Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nightshade Honey

Golden glows the jar as it stickily sucks the spoon to its depths... bubbles swirl slow with bits of comb as the spoon settles, floating just above the bottom.

But beauty lies: you know you can't take even a taste, you don't want this-- this poison, this sweetness of molten gold... this escape, this dream.

You don't want the honey. You're not some kid sailing a dragon kite across skies of story. It's just plain dumb to try to step outside your life, plain stupid to think of being saved, of chasing unicorns. The honey is real, the jar is real, and the spoon, and what happens to those who taste seems real, but their mind-- their own story-sky-- is where it all happens. Nothing changes even if you do raise the woozy flowing spoon to your tongue-- only a collision of alkaloid and acetylcholine, a fever-fantasia of delirium. That people could mistake this un-real for new life, for revelation-- sad, but the hunger for dreams, for cheap comfort, never dies.

Nudging the silver handle you shift the sunken spoon and see it grows a second self, a fat honey-ghost that sheathes, amplifies it. Light hits the jar and flows down and around the spoon, throwing, twisting dull beams through the ooze. Lovely like ocean sunset is the sugar-sluggish gold, and you wonder if your pupils dilate at the beauty; you think of involuntary wide pupils and how contagious they are, like a yawn, how card sharps wear sunglasses to hide them. You know this honey would give its own forced dilation to your eyes, would flood them with light past endurance and past reason.

But: what you get from an experience depends on what you bring to it. The danger is too great to suck the spoon dry, but you'd like to be able to say: I have tasted it, I have faced it down, and the power is not there. Dreamers, you gave it the power that was rightfully yours. The jar is empty.

You want to show them
, want to kidnap them from heaven and bring them to the true earth of opened eyes. But you don't speak their language. You could tell them that honey is nothing more than thrown-up nectar and enzymes, you could tell of all the joinings implicit in a
honey jar -- bee with flower, bee with bee, nectar with enzyme, bee-keeper with hive, honey with jar-- and they wouldn't hear. All they know and want to know is honey joining mouth in simple sugar joy. All they want is sweetness, sleep.

From the back of your mind comes a thought, funny but with heft: you can leave it to settle in its amber or you can wield this spoon like a sword. You can taste beyond the sugar-kiss and steal the veil from the temple. A taste, then a few hours' riding the storm, is all it takes.
Fear is punier now, a gulp in a distant throat that's never spoken up for itself--unworthy. And before you can think again, you lift the spoon, watch its ooze spiral lazily back into the jar, turn the spoon to gather the stream, careful not to spill a drop, gathering the ooze into the spoon and raising the spoon to your lips and parting your lips and taking the spoon and closing your mouth around its brimming gold.

And like parachuting in reverse, it begins: crunch of impact, electricity enfolding tongue with
rot-green tentacles, composty yet sweet as a lover's secret scent. And the dreadful pull up, up, yanking brain miles above gut then colliding them somewhere in a cold, gray fright-cloud, thoughts scattered, sight scattered, the ground gone away. You--who are you? --scattered, the sky in fragments and the spoon dropped and the jar a far wobbling smile of eventide in the harsh nova of now. Light like knives, operating theater grim bright: mouth dry, eyes aflame, honey and honey-bee gone like dreams at midday, you stumble, struggle to stand, to live now in your choice, in this blurring, heart-skipping breathless world. Who knew it was pain they sought, death to self-- who knew sugar could be venom, could twist your tongue and your eyes out of your head?

Touching, grasping as you haven't since birth, grasping table edge, grasping table leg, grasping air, empty-handed, grasping with fingertips at the floor as it smacks you onto its smooth, hard newness... who knew they befriended fear and open sky this way? Who knew a fall could awaken the soul, raise it to its true territory?

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