A has been that’s never been. Nobody left in the parade. Fingers no longer my friends. Eyes on the way out. Guts churning day and night. The squish squash sound of a heart over-clocking all through the night. A has been. No longer good for nothing except in my dreams. No longer of use to the users. That never been part still hanging over my head like a dagger. Like a star elusive and out of reach. Dare I reach out and cut myself on the reflection. A flesh and blood automaton to the rest of the world. No one. No more braun with a failing brain. Going to bed too early while everyone else joins the party. Listen to the silence in the room. Counting the dollars that I should have had. Wanting to pay back old debts to people who have long since picked up stakes and gone away and died. Someone of no regard that the rest of the world is no longer in danger of being aware of. Another corpse to step over. A has been. Bouncing up and down weaving right and left. Legs unsteady and light headed possibly ready to take a dive. A has been! That’s what was overheard. The truth in it from having overheard. Learning that this world has given up on me. No it is my turn to follow suit. That long low empty space behind my footsteps where a whole lifetime used to be. Now all gone. The end. Only the wait left to be endured in respectful quiet. When will I wake up? When is it time to not. No longer? A wake up call for the has been. A long night’s rest.
It is no fantasy to believe that humans exist in their own circumstance due to the difficulty that they produce. Fastidiously following paths that eventually disappear beneath them into the desolation of total wilderness. The only thing rock solid beneath them is a determination to carry on towards that self-serving goal ever in the distance. At a certain point in life one’s inner boiler runs out of steam as nothing can last forever especially when it is attempting to continue in a framework where other means of that compete with it evolve to replace it. In human terms that is considered being out of touch. In cinema certain figures are royally celebrated for the innovation that they provided as a direction for others. But equally many of these same figures provide one with sad stories of trying to outlast their usefulness and fall into a sense of self-inspired perdition, the efforts driving that impulse propelling them downward and tarnishing their fundamental reputations. Examples of this might come by the way of the D.W. Griffith’s and John Gilbert’s in what was for some that fatal gap between silent and sound based films. Some persons alternatively have the good sense to know when to make a graceful exit and call it a day. Some that have fought a decades long struggle to erase their fall from grace from the mainstream have not. Enter the case of Orson Welles and that albatross hovering over his reputation that at a certain point he was unable to finish a film.
The post Hollywood era of Welles’ career found him more than usually supporting his own cinematic visions by prostituting himself as an actor and notable personality in very creative ways. In fact even building up his persona in terms of currency far beyond his initial formidable achievements of the Mercury Theater and the RKO produced Citizen Kane and Magnificent Amberson’s benchmarks. The problem being that the last two decades of his life were embroiled in attempting to top these achievements in terms of a similar scale bereft of Hollywood resources. Trying to work on a shoestring budget using any and all available talent in shooting scenes in a scattered and haphazard manner all of which that were essentially dependent upon his imagination of the moment rather than derived from a visually well-managed screenplay. The incessant editing by him over the years in an experimental sense revealing nothing more than that obsessive ramblings of an old has been Showman trying to pull another rabbit out of a too well-worn hat with major holes in it. There being no more available rabbits to be found beyond his existential obsessions that age and decadence had left him with. Consider the end result of casting an aged profligate from the street in the place of Shakespeare’s, The Tempest, Prospero! A gutter bound Duke of Milan, permanently exiled, his hopes to regain his kingdom permanently gone and all he can do is obsess about his daughter’s naked, and his betrayers punished though rude forms of rough trade justice. What ever one says about Welles’ overall reputation it does not match other 1930’s Proletariat potboilers of unwashed ire of working class antiheroes like Little Caesar or Scarface.
Orson Welle’s last exercise in movie making, The Other Side Of The Wind, being a pathetic attempt to reinvent himself leaning on the innovations of other much more youthful luminaries that were at that time decades past Welles’ own now wilted bloom. The final product of the recently released version suffering even further from the staccato understanding that resulted in innumerable tiny fragments of dialogue heavy bits and pieces rudely resembling a trite story line. Something that might be useful to some degree to psychologically assaying the mind of the one that initiated it than anything that is capable of entrancing an audience with any validity of purposeful entertainment. What it does illustrated to the viewer is a prurient focus on sexual obsession with his mistress and his impotence to stave off the attentions much younger competitive rivals. The officially inferred of latent homosexuality of his avatar character and his main acolyte equally spitefully portrayed. The film as completed posthumously some thirty years after his death showing the worst of what might have theoretically being his best attentions before his death. The ugliness of personal ruminations accompanying his incremental demise the context that this production seems to fit best. A poor stalking horse when considered by the standard of other directors at the time that Welles’ had initiated this project. Some names that buoy up in the midst of viewing his patchwork being John Boorman in Point Blank, Michelangelo Antonioni, Zabriskie Point and Roger Corman’s, The Trip.
