It was a subject that he didn’t like to talk about anymore. He’d been in love with her in high school. His first love. Or really, he couldn’t make that claim. She’d never been in love with him. Never in the mood to reciprocate the assumption of passion that he felt duty bound to perform. Too many Saturday afternoon Hollywood scripts! In any case he played the good companion and bit his lip through all of it until he had had enough and couldn’t take anymore. He could still remember that night when he had obliged her with his car. Taken her on a trip to north of the river at the center of town. And she got out on a corner by a hotel and yelled and screamed and raged at the indifference of her absent father. He would only care to recall that last impromptu ride with her across the state at night with his dwindling hopes renewed only to be dashed when the final destination brought her to the bed of what had once been up to that point his friend. It wasn’t long until he put two and two together and realized some things about divorce. Thirty years after. Some nine years after his own divorce to that bright flame that quickly burned out. Now he wondered what would have happened had his first infatuation had indeed thought about him that he very occasionally was reminded not to indulge in thinking about her. Solitude was its own disease. An addiction that one picked up when it was just too damn tiresome to connect anymore. It wasn’t her. But all the others in-between that he continued the thought with. The ones that in some masculine way he replayed the that ongoing disappointment. Something along the lines of being denied the opportunity when it really meant something. And piece by piece getting small parts here and there when it no longer could. Those movie scripts came in handy after the fact. He became so addicted in the intervening years. A mental closet to keep his emotional Pyhrric victories. But now there was no love left. No fiction of love like an eternal flame to fan. His moth knew enough to keep close on certain occasions but stay clear. What if he realized that those women who were so skilled at overlooking you in youth might at the end of their year be capable of wanting to know you once again? Know you when it was safely too late when they had felt that they had lost everything else. Devalued currency. Confederate money.
“Worthless if not damaging!“, he thought. He couldn’t believe in the emotions of women anymore. They seemed to have no faith in conviction themselves. There physical beauty that once suggested some mighty universal power of creation and constancy abrogated by the fault of being just as human and just as lost as he had turned out to be. Two minuses not easily making a plus when forced together contraposed. That linear function of being linear and male not wanting him to go off the highway of what he supposed life would be from this point one and risk more rocks and gravel. He could not imagine the terror he would face if two of the earliest showed up pen night at his door? How hard and vulnerable it might make him. Crazy enough to contemplate murder? Or some form of emotional suicide to end the past. The worst part being the realization that he had given up and he was just mortal. That things had not gone anywhere since. In fact they had descended into the convenient desert of emptiness. The story that lingered on after the greater story of “One day!“. “One day.“, when he would finally fine that perfect one. The one that if he could have been honest along the way he would have known never existed. And for that fact, never could. It was all a crapshoot. People died on you after letting you down in every way possible for years. It didn’t lessen that time bomb of fidelity and attachment that ticked on within. So . . . That other world of the emotions that he had left in others. All the unrequited hopes that he had generated by the promise of his indefinite presence in their lives. Their fantasies and not his . . . Who’s fantasies meant more? How pathetic to think that any of them, especially the first one in that long line, might be thinking of him this very same night and wondering how it might have turned out otherwise? One day long overdue and now judged D.O.A
“Thank God!“, he thought in that empty room with all the lights turned off. Thank God that he was now buried in the blanket of failure. As if that would have made a difference either way to one or two that might have had some real heart behind the effort. How sad and pathetic was life. Is life! Fire and brimstone! “Did cavemen and women have such convoluted existences?”, he thought? It was dark and he lay on his bad hearing the fading melodies of the old melodrama making its way from his mental auditorium back out to where such things go when they seem long forgotten. It told him that women were not clowns or villains or even emotional refrigerators that waited patiently at one’s pleasure. It remind him if that which he did not want to know. That he daily avoided. That all were pathetic or vulnerable whiteout that other. Rusty wrecks with engines, cars without wheels. Going nowhere for yet another day farther past where they should have been. With that someone that they so successfully avoided but should should have been with. The irreparable lesson of life.
