Sherri Winans
Whatcom Community College
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Will Borego
English 201
Essay 2
October 2001

Pieces of You

The air smells of death and decay. Intermingled in this rank fog are the disturbingly recognizable scents of bacon, eggs, and Tony’s brand coffee. The waitress- if that is what she is called- resembles a lethargic zombie shuffling around on two stumps, bumping randomly into the undead patrons, and casually asking them if they need more coffee. Her stare gives me the creeps. It is hazy and hooded, thick with inky mascara and thoughts of Jerry Springer episodes gone bad. The rest of the environment is a comedic mixture of social curiosities and lecherous deviants. A woman walks up to me; her hair is feathered and parted in the middle. She leans uncomfortably close to me, and her scent envelopes me, a mixture of stale cigarette and bad breath. This is where the undead come to eat their arms and legs, their liver fricassee, and their gizzards, grinding these parts between dentures and broken teeth. This is a place of death, but more importantly, this place is perfect!

***

In the world of make believe, there are things that are real. They have substance, and you can touch them. They can touch you, and sometimes, when it is dark outside, you can actually merge with these things, become them. You can become a part of the imaginary world. Writing is like that. Writing allows you to visit with the damned, take notes about the way they skin their undead, and then return, scarred and full of inspiration, yet unharmed, to the real world. The world of make believe is all around us, all the time. But only the truly open minded, the truly enlightened, are actually capable of full contact interaction with its monstrosities. This is the most important place for me; my creative Mecca. A virtual haven of interesting prose waiting to happen, and it exists all around you, all the time, nestled into every nook and cranny of the so-called real world.

In the beginning, I never actually knew just what the imaginary world had to offer. I was raised just like everyone else; force fed generic fantasy and choked by pop culture. I was taught that little red riding hood was good, and that the big bad wolf was bad. They were opposite sides to the same spectrum, good and evil, black and white. I was read to at night, stories about funny little girls, and books that spoke of some irrelevant dribble, dribble that was deemed entertaining because it rhymed. I watched Sesame Street and The Electric Company. I was just like most everyone else I suppose, blissfully ignorant and ignorantly blissful. But then I began to write. I began to look at the world, and most importantly, I began to see.

Learning to see is something to truly be proud of; some people are so ignorant that they live their entire lives with out truly seeing. They live in the real world, a world that is full of hope and falsity, a world that offers you that helping hand, while the other is hidden and clenching a heavy stick. These unfortunate people are just waiting patiently in line, a line that ends up in someone’s lap, a line that ends up in the gas chamber, a line where the only refreshment is a nice cool glass of fruit punch. They walk the streets like cattle with out a home, determined to make something out of themselves by conforming for someone else. But in this disillusioned madness, the imaginary world exists, and with it, the truth. It is out there, mixed in the rubble. It is braided, intertwined with the sadness of reality, and it beckons us. It calls to us in the night, and it visits us when a loved one has past away. It speaks to our innocence and plagues our insecurity’s. It is out there, and if you really look hard, you will see just how close you two are.

***

Oh Brittany Spears, where art thou...?

Cooked like bacon, although I bet she smells better. You would think that they would listen to that little egg timer. DING! You’re done! But no...Five more minutes please? She is wearing a tube-top, god bless her, and she has little Claire’s knick-knacks adorning her neck and digits. Her hair looks like spaghetti, dark chocolate brown. I wonder if she has money? Naw, this is a case of parental concern. Some say that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but in some cases the cover is thin and transparent, plastic and revealing. She is from good breading stock, Sehome strain I think; or maybe a fine import vintage.

***

I said that because I write, I see, and mostly that is true, although, more often than not, it is the other way around. If you see, you will write. If you can visit that place in the fantastic, if you can open your eyes long enough to gaze on to its features, you will have to write. You will have to rationalize to yourself that what you just saw was real, a beautiful nightmare, a figment of reality, rather than imagination. You don’t have to write though. Some of the enlightened paint and compose, sketch on paper, or dig into skin. The method of implement is inconsequential, just so long as you get it down. Just as long as you log it, give it form, dance with it in the pale moonlight. It doesn’t matter! Just don’t run away.

So where do we enter this magical realm of reality? How do we navigate through the madness of everyday life? How do we strip the social garbage to its bare bone essence? Well, believe it or not, all we have to do is look. All we have to do is watch the world and wait. It will start to lose its shape, ripple and fade, finally leaving a small and shivering child for you to take advantage of. The things that we see, the falsehoods and mask-like imagery, will slowly begin to lose their deceptive power. They will begin to give up on you, and in turn, they will turn their attention to an easier target, searching to continue their fašade, and hoping that you will just go away.

Meanwhile, there you are, a knight in a war torn land, with a pen for a sword and the capacity to capture the truth. An ability to show the world just how ugly it is, or if your lucky, an ability to capture true undisturbed beauty. It is the best of both worlds really, to have enlightenment; it is the essence of Eldorado; the everlasting fountain of youth, it is the cup of Christ’s blood, overfloweth in waiting. It is the ability to see the beauty in an oil slick, with its rainbow of inherent colors. It is the ability to see the ugliness in a grandmother, with her hair up in a bun and blood dripping from the needles. This ability, this gift, this place, are the reasons for writing. They are the reasons for curiosity. They are the reasons for fear and they are the reasons for love.

