Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock

She loves me, she loves me not. She loves me, she loves me not. She loves me, she loves me not...

The translucent algae glowed a bright neon green as it lit up the warm Pacific surf lapping the Laguna Beach shoreline. Nature in glorious abundance spilled out even where she lay contained beneath the girdle of asphalt and mortar, where the first-come houses had sought impossibly to own her. Here all the world came to a halt, a bullet point, an end quotation. In the reduction of night, nothing seemed to matter, where wind, sand and ocean met in a maelstrom of singularity, an intrepid moment that swallowed all of time. Here there were no answers nor questions. There was only the fleeting sense that if one dared think, or perspire, or even breathe, the world would itself collapse into a fragile pile of funeral dust awaiting fate’s next bluster.

“BREATHE!,” Rusty admonished himself, suddenly aware of a slight twinge of discomfort in his chest. The next inhalation brought forth the entire force of a suspended universe, the natural stinging sensation of having overstayed one’s welcome in breathlessness. Sudden movement caught his peripheral vision. From his perch on a concrete bench he could see the cast of headlights from the three cars now pulling in, crunching parking lot gravel like popcorn under tires. He hadn’t planned to beat the pack there from the Kali temple up the canyon, where for three jubilant and exhaustive summer days a puja had enveloped everyone’s spirits in a fray of unreasonable happiness, but it felt rather appropriate that he had driven there alone, with nothing but stars and surf to console his slide into the bowels of depression.

He could see her clearly now, glittery green sari flowing gently in the ocean breeze- long auburn hair and ample curves emanating from the already alluring textile in which she was draped. Along with her, Swami and the merry gang of diehard acolytes ambled towards the beach, her lilting laughter floating above the general drone of conversation. Swami in his customary saffron attire was accompanied by the small cadre of devotees of Kali Ma, elated and fatigued to the point of giddiness. A few wielded cartals or drums and two more ferried large black Hefty bags full of flower petals- three day’s worth of sacred floral offerings to the dark mother goddess.

Rusty joined them at the water’s edge, trying hard not to notice the overt closeness between her and that lanky Krishna devotee she had sung with earlier in the day. Together, their voices had melded and wrapped into each other beautifully, a bhajan of devotional love that pierced the heart. Having sung with her before- many times before- Rusty knew the power in sublime seduction, joining voice with hers and riding each other’s outward breaths to soul-stirring harmony. He knew firsthand the inevitable conclusion. From his wounded and uncontrollably suspicious state, he also couldn’t help but imagine how else they might have melded and wrapped, petitioning their jealous gods in unison.

Swami began reciting a Sanskrit prayer as together the group waded in knee-deep, grabbing fistfuls of flowers and tossing them ceremoniously into the beckoning waves. Soon they were surrounded on all sides by petals- a stunning array of color, even in the dim lighting of phosphorescence and moon. Mixed emotions like blossoms availed themselves to their watery grave. Sadness and joy, rhapsody and grief danced between each wave, joined together in a quick convulsion of surf and then drifted off to litter the shore. This would be the final scene for Rusty before hopping back in the red Plymouth van that was his father’s parting gift and driving his sobbing, pathetic self back up the midnight corridor to Hollywood. It was always the same. Tomorrow, when the band arrived to practice, they’d find him tucked into a neat fetal ball, useless beyond the dribble emanating from the various orifices of his face. But the following day would be better, and by the third he would awake early to coffee and guitar as if his very life depended on it. Occasionally, it did.

PLYMOUTH ROCK

pick your memories like the flower of love me do and love me not
and distribute all those petals in a fountain
then bathe yourself in the beauty of forgiveness and bury her
and call that man like Moses to the mountain

cause this here ain’t no Plymouth Rock
ain’t no steppin’ stone of yore
this here’s the one and only holy land of all the milk and honey
your everlovin’ hands adored

the torch that burns within my skin is like the love I live without
unburdened by resolve and contradiction
but count your lucky stars among a galaxy of things
awaiting on the wings of insurrection

cause this here ain’t no Plymouth Rock
ain’t no steppin’ stone of yore
this here’s the one and only holy land of all the milk and honey
your everlovin’ hands adored

all you do is breathe and life just comes to you
to spend the rest of your days in heaven’s garden
where you were born free but life would still seem a prison
but consider yourself lucky to be somewhere where you too can be risen…

cause this here ain’t no Plymouth Rock
ain’t no steppin’ stone of yore
this here’s the one and only holy land of all the milk and honey
your everlovin’ hands adored

pick your memories like the flower of love me do and love me not
and distribute all those petals in a fountain…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *