Monday, June 25, 2012

I Got Stabbed by a Joshua Tree

I meditated under a Joshua Tree
and it stabbed me in the head.
A crown of bayonet leaves,
I even had to pull one out.

Perhaps it was meant to stay there,
like a hindu bindi,
except mine would be like a flattened torch-shaped
obelisk coming out of the red dot.
I realized the moment was transcendental,
and I appreciated the ominous symbolic significance,
but I had to do something about the blood.

If I had wanted blood, I got it.
I did not want it all over my clothes.
I let the desert wind soothe and dry the pouring wound,
so my arms and shirt wouldn't be drenched.
Stitches were a possibility. Hospital.

Luckily my skull stopped the gentle frond,
not allowing the tree to penetrate my brain.
The cut was minimized,
and I had a chance to return to my shooting party,
un-scarred and un-stained,
avoiding derisive comments
returning to four guys and four guns,
massacred by a plant.

I had left the party to gain some mystic insight by paying homage,
but this was no lotus flower.
I noticed its serene silhouette was dripping with dagger-like fronds,
thorns posing as leaves,
even the bark covered by deadly, dead, dried out spikes,
which appeared to fall from their bulbs and down to the desert floor
losing color but not acuity,
perhaps continuing to drop underneath the ground to arm the root system.
I approached the meanest, most marvelous Joshua Tree within a mile,
unprepared for battle.
This natural shelter considered me an intruder, not a guest.

Underneath the giant, it's arms bristling above,
I sat cross-legged with soft gaze,
head like it's being pulled by a string,
jaw tucked in,
back as straight as a stack of gold coins.
The open sky above, like a handle of the earth's basket,
seemed more connected to the ground,
attached at the horizon.
The sand blown by the wind and the exposed sunlight
heightening the drama, I focused on love and oneness,
but Time brought me back to ego-concerns.
As my patience faded,
and thoughts about the material world returned,
I figured the gang might be wondering about me.
I assumed the plant's shelter was benign,
but the Joshua Tree prepared for my advances from above.

What's to say about getting stabbed?
It's difficult to feel the entering.
Only the surface is sensitive,
and once the opening is made,
it returns to feeling the same as closed,
but with a neat cooling vent,
in my case three pierced receptors, labeling my guilt.
I still chased desire, had not found God,
and was susceptible to his creations.

Did my focus on the future
leave me vulnerable in the present?
Or did my focus in the present
leave me vulnerable in the future?
Like distracting thoughts in meditation,
these answers would not help me now.

The dry gusting desert winds succeeded in hardening the open cuts,
minimizing the blood staining my hands and clothes.
Allowing one force of nature to repair the damage of another.
I felt calm; adrenalized, but resigned to my fate,
the stabbing had elevated the action, dramatized my life.
I was defeated,
but I could not have asked for more from this brutal enchantress.

I stumbled through the desert
and circled around the back of our open-air target range,
slipped into the back seat of Matt's car,
and turned a bottle of water and some leftover napkins
into a first-aid station,
marveling that no one noticed me dumping water on my head
expecting Matt to yell at me for bloodying his pristine interior,
or Soren to ask where I've been.

They continued their conversation,
and I continued disposing the evidence of the attack.
As they approached the car,
I secured one last furtive wipe of the three wounds
and gleamed with pride as I shook Kane's hand,
our host,
with a firm grip and wished him well.
I thought of telling Chance and the others the tale on the way home,
but thought it better to leave it between me
and the Joshua Tree in Mojave.

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