The Liberation of Tommy Geneva

During the year 1996 I was slowly losing my eyesight. In February of '97 I had eye surgery to replace the lens in the right eye; I had to wait until May to do the other one. I was living on a boat moored at the harbor of the 'Old Alcohol Plant' just outside Hadlock, Washington. Just after that first surgery, I wrote this in large script in a notebook, ignoring the lines on the pages.

Imprisoned by the chaotic refraction of light; limited by whites and greys and blacks; oppressed by misformed shapes and corrugated details; the universe squeezed ever tighter, its diameter slowly shrinking; time was running out.

Day to day existence would not do, not this time, it was necessary to act. One dead end and another showed themselves; they were seductive but destructive and hopeless; mere surrenders to oblivion, not paths that instinct follows.

What's the question, the final question? Do you, or don't you? Feel around, with night eyes open, penetrate and permeate, fill the alloted space, the room, room to move, to act. Clear away everything, everything; erase the board, organize and orchestrate, concentrate and focus. Plotting, probing; the nightmare was only beginning, this was a given. The strength of millions of years had to awake, revive, constitute itself and carry forth; before it was too late, too late to control events.

Whites and greys and blacks curiously inspired fibers of fortitude and resolve, steadfastness, long since tempered and tested. What was once distinct and vivid and effusive shimmered ghost-like, infused with blurry, faded shades of unresolvable flavors of light, colors overlapping sloppily, radiating disordered boundaries and distorted impressions, a fractal world ever splitting into layers, layers of confusion and disorientation, forks in the road, popping up in free space like bubbles of liguid heat, fluctuations, rapids in the stream of time.

The universe was squeezing ever closer, denser, compressing, forcing out the breath of life, imploding, returning to a singularity of purpose, of appreciation, of hope and drive.

Would resignation ingrain adaption to circumstance, quell the fatigued spirit to accept? Would otherwise be cathartic or methodical? Pressure, the gentle yet constant pressure applied to points of reference, to doors to paths that run like fractures through the turbulence of unformed influences. To race ahead, just ahead, outside yet on the expanding surface led by will, and fueled by desire.

Perceive an order, an essence in the mayhem of random messages, signals segmented and adrift on back eddies and tide rips, distractions masking forms fragile and tenuous. See, amidst the whites and greys and blacks smeared across the backdrop, outlines prefigured long before time was.

Twist this knob, turn that dial, phase in the vagrant swells and troughs, coalesce invisible currents tuned to soundless tendencies. Then it happened, by itself, almost.

Methodical, then critical; approaching ever closer, pausing, waiting, feeling for affinity; segments, strings of uncertainty, suddenly came together, together in a way that worked, amongst a range of probabilities and actions.

The nightmare ended, the universe became both younger and older, refreshed as a bonus, cleansed of denial, instinct triumphant, but triumphant over self.

Now there was sight; colors once more, no, more, vivid and distinct and crisp and demanding of appreciation. Shapes, forms, edged coherently, not against the background but within ..., within. The universe saw with eyes of light and eyes of utter darkness. Peace reigned over the kingdom, a long wavelength solid and riveting that knew no boundaries and brooked no jive, not anymore.

On his walk around the bay to catch the bus, Tommy Geneva stopped to watch a group of herons, rigid statues standing at random distances from one another in the shallow cove, standing perfectly still, waiting. Suddenly, quickly, almost imperceptibly, one jabbed its long beak into the water and retrieved a small fish. The others did not react, respond or even twitch; they waited, waited for the right moment to act. Tommy Geneva smiled slowly, deeply; he knew that one by one they would. Turning, he continued on his way.