By jared a. j. butler - Posted on 15 November 2010

Today on another drive at dawn to the Country University, fog lifting in the sunrise like phantom birds of prey, I heard a song that reminded of the most quietly, subtly insane person I've met to date.

Platinum and gold, banana leaves, saccharine fruits and asterisks will always call to my mind her small, lovely body; her dark, cocoabuttersoaked skin; her big Caribbean hair with copper highlights like the synthesized surrealisms in the songs she likes best, pops of color in her dense curls like the color and rhyme in her precious dreams.  In her junglescape dreams to be precise; jungles in the watercolor, acrylic and collage of her art are the jungles in our minds.

Jungles. Thick with overgrowth, hot, wet, profane and organic stimuli for the eyes and ears.  I don't believe I've ever truly cared for anyone whom I'd judged to be completely sane. For that matter, I'm not sure if I have explicitly judged anyone as perfectly sane, and I don't believe I know what constitutes complete sanity. I am certain whatever it is must be quite uninteresting--a perfectly landscaped front yard, devoid of vigorous fauna and flora.


Six months ago today began to come to pass those events that culminated in an exodus, though my foresight at the time was blind to what would follow that visit in May. A visitor then, but now--a sojourner?  Four or five familiar faces, receiving kisses on the cheek at the nightclub, hugs when that new friend prompts me to remember his birthday, mutual friends numbering in the double digits suffice for recognition, for now. 

But the first time I found myself in a new place, I was welcomed by those delicate hands caressing a glass of wine, or a mixed drink always with fruit at the bottom. (She always gave me some spiked strawberries at the end.)  Her hands are quite perfect, and whenever her paintbrush met paper and whenever she tore apart beautiful pictures for her collages she did so with a marvelous grace; unfailingly, she did everything with grace.

I don't know why I found myself under her wing, and, admittedly, I don't know how a young woman with her beauty could be so sincere.  We were both quite different from most of the others--unpretentiously stated--and in the days before my time I sense it was more difficult to be quite different. God, it's absurd to recall that she'd been the sole member of her skin color her year; there again, in my year there were two? two and a half?  It depends on how you added up our halves.

I'm good with dates.  Six months to the day since that argument at the nightclub after I met him (where I was a stranger/where I didn't throw drinks/where I get cheek-kisses now) and a year and a week since I'd last seen her.  (Back then, I hadn't a leaf in a tree what the significance of a square was, let alone what having twenty-two of them do for a city's downtown, or what Oglethorpe was doing when he put those squares in the blueprints back in 1733.  Reader, you'll likely have to Google or read about it in The Book.)  A year and a week since I'd seen one of her junglescapes in person; jungles like minds because they grow with tendrils and curls grasping and roots penetrating, if even without being noticed, and are always untamed, despite many a delusion to the contrary. 




A. Marajh
Watercolor, acrylic, oil pastels, collage



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