Dusk is the time for melancholy when everything before you is so beautiful. Falling and empty of substance. When possibility is fleeting any all hope for the future becomes bereft. Symbols and events and faces pass by without evidence of ever being so. The linkage of all those former memories defaulting to incomprehensibility amorphously incidental and brief. Another day passes into reckless recriminations. Of what might have once been possible. But now is irrecoverable beneath the rapidly spreading tide of endless night.
The doors of old familiarities close and other theoretically open. Or so they say? Your’s is a universe neglected. So filled to the brim with that others now considered as refuse from the hoary distant past. These gates are to your palace. Neglected. When you become quiet enough to remember so. Old melodies of sad love gone awry. Plodding finger strummed lute-like across faded things. Who can remember their sting? Those old disappointments when love’s ship was pushed aside by an ill wind upon rocks of a foreign shore. And now, as all else fails, you are brought back to that very moment when you once again abandoned all. And now. You want to hear that melody sung again from the sad living instrument of her bygone voice. That very same one that so long ago you heard last before you turned her into a mermaid. Bereft of limb and heart. The very one that you left so far back and behind by you lack of virtue betwixt land and sea. You deserved your sorrows. You deserve this death. Locked out from what once made life worth living. Sitting now peacefully before the gates of time. Errant winds of time caressing you absentmindedly like that same forgotten hand. So long absent. Long and slow are the strings that drag this feeling out of you. The ayres about you moaning in their slow mournful cry of sailors, decks awash, caught within their tears. Too late. Eternal winds blow. Blow forth into that narrow space caught within the past. Both horror and delight. Your sleep will take you from this safe refuge to return finally only to yourself. The current drift of that barque, now empty, that you once called you. Slowly down to the river’s mouth. Slowly on through towards the end of time. Your lifeless eyes surrendered unconditionally to the endless blue of heavens long desired above.
(John Dowland – “Dear If You Change”)
There is no greater wellspring of regret than in long lost desire for love once again reawakened. The rejection of that false promise that one has made a pact with to have one’s way or die. So who is pretentious now? The sore hollow fool that will follow through for a score of moments this scripted scenario of eternal failure? This game of finding regret by what one has not done rather than simply re-enacting the fable of what one should have known better so much longer than long ago? The accumulation of first impressions that still remain stacked up against one like a house of cards. If fools there be that run this world then you are both their dean and their teacher! To be mad in lust with someone so much so that you hate them for their sanity in staying clear. Volcanic soil undisturbed by soiled footprints of the commonality of reason in unconsciously recalling events locked within. Imprisoned in their own way that they never are allowed to become the primary cause of one’s own life of farce and folly. To sully the ivory and gold of what they once took in for a golden moment in ions long ago and try to pick away and chip the jewels from their mountings it like a thief. Boxcars undulating on steel rails overloaded moving ever slower now as the train nears the final station. So many players now long and permanently gone. Fallen away by the wayside into histories dust of what once was and never could have ever been. Overlapping dramas repetitively announcing that same old singular story of have and have not. How pathetically frail is one at their core to turn to lead every golden memory that one has touched. To make villains out of all those that one had once long ago had thought they had known. And then blame them for not one’s self having known better.
“Inside the house, a lightning rod use by way of an old TV antenna connected to a thick wire speaks!” – (dream)
The lively art of conversation stunted by ‘techno’ pygmies within the Michigan Avenue coffee house. That inherent unchanging impulse of human nature to try to connect directly with others quickly overcome by state of the art digital WiFi’d electronics. That underwhelming tension of play or spontaneous overture opposite of the current requisite reading zoom text based conversations. A deceptively easy atmosphere of calm. The culturally permissible aural rant of ghetto soul music blaring away on the internal network of loudspeakers within the house. Moan and groan toned art to no avail beyond the ongoing filibuster of petty satisfaction of not getting enough of what life has to offer for free. Dubious LCD messaging repetitive beneath the category of style first and style last and style all around. Message, if there is any. weak below the vocalization of style. The merely exhausted Pandora. The box is now forever open and the opiates dispensed. Why make a big ‘thang‘ out of nothing? “Les bijoux en fer sont toujours en or!” General demeanor of the encased populous? Mean as snakes! This current generation as pretentious in its overt semiotics as their inherent insecurity will allow.