I want to redo my past. Have a second chance to redo everything that I took for granted. Realize it as the exceptional experience I was lucky to have had! Take the time to get to know all the people that I so briefly glissandoed by on my way to nowhere. I gave traveled too far past hope and missed every deadline for redemption. A miserable wretch of my own making. The dirty little secret is there are no second changes. To get something new you have to give up something old. I can remember so much that I have given up over the decades of my existence in this realm. Too much. An emotional rubber band that now tugs so hard at my heart. So this is what growing old means? To transform your mundane years spent in childhood into golden memories. Something that might have in so many ways could have been better but now it seems that you were lucky to have had governing all the losses suffered in-between. For now it is a case of loss. Loss of memory. Loss of feelings. Loss of physical abilities that were considered standard. But now are at a premium as they have become a sure bet to fail.
When I was a child I could not imagine that the length of my mortal existence would extend farther than fifty-years old. From nineteen fifty-one plus that fatal figure placed me at 2001. The most popular groundbreaking film of my early adulthood was also named 2001. This films central actor was a black rectangle that served as a gate to another realm. It’s presence signified an entry to a very strange bizarre realm where what I personally came to know as the usual concerns of man were utterly out of place. How ironic that the narrative of this future point in time would be equivalently so bizarre and foreign to the mainstream of my intervening existence? That a decade and a half further on so many in the world would be worshiping the seeds of their own destruction at the behest of a people who have long aligned themselves with another rectangular solid of a black cube. The symbol of Saturn.
How foolish to be smitten with a love that one never had? A face that one could not for the life of them pick out of a crowd. To be brought to tears so childishly by the sincerity of actors. Yet be incapable of recognizing it within one’s midst? This must be a sign of a surrender to perpetual foolishness indeed! Yet if the tears are heartfelt then what ‘sayeth’ does that about the source? Is life not some form of sad remorseful farce if no in the beginning then certainly by it’s end? How can one look upon the beauty of another face so far removed by technologies artifice and feel so kindly? For this is a fool indeed that would be tricked to believe that they so far removed with have any part to play in the affair!
How can one know the triumph of love if they show cowardice to the promise of despair? Mere shadows instead! The ablutions of the morning not for the sake of cleanliness but resurrection from a more seductive land of fantasy illusion. Why keep writing if no one ever reads it? Is it a failing attempt at getting attention? What is there to said that has not been covered before? Maybe the explanation is that we are just here? Treading in an uncountable number of phantom steps. Human action figures that are supposed to embody what we are all supposed to desire. A peculiarity of certain persistent ‘magical’ tunes that elicit similar responses.
The ending is always underwhelming. Something that just comes up incidentally in the most unexpected of expected ways. You would think that a crescendo would blare forth or something and would announce it. But it is more times than not just an, “oh well“, then a roll over and suddenly stop moving affair. Stop moving for good. The body in question having been mostly dead for many a year. Dead perhaps without its owner even knowing the difference. Oatmeal and cellulite, patches of psoriasis bound parchment skin like a human quilt. Maybe a ‘looker’ at one point in faraway time? The bag of bones now supervening anything before. One without a hint of movement signaling the conclusion of another spent individual. Tits! If there had been any now like elastic half-filled water balloons. More sag than action to the eye. “Another cigarette please!” Something to relieve that slight hint of stench in the room so there might not be anymore distractions. “No more thoughts please!” Speculations to be avoided. Like that half-acted prospect of post-menupausal sex just one more time. An empty Coke bottle. “Spin the bottle!” Just for the Hell of it. Septic. Tight dry and fatally awkward. Not much left to look forward to. No sign of long held hopes left in those empty dead eyes. “Hell of a way to go!” Doesn’t matter now. Just another case for the shroud tailor to test his weights and measures.
