The traffic lights in the state are long, slow to change, and there are few sirens, except for in the northern territory, between the New Delbourn Deli and Creighton Elementary School, yes, there are quite a few sirens there, even after dark, even late into the night. There are murders there, men stabbing women in the stomach, men shooting men in the face. They get violent and impatient there. It is poor and rundown and it is scary. I know a lot of people who make a lot of racists comments about those people, about the people who live in those neighborhoods. But I don’t. Not really. I was told differently. But they the ones shooting people, Darryl said once, in June, after school was let out for the summer and we were warned by the Vice Principle, not to wander over there, not to ask questions or answer questions on our way home. Just head straight home, children.
Generally, though, in the other parts of the county, the men and women are tall, unremarkable, dry. They have grown accustomed to waiting, sitting, wandering. They don't own a particularly patient disposition or a spiritual conquest, no, they are rather just exhausted from exhaling and now is the time for the un-being. I suppose theirs is one destined to be a fruitless journey to the aftermath: when is just IS. Now, they wait, resigned to the long greens, the long reds. Perhaps, theirs is even an evolved boredom, streaming out of a continually and historically overlooked and missed (not dismissed) population. Maybe, I don't know. Sure, lineages are vague and uninformative. But the population here never kept any of them. And they did not ever receive national attention. They weren’t quite impressive enough or disenfranchised enough to gather media attention, platform dialogues, or shouts and cries and great proclamations of social injustice. But there has always been a creeping illness to their anxiety, to their poise, to their hunching. There is a deep unhappiness and judgment that is carrying them into the tomb, begging them to become the IS, the ever IS. I don't trust people like that. I don't like them very much either. At least those people in the northern territores don't stare like they are zoo animals, I told Daryl. But we still didn't ask any questions.
The perfected place, as proposed by the mediocrity, encapsulated neatly in an ironic pretense (an academic discussing spirituality), is an active contentment. A satisfaction, a knowing satisfaction, with the world. A continual acceptance. The transients, the vagrants, the hobos, who come in and out of this world, indeed, venture recklessly and continuously through this vision, this reality, are outcasts, non-thinkers. They do not belong, however appropriate their ephemeral presence may be. The IS, I was told, must be achieved through Study. Careless chance, idiotic turns, haphazard motion, even modern dance, could never extrapolate the hidden horror and glamour of the IS. This was our education, later. After history. Few of us really understood it. It was more abstract and less useful and immediate. I don't know. I suffocated the day after I learned that the true nature of perfection is study and not acceptance—or perhaps acceptance through study and not accidental perfection. I cannot remember. It is a difficult notion now. You see, for me, the eventual and ultimate spiral into the IS, into the disdain for myself and my failed attempts at fatherhood, was drug use. I harbored relationships with law enforcement, bartered pathetic and unjust exchanges. Yes, for freedom. And I plunged deep into the sordid periphery of beauty, the outside glare at the inside. I was, once, in a dangerous place and I did not ever return.
At moment's end, there were four of us watching the sunset over the Cascades in July. It was a single moment, then, and it was captured by each one of us as a single moment. But there is only ever one authentic arrival at the IS, one experience that is not corrupted by fraudulent philosophy, arcane ideals, or clever illusion. And there was only one of us who launched—fully unclothed, lathered in his skin like a child of the universe, embraced as the incarnate man, and seen to plunge far into the abyss of the mountain, the smoke of the blue water river—from and forever, the world that is no longer what might be, but only ever what IS.