29 March 2007

Another Day

The fog had crept through his window before he had time to notice. It settled around his thoughts and reminded him of lonliness. He sighed and stared up at the ceiling, rubbed the sleep from his eyes and wondered why he had woken so early. Even the sun had not come up when he opened his eyes, but he knew he was awake and not simply drifting in and out of consciousness. If there had been dreams he could not remember.

He lit a cigarette and exhaled, trying to force resentment and anger out with his breath. He only succeeded in making small eddies of smoke curl their way towards the ceiling. He sighed again, smoked, crushed out his half finished cigarette and grabbed the bag containing his dirty laundry. He slipped his shoes on and trudged down the stairs through the hallway he shared with his house mates. They were still asleep. He went down another set of stairs to the laundry room where he put his clothes in the wash. Another exciting day.

He thought about breakfast, then thought again. There was no reception party in his stomach and the prospect of food made him sick. He gave up the idea and shuffled back up the stairs to his room. He looked around himself at the cluttered mess he had made of his life, the overflowing ashtray, the discarded articles of clothing littering different parts of the floor, the random stacks of books piled here and there. A gently wafting layer of smoke coalesced against the wall, which pushed back with the surity of mountains. He sighed again. Another day.

Me Too!

me too.

me too. me too. I make it a matra and wonder if you say it because you miss "me too" or if you liked the video and wanted to say "me too". me too, you know. I liked the video, and I miss you. Me too.

I woke the other day in the back of the bookstore, staring up at the ceiling, but now I am listening to bob and john sing about the girl from the north country. Yesterday and today. I don't even know about the future. I thought...and I wanted...and I wished...and I want...

It's funny, this neurotic feeling, how I thought I knew what the answer was, and then thought again. I thought about how pained I felt, how inconvenienced I made everyone else feel. I thought I knew what I wanted for myself, but I don't know. I don't know.

Me too! I started reading Maxine Hong Kingston's "Tripmaster Monkey" the other day. All about San Francisco. It was a random reading choice, one I picked up for the "fuck of it.' But the "random" nature of it gave me pause, time to think. I use commas too much. It was funny to start reading that novel, by a woman who teaches for Berkeley's graduate program, but that it would be about San Francisco, would be set there, would describe to me the place my mind seeks out when I cannot bear the present moment. And when that moment comes, I seek out some place where no one will see me and I break down and cry because...

Because I don't know what I want. I want...so much. And I give so little. What do I want? What do I want?

I don't know, but I do know that I miss you and the idea of a life without you makes me look at the spring and all of its charm, all of its flowers and warmth with hesitation, with cynicism. All I know is that I miss you.

13 March 2007

Waiting for you...

I wait for you at the bottom
of my bourbon but you don't
come so I have another-
and another: still no sign of you.

I'll stumble home now, remembering
what it was like to find you
there waiting for me wearing
nothing but a smile.

You don't wait for me anymore
or even slow down -and besides
I'll only worship you while dreaming
or when the wind whispers.

We've made too many mistakes
to turn back now and put
the world back on its axis-
and I rather enjoy this lonliness.

09 March 2007

I can't shake this feeling. It follows me all day into the night. I sleep and have strange dreams I can't remember, don't want to. The gray sky overhead weighs down on me, but I still can't find any one thing that makes me feel this way. Perhaps, it's the feeling of staring at the typewriter and wondering what the hell I'm doing, who am I kidding?

Fingers cold and unsteady, shaking with anxiousness. Goose bumps up and down my arms. Heart rate going fast enough to stop the band. Am I having a heart attack? Why can't I relax, enjoy the day off? Instead, feel nothing but confusion and doubt. I feel like fleeing, but to where? Why?

Read the newspaper. Feel sick. The only thing that changes from day to day is the number of people killed, who's sleeping with who. I don't care. Fuck the world. But I can't say that, know there is beauty somewhere and that someone is trying to change it, make it better. Not me. I sit here and shake from the cold that seems to come more from inside than out.

Chain smoking cigarettes. Coughing. I don't even want to die. Stare off into space for a while. Blink back tears. What was I thinking? Can't remember. The ghost of myself haunts me, whispers in my ear snippets of conversation taken out of context.

"What did you say?" I say.

Only silence and the droning of traffic outside my window. I'm using incomplete sentences. Fuck it. "Did you say something?" No answer. I watch a dust mote float through the light. Where did I go just now? A part of me wants to jump up and laugh hysterically for no reason. Another part wants sit and watch with a quizzical look on my face. Can I be in two places at once?

"I said, "What the fuck is wrong with you"?"

"I don't remember that," I say. I don't. Who said it? Was that me? I listen, but there's nothing there. A car drives by. It drones off into the night going somewhere else. Did I just smoke a cigarette? I can't remember.

08 March 2007

All Roads Lead to Rome...