The mental snapshot having been committed to digital memory the sight of the thing sprawled up lazily lost in a sitting position was filed away. Something to be accessed off the case files or maybe in some sector of a disk in a manila folder. The remains off to some stainless steel tray at county. No longer in mental custody. Something on a long list of things to do. More paperwork to keep one satisfied and working until retirement. That time when one could scratch one’s self again under their left armpit and be confident of not running across cold blued steel. The harness that went along for the ride never quite far enough away from the notion of what one’s true status was here. Another dray horse hitched up to a wagon full of corpses. The smell of cordite summoning only a dim memory of a two year stint as an eager young lad along with the U.S. Marine’s finest. Somehow that same comparison no longer fits. Just a witness to life’s mishaps. And of course, someone committed to keep the paperwork straight. The randomness of the types of clients that he encountered both on their feet and permanently off had been whittled down to a paucity of grim assumptions. Money, rage, envy! And of course the insanity of that lurking animal insect brain within that was goaded by the combination of all three. “$15,000 overnight!” the message declared in the spam folder of his tablet. At least the email software was working. He had a trash folder worth of their larger partners in crime. The big fish swam where they wanted in this world and it was his job to handle the minnows.
The ‘old piece of meat‘ from this afternoon stared grimly at the shadow falling at her toes from another simultaneous competing I-phone’s flash. It painted a less than pretty memorial to what appeared pretty obviously as another surrender to the weight of society upon old tired shoulders. Maybe she had plumbed the depths of her own spam folder drawn like a hungry animal towards the scent of an easy meal. “$15,000 overnight!” or some such claptrap. Maybe she had been foolish enough to follow through on the con? You might have thought that she would have left a last angry tearful note to declare her disgust with humanity about being screwed out of the last of her savings. If she had any? The ‘man department’ had closed up shop and split long ago. Just another unhappy swimmer finally pulled out into limbo by the tide of life’s consecutive failures. The major cause of death in those realizing their age being simply succumbing to the final realization of simply being old. He had seen it so often now that one could almost envy those with a knife stuck in them at an early age. They didn’t have to eat their own spleen over the subsequent wait for the final knock of father time. It didn’t matter he supposed. A brief mention of their existence would be handwritten in-between the press of six or seven tightly spaced lines in ballpoint ink. A normalized version typed into a computer terminal and set adrift in a sea of similar data. Perhaps data mined to join in the company of a similar group of statistics that could be offered to afford respectability to an otherwise shaky assumption. Something to garner more tax money from the state capital or maybe the Feds?
The picture of his ex’s face when they had broken up two plus decades back poured freely into the gap between his thoughts. That expression of profound anguish and shock deferred so instantaneously to grief at the few simple words that he felt free enough to offer her. Their wedding rings. The ones that they spend so much time picking out. His now in the ‘drink‘ off the point several fanthoms down in the deep. Stuck in the muck just like their respective illusions about a future together had become. And ending! The male thing! Decisiveness! But no cement on God’s green earth to fill that empty hole that would be left within. An ending. Sweet and simple. Just an ending.
My fantasy of a French girl. Somehow the topic of love got lost in the bargain. My fantasy of being adept at understanding French but not so well that they catch on because I don’t want to know too much. Just enough. Nothing to spoil the illusion of white skin beauty and madness. It is her craziness that I love and respect. Respect like I do my own. You have to be crazy and alive to last in this world. When you lose that you die. Ia am currently dead! All these impossible affinities with dolls safely out of reach. Atonement for the major fuck ups of my life. A long career of bumps in the road. Of bumps in the night. Of losing my fear of too much and therefore not respecting anything anymore. Sad possibilities of serving an infernal sentence. I want to be its master and not its slave. But I am afraid that that is not possible. No longer possible.
I want a French girl! Because I know that they know how to suffer regret. Sluts all of them at heart! Ready to sell themselves to lost causes and arrogant about it. Crystal glass playthings that fracture so easily and need a lifetime of patching up. So fragile and delicate. France being the endless journey looking for what. Lost little shanties full of wine and bead and lust. Disappointment abounding as with the rest of the world for things not coming out right but just being there. For daily operas containing too many words. How I wish I could understand them all! No, I don’t. I would rather bruise my knees bloody at an altar at San Sulpice. The ritual being a way to attract my Madonna to climb down so we can go catch a drink. Those eyes so lively. How can a man not want to drown within them?
