Climate Change Chronicles #1

fractal sunsetThis was written in 2007 when a prospect appeared for a collaborative art project on climate change. Nothing, however, happened, except for more weather.


There was a blinding flash. All I could see were streaks of coloured light and the Transsiberian click-clacking into the horizon. “W-a-a-a-i-t,” I shouted. “There’s something I have to tell y-o-u-u-u-u.”

As I stared into the fractal sunset, gigantic flakes of velvety snow began to fall. In the uncanny silence, a single thought punched like a can opener into my resisting mind. Al Gore — Al Gore is back!*

I tried fruitlessly to start her motorcycle. While I was pumping like a demon, a semitrailer pulled up beside me.

The driver’s eyes gleamed in his dark face under a black sombrero. “Where you wanna go?” he asked. I pointed wordlessly down the lone highway.

“Put the bike in the back and get in.”

I hoisted the bike into the insulated trailer full of strawberries and climbed into the cab beside the driver. Rachmaninov’s third piano concerto pounded from the speakers as the truck raced into the driving snow and gathering dusk.

I tried to gather my random thoughts and shape them into a recognizable form. Al Gore — on a television screen.*

Jazz notes began to fill the glasslike clarity of the night.


* This line is changed from the original. Al Gore was interviewed on CBC’s National news on July 09, 2015.

Advertisements

Of dreams and the remains of memories

Brain research tells us that when people start losing their memories, emotional memory is the most persistent. I didn’t know that when I wrote the following. Or perhaps I did know it and have forgotten.

Aug. 16, 1998

She remembers the twelve-year-old sleeping on the cot beside hers – warm, brown, and breathing loudly. But he’s gone, long gone. This stranger coming in now, carnations in one hand, a mason jar in the other, this tall stranger with the strong brown arms – who is he?

She remembers to smile: her mouth smiles, anyway. She asks what he’s been up to. Somewhere in that conversation, there is a spark, a remembrance of laughter, from mouth to eyes to brain to heart – the heart is another muscle and needs to be exercised.

It’s eight o’clock and the visitors are leaving. He leans over the bed and reaches his arms around her. He pats her on the back and she holds herself up straight. “I’ll try to come again. I’ll come again,” he says. “See you, mom.”

This stranger is gone, but the boy, where did he go?

Dark Queen

There was a time when I was still using Windows95 and hooked on Freecell.

April 7, 1998

Kid: Mom?

Mom: Hey hon.

K: Were you talking to yourself?

M: Why do you say that?

K: Let me put it this way. Stop talking to yourself. It’s scaring me.

M: I’m not talking to myself.

K: Well, you’re talking to somebody and I don’t see anyone.

M: All right. I’m talking to the computer.

K: And it’s talking to you?

M: Well, yeah. See, the Queen of Spades is….

K: Now you’re really scary.

M: Go back to bed.

K: How come I don’t get to play so late?

M: ‘Cause you have to go to school.

K: Mom, tomorrow’s a P.D. day.

M: ‘Cause you’re a kid.

K: Yeah? Well, you’re crazy.

M: Go to bed. We’ll talk in the morning.

K: It is morning.

M: Go to bed.

K: Only if you stop talking to yourself.

M: OK – go…. Now where was I?

K: I can hear you!

Must work to free the Queen. The Queen speaks when freed, gives advice on critical issues. “Invalid parameters. Try again.” Losing streak: the Queen can’t be freed; life falls apart. “Fatal error. This program is closing because of invalid input.” Students are macho, racist. Boyfriend becoming verbally abusive. “Enter user-defined string.”

Driving home after dinner with parents.

K: Mom, are you watching the road?

M: Aaaa… yeah, I’m watching the road.

K: The Queen of Spades isn’t here you know.

M: Yeah, I know.