The Nakedest Burden

September 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

In order to absolve irony of the dictatorship of my fate and the responsibility of my actions, I have had to slough off cynicism as well. Cynicism is to self-pity as arrogance is to low self-esteem: a shield from and hyperbolic simulacrum of the reality created by a hatred and jealousy of all we want that we feel inadequate to attain. Is it better to pretend we don’t want it than to grovel after it? Does pride have to go, too? until all that’s left is self-responsibility, the nakedest burden? No one made me unable to tell her what I needed to tell her when it needed telling. No one made me write that email or send those flowers or scroll those words across my computer screen. Did she have anything to do with the way I felt about her?


No One Else Has to Know

May 25, 2012 § 3 Comments

Fantasy keeps me warm, and the better I can imagine it the warmer I get. My imagination is fine, but I’m not feeding it enough reality; it has to fall back on old fodder, the bitter and the sweet. A spoonful of sugar gets it down: It’s all about serving a better attitude to the memories, which are all fantasies relative to many other relativities. Herself is the star of every show I’ve put on. The fantasies are private now, but I published them long ago. They are still good. Better. Nicer. More appreciative. (More humble?) I am redefining “living in the past”: It’s pushing me forward. She is on my mind because I want her to be. She is a product of it, or nearly so. She’s not yet a fiction, but she still works well in a fantasy. She said,“I don’t like you writing about me–like that.” Now I will respect it, if with a great deal of temptation to do otherwise. She can keep me warm in private. No one else has to know.

A Tux and a Coma

May 8, 2012 § 3 Comments

The stillpoint has always eluded me. If I’ve ever been in a moment it was too brief for me to notice. There is never a time when the thoughts aren’t layered over the here and now like a clear contact paper and moving the reality to a blurry background. It’s exhausting and more than annoying, with my mind inexpertly creating the reality before me. It’s a life without peace of mind or soul. In my twenties, when my responsibilities included nothing more than work and my daily bread, I studied zen, but came only to understand it, not to live it (the perfect embodiment of any book about zen): I could only talk the talk–a shabby pretense of serenity. I could no more then than now talk myself out of my loneliness or convince myself that all I had to do was let “it” happen. How can I believe in any of that? If it’s true, put me in a tux and a coma and wake me when the love of my life shows up.

Too Much Hope

April 10, 2012 § 2 Comments

Who my age can I possibly impress? and how? We’ve all been through the relationship wringer. We all have our laundry lists. We’ve heard the lines, seen the tricks. There’s nothing left but being yourself or giving up. I never had a line, never had a trick. My success, though meager, was, at least relatively, honest. Hardly the success I needed, though. Now, I’m tired of anything but honesty, which is hard to find, hard to deliver. I see the guards people put up, recognize many as my own, and I let them have them. What is it worth to try to penetrate where you’ve been sternly told not to go? Nothing, I’ve found out. And the jungle gets thicker as you behave and wait for the invitation that will never come. Who ventures from their own jungle? Who machetes a clear path from their heart to another? Who’s to trust with such a clear guide? By now we know what we don’t want, but what does that leave us? We exclude the faults, one by one, until we’ve distilled the perfect, and perfectly unattainable, person. And there you are: Alone as it gets. Perfection isn’t a goal, it’s a death sentence, a resignation to fantasy as the best reality you can muster. Go ahead–you live that. I still have too much hope.

Who Do I Think I Am?

March 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

There is a lot to life. I still have dreams, but they aren’t those of my youth, when I wanted to be a cowboy and a fireman and a baseball player. Reality, responsibility, practicality, low self-esteem turned those dreams to smoke. I even thought I would be a writer. But everything’s so hard. My needs seem simpler, but I can’t imagine attaining them. A lifetime of everyday responsibility has not prepared me for attending to my needs, which are not a bill to pay or a job to get to on time. The life prescribed by society is not mine at all. How do I get from it what it seems to have made no provision for? Playing by the sanctioned rules wins only trifles of that game and only amounts to a tease to keep playing. I’ve always hated playing, always knew there was nothing in it for me, no reward worth having, much less keeping; but tired of fighting or trying to play by my own rules, I would fall miserably back in line to give the pretense another go. That’s life–mine anyway: A run at freedom on a tether too short, a glimpse of my true self from too far away, then a return to the herd and my tattered blinders. Who do I think I am?

Where Am I?

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