Spotlight Piece: External Verifications that Your Doppelgänger is Stalking You by John Urdiales

People say I look like their friends, their brothers, sons, dead husbands. I would not know what to do if I ran into myself. It would be as if looking into a mirror, but wearing different clothes and perhaps slightly variant glasses—or no glasses at all—and a swaggering stride which I might find overtly aberrant. What would I do? What would I say? Would words even be necessary? How might I prevent a row, a scene in the street? Would the hand of God descend from the clouds and pick one of us up to prevent some catastrophic event from happening—an event which He has always-already ordained by allowing such an encounter? Would I even believe in God? Might I, in fact, play the harp? Would I orchestrate melodies of rich undertones without having a conception of the soul? without having a clear identity of mind, body, spirit? Would I have a spirit? I would have spirits bountiful enough to live in ecstasy—perhaps ecstasy, too, and other inhibitors of hallucinogenic transformation. And would I live in an imaginary setting, filled with the wonders of material love, of a love so free it could not be chained, could not be understood by the roving masses? Perhaps the moon might crash into the earth, into this comfy, cozy town; or might the governing political bodies break into civil war? Would life be worth living after such an abominable confrontation? Would I remember how to pray, how to think, or how to read, to write, to sing or how to dance? No—perhaps reality would crumble, would find itself in a situation where nothing could continue as it always-already is, was, will come to be. ‘I’ would no longer exist: only ‘we’. Then again—he might have great taste in music and coffee.

Originally Published in the January/February 2016 Issue.

Spotlight Piece: The Lark’s Ascension by John Urdiales

I am brought to the brink of boundless mountains, whispering songs of comfort and startling stories of mystic dread, a despair without hope incarnating itself into whispers of stillness, of those moments following moments of self-revelation, of earnest desire for personal truth, of immense proportions of intimacy, begging for the lyres which play at night, odes unto themselves and to all, to the always-already absence of your presence, or the presence of your absence—I don’t know which—and I look at myself with the wondering auspices of a non-believer, of the one who begs for the questions without answers and the answers to problems long unsolved—but why so unsolved when the moon still rises at night and that light which brings with it the supplicatory return of beggars at St. Bernard’s—and yet never possessing, never needing an answer to—anything, because the mystery of mystery is the magic that sparks in between your indolent thoughts and the next breath, the breath you take because your air is love and you love that always-already desire to be—being is being as being can only be itself, being—but without itself always-already present, again begging for more soup, more soup, more soul, ah, this soul—begging for itself the warmth of ceramic and broth and steam, steam rising and dissipating into everything—and yes, I remember, I remember this soul, sitting atop its perch of the silent bell-tower, echoing endless chimes of the icy melody of—yes, my soul—and I can’t bear to be apart from that lonely perch, that height of my soul because the perch is not a perch, is not a lonely exile, but is exile because it is so far away, so close to nothing and all that there is rests in my being and so much more, and the perch is stone, rests upon—is—and falls into the pitter-patter of the dust falling further from the skin of this prison, this prison atop a tall mountain, atop this perch upon which rests this apparent soul—You called me from the depths of my mother’s womb and beckoned me to the heights of the dwelling place of my soul, oh my soul—and who ticks as a tolling bell, a measuring clock, counting down the days, the hours, the seconds, the moments of my time until time stops—and begins—and no, I am not a man—I am not the man who comes to save or to be saved or to understand the reasons for these words gushing from the delta of my overactive-spirit, this spirit living unto a time without time, a time not-in-need-of-time because love will take its place—and O, this crescendo of icy winds begging my soul for more, more in place of less in place of nothing, and O, this reality, this condition of being presses against me like a wall without boundary, bounteous and glorious gourd of my soul, my soul atop a perch atop a bell-tower atop a mountain of grandiose proportion, and all of this becoming me and an avalanche of the understanding of the condition of being, this presently anxious habit of wonder, and the bells do not ring, ringing in silence, in the presently and absolutely pleasant screams of a soul, silently pondering the immensities of my intimate perch, my adobe haven in the whirlwind of this living being, this being of life, and I am not ready to begin to end because in ending, this light stops its breath, its life-forcing abundance of endless possibility, of infinite immensity, of the miniature scope gazing upon blades of grass, of molecular-sized pleasantries and courtesies owed to no one but you, you who wait for this all to end only to find yourself begging for the beginning to unearth, to find itself buried in the deep of the faith of your unconscious spirit, now dwelling in its exile because you have placed it there—rather intently or not-so—where the light may not shine, where the tonality of these bells of a soul cannot ring, will-not ring out of fear of beauty, of wonder-and-awe, and it is there where you hide your eye, your eye which pierces into the discovery of your musical unconscious because—why?—it is there where the bells will chime only if you believe—in what?—in yourself, in all, in the immense amount of possibility contained in the thread of your fabric of being, in the habit of your being, and it’s there where I, too, have discovered the great epiphanies of my soul, formed from time-before-time, in the constantly crashing and crushing waves of the oceans, of the air above the sea carrying me away to somewhere—somewhere I don’t know, I can’t see—and it’s perfectly alright, you know, to drift away, to begin to find yourself, waiting patiently, to find an infant lying in the pig-trough, where you see how beautiful you and me and we are together, separate, wherever the winds bring us, even unto the infinite seas of space, themselves containing the fueling love of our artistic prowess: the expressions of a soul waiting for itself in the perch of a distant dream, a dream-loving-dream of bells, ringing, hoping for the echo to remember the lighting of candles and the chanting of hymns we learned when we were children because, yes, that is where we will dwell, where we find our memory lit aflame, echoing and remembering miracles of epic heights, of the heights where we distantly remember that perch, that ode to the serendipitous dwelling place of the soul.

