THE WALKING MAN
by Daniel Braum
THE WALKING MAN
At first I thought I’d start this by describing him as a sort of mad Colonel Kurtz, in reverse, a poet warrior, walking out of the jungle of Papua New Guinea to the four corners of Japan, into his own personal heart of light.
But that wouldn’t do. Nor would any cryptic reference or word puzzle made up of his Haiku. As much as this would please him.
And then I thought, maybe I’d begin with an image, of the man behind the glass window, screaming, screaming, for people to hear, yet they are walking on by, oblivious to the workings of his mind, the strings of words stitched together from his heart.
I am one of them. A fool who mistook the etchings on the glass, the panes fogging with midnight breath, for the workings of a genius, bored with the conventions of conventional prose.
“Love ignition overdrive,” he reads to the crowd.
The words come alive in my mind. And I am enlightened to the mysteries of his zodiac.
We study and teach and plot in his garden hideaway. We drink wine and feast with friends in the shadow of the golden Buddha, knowing that this is but a moment. One of those moments, a wild convergence of so many lifelines that will never cross again. I see that mournful glint, ever present in his clear eyes. I deduce meanings and stories from the fragments of word filled papers he carries, relics of moments, stretching into the past. I marvel at the giant pirate chest full of words he has amassed.
And I think of him, walking. Into this future, a line stretching away from our intersected moments, strung from his treasury of words.
I thought I’d write about a man who walked and walked and transformed all he saw into immortal art in the pattern of the ancients. In this story he doesn’t stop. He keeps on walking. Through all of Japan. All of Asia. All the world. And up into space, rising in a swell of mystic rhythms and notes, free from the ipod full of acid jazz and punk rock tethering him to the ground.
He walks from planet to planet. Footsteps dissolving into sprays of cosmic dust. Every expression cosmically significant, yet meaning nothing at all.
His treasure chest, no longer needed, left earthbound.