Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A toast

I followed a white whale today. Yesterday, I watched the wings of a bat flutter through the fingers of a palm tree. Last week, I heard the rhythm of the Red Sea bubble and grunt and splash and creak. I felt the prickle of a sand dollar and let it lie, half-buried beneath a shifty shoal. I saw the sun touch the mountains of the Sinai with a golden finish, saw it rise and set over a desert plain. I tasted love at the bottom of a lukewarm drink, glimpsed it flit away and nestle among the smile of starlight. Something shifted, something burned, everything changed.
Everything, and nothing. Days passed. Life happened. Words twisted the air, wrinkled and rent it. I slept. I grumbled. I laughed. I cleaned. I complained. I cursed. I learned. I ate. I noticed. I noticed a baby sleeping on the platform of the Metro, tiny fist clenched at the indignation of a dream. I noticed a blood-red moon rise over a decaying city. I noticed 20 million people sigh as a canon pierced the air. No more Ramadan. No more fasting. Slightly less inefficiency. And I danced. I danced in the silk blue folds of the sea, tangoed with groupers and flirted with lionfish. I danced on the side of road, at 3 am. Ruined tire and scruffy rocks, semi lights flashing, cigarettes burning. Forget Burning Man. It was Burned Rubber, Egypt style. I danced in the arms of another, I danced in the arms of no one.
Let me take you somewhere, for a moment. Listen to the tangle of foamy waves against a rocky seashore. Rush and recede, ebb and flow, purr and shush. Bubbles from a sheesha, clouds of fruity temptation from across the table. You let a glass, slippery and sultry, settle on the table. Look up, suddenly. Clusters of constellations, winking and twinkling, teasing and tantalizing. You recognize Venus, or is it Mars. Over the sea, across an undulating water, an unknown city of lights. Happy September 11th. Hello Saudi Arabia. To those 19 souls who crossed an ocean 9 years ago? Burn in hell. And you drink to that.