Friday, May 16, 2008

A WHEN for the EVER.

WHEN that time comes around, the time when I find myself yearning for steps, when I find myself desiring concrete getting softer beneath the rhythm of my steps -- when that time comes around, I never find myself expecting much. EVER.

If I did, it would rarely matter if and WHEN I would EVER find something. Those times, where I look down. Where I see the place for what it was, and find that things, that normal things always have more impact than you might expect. At first glance. At a glance. To see the world, you have to look.

I try to look. I really do.

WHENEVER I get the opportunity, I try. Most of us do, I think. I might not know, because WHEN do I EVER know anything? But I think it, goddamnit. I try to.
I try to expect something glorious, fascinating, wonderful and lush. I try to expect a nervous dive into a stank-ass pool of personality and grandeur, ranting and raving and anger and fear, countless things that affect that which is dear. I expect to be interested.
I try to.

WHENEVER something happens, I try to let it mean something.

That’s why this is funny, it seems to me. That’s why this I find this weird.
I’m sitting by myself, on that red faux-leather couch of times past, listening to the Allman Brothers play “Ramblin’ Man,” into my cochlea. If I look over my shoulder, out through the window, out into the light, I can almost glimpse a place. A place that almost seemed to mean something.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a fella sitting on the street, his back against a stoplight. He had a violin gripped between fingers that were surely strong. They have to be strong. Fingers and arms, gripping as tightly as can be done, moving assuredly, swiftly, sharply. It’s the only way you can play. It’s the only way it can be done right. He was busking in a decidedly non-showy manner, nothing but his checkered shirt on his back, his violin in his hands, and an empty tin can, polished to a brilliant sheen. The can granted images of a man on the rails, washing metal in clear river water. And it reminded me of a WHEN.

EVER since past.

I moved on.
Until I saw that fellow again.

Same spot, same checkered shirt, same gleam of machine-fashioned tin. Except this time, something was different. Except this time? The fella had hisself a banjo.

Just sitting on that corner, with assuredly strong fingers picking themselves something that could be called Banjo Fury. That’d be a reference, if it wasn’t just a wee bit off. But then again, then again, then again…the whole thing was just a wee bit off to its own side. It’s a combo that you don’t see all that often. Violinist/Banjolier. In my own life, I can only recall one such previous instance. And WHENEVER it’s remembered, I find myself struck down.

Even after time has passed, it’s surprising how little it takes.

WHEN certain times come, I find myself talking within this light of boxes -- scratch that/reverse it -- box of lights about a period of my life where things were not getting better, instead always sinking towards the bad. If you’ve read these things, you might know. You might think you know. You might think you know what happened, you might think you know what it meant. You might think you know how bad it was. Believe me, good friends, good family, good people whom I love with all that I can muster -- believe me, such things are probably beyond what can be explained. Not to be known.

There was a time WHEN things were bad. WHEN I heard the siren call of the violin, WHEN I heard the spark of the banjo string. EVER and EVER, I run these times by my understanding of the world. And EVER and EVER, I find myself a little bit lost.

On that street corner, only a few days ago, I couldn’t have told you what I was looking for. But believe you me, nice people -- it sure as fuck-balls wasn’t that.

I might have kept looking forward, but there was water in my eyes. So I looked away. So I walked away. I looked again. I walked back. WHENEVER and EVER, I walked in circles around that block. Wondering what there was to think. If anything at all.

I looked around, at the other things that might be seen on the scene. I looked around. A too-young girl with attractive socks, men who reeked of ganj; the roadtrips we will never take, the days that run so long. In my head, instruments dueled away, refusing to be lost. So I walked away. Not far.

WHENEVER I feel depressed, I go and eat Ramen by myself. Not that it makes me feel better -- it’s simply what I do. I go and I eat the food that makes me sweat. Sweat like I’m sweating right now. Seeking clarity through the water in my eyes.

WHENEVER I feel lost, as a person, as a man, I sit down and watch Fred Rogers speak before Congress. Not that it puts things in perspective -- it’s simply what I do. I sit and I watch the things that make me cry. Cry like I did on that corner, back where. Seeking clarity through the water in my eyes.

WHENEVER I bring myself out into the world, I never expect to be introduced to anything of particular consequence. Because that’s not how the world works. There are always things, various bits of life ringing out like the clearest bell on the tallest hill, echoing across our landscapes, singing in our ears. But rarely, if EVER, do we notice. The ringing is loud, but most of the time, WHEN we hear it, the frequency is just beyond our range. We never think we’ll find something. Not something that will change our time, anyhow. Nothing like a fateful knock on a wooden door. Nothing like spittle flying on wings of misdirected anger. Nothing like lives that aren’t really worth anything, but still shouldn’t be considered cheap. Life is never cheap.

WHEN it finds us, we’re not going to be ready. Not EVER.
WHENEVER it finds us, we always just do the best we can.

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