Wednesday, May 10, 2006


"Between Frames"

In September light as bright
And bleached as bone,
A gull's wings, passing overhead,
Provide a shade too brief
For human eyes or human minds
To notice.

There, lost between frames
Our own human perception
Forever blinds us
To all of the Eternal moments
We miss.
-- Milo David Freeman. 02/06

The weather in Germany over the past week has been sunny and a little hot, with no clouds and an abundance of pollen everywhere. Late yesterday, the sky grew purple with afternoon haze, and tall thunderheads started piling up in the north. By about five in the afternoon, thunder rumbled across the Rheinland, and at last we were blessed with the first shower of the season.

The rain was warm and gentle, enhancing as it does the ambient scents that always seem to float on the air. I caught a strong whiff of ozone, mixed with sweet lilac, and found myself thinking of home. It's been so long since I felt a breeze that felt the same, smelled late evening air the same as that which I grew up with on the shores of Lake Huron. For a few moments, I felt refreshed, Enlightened. Some small part of me awoke which has lain dormant for more days than I can remember. It awoke in me the memory of something beyond all the events of the last few years--before the Army, before my marriage, before Germany. It's like forgetting who you are for many years, until one summer day, with a slow dawning, you look up and you suddenly remember.

And I realized: one day, years from now, there will be no more Specialist Freeman, or even Sergeant Freeman. There will be no more Freeman, all boots and beret and closely-cropped military hair. There will be no more morning PT. No more monthly counseling statements. There will be no more field problems, or anxieties over deployment. There will be no Freeman, only Milo; scruffy, unshaven and grinning, with a hard tan and calloused feet from all the long miles walked alone in sandals. There will be no more fear, no more hardcore posturing. There will only be myself, and my wife, and hopefully a child, and together we will be happy.

One day, many years from now, I will return home, to a summer as quietly erotic as those of my adolescence. There I will walk, blissfully alone, my only companion the humid mornings of June, and maybe the gentle waves of Huron. I will walk, and I will sit, and I will gaze out over the pier and embrace the Huron moments that I had forgotten for so many years. I will remember and enjoy again the quiet moments where Divinity truly hides, and I will know that never again will there have to be Suffering in my life, or in the lives of those I love; only Compassion.

There exists in me a dichotomy, between Specialist Freeman and simply Milo. I love what I do, but the man who steps into my boots every morning is not the same man who steps out. There is no time, no place for beauty in the life I inhabit. I am not content to live the same life as many of my comrades. I am more than just a soldier. I am a man. And I want more.

I want to see the water again; I want to experience the life that we all miss slipping in between the frames. I want to experience Nirvana again as that series of moments; brief eternities spent in laughter with old friends, or in solitary contemplation. I want samadhi. I want, one day, to be able to hang up the uniform, to cast off this shell of rank and file, and go back again to just being Milo.

There is an entire side to the world that, after being experienced, makes the rest of life seem hollow and empty.


Blogger Shiau-Peng Chen said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I love your poems! I also start to write poems these days. However, it's hard for me to write English poems because it's not my first language.

By the way, it's interesting to see what you wrote about military. I agree with most of the views and opinions your expressed. Keep working hard!

5:44 PM  
Blogger cameo said...

oh you beautiful man. i want all those things for you too. i want you to have babies, and go for walks, and be just Milo. i used to be a ballerina, now i teach ballet. and i totally get what you're saying - how the you that steps into the boots is not the you that steps out. i throw on my ballet shoes, and i dictate and instruct, and pound the technique. in ballet there is no grey - only right and wrong. oh, you understand? uh huh. but the cameo that truly is - the spirit of me is free. how hard it is to remember when i wear this other hat SO MUCH! i don't want you to go to iraq, and i don't even know you. i don't want your wife to miss you. you have won me over, and i wish only great things for you and your family. good ju-ju to you both.

6:01 AM  
Blogger cinnabari said...

We wear so many faces... so many costumes... I don't know that I believe, personally, in an essential Cinnabari (who is herself a mask, the pixelated self whose voice is only the shape of words, and not the sound). There is writer and wife and lover and gamer and teacher and academic and daughter and, and, and. I think there is a coninuity of self, and of selves. I don't know where I want to end up, but then... I don't think the process of being I ever ends, either.

7:10 PM  

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