I watch the falling leaves float gently to a rest
At the foot of those cracked church steps
Where we once shared cigarettes
Watching the moon shift across the sky
To a different point of view, behind buildings
Gone from sight but I could still feel its breathing
Exhaling slowly, the wind came to chatter my teeth
Just to assure me that truth is beyond what we see.
Perhaps that’s why we never saw eye to eye
The meaning we sought was not to be found
Within the confines of each other’s I,
Yet we idled around the inevitable conclusion
Hoping that divine intervention
Would alter the course of this runaway locomotive.
When no such help made its way around
We stared into each other at sundown
For one last time, knowing all too well
That this engine had run out of steam,
We recited final tear-soaked vows
Confirming our mutual admiration aloud,
Exchanging fanciful expectations
We secretly knew would never come to fruition.
As I left you standing there
In the open doorway of your house
I began to hear the voice of doubt
Shouting all the How could you’s
And denials of love inside my head.
Just as I began to turn around
The foreign sound of clarity
Triumphed over the cacophony,
Granting me a silence I once thought
Only belonged to the dead.
Happiness comes in waves,
Staying just long enough to get our feet wet
Tickling us with excitement of another chance
To bear our beings and brains to the unknown,
Hoping it does not cast us back
Into the purgatory of our own creation,
Where we shuffle aimlessly amongst others
Who have felt the spirit-crushing sting of misery
One too many times to resist its poison.
We grab hold of anything
To stop us from sinking
Into the murky depths of our wildest thoughts,
Where untamed notions rest
Like sleeping dogs waiting
For the first pin drop of movement.
Who would’ve guessed we’d make it this far?
I had us pegged as casualties
Passing out to the colors of blinking traffic lights,
Waking up on the wrong side of the bed
During those brutal winter mornings
When even the glass seems to shiver,
On the verge of cracking but it never does.
Its inanimate resilience maintains the barrier
Between you and the sobbing streets of your youth,
Whose tears have frozen over, creating the illusion
Of unhampered beauty, coating our creations
With a clean slate, a temporary chance to return
To the wonder we once embraced as children
But had to let go of in order to prepare
To join the ranks of pen pushers packed
Into buses, trains, and stations.
Each of them silently slaving
For another chance at absolute freedom.
I tried so hard to swallow your words
They were sharp and jagged like daggers
Stuck in our backs from instances of the past
Which helped pave the way to this very moment.
You and I under stars across borders
Sharing this fleeting piece of time.
We’re graced with the knowledge
Of our shrunken purpose, for us to design
Creating a house to house our wildest aspirations.
Let’s hope they will not be stored in the attic,
Where all worn out dreams go to be tucked
In by the dust covering them like December frost.
They’ll watch the shadows of future lives
Bounce across the moon lit walls
Like drunk ballerinas pirouetting
To the sounds of shuffling trashcans.
We’ll just forge on through mud & sludge
Climbing uphill in shackles just to get a glimpse
Of the beauty we’ll never be a part of.
The view is nice from up here, it keeps going
Way beyond anything I claim to know to be true.
Perhaps over yonder they’ll have a better sense
Of the wind kicking up the skirts of brown haired mystery women
Gracing your presence whenever the distance becomes too much.
Temporary muse, seconds of inspiration, stretched out
Across pages leading right down to the core
I keep warm with the flame burning for something
That transcends our spiritual disagreements.
Miscommunications create heavy hearts and early graves,
So let us bless the silent comprehension keeping us
In infinite suspension on the same wavelength.
I could not fathom how people can say
That they’ve never felt the matterless touch
Of a significant being they’ve met along the way.
Anytime you have an inkling that someone is thinking of you
That’s just there essence tapping your shoulder
Letting you know that regardless of the struggle
You are never alone.
Our ability to destroy ourselves is the mirror image of our ability to save ourselves.
