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.
Restlessness, thy name is mine, own a willful cypher
restlessness, my name is thine own, a willful cypher
taking me to those long lost deeply held undercover realms
I, like you, am naked in this world
naked like truth’s that one ever wishes to hide
there to suffer changing light bulbs before fantastic vistas
of icicle shaped spires reaching up thousands of feet
Why must we trod about so aimlessly within
why must we forget ourselves and then ache inside
these bodies are no longer fit for such excess
always waiting for our weakest moment to complain
threatening arrhythmic heartbeats gone awry in bacchanals of insane drumming
all to remind us that we are no longer young
Oh to give up this present place to release all the air
to give up one’s breath for the sake of others
as if air was not any longer but a valueless commodity
but merely an essential for preserving some distant social dominance
of those countless unseen many over the few
I think about you . . .
I think about how you’ve always been enraged about that fact
that so many others can call upon your name
and then so easily call your at your game
and you that one who will not commit
you who will not place your right hand
heavy upon the holy bible of the body corporate
to tremble flesh to flesh basking in warmth of the impossible release
the one that you desperately long for
because you, like the rest of us, are none but a fool
chasing rainbows in a land of galloping ibex’s
horned horses, fantastic beasts, all stuck within your mind since childhood
what pleasure does that allow you in this type of world of now
no cake for the wanta-be ‘eat it too’s’
be damned those people who are too clever for the sake of same
the old familiar heart beats in their irregular rhythms
and how one exists betwixt the vacuum lurking in-between
sweeping away all doubt in a false conventionality
“There’s nothing wrong!”
“It’s all OK!”
” . . . naught but just another rich meal”
and the all so familiar elixir of spirits to confound
what has become an ever enlarging hopeful heart
perhaps too much like those red dwarf celestial giants
too little being those without love
physical love, spiritual love, love in a brightening tomorrow
must see their heart expand until just before it bursts
collapsing into dark void of limbo endless
and then they are no more
this inert shell, nothing but a nuisance for others to clean up
surrender your breath to that next successive generation
so they too can respire
you too can expire and only then they are inspired
what a nasty rhythm of life
all I seek is to feel another ‘you‘ against me
to put my arms around this other ‘you‘
and feel as I once did
so forgetfully long ago when I was young
Oh, who was that last person . . .
where my head rested and rolled in your lap
and two eyes reach up into the mystery of the sky
such a pleasant long lost idyll
something to be cherished
and resurrected from dead flesh
to be brought to mind again
as rare as that last corner of wind and wine
Alone by myself
I’ve run out of lives
this is the end
and not that same old tomorrow that I’ve long ago dreamed of
all that untried art ahead
old family artifacts left surrounding me to remind
but empty of any voice no longer speaking to me
just mute company as any other inventory of times past
how bitter that all things come down to sadness
of all these too many things now long flown past
that old world of meaning now escapes them
flying off those photos of familiar faces left in silver cast
feelings held too close missing from so long ago
it’s just me now by myself in this solitary emptied room
squeezed out of place by too many memories tasked
wondering about those all good years long promised
and falling short in how much longer I’ve got to last
Living in the era that is obsessed with exhausting every cliche benchmark of the past in every possible iterative way fabricating them in some commercial industrial process and destroying their uniqueness by mass producing them via machines. Social miscreant fact mambo avalanche the paste-like filler for all attempts at dialogues over two-pass smart phone text lengths. An undying conviction that the world outside their living space was conspiring to terminate their Internet accounts. Standard English speech reduced to a drivel of acronyms specific to the micro-cult that offers them as part of the ever-replaceable skinny fiction of yet once more ‘NEW‘ and ‘IMPROVED‘!
She eyed his girth with a disdainful cool reserve evident in her subsequent tones. The fact of his so suddenly accosting her now silently taken aback gnawing away her alabaster painted chipboard exterior. The thin implacable smile that dared reveal itself upon his fatty features tossed back at her in return. “Madame . . . !“, he replied as he conspicuously yes the proclivity of flaccid flesh hanging down over the pith of her elbows, “It appears that we both are overripe fruit busily going rotten in the basket!” “OK!“, he said, “Keep these number to yourself.” He was going head over heels and he knew it. He couldn’t stop the spin. It was inevitable. Like a stock market going bad, he was about to tumble. He could feel himself losing everything. he was losing her and he knew it. He would never get her back. Now it was just a matter of an untimely inevitability.
