It could be the fountain, its mesmerizing spray rising in perfect
symmetry from an infinite source, freshening the air with
sparkling abundance. Or the way the lights create an
eternal noon. All darkness is subdued, all suffering banished.
I am alternately softened—and aroused—by the music toying with
my neurotransmitters, entraining my heart, lifting and suspending
me in the eternity before the next beat. Here, all beings in ancient
tribal synchrony step in rhythmic gait, speak in measured
tones or giggles, either ignoring or clinging to each other, setting
and preserving boundaries between inner and outer space. There
are no extremes, no intrusions. Here, the fantasy, the isolation,
being on your own special journey is the omnipresent extremity.
The message is the same: I Am. The Mall, the zenith of western
commerce, is all true and all a chimera of ineffable appearance. There
I dangle, in a transitional universe, ever true…and false, arising
without cause. Every breathing, thinking being, sensing its limited
journey through the belly of the all-consuming karmic beast,
lives in that moment, carries the same secret, both hiding and
revealing it. Every sound passing myriad lips is an effortless mantra
of praise, the same mantra, the same devouring wish. The hand
reaches into the pocket, removes the wallet. Swoosh. The electronic
readers send the data to Central Processing, where, alas, your account
is overdrawn. Your debt is now 100,000 lives. I rise to break the spell.
Yes. The spell, like an egg under perpetual reconstruction, is already
cracked. Maybe it’s the glitter, the uncompromising materiality
in all directions, the new car display, mirroring the innate brilliance
of the lucid mind, every wish a lottery ticket to the pinnacle of imagination,
every number a lucky winner, encrypted in a mannequin’s pose.