One cannot go so far however to purposely condemn Welles at a palimpsest but rather someone flailing about to survive in a new cinematic landscape where the rules were being written by the young. His earlier achievements in terms of cinema being used in these cases in a manner more evolved beyond his own understanding. Filmmakers are only human being like the rest of us. Those few fortunate to be universally recognized at the height of their abilities to innovate. Yet it is had not to consider the way some other giants that were tasked along the way in their careers to transform finally handles their final curtain calls. Case in point, the German director, Fritz Lang, who after inventing the foundations of Film Noir in his native land with Die Spinnen, Testament of Dr. Mabuse, and M, then transitioning to help perfect it in America is probably best known to this generation through a brief cameo appearance in Jean Luc Godard’s Nouelle Vague masterpiece, Le Mepris. Those who wish to keep Orson Welle’s more brilliant achievements might resist the temptation to view this final poorly sewn together aged Prometheus if they wish to keep the impression of his genius pristine.
“The more I speak with her the more I feel pulled down into the whirlpool of that bottomless pit of love. It is bad time for males in this present epoch of so many Circe’s posing in the convenient guise of Penelope’s.”
MOVIE PLOT: A motion picture movie stand-in stunt man gets roped into posing as a mentally deficient moron, soon to be heir, in a unsavory plot spun by the male nurse to cash in on a fortune in family inheritance. Yet along the way unexpectedly becomes entangled in a bout of conscience and and enraptured by unexpected feelings of love for the only member of the family that is not contaminated by avarice. One that the ruse demands he must treat as his sister and not like the one love of his life.
Oh dear! This is very inconvenient for somebody who has already settled his life. Settled into a life of extinguishing any sense of emotions any further. Not allowing himself to feel anything anymore. And now imposed upon by this dilemma! One becomes beset over the years by their own self-engendered fantasies. Preferring to live in a dusty urn amidst the ashes of the past, trying to erase the presence of a future. All in the name of some vain hope of returning back to a now impossible world of things permanently lost never to be experienced again. Recycling memories and feelings into convenient packages like some ancient Egyptian arranging their tomb for an empty promise of a next life. As if somehow in this coming next life everything will be renewed to restart at that point to continue on while erasing all traces of when everything started to go bad. The supposed transformation in such a scheme of unqualified forgiveness in the retread of a ‘better you’.
But that is not how life works . . .
I am stuck in my own museum amidst the endless catalogue of everything past. The edifice of same that over these successive years seems to, little by little, crumble away. That initial appreciation of a lasting magic being steadily leached away during these successive years from all those items that I can’t even seem to consider parting with. And what then is left? The fact that I may have haphazardly almost by mistake stumbled upon an Autumn love? Someone that my lesser self would like the convenience of mind to toss off to being nothing more than part of an ongoing delusional fantasy that has been to often suffered along the way? Someone that represents a life changing challenge that I do not know that I can ever rise up to meet? To make a lasting bridge to another human heart and give them all my love and trust. Some one that is assuredly no more perfect than myself with foibles and foreign ways of seeing the world that I cannot imagine. Her imperfect nature unfortunately being too much like my very own. Someone coming from another world so strange that I do not know if I will ever be able to understand it. What then?
Someone that affects me not simply because I am attracted by the closeness of her presence. But someone that I can’t toss off to idle worship at the altar of some Pygmalion statuary before a temple dedicated to infatuation. One whose own vulnerability seems to encroach upon the tender portions of my heart to melt all my own delusions into a puddle. And then to allow me to see them for what they really are. Simply, longstanding illusions. Like some unconscious Icarus, I have always feared to fall. To inadvertently lose those same fallacies that have kept me safely believing in my own immortality. Preventing me from the danger of descending into the actual reality of being nothing more than a very vulnerably fallible human being. All those previous episodes of rashly descending below the cloud of this tenuous Godhood leading to suffering both pains of disappointment after the initial pangs of passion. Where can this lead to based on so many years of what I have come to know? Another train wreck? And if I take it seriously as the grave, then what will this lead to? Another fateful wicked ambush? Another life’s lesson to add to an eternal listing of the same! Of just some final stop in the dead of night along some road on the way to limbo.
