These stories exemplify Lucid Fiction, spiritual, experimental, stories of the new paradigm as we become more aware of ourselves and the illusions we have lived under. Mostly stories, this includes also some poems, and black and white art. All of the writing has been published in magazines.
Tantra gives an overview of the book:
The Terrace Steps
The rest of the story shall go unexplained, but the steps were the first token of my affection for the birds, and we shall end there. They became being. Nothing else really mattered at the time, and the steps were the most beautiful rocks I could find in the quarries of the imagination, the shapes being suggestive of alterations in the seamless. The rocks never spoke to me directly, but they called to me in another time, and often their names were apparent in a kind of transparent liquid sensation that would take me over each time I discovered a name I couldn’t understand in words.
But the circling of the rock, the lifting of it, the carrying of it, step by step, my legs moving past each other with a whish of magnetics was a way of saying their names back to them in greeting. The placing of them in the line of steps along the terraces was a way of them saying my name, as they locked into place, and they felt the strength of my name. It is a name of tradition, masculine, solid, like the sound of a rock falling into place for good. They will always be there in the terraces, surrounded by the green moss, and I will always be named Arturio.
The birds have their own names, but they exchange them back and forth with each other sometimes as they fly. I want to do that someday, be always named Arturio but still, exchange it back and forth with people named Angel, Julio, Antonia, and Marcus. I’d like to fly with them while we do it, over the terraces, seeing the green of them as we swoop over them, the green glowing richly. When we fly together at night sometimes, we almost exchange names like the birds, but I have not yet learned their secrets for how they do that as yet. When I do, then, I would have to teach my friends, and they are perhaps too traditional to learn new things of that nature.
The steps have become the project of my middle age, and when I am through with them, I will know I have started my old age. I am not ready for that to happen as yet, but my old age does beckon to me from the well. I feel it sing to me when I pull up the water, see my reflection with my face hanging over it, gravity and reflection, the time below the earth, and the time on the surface of the earth. They are different, you know. The time below the surface of the earth is my secret, but I will explain it to you, for now.
In the future, you will forget it, in the past you have forgotten it, so I know the secret will be safe if I keep it in the present. The present will enfold it and keep it mine, and yet I can revel in the telling of it. Under the surface of the earth, my old age sings and I am beginning to learn the songs from the well. The well is made from stones like mine, but I never knew their names, as they were locked into place when I was a boy, by my grandfather.
Perhaps they told him, but he never told me about such things. My grandfather was alive when he was alive, and has remained so while he has been dead, because he was in the habit of it so strongly. He still sits at the table and eats with us, passing the bread more slowly, but breaking it with gusto, and no one has been able to notice much more difference than that slowness with the circling of the plate of bread. More crumbs seem to stick in his beard now than before he died. More birds of prey circle overhead when he goes outside and works in the garden. But he never speaks of it. No one in the village ever asks about it. We just know he has always been so strong, he always will be, but the days are overlapping now more and more since the day he died.
Sometimes I fear they will overlap so much things will start to seem the same, but they never do. My life is rich with detail, glowing greens of the grass and the moss, the browns of the stones, the beige of the bread, and the deep reddish color of the table the bread sits on, with all of us around it.
My grandfather’s glint of his eyes lights up the tiny corners of them and the wrinkles that extend out from them, my favorite part of his face. The candles light up the table and bring out the table’s reds, deep inside the wax. Layer upon layer of wax, holding the light, glowing, like the well. The greens of the hillsides vary with the shadows, and the time of year, but this time of year, they glow more than ever, and are set off so well by the stones in straight lines that segment the green and make patterns through it, keeping us from taking it for granted.
My grandmother loves the steps, but never walks them any more, just sits and stares at them from the porch. I think she is getting too old, especially since grandfather died. Somehow, it takes her strength to keep him alive, and she hums now, over her muffins, over her sewing, over her washing, and as she does so, the air around her becomes more granular it seems, more thick and foggy, but just very subtly. And grandfather smiles when she does that, sits back and smiles, taking it in.
I think that feeds him in some way, and he is content with that. Her muffins, crusty and full of heavy, rough grain, don’t seem to be enough for him any more now that he is dead. He needs something more ephemeral, more like rains that come before you notice they are gone, misting the air, glinting the beard, lifting the eyes to see if it is snow or fine rain, and then, the day turns. And she is happy to give off the ephemeral, especially as her vision is now clouding more, her eyes becoming slightly whitened, the blue of her irises more icy, her eyes more often turned upwards. Her face is becoming more white, and her shoes are becoming more dusty, and she looks so beautiful to me next to the black birds now.
I teach fiction writing through UCLA Extension Writing Program, WritersCollege.com, and my own academy.
I am the author of Lucid Membrane (Night Publishing), The Cabinet of What You Don't See (ISMs Press), Watching the Windows Sleep (Naissance Press), and Tantric...