I am, of course, the one to call you at two in the morning; after all, you call me at eight to remind me how the sun rises, but I'll always be that person in your life studiously contemplating the past in the middle of the night so the rest of us can go on living the lives we seem ascribed to by fate. I was thinking of you earlier today while driving and I remembered another time I had been driving to see you to resume, if only briefly, the mantle of a lover. It seemed to me then I had always been driving to see you, that there was no moment before or after, but always the feeling of being somewhere in the vague, not too distant past, and that I would continue driving forever thinking of you. It seems absurd to me now, since I am obviously not driving to see you, but I am worried that we're stranded in the present and that we'll never reach the future or be able to turn around and find our way back. I'm afraid the past is lost to me now, and I with it. "Omnia mutantur; nihil interit," says Ovid: All things change; nothing dies. I wonder if that's true, or if he said it to comfort himself and ally his fears. There's so much in this world, and God knows what beyond; it seems impossible to me something shouldn't be lost.
I wonder if I'm not telling you this at two in the morning because I feel the need to tell you all the things I could never find the words for, or if there isn't something else I'm trying to say, but still don't know how to go about it. We had a great run at it –life, I mean. I remember feeling both wonderful, and awful; we loved each other and despised ourselves. I suppose that's the way it goes –life, I mean. I've done some bad things in my life…and I've done some good things, too, but sometimes I can't separate the two. In the end they'll say: "He wasn't a good man, but he wasn't a bad man, either." He, of course, is the one who calls you at two in the morning from a pay phone just off the highway somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Without fail, just when you had almost forgotten him, or just when you had finally slipped off to sleep, he shows up at two in the morning. And when the phone rings at this ungodly hour, when you're pulled from the bliss of sleep, you can count on it being one of two things: either someone you know has just died, or it's just me calling you at two in the morning, drunk bemoaning the fate of the world and the state of my soul.
“All roads lead to Rome,” they say, but the way it looks to me right now, all roads lead to Hell -maybe there’s no difference. Besides, there are no roads to Heaven, only imagined paths through the clouds that trail off into nothing. There is only tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…maybe a hundred days before it’s all over. Maybe I’m already half way there, maybe less. Maybe I’m still driving to see you, or else we’ve already parted ways and I’m off to some further destination. Time is an enemy we covet, hold close to our hearts when there’s nothing under our feet and only a cold, night sky and an infinity above our heads.
I have a feeling this intermission is almost over, that a new chapter is eager to begin but I linger on a handful of moments…the way your eyes stared back into mine, the softness of your lips, the way your hair would catch on a few day’s stubble as you turned your head into the crook of my arm before falling asleep. There are more, perhaps a thousand or so, or only a handful; I’m not sure anymore. Maybe I never was. Over time, all their faces blur into one another and I can’t tell them apart. They become one face, with one set of eyes staring back into mine, one mouth from which one voice calls out my name. I remember all of their birthdays, the way they make love each separately their own special way, but I can’t remember exactly how one led to another, how one lover became another and one memory led to another memory.
Memories are so many pockets of change, so many pennies for your thoughts. I’m gathering them up, saving them for later I suppose. I keep them in a jar on a shelf where they are gathering dust and forgetfulness. But there is a danger to collecting all your memories like so many pennies in a jar and I watch as it falls off the shelf and all those practically worthless coins and pieces of glass shatter across the floor. As a whole, they had weight, substance –alone, they are just so many fragments of memory, single moments taken out of context; walking arm in arm down the street trying to chase the cold and the blues away; limbs entwined in a gentle, violent dance of love and lust frantically trying to bridge the distance between hearts; final pleading looks into eyes so familiar, yet strange and foreign before walking away into the future.
A penny for my thoughts hiding in a corner of the room, reminding me of the day we drove to the ocean to watch wave after wave pound the shore until it was too cold and dark to stay longer, though we did. I found this one in Half-Moon Bay after making love to you in the sand beneath the stars, watching you later run down the beach naked and alive and happy. This one from 1987, discolored by so many remembrances we found in the gutter off Valencia while the Mexicans walked along in their Sunday best towing three or four children to or from church or the taqueria. I found this memory casually discarded by some errant hand at your feet when you picked me up from the train station and we had not seen each other for a year. This one we found in North Beach while the ghosts of so many failed writers and beatniks flitted about on the winds of Time, marginalized by the very culture they had rebuked; now just translucent stereotypes, caricatures of what they had espoused.
There are so many memories, so many pennies for all those thoughts. We think they have value, still deserve to be remembered so we save them for later and fill jars up with parts of our lives to be put on a shelf and taken down occasionally and sifted through. We are quietly marching down the hallway of History towards the altar of our discontents, never realizing the futility of our lives. We are being groomed for something, and sometimes I have a sickening intuition of just what –the future perhaps.
There are moments when the innocence of my feelings runs against the grain of my being, and I wonder how I acquired this hard shell, this bright, burning cynicism. Life seems to me to be a series of interludes from birth to death –the first labored gasps of air in a newborn’s lungs fresh from the warmth of the womb, to the cold, sterile air of the cancer ward where so many breathe their last, labored breaths before passing away into the unknown, that undiscovered country from which we all struggle against with so many futile labors. I suppose I am still driving towards something, though I don’t know what –maybe the chance to write my own ending.