Sunday, September 30, 2007

A rhetorical question.

Sometimes, there are sallow afternoons.

Where you notice a delicate throb at the back of your head, too small to really take action against, but large enough to occasionally strike you with its pulse, making you shift uncomfortably in your seat. Where your throat closes up, and you can taste something sour creeping in around the edges of your mouth, despite the fact that all you’ve had was water. You remember the water. The water was cold and sweet.

Where you sit silent, and still, and wonder, and wonder, and wonder, and wonder, and wonder, and don’t really wonder about anything worth wondering about. At the end of it.

To-night, under the cover a fresh evening, I went out and bought a bottle of Cool Mint Listerine™ at a 7-11. The man behind the counter -- a man with tired, yellowing eyes -- put the Cool Mint Listerine™ into a tiny, nondescript paper bag that made it seem as if I had bought a tiny, nondescript bottle of scotch. I didn’t think much of it, until I found my way back home. People looking at me, and it, and then making subtle decisions about the life they saw in front of them. For whatever reason, it irked me just a little. The headache at the back of my noggin struck at a sharper 45 degree angle, and I blinked my eyes with a tremendous force brought on apropos of extravagant similes.

All in all, there’s not much to go on. Just another one of those days, as they say. We and you and I, we’ve all been in a place that sits in a position less than the place that we usually hope to be. In our heads, in our minds. In our moods. Sallow days, burning sickly and sweet in the wavering heat of mid-afternoon sun. Days that will surely move on by, like the rest of those things that get easily placed into metaphors of tidal fluctuations. Meaningless, stupid, pointless worries, about a host of meaningless, standard, ridiculous things. There’s nothing to talk about.

So let us talk about something.

Or rather, let me ask you something; something which needs no answer, despite the fact that the host of people who may or may not exist, who may or may not read this website, who may or may not be people that I know; despite the fact that such (existent?) people might actually have an answer that might be declared, the sort of thing that could be enthusiastically thrown out like leaflets into the drift of the common air.

I ask you, compatriots of the electronic variety:

What do you have?

What’s that thing, that illustrious thing that you break out on the already-mentioned-twice days that are colored sickly yellow, the thing that you look over with muddled thoughts with the hope that things are going to be made clear? What’s that thing, the thing that sits in the bottom of some dusty old drawer that is rarely ever opened, seeing as it is only to be opened during those trying times of thought and life where it’s really, truly, genuinely, actually needed?

What do you have when you need something?
What’s the talisman of your life?

I myself have a thing or two. A precious book that has been mentioned within the e-pages as lost, but has now -- at long, long, long last -- been graciously found. A picture that gives me help towards a memory, when I find that I need to remember. When I need to remember more clearly than usual.

And I have a letter.
It’s a formal letter. It was written by a formal someone, serving a formal purpose, one which had been done for other members (but not all, mind you) of my peers. It was something that I asked for, something that I had to wait for. But more than anything else, it’s something which means something to a someone. To me.

It’s about me. It’s someone else, speaking about the things that I have done, and the things that I might do. It was someone I respect, someone who explained how to stand tall despite the fact that he happened to be rather short; someone who could take your shimmering confidence away with nothing more than a wayward glance. If he wanted to, that is.

I have this letter.
It’s there, alongside other things, when I need it.

Where do your feelings go, world-at-large?
What do you have?

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

A call at any hour.

There is a call I will always take. No matter where. No matter when. I could be raging down a stretch of the loneliest highway, feeling a weak car rumble from going just a bit faster than it ought to; I could be sitting down on an empty curb, at the tail-end of getting dumped by a person who could see clear and bright. That person called, and I answered, those times. Any times. Rain or shine, light or dark.
So far, I’ve always been there to answer. Whenever that call has been made.

I wonder why she calls, sometimes.
After all, there’s no majesty that blinds the darkness. No amazing sort of answers, hewn down from thick trees into little splinters that manage to wheedle their way into secret sorts of places, finding out the things that most cannot know. Nothing that fancy. No words, no sounds. Nothing built by grand designs. It’s just me, here.

