The last thing that I can do is to say that I am a failure. I can acknowledge my mistakes and misdeeds. But I cannot allow myself to not believe that tomorrow I can turn it all around. If I do I am dead. I am my families final chapter. They live within me. I am their history. Their entire lifetime all within me. Does it matter to the world? It matters not. They meant something, their lives and the dreams they instilled within me. I am their future as well as their past and I have gone fallow, Deep down within under the rubble of a life collapsed is the same little boy that would run to the comfort of his daddy’s arms to feel the love that was too quickly extinguished by the rueful circumstances of unstable life. In the end, I found much to our mutual regret that I had not cared as much for him as he did for me. At least not till he was past caring taken away by the inevitable natural cycle of birth and finally death. To late, my heart poured forth once again what it dare not admit while he was alive. Such was the great degree of my latent fear within. A fear that my sense of being in love would no longer be welcomed as an adult. A fear that I would have to surrender to the crushing mark of being a failed son. The one and only that could not outgrow his father long and ever widening shadow. In that I felt that I had truly failed. How could I not? He was a much greater man than ever I could have imagined. Than I found that I ever could be. Great because despite all the bad hands that he was dealt in life, he continued to persevere despite insurmountable odds. Angry sometimes? Sure! But never despairing always heading forward despite sheltering both my mother and I despite his own meandering inner flaws. No monument in my estimation could ever be built high enough to match his humble stature. A man who lived in the shadow of that larger than life personality that he himself created. Someone that despite how brash and brusque his unrefined manner appeared to me at the time would much later elicit posthumous comments of how that same demeanor would be sorely missed. Someone that many from all walks of life felt that they could call friend. This was the pattern that defines the direction of the weave of the cloth from which I am cut. My father. Someone that I so often regret the loss of and harbor that desire to be beside as I once was before. Just to reach up and find his warm hand holding my own yet again.
Many aspiring actors convinced to try out different characters in a bizare form of prothestic makeup of oversized faces. Displaying same in different public spaces with any warning. William Shatner in a Turkish airport dressed up like Humpty Dumpty! Or some moron that was filling in for him when he wanted a smoke and went on break? All of this insanity went on to be eventually televised. A sort of terrorist event? Unsuspectedly, publicly exposing the various people that participated in it. They going on the continue to work upon the dynamics of their respective character’s effect in the most absurd of situations.
Something like that over there in Paris where they have all those indigent Muslim hanging about the streets and swimming pools. Like someone who really was who was posing as someone who really wasn’t posing at all but who was posing like someone who really was trying to do so! There, where their latrine was their sink!
A Wisconsin fishing lodge filled with a bunch of old timers. Old farts, they all sit around and watch TV and eat cheese and passing gas between wheezy tall tales. A six-foot long unwound rind of cheese slowly yellowing tacked end to end horizontal at waist level along the wood paneled wall. Somewhat as a display of local pride one might suppose? But to whom? It was getting late. Or early? Or something! And I bellow out to the lot of them, “Let me, I’ll go upstairs and stay by the TV room!” “And when I’m done, I’ll make sure to turn it off.” The rest of them grunt and groan stiffly rising unsteadily and walked downstairs hobbling out of the place into the night.
The garbage men slowly drove their truck down the dirt alley out in back. Hollering out every once and a while to each of the brand new suburban homes on either side of the narrow trail to bring out their garbage. Their calls awakening me early so that was I standing on the bed in my pajamas and then shoving my nose against the broken screen in the new Summer’s dawn to view this commotion going on at the back of our house. It was the middle of the nineteen-fifties and such arcane occurrences were common back then.
In the business of nightmares there is rich food, impending vascular trouble and later after dark, a visitation from the mythical hag. The latter some form of nocturnal creature that is purported to hop aboard the middle of your chest to make your blood run cold both literally and figuratively. This phenomena having a long tradition worldwide along with the world flood. Spiritually speaking there are many malevolent creatures that become attracted to one seeking out the negative energy of fear upon which to feast. The core animal within having primal memories of past experiences of providing some predator somewhere with the dubious benefit of themselves serving as the prey. The prospect of impending doom will encourage them to find almost absurdly crazy avenues of escape in the world of dreams.
