The Diamond Sutra
Chapters One Through Five with a Different Lens
by Carrie Schulz
ONE: The person, the woman, was walking and looking at cracks and lichen in the sidewalk, near Benson high school, not far from the Lloyd center and See See’s coffee. There were birds singing and fluttering, people driving cars, the occasional darting squirrel, and an unknown multitude of insects flying, creeping, and burrowing.
It was afternoon, and she had put on her worn clogs, synthetic pants (in case of rain), and walked while her daughter was in rehearsal. After walking and watching the various combinations of clouds and feeling sun and no sun on her skin, she entered the aged school building, verging on decrepit, and sat to wait for the performance.
A number of students came onto the stage, found their chairs, adjusted their music, and began to play.
TWO: On this occasion, the David Kerr violin was also present in the orchestra. The violin rose and fell in relationship to the bow, always subjugate to the music and always within the embrace of two hands. “It is rare,” thought the violin, “that the music, this music, entrusts us to weave and vibrate it into life. That all these hands, horse hairs, nylon, and rare woods thrum these shapes into being, that we are simultaneous doorways opening into layered machine voices that rise and fall in synchrony.”
Even so, the violin felt deeply into the music and pondered, “Music, coming forth, music, how do I meet you? Each moment a change of perception and note. As you fall, I rise, can I not meet with you when we speak with the same voice?”
The music moved, strings opened themselves to the air, cilia nestled in warm waxy eardrums stirred and triggered neurons to fire.
THREE: The music said to the young child, “Up, down, around, slides, sunlight.” Reds and oranges, a slide of blue, violet. Wooden chair with worm trails of carving. My fingernails are small, they taste of salt. I’m hungry, there’s no food. I’m not hungry. Thrum, boom, boom, boom. High, loud, notes strike the ceiling. Now they escape out the windows. The notes are free and there is silence. No silence. Hands clapping like flapping birds trying to fly. But there are no more notes to lift them.
FOUR: Conductor: I have given a gift, your children are a gift, you parents are a gift for driving them and making them practice. I am retiring.
Gift: With what am I born? What hands can hold me and define my form? Am I a vibration at the back of the mouth, the oil change last month, the tree felled?
Conductor: It is beautiful and I am tired and busy.
Gift: Hands and feets, repetition.
Parents: Days and nights and nights and days and fast food. Cars, cars, cars.
Conductor: Happy Mother’s Day.
Parents: Hands flapping.
Gift: Days and nights, nights and days, cars, cars, cars, Happy Mother’s Day, hands flapping, seats creaking, bows moving, counting, counting, notes.
FIVE: What do you think? Does the music possess notes? Is that not digitizing the analog? We fit colors into lines of a rainbow when a rainbow is 3 dimensional?
Can we own the hair 50% mom, 25% grandma, 12.5% great-grandma, and so on? The cornea like a raft on the ocean. An eye that often sees inward more than outward, or mixes the story with pavement, with faces and sky.
‘Yeah, yeah,’ like Zander in Paris, or ‘Fo’ real,’ like the boy on the Greyhound in Georgia. The way arms hang down from the Tichys, seen only in a faded family photograph, or from an early hominid. Mitochondria, from the earliest Eve out of Africa, from bacteria brought in and made a permanent part of our replicating selves. The way alcohol shapes the fetal brain, or trauma, or how war shapes a whole generation of minds, scathed and open.
The mole, the shape of a mouth, on genetic loan, a brief moment in the flesh.