Spotlight Piece: Autumn as the Unbounded Echo by John Urdiales

On Beginning

Start with the earth and enter the womb. Find your life in hers; your supplication in her seasons; your needs in her elements. Begin to see that there is life outside of you—of your void—and love that which is not you as if you were in everything. This is God.

On Sailing

Find a ship and sail away to a land of your own being. Chalk sails through the air and little girls and littler boys frolic amidst a sea of sidewalk-chalk-induced fantasies, searching for the home they can store their beating heart while they run and play and imagine realities invisible to lords of cement and brick and stone. Cars drift through asphalt seas, people dodge bullets and climb the mountain of stairs awaiting their days of indoor suffocations. A bird flies through glass windows and into mirrors of distant realities where the sun gleams on water, where the darkness of the sea swims, waiting for possibilities.

Half-Memories

Cracks in the paint. Dust in the corners. Water stains on the ceiling. Memories take shape and disappear as quickly as they are made. Never around long enough to invite to supper the next evening, memories have a way of making an appearance. But memories are cracks and dust: they return, unexpectedly, eventually.

Autumn Sunsets

Just beyond the horizon, the sun is rising to a quaint spring day. But here—in the sanctuary—is the setting, autumnal sun. It peeks through trees like school girls and waves goodbye like grandma when I drive down the street following a Sunday afternoon visit. The joy of autumn is in the rising and the setting of the day and the leaves upon the trees and the ground, in the glade far away—in a removed place of worship—where the ground becomes the sky, filled with the sun, and shines brightly as I crunch left and right across its infinite boundaries. The purity of aging becomes noticed in autumn: it is here we finally realise the greatness of passing.

Returned Feelings

Emotions of joy and ecstasy meet sorrow and loss—like the sky. The sky is infinite—it covers only a fraction of the outlying space of the earth—and in its infinitude lies a secret between two lovers. As the warmth of the sun melts into the atmosphere and the cooled nature of the night sky collides into that warmth, two lovers kindle a fire in a heart capable of much more than love. At this meeting, the sun and the moon exchange favours and love as they loved last evening—but with a newfound gratitude.

Hidden Sanctuary

A place rests, deep in the woods, where lovers meet to gaze upon the sun in the earth. The two become one flesh, blending life and death, bliss and grief, into one being. It is quiet. No cracking of fallen branch or falling limb—no rustling of leaves in the soft palms of the wind—no chitter-chatter of woodland fauna—no motion but that of the loving sun overhead. A place of infinite wisdom and mercy, of pure being intended by the Divine—a place where the timely toll of life ticks away as life appears to take shape in the sky and on the earth. A cooling of the morning wind leaves the brood for the afternoon: coloured leaves and twinkling eyes in the trees and the sun, shining. A universal velocity about the life of the earth and its inhabitants—the flora and the fauna—rest in the woods. A comprehensive understanding of sentience.

On Time

Changes in the wind. The colouration of the leaves upon the branches of trees. The peeling bark of the birch outside the window. The acorn falling so far from the tree that it becomes a flower. The dandelions flowing in the wind. Leaves and pollen resting upon a spider’s web. The rising and the setting of the sun. Twinkling stars of the nighttime. Rays of light, emanating from the moon, falling upon cadences of sleeping flowers and prowling nocturnes. The chill of the midnight darkness. Dew upon the leaves and the nourishing gulps of the noonday sun. This is what it means to experience time.

On Aging

Aging is watching the seasons roll by, unannounced. The rains come and go as quickly as the blizzard blusters through and the heat waves its shaking hands, back and forth, back and forth. The wind comes and the leaves go, by command of the sky, because the sky says ‘it is so’. And the earth—she rolls underneath, begging for more sunshine, more time to tan. And the winter harangues the earth for its urgency. But the autumn—she loves as quickly or as slowly as the earth might plead. Her gentle hands carry life into the void, into the vast expanse of nothingness, all for the sake of love.