Oh, I am so good at conjuring experience in words so artfully prosaic! A life of trying so hard in one way or another to study those acceptable means of being able to do so. And yet is there anything there that is worth expressing that will do me any good? It is said that life never provides any second chances in this world. You keep blowing things off and you end up with naught. But it seems more than a conscious decision too. It is something that you can’t help. Something unavoidable that you stumble into but try to avoid. Maybe for the best of reasons on the behalf of everyone concerned? Yet in the end, inevitable. Inevitable as that same old human comedy that you find yourself starring as the prize buffoon again ,and again, and again. You can’t help doing the same. In the end, not with the best of all possible choices in humanity as you know it. But perhaps with the most perfectly suited!
Passion at 5 AM. Why does one bother to talk to themselves? Things seem much more defined in the light of day than when cognated at night without. There is a difference between words one addresses to themselves and those that one voices aloud. Sometimes the two don’t seem to correspond though one actually means to express the very same thing. Maybe so? Maybe not? What to do? That fork in the road. An opportunity offered. An opportunity to be denied. Wanting to do the right think not just for one’s self. But for someone who has the misfortune to possibly, perhaps, maybe, fall in love with you. AIs one caught up in this as just a means of escape? Or is there something else about this? Is one dealing with another who might have lost their mind? Or just dealing with another that is as insane as you are? Yet you can see eye to eye in a way that is impossible with anyone else. How can one imagine?
And then Hollywood is there to barge through the swinging doors as usual. The usual avatars to watch and to expect a happy ending. The one that rarely occurs for everybody. I need an oasis. I’ve been in the desert too long. To lay beneath the cool palms while leisurely bathing within ebulliently flowing waters. Saved for a while from the midst of unrelenting heat stress. Stupid analogies, stupid man. Trying to make more of something that is really there. Or isn’t! Is it all just a fable or fantasy?If I let myself go to drop away over the edge of this precipice then where do I end up when I take the long fall? At what point to I hit bottom and shatter in a million pieces broken beyond repair? I have been convinced for far too long that this had already happened! But maybe not? Maybe not at all. Maybe more is still intact than I could have ever imagined?I don’t know.
It was a beautiful day for a hanging. The weather was so cold and wet and rainy that you couldn’t look past your thumb. He lay in his cold bed half asleep. A hat tucked over his eyes to keep out the warm ceiling glow reflected from street lights and flashes of distant lightning that was still upon him. It was all so dramatically theatrical. He thought of her. Her, that her, the one that he was supposed to call just before sunrise. A certain sense of anything, save trepidation. A certain sense of awe and, “I don’t know.” He had been drifting in and out of dreams. Still in the grip of dreams that it hurt to come back from into the real world. Just like in an extended penitentiary stay within this long daily unrelenting waking reality. In his dream world he had met her in the library. Or someone like her. A younger woman, completely mysterious, coming up unhesitatingly to him. Someone that he could all too easily seek to desire but he dare not have. A someone who now standing almost toe to toe ringed her arms around his waist and pulled him towards her. And he, without the hesitation of a second thought, reciprocating by putting his arms around her. The two of them brushing lips on the edge of a kiss he knew he would have to yield. And then they were dancing slowly, hard against each other. It hurt to tear himself away. Because not leaving would mean that he was betraying another.
But then, who was he worrying about betraying after all? Was he betraying that fantasy that he had been living for so many long and desperate years? That emotional anesthesia that kept him from feeling, kept him from connecting, that kept him apart from others. Was it some animus sent here to test him? Sent here to tempt him like some all too obvious Circe. To prevent him from recalling his own one and only Penelope? Love after all can be confusing. And he was in great fear that he was once again falling in love. That horrible, terrible, wonderful confusing feeling. As if horses trying to escape the mounting flames within their burning barn go unexpectedly running towards the inferno all aglow to jump in. His own self-destruction seeming unavoidable. It was all so terrible and yet wonderful together at the same time.
