11/1/18 – All Souls Day
In my dreams, I am a shiny constellation. Bright and too far away. A distant collection of sparks that can be admired, used, worshiped. Untouchable but present 24/7. I was here before cars. before radio, before fish and fowl. I will be here when all these things cease to be.
In my walking life, I am the same. Except proximity lays me low. Overburdened by oxygen, the inner dialog will never end. I am not admired; I’m am obscured by brighter planets. At times, I feel colder the space that holds the shiny stuff in place.
And I go supernova. I fall apart spectacularly. I clog the cosmos with confused moans.
And then get to work. Not the true work. Not the work that needs be done. I get to the building that contain this corporal self 5 days out of 7.
And proximity lays me low again. I am not a collection of flickers sailors will sing too. I am not a twinkly necklace hung on the throat of an astronomer.
I leave the tapping of fingers on tiny keyboards. I leave the beat of sex and cliché of history.
I am a tiny god. Lowercase.
I have a consciousness that will outlive all of the above. And a plan.
How weighty is the offer of a soul? How does it feel to burn eternally. versus the burning internally of my every day?
And what are the mechanics of such an offer?
I do not know. I am a traditionalist. So it starts with a cross roads.
This did not start today, this started thousands of years ago. This did not start today, this started when I was 9. This started with a girl, of course.
It was Kara. Proper pronoun would be ‘She was Kara’ but that would dwarf the significance of what she was. ‘She’ would be easier to paint in a picture, capture her stray handwriting on a sheet of lined paper. ‘She’ would prop into place a certain reality attached to the ground.
I never lived on the ground. I was either deep under or soaring high above. And Kara was my Sun. A destination that gave me bearing and ultimately burned me to cinder.
I liked Kara, you see. It was 3rd grade. I was too fat, too smart, too romantic, even then.
She was the first of many girls I fell for, ached for her voice, all while be expert in making sure she never knew I existed. Billy Bragg captured it in one line ‘In the end it took me a dictionary to find out the meaning of unrequited…’. It was something I excelled at.
I could never say what it was that turned my attention so turned to specific girls. There was no logic or type. Small, large, sweet, angry. Pretty or plain. The only thing they had in common was they wholly owned my heart. For a while.
More mystifying, looking back without the benefit of being 9 is what I expected, in a perfect moment, when one of these deities said ‘Yes’.
I wanted to be someone’s boyfriend. I wanted to be recognized as lovable. I had no concept of what that meant.
It would simple to say I was growing from a boy to a man, but that’s not accurate. I had no concept of what the end goal was. Despite the terrifying men’s magazines I had access to (thanks to older boy relatives), I had no clue how slot A lines up with tab B. Or tab B works with Tab A. Or Tab A into Slot C (much favored in the men’s magazines). Or what the point of any of it.
I knew I wanted to bring flowers and sweep ladies off their feet. I wanted to be the hero in every sweet fable, always knowing the right thing to offer and no the right time for restraint. It was the books I was reading, even then,. the movies I grew up on. It was the comics I was addicted too. And a deep personal need to be The Gentleman.
I wanted to swash buckles and swing in on ropes. I couldn’t even climb the ropes at gym at my weight but I was lithe in my head. I was lighter than air. I was Fred Astaire in flight.
I was tortured. Kara spun my world and I could only hang on. Her hair was true gold (OK, dirty blonde). Her skin was cloud cream. Her eyes sparkled blue, just like mine. She was my reason for being and she sat right next to me in home room.
She never knew any of this.
It was a walk home after school, brilliant sun under changing leaves, all alone that I had inspiration take. The First Muse speaks.
‘This girl I know
I really really love her so
And I just don’t know the way I can let her know
How much I love her
This girl I know.’
The simple melody that left me without cover. Scribbles on torn notebook paper that I could no longer dodge.
Followed by (in the full band arrangement of my mind) the main riff to ‘Live And Let Die’, oddly. A Gentleman’s tune is one ever existed. So British it conquered half the World only to be regurgitated by cartoon rock boys.
That was when I came to recognize the power of the pencil. Eventually pen, then typewriter, keyboard to Smartphone. It was not that I recognized that I was a genius. I knew no one would ever hear that song. It was how it made me feel.
Unburdened. Free. From myself.