On Listening

Doves, cooing. Limbs, shaking. Leaves, crescendo. The earth, swelling. Tree trunks, pruning. The wind, laughing. Flower-buds wait patiently in the palms of the trees for life to take shape as you mold your hands around the earth and breathe life into it, praying your clay-bird will one day fly away.

On Ending

Allow yourself to fall into the earth, to be caught up in her web of cyclical life. Let the earth be your tomb and the dirt your place of repose. Dying is as writing: we arrive at some culmination of being. The words on the page stop—there is nothing else. But what, then, of ending?

Published in the October 2015 Issue

Spotlight Piece: From A Disheveled Requiem by John Urdiales

From A Disheveled Requiem

We Find Ourselves

The world is made up of over seven billion mythologies. Less than half of them will ever make it to print. And less than half of those mythologies will be read by the population. But these mythologies exist. They exist, they breathe, and they live as two lovers adore the apple of an eye not yet exposed to a world of love and lust and plasma. We exist to give life and to lead it to the next Universe. These mythologies introduce us to words of our own which are not yet known. How wonderful to know that there are words out there, waiting in the void for us to discover them and to embrace them as our own! How sad it is to think that these words might never make it to the cranium sitting atop a manifestation of God Himself. This is not to be confused with The Incarnate Man, but is, rather, man made by God and for God and of God. God becomes, in this sense, a deeper understanding and the deepest reality of our own mythology.

Insomnia

I am stark-eyed and anxious, laying in motionless anticipation for the dreams to roll in and to run out with the kayak, waiting to begin an adventure into the sea of the dreamspace.

On Dreams

As if in a trance, movement becomes dictated by thought, not action, not movement. Balance is a phenomenon unknown to the fawn. You see what you conceive in your mind but not in your imagination. To know that you know something is not quite right, but choose to act upon that something regardless of what your conscious self would recognise as no-so-right, is to dream. But it’s not so not-so-right that you won’t recover from loss or love or passion or death of the immoral you choose, simply because you are dreaming. To dream is to escape back into reality, to explore a world that feels oddly familiar, but something seems amiss. Dreams are a state of complete knowable selfhood.

The Dreamscape

I have a friend who fears practically nothing—he takes dives from the classroom desks and from the heights of a tree not yet explored and a world of love not yet had—yet he does have a fear, one of which I both admire and cringe at the thought. His brilliance cannot be taken for granted, as each thought pierces the flesh of each tree he climbs, each seat he takes at the front of the room, each page he pours his very blood into so that he may craft his very-real dreams into reality. His dreamscape becomes the words on the page, the thoughts dangling in the open air, the blood of a thousand martyrs. His Real is the very transfusion of the martyrs.

Published in the September 2015 Issue.

Spotlight Piece: Commencement

“You all packed up? Ready to leave?” It was the end of an era for me. Graduation was over, and my horizons were about to expand in a big way.
“Yeah, Dad, it should all be there.” I was getting a little exasperated. How many times would he ask me to double check that I had everything?
“Well, make sure, because it’ll be a lot harder to just call home for things from now on.” Apparently, at least once more.
“Augh, Dad! Why do you have to be on my case so much!” I doubled back and did another sweep through my room. Sure enough, it was looking pretty empty. “Okay, now will you believe me when I say I’m ready?” I walked past him, swiping my keys from the counter and moving toward the door.
“I’m trying to help you adjust. You know you won’t be able to just goof off now, not like you did in school the last four years.” Yep. I had heard that one before, and increasingly often during the past few weeks. It stopped just briefly for the festivities surrounding graduation, and now it was back with even more desperation. I turned around.
“You say that like I’ve barely done any work so far.” It’s a little cliché, but I couldn’t help but think he was only nagging me so much because he didn’t remember what it’s like in this position.
“Of course that’s not true,” he said, and then sighed. “But it’s all going to change for you. How you live your life will be fundamentally different from here on out. I don’t want it to catch you off guard.” As much as I hated to admit it, I had been thinking the same thing, even since before my parents started bringing it up in every conversation. The idea was certainly a little scary.
“I know, I know,” I replied. I put my hands on my hips and looked down. “I’ll be fine, though. It’s not like you’re going to disappear from my life.” I think I said it more to myself than to Dad.
Then the clock in the living room chimed in with its own argument: it was time to get on the road. I said my last, hasty “goodbye” to my folks, and half-skipped my way out the door.
As I drove away, leaving for my freshman year of college, I couldn’t help but think if I’d have the same experience in another four years.

By Wesley Hoyle

Originally published in the April 2015 issue. 

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