What’s New about it?

Those who do not decide have also made a decision, you see.  I’m not the first to say it, think it, believe it, doubt it.  I’m not the first to wonder if she’s coming back, if I’m living a life worth living, if there’s a point to it all, if there’s an end.  I’m not the first to lie awake waiting, waiting like a fool, you see.  I’m certainly not the first, nor the last.  I do not suffer uniquely.

My generation teeters on, teeters toward no particular end.  We all are a part of it now.  We are all caught up in its apathy and malaise, and I am not the first to say so.  I am hardly unique in saying that we are all fucked, yes, but fucked gently, well, I do not disagree.  I am not the first to say something in a profane way.  I will not be the last to decry the injustices of some system, some structure, some construct.  She left me, and that happens everyday.  She is leaving me everyday, and that is not unique.  Everyone feels what I feel now.  We are going through it together, everyday.

We were not unique.  We were ordinary.  I will say it until I believe it, until I can move forward.  I will say it, because far away just gets closer and closer.  Next year looms, and for me it is still last year.  For me now, it is always some time passed.  For the whole world, and for me, we reach for what is gone.  You remember why, don’t you?  But I must forget somehow.

Why do we remember?  Wouldn’t we be better off forgetting?  What good is a memory that begs us to forget the present, the future?

This year they say is coming, I will make something of it.  This is the year I exist.

There, I said it

No more.  No more.  No more.  No more!

Violins in the Dark

Here we are in our republic, if we can keep it, struggling to find a place to grab hold.  Here we are, in a land increasingly self-conscious, made so in part by a man now in prison – here we are, spin, spin, spinning just the same.  Cut the losses, they say, cut them cleanly and say things plainly.  Say what we all expect, say what we wish to believe.  Say that we are in a land no less great than we thought.  Say our best days still are ahead, to the ruined banker, to the Wall Wizards, to those now great and small, but mostly great, and say it less to those whose lives are now under siege, whose future faces foreclosure in nearing days.  Say it plainly, say it simply.  Say it often and say it with conviction, however feigned, however forced, say it again and again and again.  If one should say something, then, that takes another path, take their hand, smile broadly, and offer them a cramped place at the crowded table; if they should reject, then what they say is said in a room filled with darkness anyway; but if light should touch what they say, then swiftly cut them down.  At least, then, no one will doubt your strength, even as they doubt your principles.

Ignore those ghost riders in the sky, just keep speaking.  If we are a world constructed through language, then we will fill the hull breaches with words.  Stuff the stockings of those sitting on fortunes with more fortune, and for those who go without, stuff them with words.  In the arena, now, you fight them with your words.  You invite, with your words, for us to join you, for us to trust you, for them to help you, even as they beat you, even as they choke you, you beseech them, you plead with them, you give and get nothing.  They are leaving you now with nothing but your words.  They will not take them anymore.  Fewer are taking them.  As you stand there in the dusts of the arena, you realize now that the sword you carry, and the spear, are words and nothing more.  You cannot build a currency with words after all, nor can you keep empires.

And you say something like, the reason I wear this black is for the poor and downtrodden, for liberty and justice, but you’re wearing nothing.  You’re naked and the ship’s sinking and you’re crying out like you’re still in charge.  Don’t worry, they say, the road was made before you arrived, but then again, you still had to walk it.  We wish, now, for who we thought you were, and you’re saying something about Lincoln, about more desperate times, but all we hear now are violins in the dark, and we wilt from you like scorned lovers.  Listen!

They will not stop until Lady Liberty is dead at your feet, and they will put the dagger in your hands before they slip away.  Listen, and turn back.

Waking Up

We wake up one day, and we are disappointed in everything we see.  We look around and see too much left undone, and see too much that should never have been done.  Maybe it was all a series of mistakes, or one mistake, or a lack of luck, or a failure of faith or just sheer neglect.  Maybe we wake up and realize that everything has to change today.  Maybe we realize that today may be the last day, our last chance in a long series of chances to mend the threads of a life spread thin over too many sedentary days.  Maybe we roll over and say we will begin in an hour, or two hours, or next week when we have had more time to think about what it is that we have to do to improve ourselves.  Maybe we should hold off on what it is that we should be doing so we can have a firm set of goals and a concrete plan of action so that we do not lose ourselves in some directionless folly, which we so often do, don’t we?