Apparently, before the great silver metal Baal of the Chicago, a snow covered ‘bean‘. The fat girls are vexed? Concerned that my own inescapably insufficient conversational French muttered softly to my self has been heard! Far more worthy in the misappropriation of my nationality than in my wildest dreams I could ever have imagined!
That magnificently tall woman entering the overly tonally bright hall several tows ahead obviously a long lost distant cousin of the Annunaki? Spectacular though undoubtedly old as the hills. And what do I offer in exchange? Failing lungs and heart and a sore tailbone. Hopefully not having to share old man’s farts within the duration of the performance that is now imminent. Convoluted intestines a sign of a coming demise. But still alive in these land of the languishing ‘les ancien‘ with all their arthritic slowness and infernally slow care taken not to lose balance. Stooped shoulders and pot bellies floating just beneath the wispy whisky waves of oceans and oceans of sparsely combed grayed hair on balding pates. Here and their illuminated finger tips busily tapping away on tiny screens. Withered old men, old women, old farts. Symptoms of a dying race, a bygone era, of increasingly males visages replacing those once overtly female in a second glance. Estrogen’s slow slide giving way. The ‘hippopotamus’ as compared to the occasional youthful ‘mermaid’. Each in their way a particularly pointed source of attention.
How like Barbara who was for many years my own particular object of attention. But, in the end, simply an object of passing attention. Perhaps out of better judgment on both our parts? An unspoken love affair with an ever-present fear of failure ever upon the mind? Lifelong in general, at that! We each of us have are peculiar penchants that way. Complaints, complaints, complaints, from those behind the barrier of sidelong glances. A muse interrupted by the signifying of personal dissatisfaction every subject possible. Ones that make these two old ‘cunts‘ babbling not he other side of the aisle feel important. A three way eye bound silent conversation between announcer, master of ceremonies and performer, waiting for the show to begin with a cue from central casting. The man of the hour and center of the day’s performance and exceptional virtuoso on the well-tuned house ‘klavier‘. The inspiration of dance as filtered by Liszt into brilliantly performed tempo and style. Inspiration for the human soul the common currency traded within the terrazzo reverberance of the landmark auditorium. Visionary tainted malevolence momentary changed by the famine of life’s emotions briefly lifted. The failure of one noted by the other. The object of this hour’s attention building on his own success. Note drifting over note, like clouds at dusk. Key over key, dripping like a light Summer rain. His tempo demonstrated like well-experienced horsemanship advancing at a steady gait to a canter. Overcoming the usual cyclical nature of other performers who have warned that bench. Sweetness of melody par excellence! “Shhh!“, you old two biddies! Not a gutter dance from the waist up of flopping one’s young ‘tits’ about in a low cut form fitting black dress to garner praise. The play encoring one to rise above out of their own well accustomed poison.
Having loved too many girls from a afar, I am drawn to ‘Lady Barbara’ in the unfolding of reluctant memories that the third movement brings to mind. How convenient to thing of those that you once loved at a convenient distance of past eras? Those useless duels with rival suitors now decades later found dead. Equally self-serving that we will meet again in some place ahead far beyond mortal time. Above all her beauty shines blindingly within in both spirit and heart. And of course, falling upon my own burden of long held disappointment that has forever kept me down. To sit within this very same hall when twenty years previous I had failed. Failed as I later did in that Pagliacci mask of of half-hearted suitor for the lady’s hand. And still angst ridden by the despicable role I played unwilling within the final chapter of our association to commit all. Beyond chewing deeply into her for my own self-imposed frustrations with a final bite of scorn. A vainglorious identity bolted upon my own visage that sill inspires no forgiveness for my performance or for us both [the remaining portion of Piano sonata 32 in C Minor pours forth]. How can measure the power of long held regrets? So many crowed before the doorway to that final chapter known as one’s own old age. Their combined weight too much to bear. And so as to retreat as always into the false safety on one’s emptied emotions ever held at bay. The casement holding any hope of lifelong happiness at bay. The slim hopes of encores for the sake of its phantom form that should have been bestowed in decades past. Not solitude, or whatever else it may be called. The concert ends. Epiphany, but not necessarily exhaustion [exeunt].