Me, myself, and all within my grasp. Fool on the Planet, looking out at all that I know, trying to find a piece that will generate peace of mind, if it’s needed. Looking out over uncertain futures, and muddled pasts. Wondering how to be, who to write, why to say. Trying to ford the waters of our world. Trying to be some kind of a man, when those times comes when I ought to be. We are beings of uncertainty, that much is certain.

I wondered why she called, tonight.
I answered, because I will always answer, and she and I talked a little about the way things come to pass. It was simple, and quiet, and lovely, the way that it often is. But still: I wonder why she calls, sometimes. If she wants advice, I wonder what I might say. If she wants laughter, I wonder what jokes I might tell. If she seeks solace, I wonder how I might use my gravel-toned voice to pat her on the back. I wonder.

I wonder more, when the line goes dead. In an instant.
It’s rare that the line will come back after such a thing. And I’ve tried to bring it back. Believe me, I’ve tried. All it does is ring. It never seems to stop, even when it clicks over, and I can hear a real voice for yet another instant in the center of mechanical drones. It still feels like it’s ringing, while that is going on. It might still be ringing, even now. It wouldn’t surprise me. It wouldn’t confuse me. It would just, still, make me wonder.

I wonder about the person coming through the rings. The person that’s supposed to be me, supposed to be I; the person who gets the call, who answers whenever that moment comes by. The person who will help, somehow. How to be, how to be, how to be. It’s hard to figure, even on the drive home, a silent move through the darkness of a town that’s usually as dry as a shimmering desert. Yet it’s not dry out, not this night.

No. It rained. On me. Reign o’er me. Rain on me. The rain was falling down through the sky, while I sat inside a cold metal shell listening to the ringing that has never seemed to stop. I was driving through it, and I saw the way that it began to storm upon me. And I couldn’t help it: I started laughing, really, really laughing. And crying, a little bit. I parked the car while still trying to return the lost call, the way that I had been the entire way home. It was there. It was coming down on me. Reign o’er me. Rain on me. Even in the midst of that dismal ring that never ends, with uncertain futures and muddled pasts, all of sudden the sky breaks apart. All of a sudden it’s a beautiful, wonderful place to be.

The rain comes, and at last I feel real. The rain -- it’s real.

It’s really, really real. It streaks down and I can feel the way that it makes me, carving my features out of soft limestone, breaking me down and finding me, choosing me, knowing what I will be. And yes, I walk through it. Holding that stupid, contemptible, unreliable phone in my hand like some kind of pointless-yet-meaningful talisman, I stride through the thickened droplets, chanting like a madman in the middle of the street. Not caring who sees, not caring who hears. I can feel myself alive, I can hear the wind. I can look through it all, and see the face through the rings.

I’m soaked and I’m cold and I’m just a wee bit gassy. Wondrous ones, I’m incandescent.

I will always take that call. When the person on the other end is sitting quietly in the dark, I will take that call, and I will speak whatever words that I can manage, whatever they might be, however they might be formed, they will be there. They will be there. They will be there.

There’s pride in that, for me. Knowing that, trusting that. Believing that sometime in the future, that someone across the land can call. Believing that whenever they might call they will get an answer. A touch of certainty, amidst the rest. Being a part of the world. The real, live world.

They say that in this world of hours that is our world, you cannot trust in things like this. That entropy collapses all the things that we know and love and trust, that things are the way that they are, and the way of the world is Chaos and Choice. One and the Other. Uncertain futures and muddled pasts. I can see them all, in this world where I have a friend who wishes to talk. To me.

I see those things, those things that break down. I see them clearly, with eyes washed clean by the force of that lifesong that I've long been waiting for. I look out, and right here, right there, write this, I know: I will answer that call, because that is the kind of man that I wish to be. That is the kind of world I wish to live in, where a dear, dear friend will answer, no matter how hard it might be. The world that I live by, in the midst of the real world. I live in the world. I live the way I think I should. She calls, because she wants to. I answer, because it's good.
Just like that rain. It's falling.

I know it is. I can feel it coming down right now, even though the torrential madness that flowed from the heavens seemed to stop after but a moment. It’s come back to us, back to the world. Like it always has before. Like it always will. It will be there, when all is said and done.

After all: It’s real.

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