Two expresso’s! I need to talk this out. I can’t come back later. I haven’t been there at all! I want the fantasy but the woman comes along at no charge. That is the tough part. I don’t know if I am able to walk down the gangplank and never see myself again? To wake up right now and not see the same old cracks the ceiling. To turn over in bed and find a scrunched up face that has turned into what it has always been. An indifferent stranger who I have no possibility of ever getting to know. To be able to feel comfortable with. I want to marry a French girl. I once did. But, alas, as I recall now, that didn’t work out.
My mother loved to watch, Gone With The Wind. It was her favorite movie. I can’t say that I ever understood what it meant to her. That was my failing as the perennial ‘late bloomer’. When I have seen it as of late it seems so blatantly obvious now. The frivolous nature of a young desirable girl. A seen of love based upon a foolish seen of infatuation. The fear of being left vulnerable and alone. The building of an inner resolve as a maturing woman to steel herself against any challenge. The opportunity that life provides her to prove her abilities and worth again all odds. Making her own way int he world despite the criticism of society. Discovering the true nature of love and friendship even if it seems too late in the game. And the value of home and the legacy of family that one has come from. All these qualities having their effect upon a young girl looking forward to the transition into womanhood.
She was nineteen when it appeared in theaters in 1940. I have to wonder if she viewed it first in the last preeminent movie palace still extent in the midst of the loop in Chicago? What disappointments and discoveries that lay ahead of her one might wonder if she expected? A world where war stole the possibility of finding a lasting love. The rise of career seeming to interject itself betwixt the chance for finding a home and raising a family. A brief and incidental marriage to a selfish boy that pretended to be a man leading to the disappointment and despair of never achieving the goal of harmony in motherhood. The tragic death of her mother and the subsequent loss of her father due to his grief and despair. And of course my father who in so many ways was a fit stand in for the real man in O’Selznick’s passion play. That special someone who had all the faults but at the core of it loved her and held her as the center of his universe. The most significant big budget extravaganza of her coming of age predicting in so many ways what became the challenges that she faced in the subsequent progress of her later life. How she must have viewed herself against the foil of the drama’s lead character at those many decisive junctures of her existence?
To view the film now is to catch sight of her at that tender age in the flickering darkness of the audience. A sight one rarely finds as a child of a woman that to them seemed the eternal archaic goddess known as ‘mother’. “January 17th, 1940.” To think of the date that she may have stepped into the lobby of some baroque movie palace fresh with anticipation to encounter the fresh celluloid telling her the tale of her future and destiny. How clever in hindsight for the doyens of Hollywood to fashion their plans to come within such clever intrigue. To show how a well-planned world conflict would affect the aspirations of the then contemporary iteration society coming of age and hint at how it would soon be transfigured. And in considering the subsequent ‘strum und drang‘ of this current time deposed. The players in the drama provided with both highs and lows and revealed as heroes or villains by their building legacy of reactions. The controversial aspect of the social incarceration of one and the effect of their inescapable lot in life ever-present as both tool and warning.
I have to wonder at the double edge sword the genius and the diabolical nature of those that power society so frivolously without the art form of painting the prospective progression of human life upon a screen? And then hangs it over the heads of the viewer by a thread for the rest of their existence. The audience aligning their lives to a mass hysterical narrative as opposed to finding their own way unassisted through the tangle wood of everyday chaos? Sitting here alone within the fading limelight of my own passing existence being the sole keeper of the long but now extinct narrative of my own kin I can only wonder further what the true natures of my own local players were? Their true identities reflected by the unspoken hopes and dreams that never were revealed . And somehow remained elusive never to come to pass! And how I might somehow in some small way further get to know them as they really once were.