As he lay there with his heart aching in a manner that did not suggest that it would stop. But quite the reverse. It dawned upon him that Cupid had loosed an arrow. Where Achilles had shown the good sense to run though he got it in the ankle. He was a much easier target having taken a bolt smack in the middle of his heart. And it hurt. Now what did he figure! Something fatal? A mortal wounding to the life that he had known up until this point. One that seemed as if it was beginning to fade. Maybe to a point where it should have been all along. Into the past. Into oblivion. Only fools, he thought, dare tread any further. This seemed to be a sign.
He thought of those things that he loved. Or rather felt the fact of their presence again. How close they were. So much so that he barely had to reach out to be able to touch them. The lips, his lips, hearts beating. In the end, as one in a slow, steady, tricky palpitation. His exuberance being something that felt akin the a heart attack but was perhaps much more deadly. In fact, fatal. Was there any possibility available in waking life to extinguish this pain? When the window of opportunity would be nailed shut and it’s window shade flapping somewhere. Would this be in mockery of everything that he tried to restrain? An obsoleted commodity now.
The room seemed alive. He could sense all those others that were always there above him and below him in the building laying at rest like he did. He stared intently upward blankly gazing as he lay still wondering how she felt. Could she feel him from a far distance? Sense his passions in terms of how he now felt about her? Or was it just nonsense just to hope? That’s what concerned him. Was this just another vain wandering hope yet again? A misdirected arrow cast haphazardly in his direction. It would just be another crash and burn. The mutual convenience of voicing it as a misunderstanding or unexpected soon to be discovered temporal expediences. He was just a love doll. Just another rundown tourist location on the backroads route to somebody else’s oblivion. He sighed at the abject mortality embodied by all this. How sad and yet how wonderful at the same time. Where would fate lead him now? Towards what unexpected happy ending or invisible ruin to be suffered for another indefinite ongoing eternity?
She was to depart later that morning upon a plane. He lay back into the pillow suffering the occasional but inevitable growl of jet engines rising and fading in the distance as they past high overhead. Now to begin the habit of worry about someone else yet once more another time again. The realization of the finality of life and its unexpected end draped over him. The possibility of uncharted occurrences that could drive him back into despair. What had he done that was so wrong so many countless lifetimes ago in eons past? A feeling of Prometheus encumbered by his heart as if the eagle sent by unspecified deities to tear him apart. To awaken again in pieces that reconfigured could never quite mend. All this was so vainglorious and didn’t exploit anything!
He felt in a frenzy to telephone her and maybe he would! He pictured himself getting in his car and making his way to her house in this lingering inky calm. Having it out to test her feelings about him one way or another. Gathering courage to face up to the possibility of rejection once again. Knowing from past experience that such an extreme misplaced act would result in extreme consequences. And then something even worse descended upon him to shroud thoughts. To call her and ask to stay with her and hearing her say, “Yes.” He could sense the two of them together trembling at the possibility of, “What next?”
She was getting to him. He felt mortal again. Maybe too much so! Now once again fallen having tumbled down the slopes of Mount Olympus like some buffoon. Laying there on his back contemplating permissions that he probably did not have. Ones that he would find out with the morning light.
“One, two. buckle my shoe!” He surrendered in the end and called her pulling her out of a dead sleep. And as usual, they talked a pile of rubbish. The spoken words being thinly veiled. And so the two of them continued on playing a game, each one hiding behind vague sentences conspicuously mounting an artificial form of cheer. As if both were still minding the boundaries of the other’s fences while maintaining their own still in place. The un-shown barbs of feigned ignorance remaining prevalent to fend off any behavior untold. Yet hanging over all like the smoke in a poker tabled room a promise of a melding between them occurring incrementally. This steady drip as if a trickle of water heading down towards a stream on the way to a stream into a river eventually expecting the possibility of a union with a vast ocean. He tried to tell her in his own imperfect way that when he dove into being in love, he carried no safety belts. There was no reserve. He would be dangerous in love. Dangerous to himself. What might be infatuation . . .
She was dangerous to him. For now, in the present, he feared that he could lose his heart. And what if? What if she took it? She’d use it like a pillow. A cushion to prop herself up. But he’d be forgotten in the equation. This latent fear of mortality wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair to be kept upon a precipice of a “Maybe“,”Perhaps” or even “Possibly?” In his way he tried not to make an even greater fool of himself. Yet in the final mix he could only surmise he most probably had. Maybe it was inevitable? Maybe that was his penitence for having his heart in a straight jacket for so long trying to fend off emotions. He told her that he had been suffering a long term standing bout of emotional anesthesia. And emotional amnesia. But now . . . each calling higher.
