Yellow Sand Fountain

There have always been games like these, games for going backwards, games played when fun is not fun, and safety, neither.

"London Bridges", et al. The girls dance, and all is lost, just like a plaything.

There is no catastrophe without the bias light of childish height. Formal structures wobble. Ancient cultures live like pencil drawings, and wash away with little more than a glib rattle at the surface, a change in the level of the sea, a lightening of water on the earth. When Joseph and I moved into our new home on Miami Avenue, we were given a bunk bed. My brother greedily claimed the lower level, and then he tossed himself down on the fresh, unmade mattress, playing the bedsprings that crunched beneath his weight. He laid back, put his hands behind his head, and crossed his legs proudly.

I wanted the top bunk, but why should I thank him for what he'd given me by taking?

I remember carefully climbing the wooden ladder to the top bunk and laying down. Night after night, this would become easier until I could eventually run up the ladder and toss myself onto the bed as though it were a haystack in a rodeo, and I was the clown. Over the next few months, I would rehearse until I could get to the top bunk in one swift movement. Running, I would step on the second rung, hold the top of the ladder, swing my right leg to the fourth rung, and then jump, launching myself still further into the air. I would fly for one sweet second before landing in the sheets, and bouncing off of the ringing springs for another incline. My arms open, I would rise, still in motion, into the white ceiling into which I momentarily felt that I might die. Was I falling, or flying? It was a game, you see? And there was no catastrophe.

Settling then into the blankets and bed, I would lie out, feeling the play of altitudes in my body, bouncing. Landing, the breath would fall out of me. Each one led to another level of my weightiness, my actuality.

Of course, as the youngest, I was always also the smallest. In terms of perspective, I would have no alternative but to look up to those that held my lead. My brother was taller than I was, tall and heavy, and because of it, he could never have scurried up that ladder as I did. No matter how I landed on the bedsprings above, he'd never know, really know, my exulted little flying game. If he chased me, and I ran, these hollowed bones and agile limbs ascended a line of flight no one else could follow. The top bunk became my shelter from the dangers lurking below.

My cup is flowing over and I don't know what to do.
My cup is flowing over and I don't know what to do.

Children look at the world as though beneath it. They do not see the surface structure, and are therefore forced to live without any explanations for their further vulnerabilities.

Real dangers lurking at the level of the low, this is why men fear their young. They know through their games, that nothing is permanent. Everything can be exchanged, and often it is they who are the first. Wherever they went, they grew innocent of the cataclysms about which, as children, we would sing.

London bridges falling down, falling down.
London bridges falling down, falling down.

Edited by Lenz (04/27/10 03:16 AM)