Jah in the grass blades (Part 1)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The shape and colour of a life propelled by a dreamer, free-thinker, outsider.

Submitted: March 01, 2010

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Submitted: March 01, 2010

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Jah in the grass blades (Part 1) William P. Barker


After lunch I sit back down on the lawn and start arranging grass blades in order of size and type. Some belong to a very wiry family which partially irritates me for they will not snap or tear in my playful, mischievous hands and I am forced to slice them with a flint just out of bloody mindedness( Afterall, I am boss here. I will not be humilated by grass blades). Some time later I can say that I have a variety of grass catergories, lengths and girth widths should they ocassion arise that I would need to sell them, to ...ooh lets say a giant ant who needs them for a some project or other. I roll playfully along the grass and come to a stop under the shade of the walnut tree. With my feet in one direction and my face in the other I lay they twisted up in a tired but oddly liberating trance. The clouds look down on me favourably with warm yellow chins and the breeze seems to whisper something secretive to me, the details of which I cannot say but suffice it for you to know now that I do not need to get on that 2.00 bus.

Chapter 2

I may as well say that this house is mine; my very first. Yes it´s true no papers have been signed but we're above that, me and Jah. The matter is simple: I'm here and nobody else is and that makes it mine. We get on famously, Jah and I. I ask and he provides and he provides well. Take that wild lawn- what a million delights I see in there- tiny little spider webs and tiny little flower petals and that cool, cool clover, What a relief it is to run my face along that cool clover. Yes Jah delivers. Cos he wants me here, just living and loving, not working my soul into hardness in some factory hell.

I move up to the master bedroom. The perished floorboards are rather charming, with their perforated edges and new frazzled form and the woodrot is still alive. I know that because I can see new wood powder around the holes. How delightful. I have a house with live little animals in the very floor. So we will live here together, in harmony, we chosen few.

One of the planks snaps as I cross to the window. Nevermind. Wood for the fire. Wood for the fire. Yes I'll have a fine fire out by the shed later. But now let me think some more. I believe there are some things pending, I was planning a few words of homage to the life I have , just a few words about the blue of the sky and the flesh around these bones. Chances are they'll publish and I'll make my way as a novellist. As it should be. For I can see the judder of the leaf, the lying smile, the proud swell of  baby clouds. I can even see lilting rays around your words; they ripple outward and go up and join others and thus there is a haze of poignancy just above us all, of all that was ever said. Yes and I can see the moon lazying in the sky and the gleaming eyes of your thoughts beneath you.

A hunger pang hits me in throat, a sharp, burning feeling. I promised myself that today would be a good and that I would go light on supplies. So far I have only had my apples and cheese. Surely that is enough. I mean there's sugar and fat and protein and carbohydrate. It's not as if I'm working and expending great stocks of energy. No I will not give in. This is my body and I say what it needs. Anyway What a nerve! : Anyone would think that my body was in charge and that I was somehow a slave to its whims and orders.

I walk around, shrugging and shaking my arms, just reaffirming that I am in charge. My head is light and a little dizzy. It will pass, it's just because I got up too quickly. Postural hypotension- nothing to worry about. I gaze out the misty windows. They need a clean. Tomorrow, tomorrow. For now I'm watching the distant city with it´s linear crowns, puffing up smoke and apparently  superior to all below. I feel a little ripple of fear as I imagine being in the midst of it. I don't think I could take the unreality, the fuzzy overvibration of form. I'm safe here in my little eden. Maybe tomorrow I'll take a trip out and just show my face in the factory and tell them my price. It wouldn't hurt.

I awake in the middle of the night. Through the curtainless windows I see a bright star cluster. My stomach yelps a little and strangely i start singing, until i ran out of words and my eyes fixate on the stars. Odd this little world; Here I am as closer to happiness than ever before, wrapped tight in this sleeping back, in this dilapidated cottage. What could be better? just me and the stars. The hunger is nothing. There are plenty of apples, besides the factory will give me a job. Anyway, I don't need a job. My notes will sell. Yes, it's off to the library tomorrow. I'll get a list of publishers and... job done. I'll buy this place formally, I suppose and add a few bits of furniture and then she'll come on the scene. Yes she'll just appear softly from behind an apple tree, lost on a walk. It will be instant and eternal, beyond our smallness.

