Into the heart of darkness
“I raised my head. The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky–seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.”
– Joseph Conrad –
Sometimes when I write here I feel like I am tossing clandestine notes out through a hole in some great wall. Hoping they be found by someone who’d care enough to read them. Maybe care enough to feel what I am saying is worthy enough to cross some imaginary divide and climb a great hill to set a signal fire. Set it alight in the dark night and shine through the darkness “I am here! I can hear you!”. And maybe just in that hope I keep writing. Though often I don’t know why.
I have been quiet lately. I have been shaving the pitch and throwing off the bodies to cut down on the drag as it were. I have gone through a strange period of reminders, birthdays, anniversaries and even dreams. I am currently off work due to a temporary shut down. Yesterday I laid down on the couch and fell asleep. I dreamed I was a kid again, back home, my father was alive and my mother was still there. My brother was the dopey kid I both protected and tormented. And it was summer and I think it may have been my birthday. I was happy and I was home. And I didn’t need or want for anything. It was home…And when I woke up I was so sad, so overwhelmed by it all I sat on the floor and couldn’t bear to cry, because if I did I thought I would bray and howl like a child. Lost and scared. I just ached so deeply, like nothing I can describe. I have longed to be back again with someone I loved, to find them again and have them love me again. But it couldn’t compare to the pain of wanting to go back to a time and place. To an innocence and possibility. So I just sat and shuddered and felt even more alien here. More the animal/machine.
I wrote to someone this week that anyone who says you mustn’t live with regret has truly never experienced regret or guilt. And if you can experience it and still dismiss it and leave it behind then you are truly an abomination…And I thought about it and there is a world full of people who can do just that. Who can look at the past shrug, mumble, salute and step over the carcass. The rare ones are them that feel it. Them that suffer the weight of truth, living, dying and the mistakes we make. Who have skin not galvanized. But get cut and bleed. They are truly the few. And while most ignorant things will tell you how they are deep wells of thought and feeling. It’s an illusion. A lie and a fraud. The secret ones who ache don’t speak, because it feels awkward, it feels wrong and it feels misunderstood. And the truth is that when they do speak there is always one vain and stupid beast close by who will chime in, in some nasally and over-whelming voice “Oh I know, I get the same thing”. And the depth of the insult is never known. They ignorant feel enlightened and the pained feel dulled and robbed.
So this leaves me in a place I knew was coming. A paradox. Where I know I want nothing anymore, but I need everything. I would not miss anyone anymore, save one little girl. But I cannot live without the contact, the input and the touch. There is knowledge in me that I am an utter failure as a human being, but I long to be close to another one. I lust and want and still repulse. I am becoming the curmudgeon. The lonely man, the eyes that see but really never speak.
Life isn’t made for me. It’s not something I can negotiate, any more than a blind man can drive a car. It’s a truth, attach all the “what if we…” to it you want. He’s never really driving. It’s just an imitation of an action that in truth he is incapable of. And that is exactly what life is for me. Something I am incapable of doing. Am I in the wrong time? The wrong place? Is there some thing I could do? I don’t know. Honest. It’s far past the point of a Oprah approved vacation and book reading. This machine is rusting and crumbling. A little more each day. And eventually it will stop. It will go still on the tracks. And the night will overtake it and envelope it. The decay will exceed the ability to regenerate. As the ancient old engineer looks at the pieces and parts it will become obvious it’s just shut down, that’s all that’s left. To turn the engine off and let it go cold. The machine has run it’s course. Has served it’s usefulness out and now cannot be asked for more.
Such as it goes I am not sure this scares me or saddens me. I just accept it. Sometimes I wonder if this feeling is what a condemned man feels as he watches the time pass toward his moment of execution. A sort of acceptance, clenched and scared. But carefully balanced on finger-tips because if the tray turns and it spills the connotations are going to be horrible.
It’s a little disappointing. There are things I wish I could do. But for reasons (often financial or legal) I never will. Or I just cannot find a way to it…
- Learn more about classical music. Not just read about it. Not just listen but learn from a great teacher. Not how to play, but the stories behind it. The terminology, the names, the parts. I have only ever seen a symphony once and I felt like an alien more than ever. But I would love to see and understand what I am seeing. I once went and saw Handel’s Messiah at Christmas by myself and was nearly brought to tears but refrained from it because I saw a big hall full of people who looked like they just wanted to get this damn thing over with and get to their restaurant reservation where they’d preen and eat a meal that costs more than I spend on food in a month.
- Visit Vienna, it sort of fits the classical music thing. I want to see old streets that bled music.
- Germany, France, Italy, Greece…I always wanted to go to a place where mankind is ancient. Not just a couple hundred years old. Where culture and life exist in every stone and cloud. I cannot even afford bus-fare right now…And because of my history I cannot get a passport. So instead those places will be filled with asshole American tourists who see nothing and soil everything.
- I have little left in me for God and faith, but I always wanted to go to Israel and get baptized in the river Jordan. I figure if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.
- Galway in Ireland…I want to visit there and take my little girl. Walk the strand. Down to the Salthill Prom. And show her all the pretty houses there.
- Before this becomes a travel wish list…I always wanted to do a job that didn’t involve using my back to get paid. You know you paper pushers don’t know how lucky you are. If you have a rotten day you just fluff a little more and play with your cubical distractions. But men like me, when we have a bad day we got to muscle through force our bodies to do more than they want and then keep going, we strain against limits in the same way a marathon runner does. I guess I always wondered what it would be like to not need to wash the day off in a shower.
- This one…I dunno…Walking into a bookstore and seeing my name on the cover of a book. But the truth is the written word is dying. And I have nothing I could say.
- Here’s pie in the sky…A day where my life doesn’t physically cause me pain and discomfort and the scars and breaks don’t make me ashamed. I’ve beaten myself up pretty good. And every day I am reminded of it. And the truth is some of it could be fixed, but once again, the all mighty dollar prevails. Misery never bests profit and upwardly mobile need.
- I wish I could make enough to be sure my child never needs.
- The freedom to run…To get in a pick up truck, toss a sleeping bag in the back and go till it’s time to sleep. Then wake up and go again. Until I hit an ocean or peace, whichever comes first
I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. Anyway. I’ve got one future, the grumpy old guy in some shitty one room apartment with a cat and a pile of books. Who no one notices except to scoff at.
And for the love of all things holy…Save the “nothing is impossible” speeches. Seriously Tony Robbins…That’s the bait you throw at the ignorant to keep them chomping, chomping, chomping at that carrot…Come on little fighter, work a little harder, produce a little more, consume…You’ll get there. It’s a fable just like Goldilocks. It doesn’t happen. Go take a drive through a ghetto. Go hang out at a bus station. Tell me nothing is impossible for these people….Oh wait! I read an article about this girl in Kansas. She made good…La la la la…One in six billion…The poster child, the string holder for the carrot…
Maybe I’m a little angry. Because I can’t believe the lie.
Maybe I just don’t want to delude myself enough to believe the lie.
Maybe I just want release.