Dear God what has become of us since we last met? You look the same, maybe a year older, more weathered- but no different. How has this place become so cold at night so soon… I’m already wearing my old sweaters.
How have all those people I met last year gone away so quickly? How have I become a fixture in my bedroom and no where else? How has my camera gone unused for so long?
Why does my stomach hurt all the time? Why does coffee have this fucking aftertaste I can’t stand? Why do all the girls I once knew not even give me a second look anymore? Why do we only see each other when we’re drunk? Why do we never see each other at all? Where has that sense of adventure we all possessed gone? Why is your kitchen so quiet now? Why is the ocean so still?
Why is life becoming more and more like a silent film?
Why did you leave without saying goodbye?
Why can I never sleep, and all I do is write how much I don’t know how to feel anymore?
And why does all this make me furious at nothing in particular, except the stars that stream overhead like a roadway between the trees,
and how only there do I feel there is anything left.
In a whirlwind I’ll find you out-
Journey across the spine of the place where the smokers gather and old friends fade into a gaze.
Pollen falls like snow in that cool air that blows in from the ocean, air taken in by a folk born for adventure, born for the sea. They have strong worn arms, windswept hair, fractured foreheads and a respect for the winter time.
Hold up your face to theirs, and you know you haven’t lived a god damn thing. I’ve heard such scattered ramblings and the brilliance behind them, the light that is cast far out to sea from the old lighthouse point. The poppy seeds get picked up by tiny birds in the sand- thought when we were whalers, they were more abundant.
Behind the fluorescent light, there is an oil lantern. In the smoke of the ferry the feel and sound of canvas. In the eyes of man fixing my bike for no reason other than his own natural inclination to tinker, I saw the old spirit of some mariner. Eyes of an epileptic. Eyes of a kind soul, looking out to sea like it were still an undiscovered place of waves.
I think its time to let all pretense go. I think its time to stand outside and feel the late summer wind on your face and cry for someone you didn’t know because there’s just too much death this time of year. Winter was frozen and full of flying white, and I pictured myself on the forecastle of some Great Lakes steamer watching mist rise from the water. I trudged through snow among friends, with fried food and drugs and beer, carrying with me life for a time. I lived in my own palace fit for Siddhartha, and kept hidden behind walls of trees and towns of Upstate New York that could be seen as rising mountains in the distance, I felt forever young, and I did not know age.
Now I’ve come back for a time to a place without such special shields- like the thin blankets I hid under as a child, and within which I stayed curled in a ball for fear of the end of the bed. Armor worn on horseback against rifles, the real world loaded and cocked with the jamming of a bolt held by the sweaty palms of a man I don’t know sitting in the mud.
I’ve come back to my Laputa, and found it weaponized. Ive come back and found smog where there was morning mists, I’ve come back and found the smell of smoke rising from the porch repulsive. I’ve come back and looked into well known eyes and found them distrustful. I’ve come back and seen the rust on the catwalk and the wobble in the wheel and the play in the steering- I’ve come back, and become sick. I’ve come back, and found something just slightly malignant in the glow of the old lamp light that I would have pointed my camera toward only one year ago.
In a friend’s bedroom once, I cried at a film and felt alive when we left the apartment into the rain and I started running and screaming what little poetry I had memorized because a man I didn’t know had inspired me to do so. I stood on desks and surveyed the landscape like it was my kingdom, and I was free to traverse the township as a disguised prince and live and write among others without care. I went to Old Heidelberg and felt as Prince Karl Franz at the old inn and I fell in love with a woman I had only just met, and she looked beautiful in the rain and thunder when I held out my hand, and we ran under trees.
That is where I will return, inland, away from the sea that has turned sour. I can’t stand the old beachheads we once discovered, I can’t stand old loves and feeling like my sentiment is a weakness, and if it should be, then hit where that bruised muscle might lie until I can’t stand it anymore and then remember nothing of me but as a foolish young man with red hair who write too much and enjoyed too little.
I’ll sit gazing at the sky, waiting for the return- the return address and the return journey like old stamps from bygone decades, and the letters that carried them. I think its time to get the hell out of Dodge while there’s still time- return to the safe kingdom while the gate remains open for us, before we too must grow up and leave behind that Island with the bay and the old rotting galleon and aging buccaneers moored just offshore. I found pirate treasure on one such beach, hidden by my parents for me to find when I was small, and no matter how many holes I dig or trails I follow into the wood, it is lost. Its time to leave behind our parents and our childhood bedrooms and borrowed cars and old diners on main street and pond beaches where we shared a kiss with stolen beer and never spoke of it again. Time to leave behind well loved living rooms and kitchens and your mother who I would discuss literature with. Time to leave behind the winding driveway and the blood we left in the thistles when we ran by them playing soldier with plastic rifles. Time to loose our plastic blocks in the grass and leave wooden swords to rot under trees. Time to leave behind skinny-dips in glassy water. Time to leave behind romanticized loves and basements.
But the sentiment.
Hold it as if it were the notebook contained in the breast pocket of your coat.
For on that day when some young man you never met might find himself crying while leaning against an old shitty Jeep parked under a tree in the driveway for some reason that he doesn’t fully understand, retain the sentiment.
It was what inspired us to run into the rain,
screaming poetry we had never finished memorizing.
Living with hope, to write our own verse.
Today I ran out of the house and forgot my belt. I fashioned one out of a guitar strap and the tie from a garbage bag. I am quite proud of my workmanship.
This place is regression. These streets are twisted vessels that are leaking stream. This light is harmless. These trees are old and tired. This place speaks to the old me. But it’s faded now, colors not so great anymore, the fungus on the lens has grown a bit thicker each year. I wait for the rain and imagine I am somewhere else. Running regression into storm drains. Back to the ocean. Back to the sea. I’ve found my legs want to follow- so as a last ditch effort, I’m heading inland. We are masters at the art of frivolous spending and escapism. I heard that first bit in a song once. So let’s take stupid bikes and antiquated cameras loaded with film we can’t afford and light out for somewhere. Try and find a reason to feel a bit better now and then. I hope that wherever I go, this spirit stays here. Lost on the old streets, writing the same poems.
So cold out today, and you’re not here to hold and stay warm. Just waiting till then.