Strangers and Contact

We are all strangers. We are born strangers, when we meet, we are strangers, and sometimes even when we have known each other for years, we are still somehow strangers.

To be a stranger is to be alone, a silence amidst cacophony, a roar hidden inside a silent world. To be a stranger is to be a lost atom of humanity, to have no yardstick or morality, to have no voice or epiphany. The stranger is strong, yet fear and loneliness stalk close to that strength.

To be a stranger is also to yearn, to hunger, even to lust, for contact.

Contact is the mythical, the magical, the sometimes sharing of two strangers from deep within themselves. True contact is transcendental, rare, and utterly intoxicating and addictive.

Strangers walk the streets miming, aping contact. Politeness veneers our angered and frustrated souls with narrow strips of imitation contact. A shadow, by which we remind ourselves that somewhere, sometimes, there is actually a light.

Contact is communication, but sometimes (often?) it is so strong that it actually defies the clarity we would associate with that word. It is certainly a communing, but in its ecstasy it overwhelms our primitive abilities to dress it up in words, or simple understanding.

Two people look at each other, struggle with words, fumble with clothes, and walk away confused and electrified. The words as yet are a jumble, an attempt but so far failing, to describe the reality. The visible intimacies, the conversations, the physical communions, are but a symbol of the contact, scratched on its surface, or on the surface of our minds as we long to meet again. The reality of this "unstrangerness" may never be understood or clearly expressed, as its only true function is to be lived.

The contact itself becomes its own meaning, and whether it is perceived as destructive or creative in the lives of those consumed by it, it is undeniably real. It is at the heart of all human endeavor beyond mere survival, and even though it is yearned for by every stranger that walks this world, it is the hardest thing to explain or share. A thousand books of poems and a hundred museums full of art would only indicate that there is something worth pursuing, finding in ourselves, in our lives - all those words, and paintings, sculptures, melodies, only serve as a teasing call to open up and find it for ourselves.

To find another stranger, and search for contact.


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printed 30 January 2023
© Huw Powell