Somewhere along my journeys i heard the spiritual theory that birthmarks signify how many lives one has lived—actual indicators of where one was killed previously. I would think, then, that if one was not murdered, but say had lung cancer or passed because of an heart attack, they would show up on the relative spot on the skin where said afflicted body part resided. But, that’s not important.
I’m not truly sold on the violent nature of the blemishes, but i do feed into the lives tallied inconspicuously through ubiquity idea.
More times than i can even think to count, i’ve thought about how many times i’ve been on this earth, how many encounters over the decades, maybe centuries, i’ve had to roll the dice.
Others, pretty much always women, have asked innumerably, as well, “Who are you?—how old are you?—how many lives have you lived?” Or, “I wonder when we last met.” And the thing with words is they all have to be unpacked, and more so when one is aware of tone and context; these inquiries weren’t survey fodder, application items, but deeper curiousity. And i truly dig it—i dig them—for i wonder, too. I usually answer with a smile or some other expression rather than anything vocal. I don’t have a direct, succint answer. There cannot be one—one rational or logical, at least. Even still: i’m always more interested in where we, whoemever it is, met rather than how long ago. Human nature doesn’t change much, just customs and societal rules, so i want to know how far i’ve traveled more than when. Wait, no. I’m lying. It’s a combination of both; i need to know where and when to understand the historical significance, to know if it was even possible. If i—we—am still the same aesthetically as before, with minor alterations, such as hair and possibly weight, anything that is variable normally, would i fit in that society during the time period; would i be ostracized or accepted? Hmm. Ponderments with increasingly doubtful answers.
A stone’s throw away (and this works since we’re talking about time!), a few-years-old dream was rekindled: to spontaneously hop on a train (think Amtrak) heading as far away for half a day’s trip, where i’ll scribe and scribe, hopefully producing a novella, at least a short story, hell, maybe an handful of blog posts or essays, during the jaunt there and back. I don’t want to tell anyone till i arrive at far off destination, only that i’m safe, i haven’t been abducted, and then not until i return, limbs intact. Don’t want anyone to know where i’ve gone. I don’t do well with the “ask” for permission thing. I will just bounce—a quasi-spontaneity. The goal being to write, to think. It’s a lust to wander in inconspicuous solitary. A modern-day ascetic journey.
It fits in with years long gone, of years antiquated: of Abraham Lincoln composing the Gettysburg Address; of Bro. James Weldon Johnson traversing the northeast to the South, poor, passing, thinking; of Whitman and Thoreau; of Atlas Shrugged, the personification, tranquility and tumult of burgeoning railroads, of pioneering; of the human spirit—always on the move. I want my future reflected in birthmarks. Prophetic, perhaps. Maybe.
Thinking about writing within the spaces of decades ago: of the Harlem Renaissance, of the Antebellum South, within the viewpoint of a woman, of a White man, of a Black single mother, of a chattel slave, of an indentured servant, of a Negro League player, of a tattooed native not unlike my current looks or decorated skin, of a god, a devil, an angelic demon.
Meandering thoughts through space, time and cultures; through thoughts, religions and desires.
I’ve been morbidly intrigued with and unafraid of death since a young child, signified by the passing away of my paternal grandfather, the only connection to another language, tagalog. I still remember that snowy day at his funeral—possibly my oldest memory of this life. I didn’t know until i was older that i spoke tagalog with him, one of the only to do so, since he didn’t speak English well, if really at all, save for curse words (like “nigger,” which he called my mother when she was pregnant with me; but that is not unexpected of i/emmigrants who are prone to learn the “names” and perjoratives of the underclass or sects and blocs of people in said country; though, no absolution, just point of reference. He did, however, grow to absolutely love and adore my mother once we, my brother and i, were born).
My mother nutured my life-long fascination unknowingly by continually talking about death arrangements, namely her funeral (buried like the Jews, within three days—do not keep her body out!). So, i’ve always known that nothing lasts forever, nothing physical at least, in one form for eternity.
With each passing year, possibly even months, more and more birthmarks—or, should i dub them life spots?—seem to sprout upon my body. Maybe there are so many that i don’t recall them being there since the beginning. Or, have they surfaced as i get closer or reach the various ages of my previous deaths? Or possibly, encounter something similar from before; maybe, learning a skill or having an epiphany: they’re like awards or achievements echoing centuries forward.
One of my favorite videogames, Planescape: Torment (for PC), which probably has the greatest story of all-time, focuses on The Nameless One, an immortal emblazoned with scars upon scars and tattoos upon tattoos (of course i instantly liked him). Each mark tells a story, signifies a memory, an encounter, a person, smell or experience. Every time he dies, he comes back alive days or hours later–sometimes weeks, even years. He doesn’t change bodies or appearance, however. His journey takes him through various spaces and times, dimensions and lands, all hinging upon figuring out the mystery, deciphering the clues, putting together the jigsaw while solving the rubix cube of why him. It’s a(n even more) sordid Momento.
The point of it all (Anthony Hamilton), ‘all’ being this post, is reflecting on the future through mirrors of the past. Is it possible? Not sure it matters. It does make for interesting, sober thoughts, though. How far to go? How little traveled?
I guess—i hope!—i’ll get to see, to know.