupid shows me pictures of fair maidens from across the land.  Every night feels as of a full moon poisoned by a witch.  Whimsy and Consequence stay separated by the Peasant Dance.  Chance plays with its marionette strings.  The two dancers could meet if only the crowd could unconsciously conspire to allow it.  My heavy heart could grow wings and soar.  My self-image bridled by twenty-three past kisses could return to its brumby roots.

So why the night?  My dreams seem obscured by darkness, as if seeking them from the confines of a deep water submersible along the deepest trenches of the ocean.  All I see is my headlights dashing across featureless landscape.  And sometimes, by choice, I turn off those lights for a truth to be magnified by the noise in my brain, a Ganzfield effect showing me the way to go home.  If you were in a dark room with no light, how long would you have to stay in that darkness before you believed that the outside world had never existed or that home was no more than a state of mind rather than a tangible thing?  Sensory deprivation experiments prove that all of us hallucinate when faced with a consistently blank field.  And what is love if it isn’t a hallucination?

What do you think?