I talk like I’m walking on top of a windmill, I’m sinful, dastardly and a little bit dismal I came here to say what is crucial I hope these words of grievances suit you I know them to be a jaded version of what’s I feel to be true, can anything be fact when the soul and body are one whole cut in two by our own judgments, mutilation of what it’s like to be human in the face of global economization. Coca Cola cans spill out brown tar into the mouths of tiny parched cadavers, eyes hollowed out like the bowls filled with empty space, no water from that rusty canister, stumble down the banister in drunken stupor, I hope the super doesn’t call the cops again, we may be friends but they said it’s the last time they’ll let you slide before tossing you back into the lion’s den, jungle of bars, blackened with tar, rib cage shadows pierce the dark, like the dust from an angel’s harp, oh how smoothly it plays over our wallowing heads, let the slumber send me up to the summit, overlooking all we’ve come to notice as hocus pocus, I’ve started to lose focus and now it seems all blurry. I’m a busy body with nothing inside me but cosmic hypotheses about committing inter-dimensional train robberies, heisting jewels at hyper speed leaving cyborgs on steel knees feeling the cold chill of dogs in heat, wet from the rain sliding off awning on to swollen windowpanes, man it’s a pain to catch the bus when the sun is in a rush to tuck behind the clouds letting the wind make a loud ENTRANCE stinging my eyes sending my brain into a trance as I dance around the currents like Satan during a biblical pestilence.
I find myself
Getting lost in the glimmer
Of skyscraper lights upon the river.
My disconnection tore me asunder
Sending parts of me to the moon
And into the thunder barreling
Down on us like Pamplona bulls.
For centuries, those in crowded spaces
Have felt out of place
With the faces gracing their perception.
Are we truly solitary creatures,
Or do we just have trouble adjusting
To the disruption of vibrations
Caused by the inclusion of outside emotions?
Perhaps the answer lies in the middle ground.
We feel around for comfort zones,
Retreating if there are none to be found.
Our conversations share similar sounds
Yet universal meanings are lost in the ether.
With nothing concrete to latch on to
Are we not simply reaching
For a manifestation of the beliefs
We once shouted from rooftops
With such intensity that even the man
Speaking sign language to his companions
Shuttered at the strength of our convictions?
Same suspected rhythms
Creep out from corners
Like roaches lurking
In shadows waiting
For silence to dominate
Pitch black kitchens,
Where love is no longer found
Only spent cigarettes
And tiny mountains of ash.
There occurs to me now one last anecdote, a bit long; skip it if you wish, it has nothing to do with the story. … I put it in because it seems to me somehow pertinent - if not to plot or parable, at least to purpose. About a guy I met in the nuthouse, a Mr. Siggs, a nervous, quick-featured self-schooled hick…a reader of encyclopedias, a memorizer of Milton…Siggs was terribly paranoid in crowds, equally hung up in one-to-one situations, and seemed to enjoy no ease at all except by himself inside a book. ‘Took a job in a shack hid away outside Baker. A place a hundred miles from noplace. Nobody, nothing, far as I could see. Took along complete set of Great Books. See a thousand miles in any direction, like it was all mine. Yes, beautiful…couldn’t make it though. Committed myself after a month and a half. I am a loner, a born one. And someday I will make it - that shack, I mean. Yes. I will, you’ll see. But not like last time. Not to hide. No. Next time I try it will be first because I choose to, then because it is where I am most comfortable. A man has to know he had a choice before he can enjoy what he chose. I know now. That a human has to make it with other humans…before he can make it with himself.’
I ran into Mr. Siggs again…we recalled our conversation and I asked how his plans had worked out. Perfectly - after some successful therapy he’d been discharged with honors over a year ago, had his outriding job, his Great Books, his shack…loved it. But didn’t he wonder if he was really choosing his shack or still just hiding in it? Nope. ‘After you get so you can make it with other people, and make it with yourself, there’s still work to be done; you still have the main party to deal with…’
'What do you mean, Mr. Siggs? You mean deal with Nature? God?'
'Yes, it could be. Nature or God. Or it could be time. Or Death. Or just the stars and the sage blossoms. Don't know yet…I am fifty-three. Took fifty years, half a century, just to get to where I could deal with something my own size. Don't expect me to work this other thing out overnight.' The eyes closed and he seemed to sleep, a skinny back-country Buddha, on a hot rock miles from noplace. I walked on, trying to decide if he was saner or crazier than when I last saw him.
I decided he was.