Blowing themselves up within a large balloon, for example, to escape using buoyancy to loft them into the ceiling. So many unacknowledged destructive demonic forces taking control after invading the premises would not find them. The motivating fear behind escape from these same evil entities now reigning over mankind who were both jealous and vengeful to the extreme towards anyone that might think that they could easily elude these fiends.
As public relations man partially in control of the work he was assigned, but of course completely responsible for it’s successful outcome, my stunt was nearly derailed when I found that the company wanted the famous PGA pro to swipe at a tiny golf ball standing atop a twenty-foot high narrow platform atop the roof of a thirty story building. To add insult to injury there was a opening immediately adjacent to the platform. So if the man lost his balance and slipped off the edge he might tumble down through it. He was in a testy mood especially when my Japanese counterpart began to initially verbally berate and then continue to bait him about being so obviously scared of heights. His silent reply came in the form of performing a trick shot with his driver that aimed the golfball at his tormentor leaving the ball to bounce back and forth within an inside corner at the far end of the building. A feat of skill that for anyone else would be impossible.
Running away from the orphanage with another little boy through a forest to the local mall where many types of toys abound in great numbers. Wire toys designed specifically without heads but with lumpy plastic limbs formed around a central armature of thick bendable wire that can be positioned in so many ways. A strange connection to a selection of semi-transparent color swatches that had to be obsessively checked and checked again to see if there was any correspondence to the headless dolls.
The limbless boy’s most telling daily activity being to immerse himself in the fantasy of virtual characters with his own chosen avatar’s possessing functional arms and legs. There he tends to lay upon the floor almost every afternoon before an old analog television set as he continuously presses upon the buttons of a games controller alternately using his shoulder and his face to manipulate his own character around the screen. One might easily imagine what universe that he preferred.
Someone unknown shooting tiny BB sized small caliber rounds into the front window through the ornamental balustrade of the front terrace. The little children in the vicinity violently protesting their innocence when asked if they saw anything? Asking one to get a rod there rest responding that they didn’t do anything. The long stick now in hand the decline of the distance between the top of the heavy concrete railing and the rosette within determining exactly where and from what height the shot had been fired from across the way.
Change of scene to Sherlock’ing possible suspects in the vicinity of a very public outdoor garden in a terraced mall. The perpetrator eventually caught being a very tall angular man with a Hindu turban being led away by two constables each holding a handcuffed arm. The mystery not over as in the section of same far opposite a man tries to warily dispose of a clear liquid in a sealed bottle easing it out through a window. His carefully posed stealth and obvious concern about the attention showed by others around him giving him away as being guilty of something nefarious. I rush up to him and being suddenly startled he falls out of the enclosure with an off camera bump, crash and a moan. He crawls back through the window after several minutes with his face transfigured by acid burns.
The power of suggestion well-acted to the point of mental subversion as programing might tend to appear to justify such nonsense. But in the floating garbage pit of pseudo intellectualism of practiced techniques of mass social programming by entities like BBC which incidentally is the old stamping grounds and model for the Ministry of Truth. All one finds is a Sargasso Sea of meaningless triviality. A bad game played upon the unsuspecting by deceitful players all for the goal of monetary gain.
If there is a phenomena of the persistence of a deceased life form remaining in the vicinity of its former existence long after death also known as haunting? What if the former occupant now being the persistent departed spirit who once lived at some higher elevation within that former high rise is detectable to anyone who happens by some circumstance to be found lingering at the former height where the apartment once was? As the same high rise has ultimately demolished with no structural component to replace it could anyone sense the continued presence of that spirit at the exact same position in empty space high above where the apartment once existed? Are their tiers of ghosts stacked one group upon the other in a similar manner to that of the living tenants of densely populated urban skyscrapers? Is the ghostly presence of the twin World Trade Center towers still vibrant with the unresolved spirits of those who died noticeable in some way from the various vantage points at different levels looking across to where they once stood while standing within the new One World Trade?
