Sometimes I feel like I’m on a Japanese game show and a whole lot of people are laughing at me and I don’t know why, or what they are yelling out.
I catch my reflection in storefront windows and everything seems normal, yet, inside, everything is not.
I ran 6 miles today and half the time I didn’t think about anything. It was the best thinking I’ve done in a while.
I put on Where is My Mind by The Pixies and immediately wish I could write a song, instead I write a poem. Then later, I’m going to work on my novel. Tomorrow, I’m going to produce a rap show. This weekend, I’m going to Nashville and going to do some honky-tonk. And turn 40 years-old. It’s a thought that’s as comforting as terrifying.
But I made it.
When I was younger, I had no plans to make it to 40. I just didn’t. I was pretty sure I would die young. Most of my heroes did. They were drunks, tortured, and fated to leave this place early. So, likewise, I was in a rush to live life, write poetry and short stories, and squeeze every drip out of existing while I still was, because, for one reason or another, I didn’t see the point in sticking around long.
But guess what? I’m here. And I like this place. And I plan to make it another 40 years.
I used to stress out about uncertainty. Who will I love? And who will love me? What will I do for work? Who’s going to get sick? And who is going to die? Will I find an outlet for all my creative ambitions? Will I discover peace? Now, I don’t have time for that. There is just too much to see and do and feel. I now chew my food and savor it, rather than wash it down, pay the bill,and run out the restaurant into the deafening night.
I’m tired of rushing. There’s nothing more authentic than realizing you’re still growing and changing and finding yourself, and to do it patiently, nobly.
I am my own am.
Yet, I’m far from relaxed. I’m a galaxy of agitated nerve endings. I’m a spiraling helix of antagonizing neural subway cars, all rushing headfirst into a wall of doubt and regret. I’m a blitzkrieg of blinking and balking and begging. The only difference now is I’m no longer interested in buying a ticket for that subway ride. I’m walking, dudes!
Slash through the tether that ties you to your trauma.
But when you need to, sit with it. Feel it. Don’t fight it. It’ll just cause another trauma.
If there is a fourth dimension, I wonder if I’m also in it. In addition to this one. And in that dimension, am I free of the feeling that I’m on a Japanese game show? Does my body melt away and I get to exist as a free-floating cloud of positive ions and loving thoughts. Like, when I was 15 and I French kissed for the first time, can I just be that feeling, forever? Can I be a tingle on lovers’ lips?
Somebody, quick, come over and put on an album by Bon Iver and let me recede into a corny, synthesized husk. I’m getting sentimental. I want somebody to peel me back and cook me in boiling water. Dim the lights. Light a candle and let me forget the world…
I do it well. I’m a world-forgetter extraordinaire. I do it in space. I do it under the sea. Satellites are my sanctuary. Diving bells are my domiciles. I can submerge submersible-like in a single poem. I can lose myself on the tip of your finger, like an eyelash you made a secret wish on.
I seek isolation like a cat looking for a sunny spot in the window.
Fall down with me, my beloved Beowulf.
Tear down the castle walls where you store chaos and confusion.
Open up the gates to the tender place where you keep your treasured memories. Rifle through my pictures and postcards stored in the shoe box and guess when the first time I felt my heart disappear was. Was I in love, or bungee jumping? Was it when I stood on the mound and faced the batters with nothing but a fastball and a weak curve? Or when I got the call that my mom died and collapsed to the floor in a Boston apartment, weeping into a black t-shirt?
Or was it when I was learned to hold my breath underwater and floated to the bottom of the black pool, pretending I was unborn?
Hey, love, let me see your wings. We’ll savor the sun together…