Under the O,
Two Thousand

Her millennium? If asked she'd say she wouldn't necessarily think so, depending on the day, her hormone level, and her feelings about the relevancy of anything 'hers' in the next century, when so many of us seem to need to stamp our own personal brand onto phenomena. Living past 1984 was hard enough, she's not prepared for the advent of '2001 minus' with no monolith to teach her new languages, no bone/weapon/tool tossed spinning to become a space station in the sky.

It's the words themselves that have become foreign, what she uses to write, speak -- verbiage that a consumer culture and too many adwriters and politicos have hammered into weapons on the media anvil. She's had too many conversations in which someone says A only to mean B or possibly B squared to the power of your highest possible baud rate, where the meaning in language folds into itself like a mobius strip faster than individual digital characters can arrive on her screen. In these days of plurality no one denotation and its myriad connotations is enough, the populace needs meaning for all possible situations, for each ethnic and class persuasion, needs to redefine its post position on the starting grid of millennial existence, a formula-one race where the pursuit for the shock of the new, the cutting edge, has merely left us bloodless, staring into triple zeroes, no decimal point in view on a horizon shimmering for want of limits, or an oasis, real or imagined.

Perhaps that is why Christ and so many saviors went to the desert. Why a vision quest sounds like a good idea until one drives into Taos and sees all the new-age crystal pendants and dream catchers made in Taipei. Perhaps we should be happy, these are the fruits of a global economy -- catching dreams is big business on the Dow or your newest DVD. Soon no one will need to slog off into a real desert, face heat, thirst, or possible sunstroke, we'll be wired for our spiritual experiences, wet-webbed into possible revelation without leaving the bastions of our homes. Which is, by the way, where she'd be typing this from (writing would hark back to words rounded, cursive and curious), where her millennium will find her planting her future in the loam-dark earth. Peonies, bleeding hearts, poppies -- all heavy on the stem -- take her back to a time when the year 2000 represented an age so old as to be incomprehensible to a child who merely loved the sight and smell of flowers in her grandmother's garden, the powdery smell of old ladies with soft heavy chests, their cries of BINGO and the thought that she too might win something, some strange and wonderful prize, ringing out into the summer night.

Jennifer Ley