We won't need people. God forbid.  Jah has built his platform for our new love. I'll serve this cottage and that grass and I'll suck in the breeze and curl my hands around wafting vibes, and catch air fish in my hands and then let them go again. Yes tomorrow is a town day. Let's hope there are no people anywhere and I can just go about my business unnoticed and let's hope those high buildings are not swaying and threatening to topple down on me; For sometimes I feel them move and they would topple down on a chap like me, as soon as look at me, ah what a joke, that buildings could look at me...and yet dear all be careful of the objects of your derision, cos they'll bite hard, with big hard teeth.

I awake again. This time with crushing pain across my right shoulder. A large beam has just fallen down on me. I can't move. Yes I can. I'll live but let's hope I don't have to go to hospital. God I couldn't face the people and the whiteness and the machines. I'll be alright. I'm always alright. Perhaps I better move myself away from this section. So I roll painfully along the flooboards until I reach the wall. Yes it's safe. I didn't really need all this space anyway. That's what Jah is trying to tell me.

In the morning I inspect my injuries in the last remaining triangle of bathroom mirror. Hell and blast I have a black eye. No factory today, boys. Can you imagine it? "Well you need not worry Mr Manager. It is merely that my roof is falling in on me. You need not fear that I'm the sort of chap who goes around engaging in fisticuffs. No we all have these ceiling problems, don't we? "

I take an apple for breakfast and spend some time working on a dance routine on the sunny lawn. It will be my homage to Jah. I am to dress my forearms in sheaths of birch bark, my ankles will be wrapped in young pine branches so that the needles will sweep the floor and on my head I'll wear a crown of varied leaves and grasses. I'll face the moon on Saturday night and unfold my homage to all that is before me. But now my momentum is townward. I'll go to the library and if my confidence booms, yeh perhaps I will head to the factory. For a confident man fears nothing. It should be obvious that this black eye is not the work of a violent fist. Perhaps I'll garner sympathy and respect. "Of course, ceilings are always falling in. It could happen to anyone. Fear not Candidate 3. We can see that your not the sort of chap who engages in fisticuffs."

In the town outside the library there is a high grey building of an insurance company. I would prefer not to look at it but damn it, everywhere I look it is there. Even with my head down there is the shadow and maybe that is worse. I turn my head to the opposite direction but damn it, I swear I can still perceive it out the back of my head! Look at it, Man, Look at it. It's only a building, yes you're right but oh it is beset with evil, it is the living unreality and I am a leaf again.  It's looking. It's looking. It's seen me. Damn, I thought I could slip in here unnoticed. Damn, it's coming. It's crumbling. grab the rail, stay put.hold tight. Shuddering palpatations, weak legs, something is coming. The sky is ready to suck me up. red alert, red alert, sweaty brow, faces are coming. They're looking; they're on to me. identity crisis. What am I. I think I'm suddenly a leaf. I'm blowing away. I'm blowing. Don't let them see. Keep it together. I move rail by rail to the library and freeze tight while still trying to look normal, as if I was almost idling playing with spare time,... and finally in a rush through the door I'm safe. It was just a strange turn. let's say it didn't happen.. Who's to say it did? That building moved in the wind. It's bound to confuse a chap. It's only natural. I mean nobody wants a building on top of them. Good job I can perceive these things. I must have advanced survival instincts. I'll mention that at the factory interview.

The first floor is fine , all dark and enclosed and there's a collection of well written plays that would take little effort in reading. I'm tempted but distracted by a man in a dress. He's about fifty, wearing a peach and pink floral number. He peers through the bookcase, then pokes his hand right through, waves it around three of four times like a magician about to conjure up a coin, then thrusts a hard rigid middle finger to the ceiling. It is as odd a thing as I have seen and for a split second an instinct would have grab his arm and snap it off. Instead, I find myself gently but purposefully pushing the bookcase, which is on wheels closer to him so that he is wearing the shelf over his shoulder. I push a little more until he has to move back, and I push more until he is sandwiched in between the next bookcase. In all this he makes no sound. This is too weird. What is going on here? What would you have me do here,Jah? What am I here? Am I a leaf? No I feel more animally. Yes like a monkey. Might I swing about this library, in a moment? I could, just leap on the desk and scuffle up the papers and scamper off. Is that what you would have me do?

I walk off after a small silently strange scene develops, involving two librarians freeing the man who then weirdly carries on looking at books as if nothing had happened and I move up to floor 2. Damn that transvestite. I was about to gently sit down to a play. The cushioned seat would have been welcome and I could have listen passively to the public, See whats going on, see if there is talk of those buildings.

