An underlying thread of frustration, which sinuously reconnects itself to present experience, a stolon for depressed pauses, always retraces to a futile root.

A florescence of meaninglessness, from seeds of insignificance that spread fields of absent emotions, upon which one may nourish, distracts from hungers underway.

Scribble, ink on copy paper, Chris Rusak 2007

Adjoined to this body, a mind sits inert yet throbs. Circular fear and fresh dissatisfaction shine in and reflect off memory. Then, an ototoxic wind that moves nothing bellows. Old hope quaffs off lachrymose regret. A rotting starts. Queries for blown red lights in the past dust up: Maybe I should have stopped? Maybe I disturbed time. Maybe despite the late foggy night, the wet mirrored street, the absence from sight of someone watching, that slight feeling of hydroplane from such a fast pedal, maybe I should have obeyed that red, stayed there until… Maybe I was meant to stop, and wait, to wait for a bright green “Go”? Now, have I already sped past that waiting moment, if it were even there? And so now, inert, I sit today for something different to blow through.

A virescent Bermuda turf is terribly hard to kill, let alone remove. Deep-rooted and pernicious, to till it, a typically destructive act that murders many other grasses, only renews its tenacity. Its blades spread three ways: by subterranean rhizomes and surface stolons that laterally pervade any unprotected territory, and by sinking roots which vertically anchor from these sprigs. Destructive division hastily multiplies its already indulgent surface area: each indefatigable sprout-ready millimeter, waiting, patiently, for a touch of water. Upward-gazing cloud-swept daydreamers sprawl upon Bermuda’s years of tangled regenerated growth, pallets of stiffened, strawy tuffet that rebind after every overhead mow. To roll onto one’s elbows and stomach and pry one’s fingers through the afghan, to jostle its network and torque inevitable splits, just pulls the hair of a maniac who laughs at the pain and makes poetry from the scalping.

To easily kill Bermuda grass, one would use chemicals, repeated, delicately placed applications of phytotoxins that progressively dull each blade’s ability to photosynthesize. Agricultural starvation. Strangulation. A method of reverse poisoning that stunts by intoxicating the newest growth of the plant in order to deprive, eventually, the roots of a future. Alternatively, the method of solarization — the harnessing of sunlight over the course of weeks to bake and asphyxiate turf enrobed by thick plastic — will do the trick. Sterilization. Forced decomposition. A long opera of hyperthermia like erecting a golf course on the sun. But to try, laboriously, to dig out all the sinew and succeed, to find all of it, is futile, and years from then, as any master gardener will tell you, the Bermuda grass will reemerge and remind you of your failure.

The browned lawn of memory is no different. For all those efforts of drunken nights inebriating oneself into stupor, for all the labor of sabotaging the present to X out the past, for all that sweat from exercising the body to exorcise the mind, it’s not until we rot and bake or poison ourselves too much that the rhizomes of our past seasons will recoil and retreat from their invasions into today, yielding to our desires to make something else of them. To even resolve our histories is just to add another tufted layer to them.

Scribble, ink on copy paper, Chris Rusak 2007

The moth flits herself against the closed screen door, a carpeted room just beyond. Toward a concrete patio she eventually plummets, where her wings retract and vibrate hardly a few times more. A pause. A jerk. A quick flip onto her back, now gazing toward the hummingbird feeder which hangs above from the eave. A jerk. Another flip. She slowly crawls to where a clear plastic wheel runs on its umber metal track, trying to snake herself inside. No luck. The bunker of windswept sand against the rail creates just too much of a bar. She tries again, but relents. Inside, the cedar closet would probably just swallow her up anyway, dying beside celluloid shells of the others perplexingly lying along the edges of wall in such a repellant, lightless room. She keeps crawling to the farthest edge of the screen and hustles herself up into that depression between the tracks. She turns over and lays motionless, gazing once again, briefly, her wings’ camouflage indiscernible from the sand and painted finish and the later memory of the gardener who will soon return and till her, from tip to tip, as he enters inside.

The ignorant gardener wets his dusty hands and sweaty, mottled limbs, hopefully scrubbing any renegade glyphosate that might have splattered onto his skin. The sun-baked, bristly hairs of his forearm, hardened from the hot years of tending to his colorful beds, sprout once more.

¶ 2016·03·01