These Chained Hands

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These chained hands of mine indefinitely reach toward something - ostensibly, a vague luminescent orb - something that will never be quite tangible. A solid sense of self, perhaps; a fading memory or feeling at a certain time or place that I’ll never be able to recreate or discover anew again. An enigmatic ray of light in the corridors of my brain that I’ll try to capture and form into something physical - through paint, ink, or emotion maybe… I never question it.

I can’t pinpoint an exact moment or location; for it is any number of environments and splashes of time that feed my ideal notion of life and spirit. Brief periods of uncontrolled, unstoppable action and substance and feeling. Stretches of barren deserts filled with dullness and mass-produced culture. The times when it seemed my life was moving so fast; it appeared that I was feeling something incomprehensible to me at the time, or even now. Through intense action, and multiple facets of stimulation, I found myself to be the most awake; though some of it is a blur and parts are excruciatingly difficult to look back on, I felt alive in these periods of time. Completely and solely a member of the human race. Living hour by hour, interested in anything but what happens next, or in a year, or after I die, or what decisions I’ve made to get to this place, or questioning my existence; I was simply there.

These chained hands rise up out of a sea of challenges - irrevocable and irreplaceable experiences- like a phoenix emerging from ashes. They know no limit as they reach farther yet, trying to grasp what only fractal-rare instances can provide; what a certain gathering of people can birth, what the future may recreate or produce or destroy. The intangible is just beyond these pale, short hands. Like those of my grandfather’s, like those of perhaps my own unborn children.

I can only strive forward on the land I have laid myself. These chained hands have been dirt-covered and crippled and burned in the process, and I’ve never once wished it were ‘different’. Under blacklights, black and white movies, the thinnest blankets… through floors of ash and tears, through walls where the sound of distant out of tune guitars and distorted voices resonate until just before dawn. A job that took five months out of my life and took most of my friends with it. Living with a mind that will lovingly and undoubtedly forever be rampant and searching.

It’s these times when I’m surrounded by people, influences, and constantly changing environments when I feel I’m home and most happy within the walls of my mind and my very existence. It is the very concept these hands are unceasingly trying to seize. It’s nearly as unexplainable as it is untouchable; the rock of my being is most still when everything around me is a tornado of excess, stimulation of all kinds, life in all calibers.

Everyday, I, acting as the hands, reach out for a ‘something’ that will propel me into the next turbulent period of time in my life. The next few days, weeks, or months of unabashed activity, privilege, inspirations, and new people. It’s thrilling, it’s dangerous, it’s everything a parent would hope his or her teenager would never encounter and more. Such a sad thing to hope, I think, because without experiencing all the extremities and embracing all the ugly and raw and real in our scarred, bare, young arms, how then are we to find our balance in anything? I’d choose barbaric situations any day over a mundane, meticulously structured life of numbness and mild emotion…





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