Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Back In the Day

We'd been out of our minds on acid for most of the afternoon. Some kind of cheap blotter that always seems to be floating around high school parking lots. Felix the Cat, Beavis and Butthead, steal-yer-faces, you know.

We sat silently in the front seat of my chocolate brown Plushmobile, glass bowl in the ashtray between us leaking a slow-climbing, Art Nouveau-looking, twisting plume of smoke. Somehow, we both had the same day off. So after reading each other some new poems and giving commentary, we were pausing, thinking what to do with the remainder of the day. A flock of medium-sized black birds crossed into our field of vision, the windshield becoming a movie screen. 

Our heads moved in tandem, watching the looping, reversing motion of the flock. Another flock joined, flying in from the left, and now hundreds and hundreds of black birds were moving in some kind of inherent order, coordinating effortless turns and flips without one collision, all against the cloudy, blue gray sky.

The blacktop parking lot was virtually empty, its vague grid work of white line parking spaces punctuated at equal distances with gumdrop-shaped metal stanchions, sprouting tapering poles which terminated in bulb-like lights. In some places triangular curbs surrounded small exposed patches of soil and carefully manicured Juniper bushes, a wan, leafless dwarf tree poking up out of it.

The birds' motion sped up suddenly, their movements becoming more complex, harder to follow, coming closer and closer to one another with each pass, risking head-on collision. Then the whole flock turned and flew toward one central point. We flinched back into the crushed velvet of the front seat, a gasp escaping my lips, as we both anticipated a massive collision. Instead, the whole flock of hundreds turned inside out in the middle of the sky in front of us. A psychedelic mandala in acid motion, made entirely of living flying black birds, gleaming in frantic movement in the failing afternoon light.

"Did you see that?!" he asked.

"Yeah," I responded.

"What the... fuck?" he whispered.

"I know." I said, "Some kind of weird sign."

"Yeah, but of what?"

"I don't know," I said.

"Let's do something," he said, "let's get out of here."


"Yeah, let's go to Berkeley."

"Berkeley..." I said, trying to think about it, the black bird mandala a moving web shadowing and obscuring my other thoughts.

I started the car, 
pointlessly put on my sunglasses.

"What the fuck was that?" I asked. 

He didn't answer me, the question echoing in his face.  

We put on our seat belts and I drove us toward the highway.

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