By David Eide

"...and in the beginning"


The season, ripe for love, waits now for the coming of youth.

They emerge down the side of a hill and disappear, between rocks, to a boat that is slipped on the embankment of a magical stream.

Their families are against them. The mother wails every evening and calls talk shows to complain about "young people today."

The girl has friends who protect her. She asks, "what do I do now?"

The sun appeared at a strange hour when sleep sheared the dream from the boys imagined tower. The young man loves science and dreams of a tower that will tap the sun's motive power. He will attach it to his heart at the moment when she kisses him.

They are seen in downtown Berkeley, holding hands as they cross the perilous street and find the music that will express the dance of love.

There is a peace that comes when nature celebrates the discovery of love by the young. Even the sour who filter things these days, parsing the last pained memory of stunned youth, are uplifted for a moment when they see themselves enacted again, in the eternal round.

Fires gravitate from the colder regions of the rejected city, to the happy babble of the new lovers.

The young man misses classes in school to hurry to her house when the parents are gone. An old professor worries about him and pulls him aside. "If you turn against your education no woman will touch you." The young man doesn't believe the professor but promises not to skip classes.

In the young man's circle are the varietals of youth: studious and arrogant, obscene and barely articulate and they go from club to club laughing at the prostitute and getting drunk in the stadium. The young woman appears just as the young man believes he is doomed to a useless sort of life.

* * * * * * * *

The young woman goes from room to room in her house afraid that she will be forced to stop and explain herself. "I am a free woman!" She tells her mother. "I will do whatever it is I want to do." She is not sure what that is. The casual relations of others her age make her feel as though the terrible world has exploited another gift and made it the laughingstock of whores.

No it is connection; connection with some strange person who begins, to reveal himself. She knows his family, she knows his friends but then it is new and she is tired of her family and friends. "Do not pin me down family and friends," she says to herself as she prepares to go out.

The young man criticizes her family. He tells her things that shock her and, momentarily, makes her hate him. "Well anyway," he says to her, "you know as well as I do that they don't like me and hope I die or something."

The mother of the young man oftens wear a silly hat and is always disappearing as she moves slowly through the heart of the small house. The fathers grotesque memory makes him feel guilty as he ponders on the daughter.

* * * * * * * *

The golden hills sprout with golden flowers; the young woman sinks in them, looking down across the valley where she is from. The warm breezes make her want to sleep but she keeps herself awake by thinking of the love that permeates the solid dispirited houses of the valley.

Love, and yet, so much trouble! Such cold bitterness is expressed between the old she prays she never gets old.

The young man ignores the taunts of his friends. He ignores their obscenities and tries to protect his love from their jaded imaginations. "She is more, she is much more." That is all he can say to one particular friend. He knows that she is not brittle or without some stupendous imagination that he can't fathom. It is built into her and radiates from her in love making but why can't I grasp it? It penetrates me and leaves a mark but its meaning confuse me.

The mountain contains the drama of Indians; beautiful women circle their children with desire. The rains are evanescent reminders of the tears that fall when love is wounded. The young woman feels as though the sun, at that moment, is driven from its core with the energies she feels moving inside of her. She expects to see some insignia burst from the sky in solidarity with her thought.

But the young man thinks she is an idiot and will outgrow the fantasies of young girls when they have their first test of wills. He prepares himself for the test of wills, driving mainiacally through the summer evening, through the countryside. There are seepage's from underground springs feeding large oak and willow tress. He imagines the rats and snakes that populate the fields.

A solitary plane makes it way across the sky and he pictures its destination and hears the conversations of the people. He notices rusty implements in the field; a leather horse collar, indentations in the wild grasses, the remnants of a strong wooden fence.

He is anxious to leave all aspects of his boyhood behind. He stores his memories in small boxes and notice that, even, games do not excite him. He feels that, somehow, he will be punished as he leaves boyhood. Is there nothing more perilous than the transitions that are obscure? What do the adults know about thing? They have forgotten everything and get mad when they see that the young are ready for manhood.

A boundlessness is opened to terror and a desire to hide. He knows he must know the terror and resist the desire to hide.

* * * * * * * *

The young man believes the love he feels will last all his life and make him strong as the panther he reads about. He has discovered something new! He weaves his way through the vineyards in search of her. The intoxication blends with the high and hot sun.

However he contrives it, he can't keep out others in the drama that he wants moving between himself and his love. She demands a respite from the obsessions of love. They travel a wide circle by car, through the canyons and tree-filled mountains of California. They are gentlefolk who have lost their taste for the city. They have read Henry Miller novels and listen to blues CD's. They cut and stack wood while celebrating an early evening rain that drives the hollow yawps of dogs down the road.

Awkward conversations are ended when the women leave the room to go into the kitchen. The men, then, talk while smoking; they talk about the happenings of the village they are perched above.

She, whose beauty is not yet spoiled by the rats of time, unwoven from the sheathes of inhibited desire; she who is conscious that men must imagine; she who consecrates the creative spirit in man. She is the one who appears to the man dreaming after the night of impromptu desire. She is the one who passes from the mind of sleeping women and enter his dreams, his aspirations.

They speak in the car like friendly birds and when go silent turn on the radio and listen to songs.

