Valentine’s Day. A window to peer through. Who indeed celebrates it? Cupid, even hobos having heart shaped red boxes full of candy to spare. Bright sun upon the disuse of snow. Melting stopping you in your tracks. Long pursed lip pause along the fractious social inattention. Some have shopping rags. Some have deeper closets. And some are on the bum within their own long overused underwear! And yet, still others still, are contemplating a much freer life! People watch normal. Normality whatever that is? As abnormality goes, too Left or too Right. Something at the apex, or within the lowest dimension of a crevice. People liberally in surround as inexplicable as the fact of one’s own existence. Why? No qualms about cameras, static or drone mounted. Yet flash those human eyes in an unwarranted manner in an untoward direction and then catch the hoopla! Iconic visage topics undergone in tomb borne possibilities of inane explanations shunning these modern times. What a dialogue! Held in silence within one’s self. About the many demeanor’s passing by one on their way to uncertain futures. Perhaps a machine producing same existing just out of sight? Is this responsible for the singularity of the greater illusion? How do you put this mental Swan Song in print? Tchaikovsky? These animals padding back and forth behind this glass before one. Whatever the incongruities! The attempt is genuine and faithful and even being well-intentioned.
Concert time of decadent works of longstanding presupposed art. The same old prudish characters hobbling in. Some approaching on their last legs. Dear sweethearts all! All and all, faithful to the glories of the past. And determined to be as best as able in consort with the fade afflicting them. What remains within the ancient shells of these still young? Resisting that fate with whatever remains lurking within unsung and still young? Resisting what meager fate that has inevitably descended from above to rest upon the inevitable. How many will be absented from this gathering next Spring? Music that Maurice Ravel could appreciate. Sweet, delicate to the ear. Bringing forth the best tones of the instruments. Someone’s perfume overpowering but not reaching the level of annoyance. But yet, not far off the mark. Gothic old lady chic. “What the fuck is chic any ways?“, as the latest popular movie had said. A forest of hopes. All strangers, some transfixed by this performer. Some by their own God almighty. The imagined remnant of the grand salon of the Belle Epoque. Hanging on collections of fast paced notes drifting into imminent oblivion. If not cheerfully so. Pleasure and happy thoughts. Items no longer in fashion. A separation from audience to performer, not unlike from left hand to right hand. The level of respect maintaining silence in the hall growing troubling like a dumb cane. Some traditions, all ‘black‘, lodging loud protest in constant discontent from their own persistent surround of this enclave of whiteness. Something that they call in their own self-conjured sense rightful consternation. Something by the fact of their own moral lack to right of evidencing same. The slow creep of death announced so over dramatically by Liszt. Dance of Death like some Hollywood big budget vehicle summoned from a half a century past.
youthfully unabashed arrogance
and age in careful regret
the stony depreciation of virtue
by itself a form of hypocrisy
trying to figure out the dream
as it dreams the dreamer
nearer to thee than too far
far too far away from forever
a slow walk down – now through and through
rubbing your eyes
by the light of morning erasing the night
nothing left beyond this feeling
the impression left
a key without a lock
the quill without its ink
intentions without any means meaning nothing
youthful equation duly modified
the onset of the dependable virtue that once was
rationality something easily held at bay
this incongruity now a noble purpose
The world that one exists within eventually seems to become a place of never ending disappointment under the weight of the ever shifting controlled chaos of a fickle indifferent society. And as such it does often seem that as one grows up and eventually grows old there is little help for those that it abrades to regain a sense of lost innocence that was their initial state of being. The notion of same in practice as an adult considered a sign of simple-mindedness by the surrounding ill winds of decadent cynicism that pervades popular culture where being vulnerable in public eye is nearly an unpardonable sin. The invocation to those little aspiring mortals caught within what was once long ago a period of time known as childhood being to toughen up and be disciplined in the face of the domino-like gauntlet of one disappointment after another leading to an inexhaustible series of same. The semblance of appearing to win being more important than daring to ask for a uncompromising acceptance for what one is at their weakest moments. Perhaps one can know of how much one’s self has been corrupted over the years by their wonder at a tiny little untainted soul in distress and as such know what innocence truly is yet again?