[Epilogue] OK, I went out of the house on a nagging impulse. A long repressed impulse. Long held back impulses, ones that conjure impossible hopes. Ones generated over some previous other’s like a panic ridden crowd caught within a crush of theater goers in a darkened auditorium. One that has ‘en masse‘ heard an anonymous voice yell, “Fire!” Today, miles away from my own abode, I await for an impossible meeting. A meeting occasioned by a feeling that one if one believes and acts against reason, then it might be imminent. One that, like any other self-inspired fantasy, perhaps goes from mere improbability, but not quite past and beyond the realm of possibility. Can it be any more foolish to believe in your own world of private fantasies than to take on the usual mantle of fallibility in those incessant universal everyday kind that one is ceaselessly fed?
I am an emotional moral coward that has deserted his own life.
I get so many visits now within my dreams of the underworld.
Barney my dog now long dead appeared and ran up and down the right most aisles towards the stage ascending the short stairs during the performance. No one seemed to mind or notice. On the left every animal was now a human dressed in tuxedos.
Walking along with a group of students through a campus and mall within low architecture. The students telling me how they were going to Paris. And I feeling left out. The group of them entering a great low rotunda while I consciously avoiding took the path around it.
I ran a bagnio with a least one young woman as my thrall. I shot her cat up a thousand feet into the air within a large rocket using an RC control to trigger a parachute.
We ate armies. We ate paths worrying about how to fill up the compliment along the river with a full compliment. Seeing my father again coming back having been deposed. Deposed by death. I a bad son because in my mind I wondered, “Will he make money again and help me out?” “Since I am poor?” The battle. The event that I helped stage by the back of the dock. Where I laid my money on the floor. Profits from what I had been paid. In the meanwhile someone, one of the guests traveling outside into the night under the viaduct. Onto the street, I chasing after them to see if they were OK. All this in a bad neighborhood. Where I was surrounded by five or six. Who were going to intimidate before they attacked. And I managed with two steel styluses, one stuck in each ear of two of my potential assailants. So they backed off. And I got back to the location and found that the head mobster . . ! Some mealy mouthed little thing in a cheap silk suit had taken my money. The son of a bitch! Thinking somehow there was no past. There was no future. There was only the present. And wondering how I could synthesize one to regain the other somehow in a material way?
[version 1] Struggle, struggle, struggle! The earth, mankind fell into chaos through contention. And the result, The earth was flooded. And all tried to hide in the sea. But mankind was wiped out. Their souls has to go into limn to wait. And the fish dominated. Later on, somebody who was a ‘big macher’ in the area whee Cameo tower was died and they made all these memorializations. And I kept thinking why didn’t my father get the same honors?
[version 2] I travel to alternate residences contemplated in times past where I search for artifacts from my past. Walking in urban neighborhoods after hours or just past daybreak to places of old but passing familiarity. All to no avail because it has been re-rented. A great chaos visited upon the earth. It’s surface beset by uncountable tons of water sever thousand feet above what was once land. Aquatic species diving further down while humans now subsumed being resolved to be made wait while their souls remain resigned to limbo for the next eternity to arrive within which to be born into the material once again.
Someone of importance dying at Cameo tower and the local city fathers wrack their brains as to how to honor him. And I return to the edifice and wonder how they all could have forgotten how once not so long ago my own father was much more instrumental? My mother once again by my side in a large public complex of carpeted stairs with a wire pushcart. Her overstuffed arthritic frame struggling just ahead of me. Ambling unsteadily down the steps at what was for her a breakneck pace. Catching herself once along the way. Then a second time to my horror falling a flight to land on her back upon the treads. I running in a frenzy to her. Instinctively embracing her and picking her up after she had risen. Her body completely limp. The life-force having permanently departed. My tears unquenchable while I cried out for assistance hugging her lifeless body.