In a writer's manual I select two likely sounding literary agents. It will only need five; unethical to keep too many of them strung along. I return the book, suffer a little headspin on the walk to another aisle  and sit down by the psychology section. I like the clean pages and ordered diagrams and then I love following the asterix to it's source at the bottom of the page. I would like to do that with my thoughts- to have a little asterix here and there and perhaps a bibliography for I'm unclear to myself at times and may benefit from a little cross referencing. I stand up and head for the far aisle. Boom!  the floor moving. It's vibrating. Look at the clouds they are moving. There are holes in the sky that would swallow me. The whole floor is shaking. Grab onto something. Head for the wall. No not that one; It's too close to the outside. Always make for an interior wall. Thank God! I am saved again, ha ha it's only a bus outside with a roaring idling engine waiting to turn into the station. Perhaps I'm tired. Yes, I just need a proper rest. After the two weeks in the factory I'll spend the month in earnest meditation out there in my cottage. Most people would. We all need a rest.

On my entrance the factory seems cold inside. Good; I love the cold. What the manager isn't in? Nevermind. I've told you everything you need. No I don't think an application form is necessary, as I say I've told you everything and you have my references. I'll accept 300 a week. I'm available for labouring or something managerial. I don't mind you see. It's all the same. The eye? Yes a full beam hit me! In the middle of the night! I hear that most houses around here are falling apart, is that right?

The route from the factory to the bus station is along a narrow cobbled street, a little dark and empty. Thing is, readers, I need some more cheese but I not sure I trust that wide open street. There are some tall buildings there and that broad pavement looks mighty unstable to me. What if I run. I'll be there before I'm noticed and back out again. I could eat that cheese now. Hunger pangs are burning my chest and my legs feel rigid, like they are not bending anymore. Yes let's go, run, burst. Come on jah. I've got a little dance for you so let me be and we'll hear no more about these strange perceptions. Here we go, yes no need to run afterall. Don't look at the shop windows; they have fearful reflections of sky and sky will take you. Don't stop. Don't stop.

Damn! who is this fool approaching me, looking eager and lost.
"Excuse me Sir do you know the way to...."
"No stranger here myself , sorry" I rush on.
 She should look at a map or go to Tourist Information. Stopping people in the street. How lazy?
Done. I'm inside. Let's pretend everything is normal and that will make it be so. Yes I'll talk about TV and the weather and that's all you need, then the heavens above will know that I'm normal and  fine and thus an easy normal journey home and a normal evening with normal thoughts.

Behind the counter is a mirror. Shit and Shite! Who is that man? My eye is a horrible mess of purple and black, the white is pure red. My hair, oh my hair. It is stiff and sticking up in manifold ugliness, unshaven- a beard is fine but this is not a proper beard, I grow nothing on the uppper chin, so I look ape-like and lord that shirt is bruised brown with the rub of that beam. What must that secretary in the factory have thought. It is clear. I belong at home. What was I thinking. Jah. I'm sorry I didn't listen.

Mr. Assistant looks up uncomfortably. There are no explanations I can give. I just look this way now and that is that. I know when I'm beat.

"Two pounds of Cheddar, Please"
" Yes indeed"
" Ergh it's warm again, yes?" This is not me. This is not me. This is not me, What am I saying?

" Yeh. They say it will rain on Saturday though" What do I say? What can I say? say something for Gods sake!

"Ergh good. I love the rain. What about you? "

He keeps his head down while cutting the cheese. Without flinching and yet with the slightest air of being offended he passes the cheese and  he says: " I don't mind" "Is that all ?" .
" Yes that is all..... I suppose....no news about these building? In my house a beam came down last night, see , look at this eye"

I pay and leave.

Now I'd love to rate that conversation using a scale of 3- 14.  (As I now do with many of my conversations) But I have to get to safety. The clouds are doing odd things. The buildings are moving. My legs are weak, and there's a broad street to get down. I'll be alright. Head to the ground! Head to the ground! Don't look up! not even to the shops- the reflection will disorientate you and it would have you believe the world is something that it isn't. Slowly slowly, don't run. Aha aha you can't run everywhere, you know. My legs are so rigid. There's something wrong with them and oh my head is spinning. Perhaps I'm going blind. Yes perhaps this is all a visual impairment. I could be blind. That's okay Jah... If that's what you want.

Chapter 4
The bus drops me half a mile from home, out on a splendid little track, with bright sandy stones and moss tufts trailing down the centre. Normally, I don't look across at the white cottage on the road- I've no desire for familiarity with neighbours but today a certain vibe is wafting my way. There is a sizeable YES over there, somewhere behind the hedge. Perhaps  I am affected by that warm fire burning in every living thing, in springtime. Perhaps I am responding to little scratchings of blackbirds or the soft smudge of the red bricks, for these vibes will not leave me, in part a horror, in part a delight, I cannot ignore them,  can I? well perhaps one day I'll be free.