The experience of supervising young children in the middle of the first decade of their earthly existence for an hour each day has taught this author as much about life as the proceeding decades of constant collision with the vagaries of existence in an urban realm. Those occasional moments when one is challenged to depart from the strict guidelines of professional indifference and lend a kindly ear with sympathy being a minefield for misunderstanding. As a an adult male caught within a much larger political battlefield it is taking a chance with ones career and nebulously ambivalent social standing to provide such a human gift. My present wonder at this is occasioned by a most recent experience where a tender young lady of between five and six and small in stature for her age. The first one to arrive generally having to apply almost all of her strength to pull aside the heavy hydraulic cylinder loaded doors. The ring of her childish vocal chords resounding in a nursery room cartoon impression of adulthood as she experiences it. Her encounter with the decorum of the classroom itinerary of the teacher necessarily forward as if by some internal undisclosed resource provided her as a young cub to survive the hostile world of older peers by this effort. The playing deck of varying childish rivals who demand attention from the one adult influence as the dealer of regulated progress in this classroom assembly for their own form of unstructured acting out within the context of the coming hour always in contest with those small and perceived as weak but ever resilient. Yet in my experience with children over the last year in considering what has been for me as a lonely bachelor verified by decades of solitary existence, as undeniably miraculous.
To see such a little soul unexpectedly demeaned to tears within this constant battle for hegemony in the ruthless pecking order of the patent meanness that those in the group casually deal is equally heartbreaking. One wanting deep down to violate the strict taboos of this workplace and simply offer the solace of a warm embrace to assure that the world they live in though so often mean in spirit is not without sympathy for their plight. The next best thing being offering a middle ground in engaging her in conversation in one’s supposed position as battled worn sage. Enlightening her as best one can by offering the notion that their mentor was once as young and vulnerable as she was. What a wonderful and terrible disclosure to find that the object of her pain is one of the other little boys that rage about the room in constant careless play. Equally innocent in his way despite him testing every rule to favor his experience of the world by ever testing its confining boundaries. The ghostly descendants of these same little demon spirits that once plagued one far ago in one’s own experience at five. The whispered secret as solution to the sorrowful tale pf woe that she relates in her version of unrequited desire for singular connection with this ruthless rapscallion being to reveal that his form of reaching forth to vie for her affection is to be ever annoying. The part that one necessarily leaving out that perhaps this same menace is just being annoying with no other underlying motive resting behind his perceived infamies as she suffers them.
How odd it then seems then to one so late in life to be aware as a bystander of this same old endless repetition of dissension imposed as d’rigor of common playground etiquette? The battering and bruises that these young untainted souls endure seemingly harmless to the outside view of adult sensibilities now long decades past. Yet realizing for the moment that these seemingly incidental scars too often are carried through an inadvertent pattern of behavior abstraction over the course of their future lives. To see this in such a way and offer one’s mercy to try to explain as best one can that all are equally likely beset along the way with the basic unfairness of misdirected emotions by others. Hoping that despite the futility of the situation and their lack of stature of the one in pain that it is not just childhood but the beginning experiences that they must fathom as part of the experience of life. The moral lesson in all this seemingly inferring that as members of that final constituency of those growing fatally old and near to an earthly passing we must return in one way or another to those days of childhood where it all began. How ironic that one who by the fact of their solitary existence of seven decades would be shown the world where life in general by virtue of connection by paring is renewed by the fresh experiences of the offspring that are produced. How even one whose own life having been cast at a distance from all this is renewed in some small way by contact with these initial petite dramas. It makes one feel that the universe around is not simply an empty vessel that can only be filled with regrets.