A FINAL PASSING DREAM
He found himself traveling through the countryside of England. The train dating from a bygone era of empire and genteel well tended scenes. A canal running parallel to the tracks the narrow harbor for a succession of pleasure craft. Each boat representative of a well-known class of style and grace from Chris Crafts to different varieties of sailboats. The distance between these congruent paths occasionally narrowing to allow a view that provided the unexpected view of the canal’s bottom and the fact that it was dry of water. The long display of boats revealed as having no bottoms to their hulls. The long line of same being merely artful advertisements constructed in movie set reality.
“Out of solitude and the accompanying loneliness that he joined in the worship of false Gods and vain hopes meant for others who would be masters to all mankind.” The first line that had long ago come to him on the page now shocked him that they had come from his own lips. This was not the same person who tapped keys silently in the soundless repository of bewitching hour of the slowly passing night. His world was less involved and less strange. A more indifferent creation that relied on the tension of boredom with the ever-present mundane. The false gods in question that were mentioned could only be his ego that equally depressed had to establish vague fantasies that would bolster some sense of being palpably alive.
The report of death of someone distant and related had been impressed upon him by a near acquaintance. A distant cousin of someone on his aunt’s in-law’s side of th family. And in any case someone who was of no real consequence to him. Some vacant convention of social decorum seemed to suggest a lackluster responsibility to followup on the conversation to speak to the supposed reporter of the event. A certain lieutenant colonel who was a product of the times in being a female standing in for a male. Or so one of a traditional senseability would silently judge. His own addled senses had warmed over in the intervening weeks that the need for investigation of this claim had sat dormant. The verification of the tale suggested a certain degree of concern was expected in such a ceremony. He after all had learned from childhood of the duties of being a good performer to strangers in showing what was evidently to himself a false concern for events that he was indifferent to.
The party in question was on base busily inspecting a small column of vehicles in her battalion. Tall and lean to the point of being walking stick-like she climbed up and down the camouflage painted side of the hulking armored beasts engrossed in the minutia that only a martinet could understand. The conversation was tainted by his inability to recall her name while being unsure of her rank. The first few words an inquiry about the general details of the whom and what that was supposed to engender his purpose for why. The officer encumbered by her own repetitive daily tasks unwilling to break her stride in performing them to suffer such a fool. Several brief sentences were allowed before the lieutenant colonel fidgeted back into motion to continue her own daily checklist of expected tasks. Whoever had died had by this point been lost in the confusion of the brevity of the moment.
How symptomatic it seemed that a human life could be passed along in conversation in such a cavalier manner that might have appalled the deceased had he been aware of how little even the most significant details of identity were so casually misplaced. Concern in general having been long dispensed with in favor of the daily performance of duties that one convinced themselves were necessary and vital to human existence. A society with little or nothing really to do anymore beyond performing bucket brigade of passing notes and boxes. The daily operation of society plagued by too many otherwise idle and indifferent hands. Emotions lost betwixt the business of simply keeping busy to gain a paycheck to process and pass along to exists in a similar manner for another day.
No reward to give acclaim to the soul at trail’s end beyond the fact of simple persistent existence. Dreams a hollow venue of equally forgettable impulses salvaged from nagging encounters with forgettable phantoms that only left a residue of angst. The real fear being a suspicion that they were not alive. That all this was a clockwork mechanism of some long passed watchmaker that had yet to run itself out in winding down to an inevitable final decay. The empty toothless grin of chaos the only discernible constant in an otherwise ceaselessly indifferent universe. He could see the face of the departed bright and rosy with youth within his mind’s eye. Oblivious of his own impending doom. The hardness of his features caught up in the practice of that expected vitality of youth depressing considering the postmortem knowledge of its ultimate and all too imminent futility.
That old locus point in the universe of one’s own heart. New habits become old rituals before they are discarded. The bee ceaselessly looking for pollen in the desert. A ritual that is hard to break. The sweetest ‘meat’ lies safe betwixt the thistles. The trapdoor spider busily oils the hinges. His current abode just out of sight. Like everybody says in the end. No one ever saw it coming! You would think that someone, anyone would know any better by now? But knowledge in this day and age is like fudge. You take on more than you can handle and get a belly ache. And the pain displaces your own heart as the most logical center of concern. There is nothing to teach here. Not about that.