The delicacy of human meet especially the little bits and pieces of tiny things! The place they were to go to being enclosed by a wire fence and was serving breakfast now. A place at the end of the block. A Greek restaurant. All neatly cordoned off! The only place they had provided to sit outside was more like a bus stop than a table. One had to crawl through and sidled along the curb to get through to it or a bus without getting run down by passing traffic. The guy that owned the restaurant coming out from behind the fence cooing to the man to stay. Convincing him to get a plate of food and so forth as he seemed scheduled and by right of misguided passions supposed to. But things at this point in history were not running so well for him. So he had to go back into the madhouse to tackled a midget and in the process of spilling his coffee, barking out angrily, “If you weren’t so much a runt I’d trim your clock!” The waitress cheerily refilling they cup. Stumbling back out to find the plate he had left with some foreign delicacy of tiny little jellied human beings about as big as one’s thumb resting upon it. Something he blindly ordered under the title of house specialty that he had ignorantly accepted like a fool. Bits and pieces looking like gnomes and others whatever’s. Looking at the abomination he couldn’t eat them and turned away in disgust. The thought of biting into one of them with their slimy little organs being unimaginable to his palate. He wondered if he might have been somehow transported to China for the fact of these things being there. “How could anybody eat this kind of stuff?“, getting up and walking away being far past done.
Long since disenchanted, it was a wonder to him that anyone struggles to build, to compose, or any productive creative experience considering that over a short period of time it will be neglected, ignored, taken apart and then quickly forgotten. Those projects of a more monumental effort still wearing away slowly dissolving in the monotony of endless millennia. All the efforts of any combination of creative life forces destined to be eventually overturned. This being the inflexible nature of the universe. All the acts of man merely the ebb and flow of elusive waves of water both here, and yet not there. The inner emptiness of these manifestations of substance not palpable as insoluble mystery beyond the momentary impression. A large canvas ever changing paint, a little different each time. Everything changes! Identity changes. Who we know changes. The ‘WE’ of we changes. You can know anything and everything but yet can never see it standing still. Yet the primary mission of our society IS to make things stand still! “That simplest definition of civilization.”, he mused.
Theatrical production being run by professionals yet staffed by amateurs revealing may things that were unorthodox about this production. The when and how of the way it was portrayed centered around a stadium style scaffold with not only the audience but the players themselves upon this same device. The back end covered round in black velvet. The play being shown in the dead of night. The individuals forming the audience had to unwrap and outer curtain and walk precariously up this grandstand’s steps to reach those benches designated for the audience alone. So all might be able to look down on the staged play itself. A reverse set of bleachers over across on the other side allowing viewing the other way. Every action of the actors always viewed from an oblique angle. The drama’s characters played by struggling amateurs richly dressed in flowery costumes of Shakespearean mettle. No one involved was sure that the play would come off. The man’s own participation being doubtful. Even though he had sneaked onto the stage both before and after the performance to address the impresario about minor issues that were important to him only. This critic not getting much respect from surrounding players in earshot, though he had much to say about their performance. In the end he being demoted to speaking to a woman who had many eclectic views about her own presence and power as a nobody. One of those world’s greatest actors types trysting with an acolyte. Taken up residence in a long building that needed to be entered on the second floor via a walk through. Perhaps a school? It was hard enough to recall the beginning not to mention the end. A sort of bitchy way, this lesson from actor to actress. Something soon that was purported to be legendary. But an unintended side benefit being in some way finding out a minor truth. That actors serve as a conduit but not as teachers.
The longest road trip in the man’s memory driving the family car brought to the fore. A U-Haul trailer swinging to and fro from the back bumper at sixty. The box heavy and fully packed. Stuffed to the gunwales with the man’s shit by a doting more youthful father. A worn reused box persisting past the boundaries of the man’s faulty memory now violently stirred almost forty years past. His college graduation! The old corrugated container shaking that random memory out of him. How technology of any given era was bound to be a fad. But the box enclosing the same would be eternal. An unscheduled rest stop and the sort of cheap masking tape that in those former times became so quickly unraveled. But as a harbinger of all things past becomes dreadfully reliable as cement. Thia rest stop ramshackle’d as an ancient untouched outpost of the few remaining giant porcelain urinals in existence. What was the point of it all? Who could say. Connecting with those things long dead and past? Places caught in time like a spider in a sealed jar now all curled up but not yet gone.
Why all this suffering and pain? Was he just another part of a herd of cattle bred earmarked for the production of sorrow? Our masters being esoteric and un-seeable creatures who live off of angst and strong emotions? What did being lost ever mean? Perpetual existence in a solitary sense of the same? Or was he some strange universal singular entity that had forgotten himself within endless dreams unawares of making the world into his own image? Or perhaps worse yet as some lowly particle? Meaningless without any type of worth or purpose. Does one soar or disappear as if they had never been? All those million things left behind. Ones accumulated life treasures a chrysalis that this elusive inner essence has to eventually extricate itself from within. An inescapable lesson plan that one is sent to prison to learn? Would he simply die when he lost all his happiness? Or simply grow beyond it! Questions, questions, all questions. While the body deteriorates as if by some preconceived plan that no one would dare tell you about. Or that in the flower of youth you might listen to.
