The Cost of Future Tense


The freest person I’ve met perceived hosts on foreign networks in cryptic idioms like the forest of his childhood: each stone, each bird, each shadow had no secret for her.

The freest person on Earth knows three boundaries: the ocean and the breathing of its waves, and the roar of its depths; the stratosphere beyond which machines decay, out in the crushing silence of the solar wind; the skin, plastic and porous, the drum of desire dancing at the pulse of a broken heart.

The freest person I know doesn’t look back to some flowing fiction of a continuous history, and ignores the prospect of a future past. She doesn’t live to expectations: she stepped away from paved avenues to trace a tricky path, uncertain and bold. Lecturing an attentive group of customs officers on the futility of borders and the fate of money, the freest person passes through life in candid wonder.

There is debt to the children of men, wiping out fossil life, threatening theirs, even ours, for the convenience of an intense present with the blow of thunder. A choking smoke screen of comfort at the cost of future tense condemns our descent to oblivion with a cheering me-time. A blooming hell thrives as the gods laugh at our prophetic thin lines: technology would save us all, amen.

The freest person you’ve met always has time for you. Running here, standing there, bursting into laughter, frowning, crying along, sharing a quiet moment in the crank of an urban desert, his hello is always a relief. You could meet in the eyes of another solitude, another self; the presence of community in a smile, a word, a handshake would bring evidence of the Cosmos.

Sitting on a squeaky bed in solitude, with only the halo of an unseen moon to keep obscurity at bay, the freest person travels across space-time conserving memory of ancient temples in the confinement of her cell. Is the cost of freedom the burden of consciousness?

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