* * * * * * * *

The eternal tale is always told new when a young woman awakens to love.

She makes her way through the crowded day as though everything will disappear on her command. Knawing thoughts and feelings vanish as she contemplates the love. Could it be that when she is separate from him, she inflates him?

"Does he know that I am thinking about him when we aren't seeing each other? Does he think about me?"

* * * * * * * *

They write each other letters even though they live close by. They write the letters because the have read novels in which it is done. And they begin to realize that there is something that doe not need be said when they are together; that the mind is never still when they are together and so the letters are used to stabilize their mind and reflect on what is happening to them.

She decorates the letters with little faces while his letters are serious and almost grave in tone. They open the letters with great anticipation and begin answering the letter immediately.

They do not go to church. They go to the movies and begin to talk to each other the way the character in the movies do.

She insists on teaching him how to dance. She has a portable record player and she plays rock music on the record player, demanding that he dance with her. He feels like an awkward dog standing helpless before powers he can not comprehend.

* * * * * * * *

The parents of the young love scarcely pay attention to him. They believe that they live the most interesting of lives and know that their son will go through many adventures in the love game.

They are busy building up their portfolio of interesting things they have done so they will be not be embarrassed at parties.

The young lover sees the items and dismisses them with contempt. The love he feels lifts all negative thought out of him so, in fact, when he sees his parents he secretly laughs to himself, "they are so ignorant of what fools they appear to me."

The young man in love trusts only a few friends; friends who have experienced the same source of joy as himself. Friends who tease him but, as well, give him moral support.

* * * * * * * *

They do not understand or wish to understand what it is they initiate. The spirit is drawn coherently to the brittle but happy concerns. Perhaps the drama will unravel like an angry woman from her dreams, scintillating the imagination of the man.

Ah love! Ah flowers! Ah wine! You, intoxicated by the smell of all three until, exhausted, youth starts to unload the unhappy character of the possessed days.

The wildman of love makes the lovers feel solidarity with the history of human beings. He knows now the blank and quizzical expressions that stared back at him when he looked at old prints of town life in 12th century France. He thinks, "did they know of the delight even then?" And she thinks, "Did they feel as guilty and as stupid?"

To the woman everything is covered in a festive atmosphere. The daily life that passes appears to be prelude to some night festival that will celebrate the continuity of love. Even the old people will smile and welcome the new lovers into the secrets that they, the old, learned many years ago.


* * * * * * * *

For the young woman, love turns friends into enemies, enemies into friends. She feels a constant judgement that acts as a pressure keeping her from surrendering completely to her love. She escapes by driving her car and turning up the music so that sounds rumble through the interior of the car.

But, before long she finds herself in the parking lot of a shopping mall and then in one of her favorite shops where she runs into a few of her friends. They laugh but know that the magic of life has conspired to bring them together again and all judgements dissipate in their happy thoughts.

She will drive again to his house in the late hours to plead with him to change his mind about something. She will be tempted to break the continuity of the love when she runs into a stranger who attracts her.

* * * * * * * *

Excursions to the vineyards reveals a desire to run, slightly intoxicated, through the fields and feel the naked sun of their shoulder blade and backs.

And comes the man, the manager, all upset and waving his arms so they get up and go , the lover slapping his bare-ass to the portly and rose-colored man chasing them.

In a certain daylight the sun will manifest its spectral powers. The head and body are warmed to a lethargy that demands love to stir it.

Women drift from the tasting room with wan smiles; something is observing them and they are semiconscious of it.

An arid wind is captured between the sloping hills, taking down with it, while the sky darkens. The dreams contain the shame of lovers who do not want to be disturbed tonight. They do not want to see the faces that stir when the love-making ends. Silently, and with cruelty, the night permeates the empty heart as bare pants can be heard through an unending series of rooms.

* * * * * * * *

Do we dare penetrate to the area that runs wild with the powerful indecisiveness of youth? The lovers ask themselves that without speaking. They pose the questions between each other like an invisible ray thrown out from the center of their chest. The mind is sparkling with the possibilities of where they will be led if they allow themselves.

The young man views the young woman as superstitious and completely susceptible to the pleasure of the body.

They do not speak but lay tonight and remember that from the beginning of time, it has been thus.

The young woman makes sharp gestures and moves quickly, now, wherever she is. It is as though she is signalling to the world her escape from its somberness.

You, who are lovers no longer, get out of my way.

The young man begins to make judgements about who he perceives as the type who destroy the illusions of youth.

* * * * * * * *

The young lovers read the books of famous psychologists about the significance of love. He is a wise old man in her estimation and he tells her that there is nothing more important than love. Love, love, love. Even if the world rushes through the cavities of the unguarded palace when love is present.

There is a precision in the anatomy of love required by those who would play its game. Are not images ready to plunge down abysmal rocks to the mouths of the beasts? If it is so then the lover must be ready to leap from the flat and red-tinged floor of the valley to the grassland filled with poison.

The happiness of lovers lasts many hours but never many days. And when they talk in the after-the-intimacies-are-done, after the awkward revelation of some gross part of themselves, they are aware of a joy that they passed through but never touched. The bright spot they can not act on.

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