April 3, 2013 § Leave a comment
Sad things can move through the air like sounds. Moving the cells of your body in such a way that you perceive them suddenly. Like a note. Like a noise. But it’s suddenly you miss absolutely everyone you’ve ever met. And it aches. It makes you a little sick. Like you might dry heave in your heart.
Where do these waves come from? You could have sworn you had built an anechoic chamber here, here around the ion channels into your memories and feelings and thoughts, long, long ago. But then suddenly –
Suddenly I miss absolutely everyone I’ve ever met. I want to be near them. Whoever. Just again. Hello, I would say. Do you remember? Can we remember together? Then it’s almost like time hasn’t passed. Let’s be in the past in the present. Together.
Then let’s take a walk and try to hear everything around us. Let’s look at the same thing for a really long time. Let’s fuck even. Let’s get fries. Let’s drive. Let’s go to a mountain. Let’s put our hands on each other stomachs. Let’s write a song. Let’s pretend something. Anything. Let’s ask each other quiet questions. Let’s make fun of time and laugh about dying.
The older memories get the sadder they become. The spaces fill with regret and a withering. Maybe if we make a new one, we won’t feel so sad. Maybe for just a minute or two. Maybe.
I would take the cathartic sadness. The acute kind. The sort that you work through. The screaming and crying kind. The sort that comes on suddenly and eases over time. The sort from death. Or loss. Or pain. Or disappointment. The non-systemic kind. The kind you can wait out. The kind that feels good in the pulling on a loose tooth kind of way. But mine is dull and static and terminal. It can be ignored for a time but not forgotten. It becomes annoying. You learn to live with it, to compensate. Like losing a limb. Do you remember laughter, motherfucker? Come back, remind me. I’d rather laugh than get off.
August 21, 2012 § Leave a comment
The girl who wept from glass, wine glasses with delicate stems so fine that a pour of a dark Spanish red would have shattered the cup, glasses that dripped into being by accident from a source that disappeared as soon as its work was done, left the fog of her breath on the case. In the cloud as it faded away I saw all the heartache she had felt for all the beautiful and delicate things the world over, the arches cut by the wind from sandstone, the whispered admissions, the heart-shaped red bell pepper, the time.
A perfect mirror is colored a special sort of white in that it reflects all colors. Imperfect mirrors tend to keep a bit of green, as if green were a favorite of cheap mirrors. It is a common hylozoism, the longing and empathy for the waterless and the carbonless. A mirror’s favorite color will not change; the beauty of a wine glass will not leave us to share itself with another. We can hold onto a red bell pepper until it is a part of us or it is rotten. It is so comfortable in the ontological hinterland of abstractions and ideas and objects. Give me a blanket here, or the idea of a blanket, some gesture toward warmth, and I will rest.
If you think I did not love you like I said I loved you then you are wrong.
June 20, 2012 § Leave a comment
I sat by the water reading something by William Faulkner. I was easily distracted, not because it is sometimes hard to focus on Faulkner, even though it is, but because Faulkner makes me think of you. Not because you like him, even though you do, but because sometimes when I read Faulkner I find myself reading one phrase or one line over and over and I forget what is happening in the story. If I even knew what was really happening in the story to begin with. Give me just this one curl. I have forgotten you for this curl. What were we talking about? Oh yes, the story. But this place where your belly slopes from your hip. I must kiss it now. I am forgetting, forgetting.
And I could hear the water dreaming of what it was making, violently sculpting. The knife of nature, the river. But somehow peaceful, inviting even. Tempts you to put stones into your pockets. Take me with you, you want to say. Smooth my edges. I have so many rough spots.
And it became dark and I could no longer see the Faulkner so I just sat and listened to the water dreaming awake. And I thought of you in a sad and longing way, the way the river mourns the mountain that it cut those eons ago. Cut despite itself. It misses the mountain of course. But oh, look at this canyon. It too is beautiful. Not the end but the change that hurts so. But yet you do not always want the winter.
My owl-eyed fantast! Why did we not move to the coast and buy that fixer upper and make love in the late mornings and let the rain carry our thoughts to worriless pages. To have mixed my books with yours. I could have made peace with the possible. I could have learned to swim in time like a cold stream instead of just dipping my anxious toe. I do know how to swim. But to resist breathing underwater. The enticing whisper that beckons you to a dark place.
I regret everything. What I do and what I don’t do. The water and I, we know that this course was both inevitable and stochastic. But this does not dam the water the way it does me. I have collected into a large pool. When the wind is high, bits of me drip slowly onto the other side.
Give me just this one curl. I have forgotten you for this curl. My owl-eyed fantast. Come to me on this stony beach. It is very dark now. The rush of the river will drown our sighs of relief. The rocks, worn smooth from travel, will welcome our backs. Time is so present here. But we don’t have let it get to us. Come. Come now.
May 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
Last night I noticed the first white hair in my beard. It doesn’t bother me save the fact that I feel I have not earned it. In 27 years of life, what wisdom have I gained? To be kind. To eat actual food. That you should never be friends or lovers with someone who is not nice to waiters. But none of this is really what we would want to call wisdom. This is just good advice. I’ve learned is a good deal of life involves some sort of disappointment. Knowing how to deal with that in a stoic or graceful manner and doing so would be wisdom, but I’m not there yet. To sort out all of the contradictions within yourself and come to terms with them, that would be wisdom. To want to die and be scared of death and be at peace with that. To fear the future and be anxious in the present. To be nostalgic without want. To accept that things will be generally unacceptable. To understand causality but to transcend blame. But I am not there yet.