The devil came to visit one dark early morning
last night when I was trying to float
he looked at my face and said what is it
and then launched me to ceiling in boat
above bed and blanket I discovered
this wish had taken me far from the ground
wondering what sort of bargain was waiting
whenever he flew me back down
before him I stood in my bed clothes
his company I felt fit not to keep
his appearance was scuzzy and leering
not Presidential but more like a Veep
a bargain he’d have me sign in that moment
of great benefits to sustain and provide
but I shirked from his pen and his chorus
to continue back to my own downward slide
his face turned predictably ugly
gone miffed with disappointment and such
reflecting death that will only serve to bore us
when tucked neath that ground’s broken hutch
still a smile on my face kept its presence
still my calm body stood like stone did not shake
too much ensorcell had I long seen on the TV
to coin the call of his performance a fake
anger faded quick so much colder to ponder
a better deal than my low station allowed
more than riches and power and honey
to force through my own skepticism not cowed
but a smile did simply wider broaden
across my steady hand and sweat-less short brow
for the power of poverty’s virtues
had dispelled all to many other’s previous kowtow
there was nothing this little man could do for me
that hadn’t been done long before
having grown up with the promise of new Eden’s
that had forever been birthed by old whores
there were those that were better than he was
there were sharper’s and schickster’s and crone’s
Internet pop-ups, late night pitches, and banter’s
listing to suspicious pitches occasionally phoned
no wonders left to my own overburdened imagined
nothing left to tempt by thin words veiling shills
having lived too long with everything vaguely promised
that carrot and stick style’s never seemed to fulfill
And so I return at day’s end before the Sun has set. That lonely little child inside so used to walking through cold late afternoons to soak up the lit playing with shadow. Cold to the bone but thankful. The golden nature of woods along a river in mid-Winter denuded by frost and wind. The dead leaves dry crinkle unavoidable with each step. How many different vistas like islands in becalmed within my past in which I have felt the cheeks of my face gone numb and tingling with that same wind’s breath? The scape of old houses and the ancient bygone worlds that they so perfectly preserve in their persistent presence eve in mind with my slow gait. Yellow brick and rust colors banded and bejeweled in unexpected reflection by nature’s stained glass. This is a timeless zone where each step falls into a previous footstep taken somewhere else somewhere never too far away to the heart. The world reflected in the solitude of these lazy winter progressions down the trunks and limbs of empty suburban street. The afternoon casts its gold freely upon each haphazard treasure passing. Darks and lights blending in a manner that can only bring a sense of peace in an endless sense of same. One that has always been and will remain unchanged far beyond when all this returns to the unimaginable wilds it has ever been. The view from the window over all this same path now sinking slowly into the sleep of fading Sun’s eclipse. My own limbs tingle like cold burned dead leaves. These are special days that only come once. It is my lot in life to be patient for the unexpected gift of possibly an other. And equally perhaps a warm little hand within my own to once again share this.
It is dawn of the last day of the year. The lame duck Christmas tree is lit. Things are mostly quiet save for the blower on the heater that sounds like a distant shower head at work. The unit clicks off and the clock chimes. My own ears buzz with an awareness of a constant chirp of something electric possibly WIFI. Where has the world that I once knew gone to? The artifacts of previous times stand out in an otherwise empty room like museum pieces. The people responsible and the world that they once know are long past. My sense of it irrecoverable. I am left with the thin soup of my own much diminished sense of self. Nothing to cry about certainly because somewhere swimming around within is a particle or two of that personality that I could claim as my own. “Funny that?” as a Brit might say. The staggering shift of the perspectives of this country are undeniable. Some have said that the old United States is gone. And in its place is some souped up Hollywood mentality driven post Apocalyptic movie set filled with people that have no clue what parts they are about to play in the coming drama.
The heritage of my age group is on its way out. We belong to those strange enigmatic times of Disco and Vietnam and Dolby cassette technology. That dubious gift of Rock and Roll a fading religion that has become so archaic to the point that beyond small cults of hanger’s on it can only be celebrated as sampled lifts for the new epitomes of country influenced hip hop. My own radio silent now for a decade or more. I listen at these quiet times to the constant rumble of passenger jets taking off from the distant airport. The interval of tick and tock from my own clock in sympathy with my heart. Memory is an inconstant friend that comes around to remind me about those initial thoughts of childhood where I saw another someone not too unlike myself caught up at this very stage of existence. My impressions at that time much less kind and understanding. Perhaps human existence is plied upon a carousel where you are propelled round and around morphing from things young and fresh to old and exhausted?