I look across and see nothing unordinary, just that hedge. But wait, there is a lightness moving behind it, a lightness of flesh, perhaps,  I swear there is sweetness in that. It is a vibic honey I am tasting. I move on. Yes. it is unforgivable to sneak up on people, particulary in this vagabond state but we will all get over it, if our hearts are open and our minds willing. I am now ready to peer round. If I am seen, it will be impossible to pretend that I am doing anything other than stalking. If I am not seen, it will be fine  and I'll leave but something tells me that Jah would put my face to this scene and it is his show, I am blameless, aren't I ?

There she is.. combing grass blades with her hands, hands white as almond blossom. It is her; she has arrived; I will not marvel at her, nor interpret her with florrid description- that will come later. She is there. That is that. Job done, thank you, Jah. But that it should happen here is so fortuitous. I thought she would appear from behind one of my apple trees but no matter. Jah is not always hot on details and timing. It goes without saying , that she is wearing denim shorts, ladies and gentlemen, and it would be also bootless to announce that she is the prettiest thing in this region. Now, action would be good, but a black eye and gross dishevellment is not the way to a womans heart. then again, if it be right, if it be true my appearance will have no play in this affair.

I walk slowly to her, then suddenly I stop. She has not seen me and something is saying run.

I retrace my steps slowly and now I am in a dreadful spot. How on earth did I get here? If she sees me now, it is the most apalling thing. Slowly, slowly, oh so slowly. Now turn around and cringily retreat. Good, Good,

" Hello, can I help you?" .............

Fuck, she's seen me.

There is welcome in that voice, despite a slight shake of fear. Is that hello coming through a smiling mouth? That is a gift; our first encounter is one of smiles and warm welcomes. jah must have told her by now. I must run around and face it and say whatever maybe in my heart. First thought, best thought, no time for contrivances or crafting clever words. No need for suaveness of coolness and please lets not be sarcastic or enigmatic. Have it said and be done with it.

I turn around and meet a slender image of a mid twenties girl, in denim shorts, a long baggy shirt clutching nettles in an oversized gloved hands. the sunlight has illuminated her hair and brown eyes which are big watery welcoming avocado stones. She is indeed smiling, fearless and earnest.

My vagabond look and black eye has apparently made no effect on her. You see I am giving off vibes which snuff out all prejudices. She can only see me, the lover of  blue, the moon lover, the tree man, the river gazer, nature's jeweller, the Jahman.

" Well I was curious to act on an instinct, which lead me to your garden and well.... here I am"

That's fair and honest and innocent. She is smiling,not a come-off-it smile but a curious and sightly joyful smile.

"What happened to your eye and for that matter your clothes?" A little rude but honest nevertheless. How would that bluntness fair in my life, for I'm a little sensitive to direct questions, at least ones delivered with a demanding expectation. We'll move on and see.

"It's a long story....." Must put in a long word so that she knows I am educated. "... and one that would arouse even the most indolent curiosity" Im not sure that makes sense but her mind will be flooding with new information ...it won't have the energy to pull that apart.

" And I suppose you think I am curious to know"

" Well you did ask me.......anyway that is irrelevant for now. What is important is that we have found each other"

She laughs, widening her whole face to a deeper welcome.

" How do I know you are not insane?"
" Because only the sane can spot insanity. You are not sane"
" What?"
" ...but I can help you. I mean it."
" What do you mean I am not sane? Her face has hardened a little and there's a little shade of resistance emerging in a slight off centre pout and an avalanching brow.

This had better be good. I am losing ground with the prophet-talk and sooner or later she will realise that I am not free from insanity myself. A softening is called for.

" Well, I think I have some gentle things to show you. Things that will change your life forever..for the good."

" Oh yes. Then show me." She is direct and open again.

" Meet me by that bustop tomorrow at 3'00"

She pauses and looks down then slowly up to meet my eyes. She studies me carefully.

" I might do"


When I get home three more beams have fallen down. not a problem , as I said before there is too much space here. I only need enough for the two of our bodies to sleep and make love, the garden is fine, best room in the house.

Also the apple store roof has popped a few tiles. I move the apples down a bit further to the door, ( a bit more pain here, broken glass etc) shut the door, slump to the grass and roll myself along the garden. no more buildings, new cheese and I have found her, just as Jah promised. i'll love her right. We'll cure each other. It is written somewhere, surely. Look at those leaves of the walnut tree dancing around, look at the swirl of the grass and the shiny barks of the distant apple trees. They all know.









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