Like many things that are touched by human hands the most noble of sentiments somehow eventually end up mishandled. End up much farther afield than what was initially intended. Perhaps no concept is portrayed in more of a fallacious manner than the popular movie version of that strange anomaly of nature known as the hero. To see the entity that had grown up in the long evolution of celluloid one would summon to mind images of one ever confident in the immediacy of action magically stepping forth without any hesitation into the worst of circumstances dealing in kind blow for blow with any adversary overfly large or diabolically clever. Someone who seems to have an inexhaustible level of willpower to go easily far beyond their own limited capacities in mortal strength and withstand a level of punishment that would wither those twice their size. All these qualities plus more expected in the midst of public discourse and in relating the qualities of this rare breed on individual that we all seem humbled by in mere proximity of our own measure seemingly so lacking in comparison.
Yet, no fanfare of massed trumpets and celebratory showers of rose petals can hope to offer fit homage to so many that would choose to step away from the spotlight and remain silent of those things that needed to be done and resolved themselves to commit to because there was no one else there to fulfill them. The last man standing who could have retreated but chose instead to seek out a fellow incapacitated or perhaps beyond saving. Someone who was challenged by what seemed an insurmountable fear and held fast despite to face it squarely not yielding to the impulse to run. Someone who has suffered the torments of Hell but is resolved to continue on without any hope of a better outcome because it was up to them or no one. Those who could find satisfaction in humble fare and be thankful for it despite its lack. Anonymous individuals not prone to marching rank and file shoulder to shoulder on a specific holiday. Not out of any sense of shame but in knowing that with any society the time for peace must ever outweigh those times regretfully spent in giving battle. Those are the natural inclinations of true heroes. Not the cardboard movie poster cutouts beneath marquees or the cold slippery plastic of effigies molded into the shape of fictional characters that have never existed save within the minds of infants. But in those true veterans that have raised us, loved us, and sacrificed mightily to protect us. God bless them all!
I dreamed that I was a father once again as I never have ever thought I had been. Explaining the loss of one child to the other as best I could not though I too stretched forth for answers for questions never to be satisfied. A stay at home day running a newsstand with the latest articles tattooed freshly each morning upon my skin. I had no words of my own left to say. But I began with anger and angst left in my teeth and a heart of Philosopher’s lead. Not enough phlogiston left to return the light of my remaining boy’s eyes. That would have to return of its own though it grieved me to think that I could not make a dent in the avalanche of life that had come crashing down upon the two of us. Caught within the indifferent hive of humanity forced to make our way in this strange land of unceasing doubt.
Vulnerable, oh so vulnerable. A solitary soul in an infinitive fish bowl. Those manifold events from ones past caught up in a whirlwind and tossed back at one. Only one’s obsession providing any order in the ever turning chaos. Some minor detail based on the previous earthly rotation being a key to entry to this crazy quilt world. A collection of material artifacts providing the needed stimulation to proceed. A lifeline in the stream that extends only so far. The edge of the great Niagara. This darkness being the launching pad where the soul can step off and bathe equally in both past and present. The world is ever populated by the old waiting to die off. Useless bipeds who atrophy a little more each day.
One eye myopic and increasingly so, creating ever more frequent vascular headaches. My life in decline across the great desert of myself. Bereft of fantasy for the sake of others. This earth is a fiction devised. Nothing about it seems true. Just accepted fact. We are a universe of conventions individuals mining for fool’s gold. Pyrite constitutions calling it emeralds. Totally lost in the funny papers of a world loosely termed tomorrow. A crying machine of industrial tears suggesting larger proportions. Our hapless selves driven forward, ever forward, till we sicken and escape the material. The shift of the herd over the years suggesting that we all son’t make it.How lovely is a child’s smile! This is what one has to contend with.
Close your eyes in a chair and imagine a giant eraser with which you can erase yourself so that you float alone in a big velvet black. Tabla Raza again, once again! Only the on again, off again flow of blood past your right ear to reveal you. The inner clock that reminds you that time ticks away. Signing off on every instant in a single beat. An endless trickle that subtends life. That infernal mechanism that seems to stand between you and an eternity of nothingness. The is the edge of the highway if a nation of roads and major thoroughfares. We analogize ourselves as a people under a common label in our how territories. Only sailors are unafraid to push off into chaos for the benefit of unknown shores. We inhabit this place like molecules demanding the rights of Godhood. How impossible this all is?