the scattering light



(for Robert Garner)


The lights are gone. They are all sleeping. Scattering.This is a story of a boy who, back in 1983, gushed out of his mother’s belly and told her that he will be unlike any child she will sire. It was a time when the January cold swept the Zambales mountains and turned it into a spectrum of Siberian blue. The ocean, on which it leans, harbored sharks that killed humans that turned the sky crimson, all the while the ships that sailed through his saltwater highway dropped their anchors and prayed for Poseidon’s horses to gallop wildly and kiss every beast the earth had to offer. It was also a time when the leader of the land wore camouflage clothing and boots. A time when his people died from his own gun as the music of the Swedish pop group ABBA pumped the velvet veins of the marijuana junkies and the sentimental whores of liberation. It was a time when God went out to tea with his favorite pope in Italy. Word had it that he wore a red cape and black gloves, saying to the entire ministry that he looked better in red than Lucifer himself.The boy was named. He was baptized and grew up among the other kids wearing khaki shorts and Coke-stained white polo shirts and carried a rosary even in bed. He loved God and kissedGod full on the lips when he asked the same favor his friends asked. He was God’s little angel. He would kneel down close to his feet and whisper the events of the day; his girlfriend’s breast, his father’s armpits, the way his penis went hard readingHot To Trot, the way he stole Hot To Trot under his Uncle Morrie’s mattress, his dreams of becoming a priest, his dreams

of being a good son and his dreams of making EVERYBODY happy. God would listen. He would rest his jaw on the boy’s shoulders after the boy says AMEN and He would close his eyes.

The boy loved his mother the most. He would watch her move, talk, cuss, cry, laugh, smoke, turn, toss, smile and he would continuously ask her why all people had to live and be here, in this plane called Earth. She would say, “For the salvation of our souls,”

For years, the boy wondered how his mother would come up with such a line that gave a million sleepless nights and made him seep into dusted books from Emily Dickinson to Nancy Drew to Fyodor Dostoevsky to JD Salinger to Plato to Sartre to Milan Kundera all the way to the Bible, the Qu-ran and the Dharma. Reading between the lines, critiquing and fastidious about answers. Each peppered generously with faith and each one a journey toward the salvation of his soul. But where is the

soul?

He found it where the lights blazed and surrendered to the

bloodshot eyes of young men and women eating every inch of their own rancid breath. Those were the days when he fogged the curiosities of his mind and just nestled on the scream of events and beautiful boys who, like him, were offering themselves to the sacrifice of experience. Came the music. Lots of it. It ushered its way into the boy’s ears like a terminal 220 voltage electric shock all lighted by the sinewy manipulation of forbidden sex and the pills and stones and grass he claimed as sisters in the name of love power. Sunbathed, drunk, dirty and full of love, he stumbled mindlessly into the tunnel where his glorious rats and his friendly vampires imparted thresholds of gut and lust moving in and out and back again along the fragile path he walked on. He fell on a puddle. He saw the puddle’s eyes. He was Chinese and he spoke funny Spanish. The boy grew fond of his dampness until he found out the puddle’s secret. Under the soil he rests upon lies a billion scorpions. The boy scrambled out, his Adidas making squeaking noises all over the dark tunnel. He can’t be poisoned, he had to run. As he ran, he saw a fire and asked himself, Saint Elmo’s?

He ran to his direction. He saw that the fire led to a house way above an open manhole into a deserted street. As he walked, he

saw the house glowing bluish and soulful inside. He went inside

and saw a creature, another boy, about his age, writing great poetry. His hair was tussled and he had the nicest stubbles all

over his face. No spoken words, just poetry. Inside that bluish wonder room and the boy wearing nothing but his Speedos. I’m a poet, he said, and recited,

i am mei adore mei celebrate me

i abhore me

The boy shuddered with the poet’s verse and no words, just poetry, he took the boy’s hand, took off his Speedos, so gently like removing a jagged wood inside a bleeding finger, and kissed his body. The poet groaned and offered his mind onto him, believing that the one who caressed his soulfulness that night was somebody who can dust his closet and wipe away all the hurt that has surrounded his years writing about the tragedies of his waking life. He mistakenly took the wrong boy. The next day, the boy saw through his wardrobe decomposed bodies and molasses inching across the poet’s clothes. The heads on which names were engraved garnered years of unseen victories, conquests to which the poet engulfed as sirens to his ink – aminiature elixir to his talent. The poet turned out to be a witch! The boy cried. He cried a thousand oceans, remembering the night that shot his spirit into the skyline. And crying, he ran again.He ran so fast he didn’t see where his shoes was taking him. No angel came. No salvation. No soul.

To the desert he came. He was so thirsty and numb he can feel his shoulders melting. He spoke to everyone. He spoke to no one. Another room to bear the magic of soul with, another boy to reduce a morsel of his heart to. It happened again and again. He saw salvation but the boy was numb enough to touch it. Where is God? He understood his soul but he cannot help it. Where is my God? He can see the trains chugging by and can see the water drying but he sat there, his mother’s words homing in, and realized that the lights are gone and are scattering to his universe of thoughts. He touched his neck and can feel the drought of his throat and yet he can swallow the depths of his sorrow and resisted water. He closed his eyes and saw his own body raped by the rosaries he used to make to be blessed on. He saw the realm of prayers and the placebo that connects the two of them like lovers. He saw his boys burning. Tied by the bitter rile of his hating lungs and crisping in his fire of discontent and yearning. The boy became

an embryo. Succeeding in his own rabid portrayals and welcoming the loneliness that brought him to this desert. He chased the chartered lines of mishaps and his adventurous seams, knowing that regret is nothing but a ball and chain, that it

will only make him go to his hard penis and make love to the perils that caused him to his choices. He was a soul. He was salvation. The boy knew his mother can’t provide him the answers and so she said what she said. He felt the answers swayed by but he grabbed his rubber shoes and ran instead. Knowing that there is no heaven and that answers will be answers when you go through it. This is a story of a boy, now grown-up and wearing torn jeans and reveling to the heels of his wanderlust feet, who is without a singular God and someone who will always light your torch. You live in this boy’s life like a scattering light. A million we may all be but we all come the same source. All from the same kind of power but divided by our own individual pains.

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