We wake up and realize that, last night, she did not come to us in our dreams.  We understand that she is fading from our minds.  We are beginning to forget all we lost in her, when she went away, and this is of course good and necessary.  We see less of her in songs and scenes from movies and other couples walking happily, hands tightly clasped, ignorant of what they too must one day forget.  We remember less on rainy days the kisses in the rain, the not wanting to let go, the promises that we both whispered and intended to keep but did not.  We remember when we were thinner and more vibrant and confident and optimistic, and we remember why, and we remember how free and invincible we felt when we were with her.  We wake up next to another her now, and realize that, though we often cursed our subconscious for working against us, we now have no one to blame but ourselves that our thoughts continually turn to a her who lost sight of us long ago.  We want and do not want to love the her now beside us, now sworn to us, now so eager to love us, but we cannot get out of bed to begin our lives again.   We just want to stop existing for awhile, but our eyes keep opening.  We only want to sleep and think a little less each day of how we were once immortal.

Tax Cut: Medium Rare

Oh, go ahead, give ‘em another tax cut, why don’t you?  Why don’t you?  Well, for starters, no matter how much money businesses have in their pockets, there won’t be any jobs until people start spending again.  Why would a business hire someone if they still aren’t selling anything – for a tax credit?  Don’t count on it.  You have to empower consumers to begin spending again.  So there it is.  Go do it.

No more

Let me help you understand that you have freedom of thought, and by that, I mean you have the freedom to think whatever it is you want to think, you can entertain delusions of grandeur at  your pleasure, you can have any woman you want, or best any man, or save the world, the village, the girl, you can have it all in your head, or you can have nothing, you can just shut off inside your head, you can stop thinking, you can just sit there and not exist if that’s what you fucking want, or if you don’t know what you want, you can think about that for awhile, can’t you?  And when you’re sitting here thinking, or not thinking, or trying to stop thinking, you might think that perhaps you want more, or you don’t want anything, or you might want something, but you can’t have it, you can’t get what it is that you want because someone else, a better man, a more wily socialite, a real entertainer, a real pretender, he has taken what it is that you want and now you can’t have it.  So, let me re-iterate it for you, my friend, my listener, my unwilling listener, let me help you understand that you have the freedom of thought, and by that, I mean you can think whatever the hell you want, because in your head is the only place you are free anymore, don’t you get it now?  Outside your head, you have the freedom to hear what it is that others want, you can hear about what they’ve done on the radio or the television or the internet or the newspaper or you can read about it in that paperback you bought at the fancy new bookstore they built in the shopping mall or the used book store next to the college kids’ coffee shop or maybe you found it on the street or maybe you snatched it right out of someone’s hand, maybe you stole it right out of that man’s hand while they were reading and learning what you now know, and that’s the knowledge, the competing truth that you wrestle with daily, monthly, yearly, from the womb you’ve wrestled with it, before you existed your mother wrestled with it, even as a child, even as a wailing infant she wrestled with it, and before her there were others who understood this same despairing anti-principle – you, that’s right, you have the freedom of thought, and anything else you think you might have will be lost in dramatic, tragic fashion, and others will look at you like you’re sick, like failure is contagious, and maybe it is.  In the end we’ll all lose everything, we’ll lose our minds, our bodies, our dignity, all of it, and then we’re only left with the realization that you once had what you want, or maybe you had a shot at it, maybe it was a fair shot at what you wanted, or maybe it wasn’t, maybe it was ripped right from your loose-fingered grasp, maybe you were careless, maybe you were inside your head again, maybe you were inside your head thinking too much, and then when you came out again what you thought you had became someone else’s, or maybe who you thought you had became someone else.  And once you’ve come out of your haven, once you’re out shifting in the white light again, you begin to see for the first time what you had been refusing to see all along, and that’s that you have this freedom of thought that took over your life, and your mind wandered, and you became unfocused, and too free, and you were too stupid to realize that everyone left the goddamned room ten minutes ago, everyone left you in that room sulking long, long ago, and when you thought, when you were thinking before that you thought you might like to have some time to yourself, that you thought you just wanted to be left alone, that when you were actually alone, when it was just you in that room sulking, with no one left to try and figure you out, the silence wasn’t as tranquil as you imagined – was it?  All this freedom that  you thought you had, this free free mind that you thought was strong, independent, this lean, muscular mind turned out to be weak, dependent, meager, and now all you want was what you had, but the only thing you can’t have is what you had, because you didn’t cherish what you had, you didn’t tend to it, you didn’t cultivate it as you should have, and now, once you’re forced to face the consequences, you find yourself melting and weakening and refusing and refusing and refusing and losing again and again and again.  What you thought was your freedom inside this mind of yours has now become your curse – it is not the free place it once was, but a place you can’t leave, the man at the door says you can, insists you can, but you can’t, and do you want to know why you can’t?  It’s because you’re free to say or do or feel anything now inside your head, as you ever have, except now all it is you want to do is to shut it off (shut it off, for Christ’s sake!).  But it’s too late, and you know it’s too late, and you can’t say it, you can’t say those words, or you can say it but you won’t mean it, you’ve never meant it when you said it before, you’ve never really meant it, or maybe you wanted to mean it, but you can’t reach out and take it, you can’t rip it from that man’s hands, and even if he’s holding it out for you, if he’s saying “Here, take it,” you can’t say it because you just don’t know how.  You will never say it, and you’ll sit in the corners of your mind in misery until the day that you die, you poor fuck.  You will never say it.

