Shuda Shuda, The Magic that they Use.
Jesse S. Mitchell
But the sky above me looks like stiff cardboard and it catches my eyes. Big construction paper moon, yellow and rolled up on the sides, thick rough holes punched through to let the starlight in…the light shines in between the tape and bread ties and wires that hold everything up. I know the magic they use. I know the way they make this wonder. This sky, I know the spell they use, word by word. It is a real magic. It makes all kinds of things…everyday it is working. It has made automobiles, the Hundred Acre Wood, genocide, and moon walks. It becomes real when the spell is done and complete, horribly like Rwandan massacres or beautifully like Beethoven or tragically like Bobby Kennedy, but it is real…real magic. Human imagination.
Sometimes I imagine that all life, this one and all others, is just a big fallopian tube journey, frozen, cannot get out without conceptation/awakening and then birth. New horizons, eclipses, like a dragon’s mouth opening to breathe out horde-protecting-smoke-and-fire, bathing my skin. Sometimes I hope I never have the thought again but it is a lovely feeling. Everything blowing by, hardly even human, souls like phantoms passed out cold on phenolbarbital…but no, they are just forming still deep in the Earth/life/mother’s womb. It is an exquisite thought. It is beautiful but like most truly beautiful things, it troubles me. It shakes me…down to my core. It just makes me want out of this uterus even more.
The plastic tarp of clouds unrolls across the heavens. It is meant to put us all to sleep. Who can sleep in the middle of all this night? I put my gloves back on before I slid back into the building. Blue rubber, pop pop pop, each finger pops into its predestined hole. The snap at my wrist binds me to world. The sharp click. The sting. The cart moves almost on its own. A good horse, it knows its own way around this hospital. Not much thinking to the job and it leaves my face free to smile at the free range elderly. This place is never empty.
I sometimes just wish that my parents had more confidence in themselves. Maybe trusted themselves a little more. Tried to do better for themselves. They could have…they had the talents, skills, but no. Instead, they did nothing. They settled for everything. They settled for madness and fantasy…my father did anyway. They settled for drudgery and emptiness…my mother did anyway. And they settled for each other…at least for a short while. If they had put the barest minimum of effort into anything, they would both still be here and probably be happy. Instead they were bitter…bitter or dead. What a life that left for me. But I am not bitter. And I do believe in myself. Even when it hurts. It doesn’t matter that I am a janitor at a second rate hospital in one of the most crime-ridden cities on Earth. I know what I am. I know the spell word for word. Studied my entire life. I know the magic that is used.