Listening for the silence
“I admit that I ain’t no angel, I admit that I ain’t no saint– I’m selfish and I’m cruel and I’m blind. If I exorcise my devils, well my angels may leave too. When they leave they’re so hard to find…”
– Tom Waits –
There’s a lot of distractions lately. So I’ve been lagging as far as writing goes….I even let a couple of opportunities pass for more writing work. But you know what man? I don’t mind. I’m finding something more important right now. My place to stand.
I am a working guy, I got a woman who cares much about me, I got a daughter I love dearly. And sometimes I even forget the loneliness and scars for a while. Sometimes I get through a day without sadness. Isn’t that something?
I remember just a few years ago walking so much my legs felt like lead, I was so alone and alienated that I couldn’t even bring myself to suicide because I figured ain’t no one going to claim the mess when I was done. And truth be told maybe that’s how it would have been. I would walk past people on the streets and hear their voices but it was like they all spoke some language I didn’t and they found some secret handshake that let them into a life I couldn’t have.
I’d stand in front of houses and look at the lights in the windows and wonder why they had a home, why they had a family and why they had something that was theirs. I had nothing but what I carried and the blood in my veins and I wanted neither.
Now I can look out my window and there are toys on the patio from my little girl and I got a window that if you walk by at night is lit up warmly. I have my own place, my own vacuum and my own bookshelf. If I want quiet and space I just need to close the door. If I want love there’s plenty there for me. And I can give love. I can give love, I took a long time to learn how. And man it still takes a big mouthful of bravery to do. But I can give love, isn’t that something ol’ hoss? Being alone isn’t the end. Alone can even be a choice.
Am I happy? Sure…As close to it as I have been in a very long time. I have grown a lot too in the past while. I still have nights where I need to sleep with the television on and my head is running so fast and hard it feels about to burst. And my heart hurts for all the loss and the sadness. But this is happiness as best as I will ever know it.
Some days I get scared. Because I have come up from the darkness and the deep grounds to try to make a life before. Only to fall right back down. Only harder and farther. I guess maybe that’s the nature of the life I live. I stared down the devil, dared him to draw and then come through the fires of hell to be here. You don’t do that and ever really walk away. You always carry a wild crazy shine in your eyes after that. Maybe that’s why I take so few of the tough talkers and posers too seriously. I see in their eyes that they’ve not seen the real thing. Because it doesn’t make you tough and bold. In fact it makes you unwound and slightly jangly, it too makes you humble and sincere. There’s no tough guy poses left when you’ve seen how a man breaks, when you’ve seen your mother cry and you’ve seen the closing door of a heart you swore your life too.
Dante wrote in the Divine Comedy about traveling through the rings of hell. In it he travels through Hell and ultimately enters Paradise. And I can really relate to the story (you really should read the actual writing and not just know anecdotal pieces of it) and now I am left to wonder if maybe I have been to Hell and I am closer to Paradise. Who knows. I do know I really love the Springsteen lyric “Tonight this fool’s halfway to heaven and just a mile outta hell, And I feel like I’m coming home.” It fits well.
So this is my life. I will be writing more in the near future. But right now I am just living. That’s enough for me.
I am home.