I’m sorry

I’ve been using profanity on a regular basis since the 6th grade. At some point that year it occurred to me that there were no consequences for wielding forbidden words – no fire raining down from the sky, no spies reporting back to mother and father, no Santa Claus deducting good points from my Angel Kid score. This was the beginning of the end of my faith in God. I won’t bore you with the logical conclusion, the crises I imagine every youth the world over experiences to varying degrees. The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are the first to go for most. By the end, abstract ideas like love and honor are under siege. The whole ‘You can be anything’ banner, an entire nation built on hope, the beauty of a clean slate, the leaving it all behind for a better life – it’s all shaken, it all slowly wrinkles with time. I wish I could say that the key to happiness is letting go of all these ideas, of realizing that we are but a finite shale on an infinite eternal dragon that blankets the sky as far as the eye can see – your faith in romance, your faith in all that was important to you slowly deteriorates and then shatters under the weight of your socially constructed Life. Afterward, every metaphor seems a cliche, and you can find no peace or hope in the tired words of old dead men. Nothing you say is new or interesting. I wish I could say that letting go heals you, that the breaking down ends with glorious rebirth. Nothing good can come from the day you realize that Love is not limitless, that it ends just as we end – with the death rattle, the choking last breath. And you spend all your time wondering, waiting for it to return, counting on it, seeking it, coveting your neighbor’s seeming retention of it, and then comes the lust, then the mystery of the other, the notion that there could be more to discover in other people. You realize, or do not realize, or choose not to realize, that you will never find it again, that who you supposedly love now is a cold choice, a reasoned machine-like solution to your loneliness, not an emotion for very long, not an adventure for as long as before. Your milkshake is all melted and the fuckers are all out of your favorite flavor. God and Capitalism and Future died years ago, but Love endured somehow longer than the rest, and you thought that maybe you were different than the rest, that somehow this person really was made especially for you. You ignore signs to the contrary. Your heart, now your engine, groans but you press on. Then, the creeping doubt, the long silences, the still being together but slowly becoming alone. And then, one day, you are alone. One day, the other has left, and you really do become a machine. You replace, replace, replace, reach, reach, reach, but there is no answer any more. Just consume and take what little joy comes from the lesser and more carnal pleasures of what you used to call your Life. I’m not looking for pity. I’ve been through it and so have you. You see, it’s a death. And it’s your fault. It’s my fault. It’s no one’s fault. It’s everyone’s fault. It’s the only mystery I have left, and it’s a curse. If you want a sob story, this isn’t it – this, my friend, is more than that. This is a deterioration. What this is, is a confession.