Loneliness is like a judge. You sit before it and offer solutions that once worked in the way back. But it stays there towering above you unmoved and impartial to your plight. No one ever finds love out of an overwhelming need for it’s lack. The best you can hope for is a happy accident. Or more reliably a waiting pet that is ever-dependent upon you for the relief of a bathroom break or the wonder of thumbs that open the refrigerator. That judge inside is always watching for you to screw up. And your happy criminal is always happy to oblige. It is always easy to see where you have gone wrong and then point that same trait out in others.
But try sticking a lever under the sun to displace it from the solar system and find it easier than contemplating a real substantial change in your own behavior. That is the job of that chancy thing called, ‘life’. The tire tread across your back that you can sort of see will always be able to tell you that.
The face in his mirror was his. Not necessarily the one he might have invented if such things were up to him. It was older more significant of those two old ghosts that had long ago bore him into the world. The asshole on the Internet was spouting his trivial in the next room on the old laptop. His last remaining companion. All the rest? Well. The voice had some comfort by way of familiarity. Such a fucking turncoat acting right wing but when he did his little bios of famous Liberal underclass types. A sense of reciprocity that in the context of the voyeur in that mirror was a hypocrite. That seemed to keep things balanced in terms of his own lack of current circumstances. The cigarette smoke was back. That previous week being worse than all the ones before. Come unspoken personality with kinky hair decided to buy some relaxer. At least that throat that had been burning from a lye type smell had calmed down a bit. But the coughing was still plaguing him. A whiff of smoke and he was nearly on all fours coughing his guts out. The liberal commentator had not rounded the corner yet with all his mock amazement. That on top of the choking was getting to be too much. Out the door before the summer Sun went down. A beer from the flagging universe of five dollars cash left in the wallet. It was the middle of the month and for the third month in a row was out of dough again. Five bucks would garner a beer and a dollar tip. That after a good long walk to the tiny tap that was distinguished by the fact of having the cheapest prices. Another little sliver adjoining a pizza joint that offered the American equivalent of the European, beer and a brat.
The keys and his wallet tucked into opposite pockets, he slipped the bottom lock on and slammed the door behind him. Downstairs the old codgers were sitting in their walking chairs soaking up the afterglow of the fading day. The parade of vehicles whisking by in preparation for the Saturday night ritual of a place to go. He started out in his five piece outfit of old worn pants and t-shirt, ball cap, mirrored shades, and sandals. The self that he projected mentally a far cry from the muffin top senior that still could surprise other pedestrians with the vigorous pace of his walking past them. Life after all was attitude. It didn’t matter if you believed it, 24/7. It just mattered if you could summon it when needed. Especially at those lowest times when stability was absent and pockets were next to empty. He calculated the necessary math for the evening as he passed various combinations of younger types. He was in possession of less money than they would spend as the local Italian beef joint. What did he care at this point? He had eaten thousands of pounds of steaks and driven autos that that the kids of today spoke in reverent tones about. Now it was different. A temporary situation until he got working again. Three years of resumes submitted weekly had proved that these times required more magic than art. But as far as he was concerned the persistence had not yet run out. He would keep on going if nothing else but the irritate those that believed that his kind should already be a memory in a grave somewhere.
The bar was next to empty which was surprising given that it was after six. Dark with four big screen LCDs blasting out the same pathetic visual assault of half-time rubbish and continuous ‘uh wah’s from some nineteen year old female pop star clone. He emptied his fiver out of his wallet and held it out hovering above the bar until the young Millennial bartender was ready to take notice of him. There wasn’t much conversation beyond ‘Miller Lite’. The Yuppie suburban guy in the Izod shirt two chairs down with his face pasted in a superior expression hovering a bottle of Heineken. What kind of half-paid for SUV did you drive the empty look in return momentarily mumbled? Perhaps it was apparent that like in all his other visits that they knew he was out of there to escape to plastic coated steel picnic tables just out front. He barely caught a glimpse of the bar life. But the prospect of somewhere between diffidently innocent and cynical did not bother to convince him. The rush of the motorway and the occasional trail of pedestrian wandering by was entertainment enough for him. The lower rent district of the premium ‘shruburb’ just opposite the highway always promised the true picture of everyday humanity. He wasn’t disappointed with two salt and pepper shakers blowing cones of smoke back and forth at each other engaged in what one might have speculated as a Tinder possibility. Another big hipped maiden walked slowly the other way smartly dressed in Summer attire that didn’t need to shout ‘whore; to inspire respectful if not admiring attraction.