Today was a truly terrible day for me. Perhaps I have had worse ones? It started out with my recollection of a dream. Terrible events of earthly flooding of all that is known. The death of my mother re-portrayed before me. Helpless embracing her lifeless form. The awareness throughout the day that I have become incidental. My existence trivial. Unneeded, unwanted, and trivial. No one in the future shall know the great pains I have gone through to record my existence. Who care after all? How I turned every possibility of the past into folly. I have been a terrible fool throughout my entire existence. Maybe it is better that no one knows? Something that I can now look back on with total conviction. Hard now to visit the same old places and not be tempted to draw a tear from that well. I don’t own those places anymore. They seem to own me. Own my tears. Too much death in times misspent. Nothing one can retrieve in a photographic image. My hieroglyphs equally arcane as those of the Egyptians of old.
The seats at the bar where I ended up and sat alone to avoid my last remaining official role were empty by the time I had left. I called an irritating woman fat under my breath when for the second time she intervened when was attempting to ask about my order for food. She heard and knew it was her and left even though I was looking at the reflection of the television humiliating its contestants. Two cerveza’s too many. I didn’t feel like complaining did anyone any good. We all knew that as far as society was concerned we were everyone of us going to be fucked over after all.
Some made ideas to take an old broken TV antenna and place it out in the raging thunderstorm. Catch lightning with an old thick audio cable. Bring it into the Living room where the family is gathered. My hesitation and their protests mean that I missed the storm’s lightning. Inwardly I am glad.
The times offered little prospects for one’s hopes of finding fulfillment within their long held dreams. The Utopian fantasy of a single world empire integrated within a single set of ever-scheming unseen hands.
The new year awoke in the usual bright blue freezing cold splendor of nine hours of brilliant scrubbed clean splendor. An empty emotional capsule vacant of the previous year by fact of the vacuous presence of humanity goaded along by a day of contemplation of too ambitious resolutions. The illusion of sanity hiding in the quiet desolation of memories wiped clean in many cases by too much alcohol the previous evening and the expelling of same. The previous year and all immediate memories of same now distant and for the moment down the drain. The limbs a bit unsteady and a desire to soothe the uneasiness with another round. The weight of future tomorrows and the sum total of the many waiting questions that would soon demand answers heavy as the passing hangover. One should have been much further along now! Unburdened by the past as opposed to wallowing in it pretending to be a stranger! The world no longer offering a sense of belonging by default. A stranger in one’s own neighborhood. Just there. That’s all!
He knew the cycle from close hand. The day had past and was two hours away from sundown at five to two. The hiatus that was afforded by this ritual empty day was coming to an end as well. He had no idea where that would place him tomorrow. A lonely jack of diamonds as of late displaced from a discarded deck. He knew the places and had a story or two to tell about each one. He might have stayed on the road and visited many. The remained waiting in his mind’s eye long abandoned by the normality of his presence. Just a passing phase. The content that his drama had brought to them now less than an empty storefront that had held a once familiar business. Not even a tire track beneath the many millions that had traveled the same roads since. The tons of trivia now providing an aura of possible solution to the previous humdrum existence that was extinct. The pictures stocked in the old gold cabinet held a number of clues. The photos of so many enigmatic events and angles that defied all but the hint of an association by virtue of location or distant relations. The extended narratives of long minutes and hours of daily existence snipped down to a single flash of an instant or two.
The soft melodies of Chopin’s proscribed finger tickling of the 88’s sonorous to the slow dissolution of the light of the first very next day. The search for that elusive identity long lost approximated but soon to evaporate with the studied silence of a mutually enjoyed inertness that this day ritually provided. Tomorrow it would be time to continue the attempt to find one’s self again. That futile loss of identity swirling in the midst of humanity’s ever restless sea. From the man who attempted to have everything but now could now longer recall where any of it had ended up. Or how it had diluted his eventual lack of material success. The grasshopper looking into front room frosted holiday glass or just window shopping through the snow. Mood and emotions jammed onto full melancholy. A power dive into oblivion. The slow disappearance of his generation into thin air. Subsequent generations busily at work thinking that it is better to extinguish all of the past rather than feel diminished by it. “Who started the war!“, the mute voice of this headline prone era slanged! “What war?, he said back to the otherwise lifeless empty screen proclaiming such. The bright angle of the afternoon sun offering it’s brightest beams for another of the fewer last times to come. Preparing to make for a hasty exit.