Confronted by the practice of all things considered good versus the continued demonstration all about that are of evil. Challenged for making light of his own actions against himself. Walking through the different environments of the mind emulating this world. There was a difference between the two. And he knew that he had done wrong. He regretted those sins. It did make a difference! A special word. That specific word he could not recall. Something so mundane! Yet so potent and powerful that he could not, or would not, remember it. His heart was very heavy as if set beneath a massive stone preventing him from finding the way to his own truth. Once again running out of time as he was becoming ill. Violence portrayed against a violent spirit. Supposedly always under the guise of science. But what science could there be in this self-abuse? What joy could there be releasing his own demons then giving them sway over him? That elusive word that would act as a key to unlock the indefinable aspect of the daemon that he was unable to enunciate. Could there be anything more than being ‘good’ in the sense of remaining honest and truthful?
With him, everything was always death. His dog died in his dreams once again the night before. His dead mother disappeared after walking away for just a moment saying that she would be right back. His vehicle parked legally beside a viaduct. Essentially street legal? But ever in hesitation as he was not completely sure. He then contemplating walking down the short path from his car. Down a sidewalk lane to the outside tables sitting before a bar just a few steps up on the next street. A cheery sounding locale in the midst of doing good business full of happy customers. Maybe he might meet someone interesting to talk with to slake his thirst for casual companionship? The black Labrador retriever now out of the vehicle running back and forth across the empty lot just ahead of him. All of a sudden he sensing a shudder then looking over to find the creature tumbling down to a dead stop from its full gallop. The man running over to his pet’s side only to fall upon his knees with a fatal foreboding. Comforting the stricken animal with a final embrace as it suddenly dies. Regretfully looking back around over his shoulder towards the distant Cantina where people still sat smiling frivolously enjoy the complacency of a bright blue Summer’s day in ignorance of him. And he feeling guilty. Damning that impulse for wanting so much to follow the former wish to go join them. But now fatally locked into that ever present remorseless forever of being cast a solitary soul. No hope for release from his ongoing fate in life. Not even in his dreams.
Hot and wet the burden of the morning was still upon his shoulders like a steamy rain coat. The summer afternoon was in the process of outdoing itself cooking everyone to a fricassee. His sense of palpable reality had barely readjusted itself since he had arrived back into the dank coolness of his own apartment. A hot shower, a couple bottles of cold mineral water and closing his eyes upon the living room lounge floor had somewhat revived him to a usable state. The reason to be had been leached out of him during the several mile hike along the city’s lakefront. Ninety-two degrees felt more like a sweltering hundred and twenty. The city’s foremost fountain over spilling mist from it seventy foot column of water that couldn’t have been more timely discovery. Would that so many other thoughts and recollections from the near recent past might have been alleviated in so simple a manner. One’s obstacles like one’s life never go away. Not until they are knocked over or simply driven the long way around. The chill of the air was beginning to take hold.
The disparity between the morning and his recent awakening made him edgy. Life today was a walk through a cemetery counting the names of those that had once been alive. Except in his case he could recite more than the last date of their demise. He didn’t look so nice as he had once did. Fat and pouring sweat bathing in his own uncomfortable natural stewing about the past when he should been attempting to live out the present with as much positive energy as anyone without the benefit of more than a decade or so left. Why did his memories have to be so grim and unsupportive of any possibility of happiness? The present as he now knew it had degenerated into a waiting game. A self-engendered mental trap that had him saying goodbye to life far before the tickets for departure had arrived. A convenient way of not having to go through the endless repetition of having to be reminded himself that his life had descended into the status of a random pile of unkempt memories. The haphazard collections of the same tossed about in an irreconcilable state of perpetual chaos. A solitary Cavatina of his soul long ago emptied of joy now filled only by the gathering dust.
He thought of his childhood. And all the times he was taken reluctantly along to his father’s mother’s house to find her over a hot stove sweating into an old aluminum pot of boiling potatoes. Dressed in a pink slip with a safety pin holding together a broken strap a cigarette dangling from wryness of her thin lips. The ignoble sight of same exactly as he had seen her do so on every occasion. Of how he had grown to hate her for doing so. Her perpetual celebration of poverty. And the bitter mean spiritedness about her embodied to this day in a persistent picture stuck within his own mind. She had cheated him and beaten him on occasion as she had his father as a boy. So much so that as she lay dying in the hospital from cancer some years later, he would not offer solace to the troubled musings of loss in his own father’s face. Just merely feigning ignorance over indifference upon a barely concealed thin veil of angry good riddance. Now a half of century later the laments had been birthed in his father’s expression being in a similar corollary to his own. A sense of being orphaned by too many misspent opportunities from now unreachable times past still locked within the depths of his own memories. One’s that reminded him of how his father was so sorely missed now that he had been gone so long. Boiled potatoes.
