Here We Are, Here We Are, Here We Are.



I’m digging this hole into the center of my body.

I’m doing it because I want to become an intense person, extract my intensity and lay it bare for everyone to see and feel and gnash.

There’s meaning in intensity.

It’s not for the weak.

It’s not for the safe people with layer after layer of security net, just in case they should fall from their middle land.

I live with nothing underneath me, nothing to catch me.

And one fine day I could lose everything and I’d have no backup.

That’s why it’s important I pull everything out of me right this second, straight from the center of my body, everything that is really me and not some security feature, not some entitlement.

This is what I think as I dig this hole into the center of my body.

There are things going on around me.

I’m standing in the middle of a soccer field.

Goals are lined up after practice.

Soccer balls scattered everywhere.

Girls run around kicking these balls, consolidating them into the center of the field, where I’m standing.

Sometimes a ball swipes my face and I hear my jaw go crunch and I feel my neck viciously whip to the side. If I had a deep voice I’d bellow.

I’d say,


But my voice isn’t deep, and I have no business speaking as I dig this hole into the center of my body.

Behind me, higher up on the hill, is a grotto where one lonely boy sits with his hands folded between his legs.

He prays to a rebar crucifix.

I wonder if he sees anything hanging on that crucifix, or if he has freed himself from ingrained images and all he sees is a crucifix fashioned out of rebar.

Nothing more than a crucifix, a cross, a geometric shape that isn’t sullen with the weight of century-long religiosity.

I say,

“What are you sitting in front of that grotto for?”

I say,

“Why don’t you come stand with me in the center of this soccer field, this battlefield?”

I say,

“Dig into the center of your body, extract everything that is inside you and lay it bare.”

A soccer ball slices air and rams my crotch.

I gasp and feel my lungs deflate.

Will I ever be able to inflate them again?

Fuck me.

I can’t catch my breath even though I’m running after it like someone who wants to live, someone who refuses to die.

I say,

“Not yet.”

Other than a pitiful sigh, nothing comes out of my mouth.

Keep digging, keep digging, keep plunging into your innards, find what’s there, what’s yours to lay bare, yours to express.



Hollowed, I twist chrome pegs onto my bicycle and pump my wheels.

The weather is just perfect. I can’t believe how pleasant this world can be sometimes.

I put on a shirt to cover the hole in the center of my body.

Seeing me in the mirror, you’d think I was normal, you’d think I wanted things like most everybody else, but mirrors are deceptive.

I carry my bicycle down 3 flights of stairs and knock on a door that looks exactly like mine.

She opens.

Her name isn’t important.

What’s important is that she’s a she with great big beautiful eyes that have already swallowed me and a heart full of loving-kindness.

I say,

“You ready?”

She says,


She steps outside, locks the front door, and balances her slender body on my chrome pegs.

I feel her hands tighten on my shoulders when I start pedaling.

I adjust the tiny mirror on my handlebar so I can see her face and her reddish-gold hair painting the blue sky.

I say,

“Did you study enough for your test?”

She says,

“I think so.”

I pedal hard so that we move swiftly down the street.

Sometimes I suddenly accelerate for no reason except to feel her hands tighten even more on my shoulders.

20 minutes later, I drop her off at the front door to a building made of burnt orange bricks.

She hops off the chrome pegs, ties her reddish-gold hair back, and puts on a suit jacket.

She says,

“How do I look?”

I say,

“Like a little emperor.”

She says,

“I thought I was a tyrant.”

I say,

“No, you’re a little emperor today.”

She steps close to me and kisses my lips.

This is my favorite part of life.

She says,

“Thanks for the ride.”

I say,

“Can I pick you up when you’re done with your test?”

She says,

“I’d like that.”

I say,

“What time should I be here?”

She says,


I watch her walk towards the pile of burnt-orange bricks.

She’s light on her feet.

A city bus grinds to a stop on the corner.

The hydraulics drop the chassis and an old man navigates the stairs with his bamboo cane.

I notice that he’s having trouble on the last step, the one that will land him on the sidewalk.

I run over to help.

Old people fall too much.

I say,

“Here’s my hand.”

The old man is grateful for this hand that came out of nowhere.

This hand that traveled 5 miles on bicycle just for him.

He says,

“Thank you, Son.”

I say,


And so today I’m someone’s son, a stranger’s son, a son.

I turn around to see if I can’t steal a glimpse of the reddish-gold hair.

She hasn’t gone inside the pile of burnt orange bricks yet.

She likes to watch me when I help other people.


What’s important about the center of my body?

Why dig into myself?

For what, to what end?

I can’t answer these questions because I’m not propaganda.

I have no answers, even to the most basic questions.

I will never answer your questions.

What I do have is a heartbeat.

What I have is a heartbeat that is very primitive, a heartbeat that fluctuates and isn’t regular.

Sometimes I beat hard, sometimes I beat silent.

Sometimes trapped blood makes magnetic circular music inside my ears.

In the center of my body there’s a heartbeat that I can’t snuff, that I can’t extract.

It’s very permanent, my heartbeat’s residence.

It sings,

“Here we are, here we are, here we are.”

That’s the music it sings as it strums a dusty wooden guitar with opalescent jingles that keep time, keep beat.

“Here we are, here we are, here we are.”


She’s running around a 1/4-mile gravel track.

Every lap she passes me and holds her hand(s) up to let me know what lap she’s on, how much distance she has covered.

Her hand says,


Her hand says,


Her hand says,


On the fourth lap, after running a mile, she stops briefly to take off her earrings.

She says,

“They’re bothering me.”

I offer my hand, but she throws them on the blanket I’m sitting on and gets back to running.

I don’t think to put them in my pocket.

I leave them on the blanket, next to me, and I watch her pad across the gravel track.

The sound her light feet make on the crunched rock is relaxing.

It comes and goes, like ebb and flow, like a human wave, her wave.

This is what she sounds like, and I listen to her sound because her sound is the most precious thing on earth.

Her hand says,


Her hands say,


Her hands say,


The sun is about to abscond underneath the horizon.

The light around me is reddish-golden, like her hair that paints the blue sky.

I see her coming down the final stretch.

She’s digging hard into the gravel track.

I can hear her effort, I can feel it pulsing into the ground.

Her hands don’t say 8.

She’s not one for bragging.

She walks a little bit to keep from cramping.

I wait for her to come to me and sit on the blanket.

I hold her by the waist as we sit and stare at the sunset sky.

I smell her sweat.

Austin looks so small in the distance.

All that steel, all that glass, all that architecture.

October 18, 2010 3:42 pm

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