Soundtrack “If I Go, I’m Going” by Gregory Alan Isakov.
raindrops falling and disturbing still water
she smelled like fresh laundry and the newness of a morning sun
this ole heart is wearing worn and cracked work-boots
It’s the miles not the years
You fell in love with me
like a frozen statue
like a fallen hero
Mistaking love for things that never change
even our sun
will someday die
put on a sun dress
and I’ll wear flip flops
and we’ll get sunburns
while drinking beer at the beach
Internal wallpaper is how we decorate our lives
You were my star in this darkened theater
There is no poetry in Los Angeles, it’s got chicken scratch graffiti on concrete, where tattoos are mistaken for art, its train like cities that have no beginning or ending, just endless strip malls, fast-food joints—-with its smog hallowed sun. How can there be so much loneliness in these crowded places, we have become citizens of cloned hometowns, we’re generation X, or Y, or millennials,—–held together with Facebook velcro.
Nobody really knows what’s going on or what it’s all about. We’re all just running around trying to figure out what we should do, where we should go next, whom do we dare pretend to be. The clock is always ticking, all is uncertain. Before it’s all over we are desperate to discover our part in it all. Occasionally you’ll touch something and it will shock you, like the unforeseen bite of static electricity, or glimpsing a dead falling star. And for that instance your puny life takes on a speck of meaning—–one random piece of the puzzle falls into place.
Her love was like wisteria. At first it brought a subtle beauty to everything it attached itself to. But in time its clinging nature enveloped and entangled what had once been a free-swinging garden gate. Over time there was no way to gracefully enter or exist, the overgrown gate was forever intwined and frozen. It clawed over, across and on top of what once gave the garden its structure and form. In time its need to control and twist all it touched would cause the lattice to sag, to crack under the weight and finally give way. Such beauty strangles the life out all it once embellished. She was my weed strewn garden, she was everything I wanted, but the last thing I needed.
I’ve heard it said that writing is the loneliest of pursuits. It’s just you, a blank piece of paper and your thoughts. I don’t know how writers of pulp fiction feel about their craft, but I suspect that the poet is much more of a desperate soul. His ankle is tied to a huge rusty anchor and it is plunging him to the bottom of the sea. He’s headed to a place where there is no light, no sound, an inhospitable cold region. Poets aren’t depressed—-—no—they’re truth scavengers trapped in a world of forgers. If they were afflicted by depression they might find relief in a drug or in a support group. There is no clinical diagnoses or magic cure for being a poet. Please don’t be afraid, its not contagious.
My father and I share a common name—“Victor”. My dad was called Vic by his friends but I prefer Victor. As I’ve grown older I’ve seen parts of him rise to the surface in me. I was his only son and we tried to reach one another, but we were separate boats being pushed by opposing winds.
I went through a period when I was an adolescent where I’d have night terrors—-I was a sleepwalker pacing the floor in sheer terror, crying and screaming out at things no one could see but me. My dad would shake me, pat my cheek in an attempt to wake me, but I’d carry on in my neither world of monsters, demons and madness. This would go on for hours. He would ask me at breakfast if I remembered these fits. I never remembered these night events. But I’d have a faint memory of something that filled me with terror.
My dad use to say “You’ll find out someday”. And what he meant by that was, someday I’ll learn that life is cruel and bitter and hard and full of frustration and let downs. He would almost say it with a sense of glee. Like he couldn’t wait until this life beat every ounce of idealism and romanticism out of me. He’d just look at me after making this repetitive proclamation, shaking his head and giving me a snide little snicker.
I don’t know how, why or where, but somewhere along the way he surrendered his personal power. It’s always easier to give in, give up and throw your hands up and concede, but that just isn’t me. I take my name seriously, I’m a Victor, I’m born to take on all comers—bring it on—–I’ll go down swinging.
Don’t fear the inevitable, such as death. But rather, fear not taking action on the things you have the power to change, such is your life.
What’s success—What is a life well spent? When does a dream become so laden by time that it’s easier to set it aside, to just quietly lay it down, to allow it to cease to exist—-to concede that it’s no longer a part of who you are. Is this how we begin to lose our way, to forget who we are—or worse yet, give up on what we were meant to be—
I mostly remember her smile, her laugh, the way she walked next to me, excitedly talking as we made our way across the best part of the morning, moving together, stride for stride, word for word—-heart to heart—-afire with life, fueled by the strongest drug of all—that unexplainable euphoric feeling that comes with knowing you are understood. Love is an elixir that combines understanding with compassion—where there is dharma, there is no separateness.
At night, we’d lay in our bed talking, staring up into the darkness, and when it got real late and the room was totally cloaked in blackness, it was here—yes, here is where the magic would take hold. We weren’t speaking to one another, but instead, we were entering each others thoughts, inhabiting one another’s souls, sharing ideas and feeling telepathically, in a silent confessional—-the conversations were strung together more by the purity of emotion than the imperfection of words. Just like a tightly written poem or a an austere prayer, the words cracked open, and from their insides oozed our soul goo. I know this must sound funny, because it is strange—but oh so beautiful and rare—-all things of beauty are fragile and temporary—but we didn’t know this at the time, so we carried on until another jealous sun rose.
I’ve forgotten the words to that old song we use to sing—I’d find myself half humming and half singing it in a crippled attempt to get through to its end, or maybe it was in the hopes that I might resurrect something left behind within its faded melody—I’ve done my best to stay true to its tune , but the words have grown faint.
I’d call, but numbers change, email accounts close—-but mostly, I keep at a safe distance, because some memories are like impressionistic paintings—-where you can see what you choose, while overlooking all the tiny flaws and betrayed truths.
Sometimes I force myself to meditate on such things, and I will my thoughts out into a porous sky, focusing all my energy into a small shiny ball. If ever you awake in the middle of a dark night and feel a power moving through your veins, crawling under your skin, breathing on your neck, don’t open your eyes—-don’t speak, don’t even move—-just be still, and in that moment feel yourself open up—