Why my world and worldview was ripped away from me. Here I sit mentally fit and physically reasonable. Waiting. Waiting for an opportunity. Any opportunity. Something that will never come again. Why? Because my generation who foolishly set the trend to Liberal mentalities were a bunch of fools. We were easily taken in by the notion of Utopia that was slathered upon us by those professional deceives in Hollywood, publishing and the counterfeit coinage of that segment that calls itself the ‘news’ media. Now I sit idle contemplating my imminent demise like some character in Orwell’s, Paradise Cafe. Feverishly monitoring the screen as if I was looking out the window at the planetary geo-engineered weather wondering when if ever I will see the sky and perhaps the stars ever again. Oh yes! My own eyes still experience what goes on around me, or does not. You see I have developed a long memory. Actively worked upon it in these times of unexpected prolonged unwanted leisure. The world as it once was now something that the current stack of techno-babies cannot imagine or possibly confront. They only know faux visual universes that ape insignificant semiotic post-Modernism.s that give an artificial flavor of worlds past. More in the way that prospective worlds of a tainted future all resemble the Socialistic plans for present tense co-opting. The destructive fantasy of equality by complete normalization on the model of the mechanically foolproof doctrine of the Corporate Globalist management of the entire planet. One where human life is an anachronism that must be stamped out from universal molds to offer perfect cogs. Ones deprogrammed of any uniqueness and ready to surrender all individual leanings in return for the occasional prize of some robot fulfilled animal desires. Semen and ovum for the uterus of one’s closed fist and not for the promulgation of an independent family. Mass routine inoculations to limit lifespan and vitality to the absolute baseline minimum or use as a bio-weapon to quell any unforeseen revolt. A core obsession to displace and dispel all Elvira Madigan’s format he planet. Bitter daily pills filled with arsenic. Life as perpetual suicide where each day begins and ends with a wish to finally get it over with and die.
No, I did not imagine this sort of world possible way back when I refused to follow my own father’s lead. Or take his hard won sage advise. Now the current generations are not even guaranteed the possibility of committing that mistake. That vague steel wool superstructure of state supported constant social justice harangue wears down all propositions that were once taken as solid foundations of sanity and successful life. Things like living a childhood exclusively within a home with two parents there to actively raise them. Instead of the modern conventions of constantly being farmed out to nurseries and day care and after school behavior medication by electronic screens. Live constantly with the faux apprehension that the easily available Internet cornucopia of phone accessible factoids does not comprise wisdom. Routinely surrender themselves in the blink of an eye to social media gossip that cannot validate its claims beyond an unconscious sense of perceptual awareness that it must come ultimately from an anonymous overbearing despotic power group in control of that same means of diffusion. The motivation by way of an unspoken fear that they too may be quickly marginalized if they do not go along with the central planning’s latest whim. Mass suicide of the the self by the continued consensus of silence supporting an increasing conformity by total inaction. “Do what you are told!” and squawk about it in private. Blame, blame,blame! But never act in your own behalf by supporting your own family identity against the latest shifting viewpoints. Take on the portmanteau of guilt without question or rage against those who would saddle you with it. Just sink back and surrender. Some form of ongoing unstoppable festering waking nightmare that easily de-trains any of my own unconscious nocturnal leanings no matter how vile or mad or insane they might be. The dreams of former conventionality as once imagined now a future fully and finally erased. “All hail the eternal guinea pig!” Chasing the world upon a screen while they remain perpetually immobile. This are the seeds of the Utopia’s sold to my generation by the evil corporate few come to flourish. I sit here and sip my coffee in the meantime. Looking out over the perpetual gray landscape of civilized futility an no longer dare to dream. Only being able to support just so many nightmares?
They say that a baby, any baby is innocent when it is born. I suppose this statement is beyond all the ‘mumbo jumbo‘ of past lives and continuation of existences. It is only when the personal programming format he family and the society begins to take hold that we all go running like swarms of ants from a magnifying lens. Group identity is a matter of choice. This is true despite location or adolescent fantasies reflected. A dynamic just as indecipherable as the mystery of the lanes where the soul travels to and from work in taking on the mortal habit of humanity. The labels that overshadow being the creation of groups of men and women caught up in the context of same by volition. To cast one’s eyes upon them is to take in their collective actions yet it cannot often ascribe any single overriding influence explaining the dogmas that its member’s fall into. The “Japanese” or “Japs” as they were once referred to three-quarters of a century past was a club by virtue of similar resemblance. Though not by all of those that were forced by mortality to wear that particular ‘overcoat throughout’ life. Books with the appropriate dust jacket caught up within a group but still ascribing to a more universal ethic not necessarily constituent of the official projected consistency of thought and action. The error of these ways being that inferred group think. Generalization as a surrender to the edicts of small highly demonstrative elites acting as cabals issuing directives that the rest of the membership goes along with. Collective guilt not really so much primarily by association but passively by default.
