Saturday, November 07, 2015

I Drove All Night

Dear Garrett,

We haven’t spoken in many a long years and I have had a life in the meantime, etching out what little I could find to make me happy and focusing all my strength on it. I have always lived a solitary life, only coming to meet others in words- rarely in actions. There are ants infesting my home these days, armies of marching menaces angrily approaching anything that seems edible. I see them in places where there is nothing to eat, collecting their dead comrades and carrying them off to who knows where? Seems like my kitchen. They wake me in my sleep sometimes, crawling along my arms and legs and I rise, rattled- slapping myself wildly before I remember- only ants.

I have tried, in these intervening years, to write something that counted, to attempt to create something beautiful outside myself that I would be happy to stand beside, years later. But, that has not proven entirely, or even mildly successful. Instead, I wither away my days eating and drinking, walking and pacing. Sleepy, I rise from bed in the late afternoons and wander about my house, absent-mindedly knocking things around. I imagine how I would feel in a different house, in a different time. I pretend at philosophizing but I always found rote memorization boring and I feel like I need to do a good deal more of that to get even a slight grasp on the history of philosophy. Hypotheticals just don’t grab me. Pontificating about what life is and what it should be without metaphor, without adjectives, with the weight of this wordy, heavy text- it’s hard for me to appreciate. I try, though. To be more knowledgeable about the people who said things before me, and likely said them way better, without the anchor of emotional excessive attachment.

An ex of mine came to visit whom I hadn’t seen for many years. She was my first love and I fell back into her like one falls off a cliff- weightlessly plummeting towards an inevitable crash. It wasn’t my intention. I had tried to be guarded, for a second anyway. Before I realized that I have never been good at being guarded, in hiding my feelings. I may attempt to tell a lie but I don’t often succeed. She went back home to her husband and her garden and now I write her pining love letters and hope her husband doesn’t read them. I hear he’s a bit controlling and keeps her under close wraps. How, I long to give her the things he can’t. How arrogant of me to begin to imagine that I know what he can give her, but I do. I imagine him as she described him: somewhat cold, distant, facing a desperate loss. What we once had was so brief and it was I who ended it, running off with her best friend. It’s a miracle she even speaks to me at all, honestly. But, she did speak to me. For the short visit we had, she was mine. And I rekindled all the singular emotions that only she has ever inspired in me, and I remembered them, sunk into them and floated down a rabbit hole of memories. She told me she still loved me before she left. I didn’t expect that. And now, I am attempting to climb my way out of the hole I fell into, thinking only of her and of how her breath felt on my neck, how she told me how different I was, how sophisticated. It was funny, that. The idea of someone thinking me sophisticated. I, who blow my nose on my clothes and pillowcases, who use my dirty underwear to clean up piles of dead ants from my nightstand, who gets so wasted sometimes that he falls down in the street. It’s interesting to view myself from that perspective and to bask in her adoring gaze almost makes me feel like I’m the person she thinks I am.

But, she’s gone now and the momentary self-assurance her admiration leant me is quickly fading with the daylight as the season shifts and the sun falls down into the Pacific at such an early hour. I feel the heft of the upcoming winter and the darker the days get the more I fear I’ll cling to this for salvation. I know I need to look elsewhere, but her presence inspires in me such a wealth of words.

Tell me how you are and of your own loves,


Dear Runner


One can't get past the emptiness of lost days. Time spent senseless, without thought or feeling, carves out a hole in the consciousness which no amount of forward motion can fill. We attempt to escape time when we deaden ourselves to its passage and slip into routine or simple blankness. I fear I was guilty of this for some many months before your visit and it was only the intense depth of my desire for you that pulled me from that pit. Life had been lost and I found myself more than ever time's victim, moving forward without having lived and lacking the self I might have gained had I fully experienced those days. The anticipation of your arrival shook me out of the dream-sleep that I called my waking life and I experienced each day you were here so fully and so closely that I only recognized my previous failures in the light of your gaze. I began to see everything the way I thought you might see it and by living vicariously through your judgement I was able to take objective count of all the days I lost to blindness and lack of creativity. The unexpected act of holding you in my arms again awoke in me some animal urge and it is only now that I must attempt to turn it off or at least try to turn it down. 

I think about the way you touched me, so lightly- my skin beneath your fingers quivering into gooseflesh. I think about your arms- so smooth and whitesoft, and I remember days long past of innocence and fear, of hiding and groping for each other beneath the harsh light of the world around us. We held to each other through the tremors of other people's opinions, drinking ourselves into some state of absurdity. I could never convince you that you weren't a monstrosity, Frankenstein's brute cobbled together with dead people's skin and bones. How hard I tried to give you the things you didn't think you deserved and maybe even, that's what I'm doing now. We were so much less then. To look at us now- we're practically alight with the wealth of age, experience, wisdom. When we met again, older and wiser- I thought that I could maintain a certain emotional equilibrium; I thought I could maintain a certain dignity. But, emotional weakness stripped me of all my dignity and I began to wonder if I would ever again face anything bravely. I have jumped again off the cliffs of sanity and into the madness I always sought in your arms. There is a great divide and in between the spaces there lingers a love I thought I had mostly come to terms with. But, it seems I was simply storing it away, compressed into a tiny package and like some wildly grinning Jack-in-the-Box, it exploded from its secret spot and now wobbles to and fro- maniacally mocking my once simple life. 

The moon is full tonight and I can see it glowing outside my window, little lines of light cascading down through the cracked blinds. Dust glitters, floating freely around the room and I think of how much I have changed since I last slept beside you. I rise and walk the streets alone, unseen, a ghost to those around me. I drag this heavy past behind me- as if an empty coffin in a Spaghetti Western. Perhaps, I should attempt to shed the skin of my past- take what I can from it and move on. But, it seems the stars themselves do not wish for me to begin anew- to find a fresh start in this world of worlds. Maybe that is why I wander the streets, thinking of you, not even knowing what I want to put in my coffin but always imagining that it was filled with something I will never have. I keep dreaming of you, of the curve of your chin and the bend in your fingers and of all the years that went by and yet I still remember the exact placement of each vein as it crawls down your arms. You have lived all these long years on a pedestal in my mind, standing above me on a stage and looking down upon me. I had always imagined your expression as one of disappointment because I used to feel you were always ashamed of my lack, my lack of coolness, of wisdom, of tact. But, after seeing you again with the weight of all these years behind us, you still stand on that pedestal but you look down on me with pride and love. There's hardly a better feeling that I can remember than the one that swells up inside me and explodes over like a glass of Champagne poured too fast. Beneath your approving gaze, I beam like a child given a gift. And my life is suddenly a very different place now that you are alive again in it. Whether you return words to me or not, you inspire me to write, to think, to see more, to be more. And for that I will be forever indebted to you. Wherever life takes us- a part of me will forever belong to you. 

Keep it safe,