My head hurts. I am tired. I think I may have an ulcer. I saw a very wide rainbow earlier in the day and it gradually seemed to bleed out over the sky, over the mountains, over the lake. I am scared to sleep. I have eaten too many avocados this week. I am in a rush.
April 26, 2012 § 1 Comment
I feel homesick but not for any particular home. In fact, it’s closer to a feeling of homesickness for the feeling of homesickness.
All I want is something to look forward to. I think that would do the trick. But the future is like the desert in Utah. You reach one ridge, thinking you’ve reached the edge of something, only to find another ridge. Eventually you realize there are no edges and there are no somethings. There is only an endless range of ridges. How do you come to love these?
It isn’t that you tire, exactly, of the smell of juniper. It’s just that at some point you’d like a glass of gin.
Sometimes my mother asks me what happened, because I used to be so happy and go lucky. What happened was that when I came upon the outside wall of the world, instead of climbing it or trying to go around or calling up to see if someone might come to a window, I pounded my fists upon it and cried until the wall fell on top of me and it was very heavy and in many pieces and I was very small. I have been stuck under this debris, listening to the footsteps of others as they cross over, ever since, it seems. The worst part is the wall came down before I could see what was on the other side.
There ought to be moments at least. One would like to believe at least in moments. Today Samuel Barber came on the radio and it snowed outside for exactly the same length of time as Adagio for Strings. I recognized the beauty of this bit of kismet. But how do you enjoy something while you count down the measures? Maybe I have been alone too long, because I can think of nothing but paradoxes, which are sort of prima facie sad.
April 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
My childhood neighbor died last night in his apartment, of natural causes. He was 29. 29. He was an actuary. I don’t think he probably took a risk in his whole life. And yet, he is dead, at just 29 years old.
I am 27. I should have died a hundred times by now. I should have died when I hit that cow in my Toyota Camry. I should have died when I took that bad e or when I woke up in my own vomit after passing out on the floor. I should have died when I got lost in the remote desert. I should have died when I drove across North Dakota in the middle of February. I should have died every time I mixed a dangerous amount of Old Crow and benzodiazepines. I should have died that time I locked myself in a freezer chest when I was seven. I should have died that time my high school girlfriend and I took a curb at 120 mph in the rain and flew off the road.
I do not know what it would take to convince me that the stochasticity of existence has a bright side. Even if you believe in things, the randomness has still got to get you down. Because there is no sense. And there is no planning. And your thoughts are neither here nor there and still you are forced to have them. To be is a valueless thing, a tabula rasa. And what would you fill it with to make it pleasant or good or meaningful? When even making dinner plans doesn’t seem altogether philosophically sound? How do you experience happiness when there is no way to reason your way to it? What is this magical syllogism that unfurrows your brow and let’s you smile at the sky and live for a whole minute without listening to your heartbeat and thinking that one day it will simply stop?
He used to ride a unicycle around our circle drive when we were kids. There’s something profound there, but I haven’t a clue what it is.
March 30, 2012 § Leave a comment
I have thought my entire life that my happiness was dependent on my making things. That somehow if I could make the right thing, I could be forgiven. That if I could make the right thing I could be loved. That if I could make the right thing I could feel content. That if I could make the right thing I could let out a long and satisfied sigh and hug the ones I wanted to love me and enjoy for once the quiet of an inartistic afternoon.
And I have made many things. I cannot help it. I make things; it is what I do. Not all good things, some okay things, but made things, still. But the more things I make the more I realize that this right thing I keep trying to make, this redeeming thing, will never, could never exist. Or if it did, it would be but for a brief moment, then forgotten, and I would be left to try and make a better thing. And then soon it’s turtles all the way down, at least until the stones in the pockets or the head in the oven or the noose on the porch or the poison apple. And I have been thinking that perhaps the reason I am so unhappy in this way of going about things is because it is such a selfish way to look for happiness. And I have been thinking that perhaps instead of making I should try more giving. Maybe that sounds trite and precious and like something out of a magazine you might find in the checkout line at Whole Foods. But there it is.
I used to think there was something noble in being an artist, that you were giving something to the world that it needed, that art making was better than any other thing because you were healing people’s souls or even just giving them a reprieve from the horrors of daily life or some such elitist bohemian bullshit. I could not feel more the opposite now. Art is worthless, terrible, narcissistic, the activity of the self-deluded and over-privileged. Art is not a need. The only people who think they need art are artists, and they would do well, probably better, without. Art doesn’t help anyone. Not really. The most that can be said of it is that it passes the time, which is just as easily and more productively done fishing or farming or fucking or by a myriad of more worthy pursuits.
I cannot help but feel bit George Maciunas in this, not a character I particularly want to be aligned with, but there it is.
People think that art is this age-old thing that has been integral to the human race since civilization began. But it is not so. Art in the way we think of it, pour l’art, is only about 200 years old. Beethoven invented the idea, really, when he wrote music for no purpose outside of itself. All of the “art” from antiquity was purpose-serving, making it very much not-art, in the Kantian sense of things, in the way we think about art these days sense of things. Statues and pots and frescos embodied ways of life, systems of beliefs, orders for going about things. Sometimes I think that if we looked about the world today a bit more like the Greeks did, perhaps the Hubble Telescope or the MRI or Fermilab might be closer in meaning and value to the statue of Athena in the Parthenon than the works of Damien Hirst. And I think that might not be such an awful thing.
I wish I would have never chosen to make things, or I at least wish I had never thought it important. I would not wish such a burden or a fucked-up way of thinking on anyone.