The saga of existence is necessarily one of an ultimate surrender. One’s greatest works are all destined to sit on a shelf somewhere gathering dust if you are lucky. If you are not they will only be accompanied back to the ether with all those other great inspirations experienced but never acted upon. And that is how it should be. God forbid if any would have followed through with any and all ‘bright ideas‘ at any given time. It may be that it is the one or two that you come back to that possess sufficient worth to merit a glance or two by another somewhere some time. The great ‘WE‘ just want to continue to chase the dangling juicy carrot with an impression that they are getting ever closer to their prize. Perhaps only those who’s business it is to sail the oceans realize that a good day on earth is maintaining constant steam for a unspecified multiple of dozen miles or so. I for one retain my place on the bridge or an otherwise shabby tug. My many analogies merely letter-sized paper hats set forth upon the waves each soon soaking into a crumble with some joining the myriad of bottle caps dancing restlessly upon an eternally restless surface betwixt water and air.
Two more days left in this year. In a manner of speaking it could be said that a year has been compressed down into a day. In another sense of same I could also say that my experience of life has gone through yet another kind of transformation. In the popular sense we are all poked and prodded about our existence by the word, ‘change’. That infers a state of being that is in restless inertial motion. But ‘transformation’, means that you have arrived. Arrived to a conclusion that something is indeed different. A successful passage. In my own case it is a temporal shelter from the lifelong sense of angst. A year plus of being by my lonesome has done wonders. Having to live with the restless monster within and watching him wind down to find out just how little important he really is to everyone else has a strange quality of freedom to it. Odd as it seems I am suddenly struck with how much I had loved my long ago wife without a sense of immediate recrimination for our overlap of follies. I must admits this was due to a combination of happenstance in which a youthful surrogate of two people of similar demeanor’s upon the stage of the Internet recall the behaviors down to the relative verbosity and the respective lack of it. It showed me something that I have lacked since that time nearly half an adult lifetime ago. How it felt to be loved by someone else.
My boiler has been cold since that time. Sure my restless animal made its long and tediously terrible journey both before and after through the wasteland of the lack that I found in others and of course within myself. I entered into a life as a result that I never would have known had I not encountered the great disappointment of myself and tried to overcome it. It has taken a quarter century to arrive here. In so many ways like an inmate having been set back out in society on parole. I can only hope the selfishness and meanness that I held within my heart is now past. For whatever this assembly of man and womankind has spun I cannot say that it has destroyed me as someone who is incapable of having those feelings. Of saying I’m sorry for never voicing them within that long cold interim of betwixt and between. And even if it did not work in a way that I believe that both my wife and I truly would have wanted it we can both excuse where the fate behind our respective personalities have left us. I would not want her to think I ever really hated her. And let her know that I can only say that I am sorry for the lack of those qualities that led me to a bitter decision to call it a day.
If human existence is some strange boarding school for errant souls of unimaginable entities where we all must in our own way suffer lessons that refuse to be ignored until they are thoroughly learned then despite everything that might have been so much better I am content. So the penitent is somewhere between a recidivise’d ex-con and a master’s student hoping for his doctorate. At least that I would hope? For the lessons will go on. Endlessly I hope. For if that is the incomplete but positive answer to life’s big question of, “Why“, then at least their is a definable purpose to it. Something to wake up to in the morning beyond the sag and wrinkles of the exterior of quickly fading fiction of youth. It would appear the person inside cannot ever be considered old so much as tired and defeated at times. Perhaps then, physical death in this material world is simply a time out to reconsider and perhaps take the next step to something else wherever and whatever that may mysteriously be. I can only say that as a traveler so ignorant of the light switch that I may find connection with those that I have scraped up against in this stretch of enigmatic time. As far as I am concerned I am still here and no one can permanently hurt me. And that is a lot in just being able to say that alone.