That famous statement of recent times being, “You are either with us or you are part of the enemy.” This mechanization of behavior being made acceptable on the count of the possibility or reward and the imposition of fear. The mind of the individual being the culprit in the craggy clipped rock climbs of moral dilemmas. Religion and individual religious practice being the saving grace and car port to park ones sense of duty, common sense and moral responsibility. To go along mindlessly provides no fit excuse for abandoning the same. So often carried along into foreign territory ignorant of the final outcome of one’s own tacit participation performed in perfect silence. Though ignorance of it may at times directly challenge one’s ability to survive. That constant thin veil of self-deception being the daily battleground where one must struggle with the right and the wrong of their own actions as weighed against the need for growth and basic survival. There are no truly fit road maps from the past to guide one within the minefields set int he present. Humans might be analogized as they once were of old as riders upon horses. But there is responsibility for one’s actions after they have been committed from thought. The problem of highly organized technologically based societies being that the rider is being constantly invoked to carry his horse around on his back instead of the other way around. One can only hope to transcend from the identities they are saddled with to a universal sense of mercy and forgiveness for just being what they are. Perhaps divine? But ultimately, Human.
They had been in the hotel suite now for what must have been almost a half a day. The matter of clothes had been left at the foot of the bed. She had the tone of one that had just cleared adolescence even though she was numerically well beyond it. He looked at life from the other end of the scale of years. Naked in the mirror there could not have been more of a mismatch had one tried to imagine it. The ardor of their meeting had long past and passion was looking for an excuse to one again loom high above any judgement of time or places to be. She would be fired. That was obvious when the doors of the suite were open and she had to retrieve her street clothes and replace the hotel uniform that she had worn when she had delivered the room service to Mr. Manny. She looked at him as he sat on the edge of the bed staring into empty space. A second cigarette he had pulled from the pack that had been spirited away from inside the crumble of his sports jacket laying inside flap open on the carpet beside her undergarments. As a lay, he had been underwhelming. Though well-hung and no doubt exceedingly more vigorous in his youthful days, their encounter in coupling had been thankfully brief. More an alternating series of her serving him on her knees and then infrequently turning about to present herself to his ever flagging enthusiasm. Impotence not a matter of culinary excess in fine wine and spirits liberally laced with narcotics. His bull had been out to pasture for some time. The persistence that she had shown was more a matter of respect and politeness than any hope for the completion of a climax on either of their parts.
She watched him slowly exhale smoke as she wondered briefly if he found her more attractive for her youth than for her somewhat lanky feminine curves. Perhaps his ethnic Italian background felt more in tune with a heftier sort of female? “More to grab onto!”, as she had long ago heard some boys in her high school quip in their unabashed review prom dates barely sullied save for the imagination. She had to question her own attraction as she contemplated the strange nature that men ever seemed to present. Always in hot pursuit of you caught senseless in a frenzied chase like some half mad fox hound intoxicated by the scent of available prey lurking about the neighborhood. But their instincts, more times than not, quickly quenched after a brief introductory round of furtive coupling. Then an unapologetic excuse or mumble to avoid camping out with he on the wet spot. But maybe too it was her in some way? She had a way of beating them to the punch in the matter of her one self satisfaction. Making their attempts at foreplay served upon her a competition with her own ministrations to ensure her own pleasure. If they took the cue and worked a different ‘part of town’ it in some cases had been a plus. But some indeed were put off and were soon to lose interest in more than a brief round of satisfaction to honor their instincts that had been unleashed.
