Porkpie Hat – A Dark and Moving Mass

I am learning what it means to be a human being. It is such a strange thing?crude and clumsy and strangely beautiful.

Always, I am learning to put one foot in front of the other, always picking myself up and starting again. I am walking into doors and stepping on feet. I am learning how to dance the tango with flippers on my feet. I am trailing loose wires and leaking sparks from every seam.

There are so many people that will tell you how it is a shiny thing, this human thing?tidy and slick, like mercury off a chrome duck’s back. They will tell you It’s all sleight of hand and cabriole and parlour tricks in halogen light.

But the more I learn, it seems to me a messy and untamed thing. It is graveyard breath and matted hair and hands dangling awkward at the sides. It is pocket lint and snot and shit and blood. It is things half seen in half-light. It is an ultrasound life, a black light life, a shadow puppet life, a glimpse-of-a-face-at-the-window kind of life.

I am a human being in a crowd of other human beings. We are a dark and moving mass, like marching ants, like the smoke from an airborne toxic event.

To forget our loneliness and our fear of what comes next, we are passing around rumours and gold coins. We are kissing in the dark. We are writing epic poems and composing symphonies for trumpet and harp.

Because we are all afraid of the dark, we are singing our human song. And it sounds like the west wind in a ghost ship’s sails, and a hive of silvery bees, and a gospel choir, and thousands of witches vomiting spiders and eggshells, and the cries of a coyote being carried off by a black tornado cloud descending on a prairie town.

We are using various forms of locomotion. We are crawling on our bellies, walking backwards, pogo-sticking, or floating two feet off the ground. We are carrying lanterns lit with the souls of drowned children. We are carrying our earthly belongings in burlap bags. We have telescopes and broken pocket watches and monkey paws. We have hand-drawn maps and prayer books written in long-dead languages.

We are all learning what it means to be human. We are all moving toward a light we see far off in the distance. It might be many things: a host of angels singing, a far-off city, a UFO landing site, a burning lake. All we know is that it keeps on shining. And we are all learning to move, and getting nearer all the time.

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