I approach the digital oracle with menacing eyes and pull it from its hiding place behind the dirty-clothes basket. I carefully but quickly place the shiny land mine on the bathroom floor and stand back, seeking the courage that will reveal my fate, I mean weight. “O mighty oracle, be kind,” I silently plead, “let me not awaken the fiery Fat Gods, for their punishment is accordingly harsh.I cannot bear to see more or, worse, to be less.” Don’t do it, my splendid self cries, you are perfectly Divine. “Yes, I reply, yes, but not here, you see. You call me from some other place where shapes are round and curve and move like liquid love. I live here not there. Here I cannot bear the threat of such a death, the loss of love and safety and security. I must fight this certain death. I am a soldier of love. My appetites are the enemy, I must fight them all” You are a warrior Goddess fierce and true. I pay no heed, I trample instead over her incantation and courageously flick the edge of the silver beast with my big toe until it mocks me… reading zero. The cruelest reminder that I can only fail. Zero? Zero. That’s exactly nothing. No weight. Ah, the perfect weight… the perfect size. Perfect. Perfect? Warrior Goddess harks, We were not present when values were assigned. When zero, once the symbol for nothing and for empty space, was an inexplicable vastness that could not be known. She reminds me it was so very long ago when Zero was seized prisoner and shackled to its shadow. To which I reply “Ancient placeholder, indicator for the absence of something, why have you abandoned me? Do you love this perfection more than me? Do you extol the butterflies and bees, the wind and moon and not me?” Her silence spurns me. I leap up on the edge of the slick firepit, exhaling, exhaling any vestige of vapor that may favor in reward. I don’t dare breathe until I see zero, my zero.
Yet, it is no real feat, this zero. I know it and do not pretend to relax beyond this evil truth. I have been awarded a false privilege. A day passes to be false among the fake. To parade my skin-suit that thinly drapes my tortured soul, outside the jail cell for a few hours only to look inside the faces of other hollowed prisoners, while the prison warden jangles his keys, lusting to suffocate my desires one and all.
Bitter…frail and furious I tend to the fire that promises to burn me to death. I wearily paint and prune, spray and shellac, careful not to reveal a care at all. I am free to proceed yet know more true I will simply yield to the procession of walking dead, similarly cloaked and masked while secretly gagged and bound. Complicity stings my eyes, hissing and gurgling like the rise of some ancient tongue. Speak you must, lest you die a coward and be buried with regret. My will surges up and through me, a tsunami ravaging across five thousand years of ocean, a silent scream howling across forever and collapsing at the Mother’s feet.
“I beg you, tell me…does my draping skin offend thee, Divine Mother? Do my folds cause injury? The lines that ravage my face, my eyes, my neck, my wrists and hands, my knees and furrowed brows, which have recorded ecstasy and horror, birth and death, called life, tell me! Are they nothing? Are you disgusted by the gentle undulation of my mass my body makes, escorting my spirit as life descends? If NO, I am a lie and kill me now. Take me. Or, if you must forsake me, I will take with me everything; every cell, every blade of grass, all life, as my revenge. I cannot bear this unhappiness and despair in the face of your casting favor against me. I pray you set me free that I may unclench my wretched grasp that clings to what is untrue. I must find beauty in this nothing, in this world filled with everything leading us all to some false Zero.”
You beseech me, yet your answer lies in the heart of men, where your long journey has taken you to meet its greatest task. And the truth that heals will only yield to Divine love. This and only this truth shall inherit the earth. Nothing but this truth will fill your creases, the emptiness that leaves you ravaged and loving, cloaked and haggard. Seek this truth in yourself and it will carry you forward without exception to your end, where you will be truly free—where beauty has no name. Follow the bees and grass, the sky and the moon; they cannot lie. Follow your breath, your madness and grace; they will never lead you astray. Take heed of the signs, for they are many, become a master of your native language, the realm of the unseen, your greatest ally. Do not run; rather walk purposefully into the shadow as you lead us into the light. Though you may not return to us tomorrow and many never know you have gone, be fierce, Goddess, and let love be your guide.
“All hail you, Divine Mother, as we rise to see clearly; we are everything and nothing, straight and round and empty and fluid spiraling us towards eternity. Blessed be.”