Taras Bulba. That old movie version where in the end of the film the father reluctantly kills his only son who has ultimately betrayed him by going over to the enemy The insoluble problem of later life not whether one should forgive their own father so much as whether he could ever forgive his son. Happy Father’s Day.
As a child I could recall that methane smell of the Southside. Something that was always there just south of the Eisenhower expressway. How remarkable from those previous times to know while traveling down Harlem in the city to be struck immediately by that industrial smell. A phenomena that would increase in volatility to the point that one could barely stand its fumes when you had reached the CalSag canal. The odor running all the way down the major highway heading southwest. The Northside and the Southside, one possessing refinement and the other merely having refineries.
The graduating class of high school students in Poland among the boys couldn’t find any work. So they found chisels and became thieves plaguing different surrounding towns. Some getting a bad reputation within those towns and then being quickly exempted from finding any regular work at all. Some others would drive from town to town and get a job with some rich guy and work without any guile but the reputation of being from a town of chiselers would eventually follow them around. A couple of the guys get called to another town by the wrong people who want them to perform a heist. And they had to risk making a very hard desicion whether they wanted to assume a bad rap and forget getting a decent job ever again.
There was a very very old building on the north side somewhere on Broadway around Uptown. Seven stories tall painted mustard yellow with brownish red trim on its rounded crown windows. All sorts of fire escapes cluttering the side. It had to be at least a hundred and seventy years old. I couldn’t remember it as it kind of appeared out of nowhere. I wanted to take a picture of it. It kind of felt like even though I thought I knew the neighborhood, I had never been there before.
I was outside the state someplace with my Indian subcontinent friend, maybe DesMoines Iowa? We were just in the general vicinity at some sort of cafe near a news department of a TV station. And I was typing out some commentary about same on my keypad that was focusing on the procedures of reporting ‘news’ and how things were really handled as opposed what they seemed to be in reporting important events. A young woman in a business suit came past and then stood nearby me with a cup of coffee in her hand. And I asked her to verify a few terms unique to the news business. And so she sat down at my table and I asked her some questions in terms of, “How do you call this, how do you call that?“, so and so forth. Then like magic, a whole bunch of other news pros came out and they all wanted to sit down to look at what I was writing. So I told them, “Oh, this is for a writing assignment from the local community college.” Of course, at my age being a senior citizen they were suspicious that my explanation about a paper due was simply bullshit. One guy along with what looked like a couple of suit and tied corporate executives arrived and wanted to see what I was up to. Their brusque demeanor suggesting that they thought I must be a spy or something. The expressions on their faces betraying they were barely keeping their cool. When asked to explain what my purpose for being there was everything intelligible I had to say flew off out of my head and sat there dumb as a stump. Finally, in the stilted silence they all turned away and walked off. I turned to my friend and said I was sorry that my mind had gone blank and I couldn’t go any further with it.
I was visiting out in Seattle and my friend Joy said that she would drive me out to the airport after first stopping at her place. But I wasn’t ready to go. I had a long wooden box with a hinged top that had a bunch of things in it that had no relation to what I had brought with me as luggage. Still, we jumped in the car, I partly out of embarrassment, taking the box with me without saying a word. It came out that I didn’t have a ticket or an itinerary. I didn’t know where I was supposed to go or anything. She didn’t like that and her mood quickly soured till by the time we had stopped at her place she was angry. And I went through the motions of looking in the box and then said I can’t do this. That I would have to go back even if I missed my flight and get my suitcase and pack. Find out where I left the ticket. That didn’t go over so big with her. I looked all around the walls of her place at the different pictures of people. She had turned into an all different gal. And then I realized that the last dream was filled with a bunch of people that weren’t so firm as I. They were all talking about their maladies. Though some seemed young to me they were all impacted by some disorder. All of them were popping pills. And then I realized that as old as I was I would very soon be there with them, popping pills along with them all.
does it say about something about one who feels old like an old willow
casting blind eye to the North winter climes
wood creaking loudly none the less
heavy in a life of bearing up
how long can the evergreen keep its tall long vigil
irregardless of the Sun’s course over covering snow
turning brown to green on command
then straight till the fire of life consumes it so
and how those old legs ache
ever mind full of memories to support
familiar old tales added to thoughts once more
minstrels accompanying old sirens the band complete
this chorus of treetops
little by little
does go its own way
so less and less
till no more tomorrows
just only today
empty of being
does ultimately fly away