Just like sci-fi authors thought cars would fly but mimeograph machines would crank out purple tinted sheets of paper forever, our predictions of maybe-tomorrow are likely wrong.
Envision the world noticeably not ending in 2012: hundreds of thousands of saluting citizens standing holding hands on the edge of a cliff, eyes closed and breath held, waiting for the kick from behind…only to find that time is passing and their hands are getting sweaty and they have to breathe and let go, and well…get some sleep. The alarm is going off.
The calendar rolls over into 2013 and everyone stands around, nail-biting directionless, hoping for another apocalypse promise potent enough to renew the tail chase. Monday morning splinters every survivalist dream: garbage trucks feed the landfill; mail trucks drop-off garbage; the bus driver is in a bad mood; the passengers stick plastic devices in ears and hunt for a glimpse of future happiness through the window; the passengers leave the bus and walk through doors that automatically open and tightly suck-seal behind them. Later the same passengers don’t enjoy a miserable ride home, where they log in to their computers and social network sites and update their statuses, maybe with a solid sentence of abbreviation. In 2013 words are officially inconvenient.
2013: an unended world leaves everything ruined. Hundreds of thousands of former college students receive love letters from the number one unstoppable apocalypse cockroach, Sallie Mae. Great Idol of Whoops-What-Was-I-Thinking, she hovers above the growing broke class with her hand out, the smirking Statue of Liberty officially christened her mascot. Boston Harbor fills with box upon box of useless degrees, delivered to students in unopened cardboard tubes. The government huffs and balls up tight fists, raping checking accounts and tax returns, directly docking pay. Former students fire back by paying off student loans with credit cards prior to declaring bankruptcy, or asking to be paid in cash, or ceasing work all together, electing to erect tent cities or be perpetually in motion, running away from the empty expectation that the dollar would ever inflate, allowing us to earn more or at least as much as our parents. Burn the whole thing down. Tent cities. Forest Park.
Meanwhile, somewhere on universe-earth, one or two rogue citizens stand on front porches, contemplating the existence of kindred spirits, or maybe wondering about the last time they physically touched someone in a way that didn’t feel hurried. Then it digs deeper and they wonder what it would be like to love without caution, and each thinks that they could probably do this now, because fuck it, what better use of time than that, exactly that. It’s the only thing worth throwing at the stars. Then each one of them sighs, and opens a battered library book to read until sleeping – both certain that no one else living and thinking could possibly agree with something so beautiful and reckless.
2013 could mean anything for me, perhaps sitting underneath a tree transcribing the events of the latest war between the angels, different sides this time, but mountains still tossed while the powerless messenger cries and outlines the speeches of Lucifer and the violent retort of a sword swinging Michael. I could be pushing a shopping cart stuffed solid with bean-guts stuffed animals and empty cans of whip cream, muttering about how something was supposed to happen, on August and the Day of 8, in the 20 and 10, the 20 and 11, the 20 and 12. In 2011 there was supposed to be a tsunami and a wave from an earthquake offshore, the dam was supposed to break and flood the river, Portland was supposed to be underwater. And the green turned brown was supposed to turn to ash, and all of the mountains were supposed to start speaking, these mountains that are really volcanos, seconds from being burped awake from some new magnetic pull, and all these auroras were supposed to speak to me, to wrap my head in a multi-colored cloud during some lost Sunday morning.
Or maybe I’ll have a family passing strangers label “nice” and someone somewhere will color me a “good person” over coffee and inside my burning ears will be the faint tingle of satisfaction. When my head hits the pillow I’ll summon sleep in an instant, and my dreams will be fields of flowers and a gentle hand tucking a stray strand of hair behind my ear, in a sensation so far beyond soothing my deepest sound rings true, if detectable only by bats. I don’t know.
I don’t know.
Somewhere in 2010 reality revealed itself to be a system of mirrors arranged to pull me deeper into maze. In a blink I switched the maze to corn, so the aliens can leave a footprint, you know, if they want. Then I peeled off my skin to activate, to consider the possibility of love as LOVE, of human as super, to embrace what never comes next. The only thing worth throwing at the stars.