There was something very compelling to her having had a television icon from her youth. Something that violated a basic sense of family propriety akin to being too long bouncing legs a straddle upon her elder uncle’s bony knees. That didn’t seem right. Not that she could ever recall any incident from her own family on either side! It was just the idea of it now remotely caught in the recesses of her own head. The role play of being bad and doing something forbidden that made her stir hot and warm deep down low. The idea also that she like some native American savage of ancient plains combat had now counted coup and could add this experience to her psychological lodge pole. Mr. Manny had been deposed. The experience of the completion of this seduction had stolen the novelty of his name and fame. And he had been left just an old pathetic man who had the good fortune to enjoy the experience of a young female once more. A pleasure that he had no shame in claiming even though it was based upon a measure of fame that had long ago gone into permanent hibernation in the province of late night series reruns. How many women had he briefly and intimately known in the course of his career she wondered? It was obvious that she would not be remembered past the night. She felt a firm nudge at her side and she looked down to see his well-jeweled paw with two hundreds twixt its stubby fingers. He tapping her gently again as she politely took the bills.
It was just past the second shift and she knew that it was a good time to go. Without a sentence she gathered up her portion of the piled clothing. Maybe she would have better luck in keeping her position than she suspected? His gravely voice issued a casual relaxed, “thanks.”, From behind her. As if he had just simply tipped a masseuse after the conclusion of a rub down session. It seemed a funny way to look at their sojourn. Simply a session to garner a little relaxation. Something that she conjectured kept him focus in the present instead of dwelling on the long lost past. A form of therapy. Strange too think of it that way? What life would be like for her when it was her time? A women caught far past any ability to enjoy her own hormones anymore when a persistent nagging feeling of a need to be comforted would rise in importance above the need for achieving a solid orgasm? For men it seemed holding hands was never enough. Always something more to prove to themselves. Lost little boys caught in misshapen aged weary forms that defied the former vitality of youth. Dirty little boys poking and pressing their nasty parts onto you. More to impress themselves than you that they were still there and very much alive. For her it seemed, a pair of older more experienced hands that were confidently sure in their routines speaking volumes in a slow pagination of seduction. Those well-versed with the intricate folds and creases of a woman. And how to apply themselves without becoming embarrassingly awkward. A form of abandon that suited that lingering little girl inside and her constant craving for perfection. One that she was still reluctant to acknowledge in finding herself fully cast as just another woman.
The room was still dark. A gray milkshake coverlet lay upon all covering the heavens. The time was debatable. He turned to his side so his old miserable bag of bones would find some small degree of renewed comfort. The covers immediately above him displaced enough t allow a sliver of cold air to tumble in at an open seam. His shoulders now crowned by its light touch he stirred from sleep. The flash of so many possible episodes of nightly travels lost to the sight of shadow play around him. It was morning. Christmas morning. The worst Christmas morning he had known. At least he supposed so. His dark droll manacle unlit by the trappings of the holiday. He had left the parts and pieces unpacked in a locker far at the other end of the hall. “No Christmas this year.“, he mumbled as he thought. No time for sentiment either. The old clock radio confirmed his fears. barely fourteen minutes to seven. No sounds from the spaces above and below and beside him. It was Sunday and the great calendar of the progression of days that those ancient Romans who had found it necessary to take note of such things said it was so. Commerce overcoming chaos. At present his degree of participation in such things was nil. About all that could be said was his bills were paid for the month running up to the transition new year. The great wheel of mankind spinning round in an endless cycle of financial responsibility and lack of ownership. It was not always so.