It seemed to him sitting alone in his chair as the minimal light of the slowly rising gray dawn began to rise. It seemed that a ll the pay dirt had done played out. Days long passed unable to be recollected any further. Just one big blur. A buffer to all those things that meant something but that dared not be remembered lest they remind one that there was really no hopes left for the future after all. Another holiday season. Ten days left ti the twenty-fifth of the month and Christmas. The long pause of the sight of the museum of his family’s ancient artifacts all arranged exhibit style in a clutter about him. The gifts of long ago, some of them. Grown worn int the imagination having faded from the immediacy of want and desire. Who could imagine them now at center stage in a store window or holiday catalogue as being the most special? Too many others had come in the intervening years to take their place. All that was left was the material husk of what had long ago left. That fantasy of the promise of eternal perfection. The cotton grayness had risen now to appreciable luminescence. A milk shake state giving nothing away beyond several shades of an indeterminate lackluster blue. No definition beyond a few casual streaks to distinguish it from an intervening cotton blanket blotting out the universe of stars. The solitary sights allowed being the many dwellings of others locked in the rising metronome of early morning traffic. “Played out.“, his mind recited.
Some trivial diversions tried to cut in. The fact of his being days late on some bill. The requisite changes needing to be made for a job. All incidental crisis of no real consequence to replace that tempo of what had once been the drama of living. Involvement with the difficulties that other lives presented. Unfairly or not. Involvement with the hope of finding that perfect something that an inner lodger far within demanded. But would never spell out. Only hint at. Old roads and highways on the way to nowhere chasing the Sun both early morning and at the frost sign of the Sun’s daily fail. All those first spur of the instant ‘first’s‘ shared with someone else that one barely knew but hope to know more. But through the circumstances of choice and choosing the safe same old on had scrupulously avoided. That magic instate then quickly removed out of reach to form an imaginary mental point of worship to be added to the eternal untarnishable shrine of what ‘could have been’. But wasn’t!
Now of course, equally bereft of what was. And seemed never to change. But one day on the flip of a coin had changed. And now never could be indulged in again. Empty. Nothing left either way. Nothing to look forward to and nothing the way it once was. The forever in-between being his current place of residence. The chair he was sitting at had holes now. Evidence of the last acts of recent years. Of its membership as the prime actor in a final curtain call sealing off that span of time one could delineate as the past. The singling out of that period by the marker of the two deaths that stood out above all the rising number of others that once could mentally celebrate but had grown tired of doing so. Would the ceremonial tree with all the old artifacts of times past be recovered from the darkness of the locker down at the other end of the hall? All those handmade ornaments that presented the same of holiday guessing game. Trying to relate when other hands fashioned them in more hopeful times when hope was something that still sprung eternal. The spot on the small Florentine credenza was still taken up by the same old big gold leaf painted plaster lamp. It’s lampshade oversized yellow and dusty. No place to put it when the switch would have to be made. Taking one old item out of its accustomed place to temporarily replace it with another making this cluttered overburdened space even more so.
Not much to look forward to in the stillness of this ongoing pall that the paucity of the present tense with all its shortfalls and list of limited expectations growing shorter would present. The light above from the day restrained by the pillow gray formed a concentric wave. Like on that a large pebble might make in the idle of a pond but overhead. The universe above had sent its message and it had drifted by unheeded. The snow from the night before had gotten tired of the many roofs and had climbed down to rest upon the myriad of lawns below. Waiting for a hint of midday Sun. Hopefully to appear. Listless and impatient. Hopefully to evaporate away.