The bottle of beer half shot he began to wonder about his own fate. Family dead or gone, with no job or prospects of same in the near future, and given his age perhaps never again. Funny how in the day and age you were spit out the door when the statistics demanded that you were no longer useful. “Fuck ’em!” It’s my life, not someone else’s!” But, it had become a life where he could no longer recall the last time of being excited or in love. Those feeling now as incomprehensible to him as fluent Japanese to an Congolese African. The space inside was hollow with nothing beyond the echo of stale memories to often well-repeated. No possibility of a spark to an otherwise long rusted heart. It was a wonder that he bothered to look when some young thing pranced by ever mindful out of the corner of her eye of possible attention to disdain. Why bother to play that game? His greater struggle was to twist up from the seat and not stagger back into the door wanting to trade his empty bottle for a full one. He had a Debit card with a little bit of cash on it. A spare dollar for the courtesy of service. One couldn’t stiff the help if one wanted to remain a future customer. The young Valkyrie approached him. Now at the end of the bar, he could get a good look at her as she approached. A slim well-proportioned vixen whose rack alone would up her tips by most at least two hundred percent. The the fissure atop her tight abdomen exposed by the purposely insubstantial midriff adorned by the jewel of a bronze colored baubble. Elegant but still hopelessly young.
“Hold onto the card?“, she said sparely. “Just one more beer.” he replied rather emptily. She frozen in the instant of though for the beat of a second hand. “Shh!”, her finger went quickly to her lips” as she pushed a fresh bottle of beer towards him. Caught off guard he droned a very unexpected, “Oh?” It wasn’t love at first sight but given the usual behavior of many of their age it was nice. A nice quiet little gesture to a stranger. He swiftly exiting to sit back outside in his accustomed place. Though his pride in near poverty still extended to always paying his way, he pondered that there were always exceptions to the rule. Not that we were talking about an extraordinary situation here. But something light and pleasant as he had once been occasionally expectant so many years ago. Some sense of self-awareness possessed him to sit up in his chair and untangle the knot of his upper back by twirling his spine and rolling his shoulders. Life was definitely a matter of attitude. One had to project quite dignity and respect and not just demand it as one might have though so much earlier in life. This beer nursed faster than the other and he was nearing the time to leave when the young bartender came out of the bar and stood before him. “Can I get you anything, because I am leaving my shift in ten minutes.” He shook his head at the model Aphrodite standing before him. He looked up at the brilliance of her youth as if peeing at the sun and asked if he had thanked her earlier? Much to his surprise she took his right hand in the two of her own and said, “Thank you/” and then quickly spun around and was gone. He turned back and stared back to the street nursing the silence in his thoughts. “I guess there are a few angels left after all?
These days there is a default level of hopeless despair in finding one’s self to be naught but a human being. Your own exterior form being molded in such a way that the shortcomings that it accumulates pose insoluble questions throughout later life. That moment when you realize that you are simply the rider of that infamous horse that Aristotle so often mentioned. Knowing all too well its shortcomings being tied to this unavoidable beast from which you cannot ever dismount. The world becoming a very unforgiving place for the likes of you these days. And others knowing all the unimaginable trials waiting in the near future approaching just ahead will be fraught with that inflexible repetition of your own particular routine until at some unspecified point in time this continuum will come to an end. You will fall off the horse and out of this world as you know it. From that point on all will be naught but a random memory. An impression released into thin air and empty space no longer being needed. Then the biggest mystery of life will be answered, or not.
No sadness anymore for times past. Now just faced with an annoying weariness for the monotony of enduring the wait until then and having to interact with so many others who will not admit that it even exists. One might then hate the fact of a lack of immediate earthly transcendence while now still breathing. To something, anything, better. Or perhaps maybe less so? One’s own stubbornness versus the institutional resistance of all the others. The epitome of temporal existence expressed in an unrelieved tension on top of this perpetually angst ridden times with little empathy. Recreation that dissuades one from such thoughts providing more public respect than any personal inspiration that might reconcile them.
That slow incremental slide into an intractable jeopardy of recycling purpose through the trap of everyday habit. One can no longer claim to know the source of their own despair by being lost and abandoned to socially narrowed institutionally directed possibilities. One’s hopes waiting just ahead without wonder or worthiness. This finality, of itself, offering a cumulative lack of imagination as a valid excuse for forgetting all about the same.