He could recall his childhood in bright flashes of images and sounds of both random and crisis prone pivotal events. The measured drums of the death of a president juxtaposed and a bad paper cut. The sound of his young cousin and the bathroom door yanked open. The grinding whirring gears of an all new plastic push button spring loaded battery operated missile launcher before a white flocked tree smothered in tinsel. Behind it all that Mid Century ranch house that had come and gone like some celestial barge in the mind. Christmases celebrated after then took on a more distracted tenor. Hard earned money freely spent on measured trivialities. Packages to be exchanged of various goods both expensive and cheap hidden cloistered within the garb of raucous patterns of shiny tinfoil reflective wrappings. A fresh killed treetop or a garish simulated version of same now as a center piece for the muted displays of gratitude through that mini marathon of an all too brief hiatus in the holiday season marking the cycle of another year’s end. He supposed the earth was lingering still at the farthest point from that all too powerful jealously glowing orb? How like society this celestial spoiled ‘look at me‘ type kid to spin it so carelessly around and around. As if on the end of a string risking some unexpected collision one day with another equally casually spun star? All these northern hemisphere rituals or rebirth seemed at the core of same so barbaric. The coming procession of death defeating for a time what one had recently come to know as everyday. All to be replaced by the birth of something else that would be in most essential details absolutely no different. Another year grayer. Another year a little more tired. Yet no farther ahead now than when the bloom of youth had been in force over the prospect of contemporary wrinkles. Time it was said was our father. But there seemed to be no mother to be found? The coming year cast as an infant. But fated just as surely to be defaulted eventually into similar circumstances some three hundred and sixty days plus hence.
He struggled a bit to re-assume the comforting mantle of the heavy edge of woven cloth reflecting his own waning heat. Laying in a fetal position his present tense appreciation of life a cold stove frozen shut feeling of the the dead of Winter. The heat was on but the windows seemed inefficient in keeping the drafts occasioned by a stiff wind from having their presence noted. The snow had commenced just after the sun had taken its place in the heavens. It illuminated the veil of gray that stood in for another day for that ever more rare quality known as a blue sky. There wasn’t a soul to be found on the streets as the crystals congealed in their slow tumble from the highest heights of the cached heaven. Gradually white collected upon the roofs and streets and lawns below. No other lights appeared to relieve the lake of well muted colors. Not sad as a sight so much as empty. He knew some would be out by late morning or afternoon. Movies. Mostly those that tied to replace the spirit of Christmas with a cynical contemporary cleverness. Mouthing a stilted appreciation of history as learned on screen like children playing with toys that have substitute for a stilted approximation of the cold hard realities once so evident in those former days. His head was full of them. The ones that had shuttled through his own time. His own era. The tree was after all a symbol of the ongoing progress of family. Of an ongoing lineage. Something that he personally was unable to produce. Moving slowly out from under the covers it was evident that he was persistent in his slowness. That reticence for the approach of the minute hand chasing its shorter stouter companion. Appointments and places to be ever causing a feeling of mounting apprehension as if he was ever the inexperienced pilot in danger of overrunning the runway. A feeling of sliding on icy ground towards the edge of a precipice.
It might have been a simple case of claiming that he had missed something along the long and twisting path that the highway of life had offered. But he had supposed and dined and enjoyed more than most. Many hello’s matched eventually by the casual nature of eventual loss. Some polite experiences of formal farewells. Others simply by way of uninterrupted long absence. The loss of a personal phone book. Of battery power, or the change in communication vendors. Occurrences that though sad to think of in some cases had become expected. The ebb tide of interests in the collective fantasy of the world as wrought by man no longer inspiring as they once had so passionately been. The destination that loom ahead seemed to demand answers that less and less he seemed both unwilling and unable to supply. The body demanded sustenance and shelter and put up a mighty intrusion into one’s thoughts if not satisfied it was true. But the soul that hid behind the heart was no longer able to be fed? He suspected that existence was only an illusion. An unquestioned vanity. And perhaps he was only a transitory projection that lingered for whatever time that he was aware of same. Yet their was a ‘but’ bestowed. A selfish wish to know all. The comings and goings of all these various events that populated the sum total of each bygone year and what was the point? What was the use. “Mere existence?”, he suddenly questioned. All the celebrations? What were they for? The simple salutation to some larger chaos for the privilege of consciously knowing it was so? “What thanks could he offer?“, he slowly thought, “To this endless gray waiting world?” And there was the rub!