I write in this place. I go there when the moon is full, and I pull at the onion skin of real life. It is there, that I want you to go. It is there, in the world gone plaid, that the colors of humanity and the visions of wonder exist, and it is there that you need to go if you want to be able to speak the truth, to be able to see that the world is not flat. This place of enlightenment is not for the faint of heart though. It is filled with more than the ugly and deranged. It is filled with things far more disturbing than what you read about in the papers and see on Cops. In this world, Alice is the deviant, the freak, the blood thirsty cannibal, and she is sitting next to you, while she eats the Mad Hatters brains. In this world, the one that is real and exists everywhere, the things that go bump in the night run for cover from the forces of the absurdly normal.

***

My Vegan...

Her hair is flaxen gold, somewhere in between straw and dust, with a thinness that compliments her overall look. Short cropped locks; I hypothesize that individualism and superior non-conformity are her motives. Just saying those words gives me chills. I can almost see her, there, with one arm out stretched from a shiny Black Jetta window, holding cash that will soon evolve into a Frappaccino. She is confident; hypocritically correct? Champion of all things natural and un-eaten, at least until they’re in her mouth. She is thin, maybe too thin? Silver and turquoise decorate her bony arms and spider-like fingers. She is pretty, pretty with passion, in a plain sort of way. Each eye glimmers with the sparkle of fiery, adamant opinion. She is smart, quick with the tongue, able to lash and whip you into shape. I like her though. Her independence and strength are like misused jewels, diamonds in the rough. She is wearing a zebra sweater, it is eighty degrees out? It has yellow cuffs and a blue neck piece. She is colorful yet timid, colorful yet hesitant. I had her in a lit class, her ability to discern the truth is keen, yet she hesitates, biting her tongue into complacency. Maybe I should ask her out? Is there room for a carnivore?

***

All it takes to enter this domain of creative dementia, is time and patience. Time to sit and view. Time to search out the strange and beautiful. Patience to observe and chronicle the activity. Patience to see things as they really are. It is like one of those pictures, the kind that they put in the mall, the kind that you have to stare at for a long time in order to see the hidden image, the kind that seems to attract Canadians and ignorance like flys on shit. You have to stare at the real world before it will show you its true colors, and sometimes, only sometimes, when the smoke clears, and the picture comes into focus, horrific truth may not be available for your entertainment. Rather, in some unfortunately fortunate instances, we may see something truly beautiful; we may see hope.

So there it is. Hope. That is what I go looking for in my escapades. That is what I am searching for in the murky madness of the real world. That is what I am trying to find in amongst the carnage and viscera of the typical. It is in the real world where I go to look for the truth, because it is there. It is in there. You just have to have the courage and determination to scratch away at the surface of your inadequacies and ignorance, for we are all ignorant; just some are better at it than others. This platform of reality is where I go to capture the essence of writing, and writing is the only way that I can keep the insanity from corrupting my hard drive. It is a way for me to rationalize what I see when I visit the real world. It is a way for me to feel the real world, in my bones and blood, and it is a way for me to taste the copper froth, the biting odor.

Hopefully my pursuit of, well, of hope, is a reason for living. There has to be beauty out there somewhere, right? Until that day, I will just keep plugging away, jotting down the nightmares and visual contusions that infect the world, with my eyes glued to the horizon for that oddity, that hidden wonder of the world; the truth.

***

There you are... We both are hurting. Feeling the effects of a tortured heart. My heart screams in agony as my mind sorts through the rubble of my soul. Why? Why did you do it? Why did you hurt me in this way? The questions feed like a ticker tape parade. I look at my shoes. The knife of disgust and disbelief digs deep into my gut and I buckle over, bent in a fit temporary sickness that feels like it is going to last forever.

I find the strength to look in to her eyes. She stares in apathy? Her face reminds me of a day, when things were better. Her body reminds me of a day when I said, I Do. She is beautiful. Even on this day of reckoning, my heart flutters at her presence. The power of her gaze pokes fun at my knees and they falter a little. I suck in a breath, and the words hang on the tip of a choked tongue. Thousands of phrases and ideas search for a reason to exist, but everything seems all wrong, somehow not right, nothing seems adequate. I want to give you the world; I wanted you to have the world, but things went wrong. Things are wrong. I search your eyes for pity, but all I see is my reflection. Please? Please...I am sorry. You don’t have to worry, I forgive you. These things struggle on my lip’s, muted and paralyzed by pride. Finally, something breaks through the emotional confusion. A question. A plea.

"Why?"

 

Copyright 2001
Will Borego

 

Funded through the U.S. Dept. of Education, Title III Grant PO31A980143
Sherri Winans, Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, WA
1999-2015