At Mid-Afternoon

At mid-afternoon, six black vultures fly east, glide east under the half moon half up in a blue crayon sky. Three black crows perch in a maple tree rooted in sandstone and single squawk, for they know me. And green maple mouth whistles prepare to fall on children’s lips. Jumping spiders hop across the trail. Purple lilacs lilt lushly.

I am committing suicide the slow way—eating everything, drinking everything, watching not walking—except for today. Today is indulgence in flower heads, in moist, green, unfolding blankets under tall trees. Fast suicide I find unappealing; you cannot take a day off the fast way.

The very act of description sets us apart, keeps us from immersion, from being. To live sentient is to decay decadently. To stand is to hold dominion. And so I lie in shadows and wait.

At mid-afternoon, a thin, graceful, young woman clad in jeans walks by without looking. She smells like green tea. The vultures, the crows, the half moon, the old man: she does not see.

Last night I saw a giant pill bug trotting along a farmer’s field. It morphed into an armadillo. In the blackberry and strawberry patches, the insects played Johan Bach who wrote music for crickets and cicadas and June bugs, placed stamp-size sheet music along the berry rows, for the musicians to practice.

I don’t sleep anymore; I simply rise from my body and float through walls and down highways and across space, returning in the morning and hiding under the covers and yawning and checking body parts and thinking about coffee.

At mid-afternoon, I watch a crow pick up a twig and drill and twist its tool into the ground then fetching a wriggling morsel from the dig.

Life is pop. Death is dance. Silence is surrender. Passive is active. Active is acting: Shakespeare got it right. ‘All the world’s a stage . . .’

To a single specie—of millions of species who play Bach in the moonlight fuck and feel and eat and scream and nest and swim and light and prey and dive and sway to magnetism and atom race and worship truly worship.

I am committing suicide the slow way. The fast way terrifies me.

About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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