It was a brightly lit evening and we drove through town, chasing drunken taillights and liquor highs, caffeine stops and neon signs, Steven Wilson to keep the head buzzing and some Warren Zevon to mellow our moods and I asked you why this night seems to go on forever and you just smiled and put your hand in mine, and I forget what your exact words were but you told me what my heart already knew. We were following the dancing lights, or maybe the lights flickered in rhythm with our dance, mimicking our frolic, matching our frenzy, the city was alive just for us, writing poetry to our music, watching as our words mingled together, poetry and prose, music and lyrics, a glorious symphony playing out beneath artificial lights, witnessing a fusion of mangled souls mirrored perfectly unto each other.
Our shadows tangle
into an obscene dance
thousand caresses take flight
in half a second’s glance
I’d mistaken midnight nudity
as penchant for the perverse
but your soul sucked out
the poison in my verse
and my silhouette
bathes in the moonlight
it stands tall and pure,
yet eclipsed by the night
Is this how you see me –
just a unicorn shadow,
a darkened face in
a distant window?
But I’d rather be a silhouette
than a mere reflection
I’d rather be words
than a lilting temptation
One moment you’re overly conscious of your existence, painfully aware of each rasping breath you take after smoking too many cigarettes, the silent assimilation of energy inside your core, the relentless exploration of every inch of your mind like the impatient, hungry tongue of a lover snaking into your mouth. The next moment you’re fleeing down the highway with your headlight buddies – joyful, fleeting, racing, dancing, snowballing, zooming into the welcoming darkness, the end of the tunnel, the eternally evasive shadow, the very purpose of your existence.
And here I am, lost within the madness of it all. I’ve begun writing poetry and composing songs in my sleep that are beyond beautiful, and which I cannot recollect when my transcendent presence ends and the corporeal one begins. And still I persist, bound ever so strongly and grappling with the half of me that belongs in the otherworld, haunted by the daunting lights blinking to glory at dusk and the spirits beckoning me with promises of peace.
I don’t have the strength to speak just yet, but my mind is longing for expression. So I leave you with this passage from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. I am hidden somewhere in these lines. Maybe when I’m stronger, I’ll speak some more from somewhere within.
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Your past is carefully locked up, demons and all. It makes you feel stronger in the now, knowing there’s an iron door between your two worlds. You have never once opened that door, though the demons are rearing to have a go. You could never face them yourself, because you were never strong enough for that kind of thing.
Such doors are never meant to be opened alone. That world comes into discourse only when you can rely on the strength of someone else, the one who coaxes you to face your demons.
I open that door
I see it; I see those red eyes now
Staring intently, sensing my fear
I tremble on the doorstep
You give me a slight push
And I cross the threshold
They don’t attack all at once
(Yes, ‘they’ are more than one)
They wait for me to choose my opponent
I start with the oldest, the weakest
And as my triumph slays fear,
You look jubilant, from the corner…
I move on to the others
The ghosts & the vicious ones
I raise my sword and shield,
But it is stronger, it hits back
I look to you for help
And see you cowering, terrified
I stare in shock then comprehend,
My demons scare you more!
They have unified, ready to pounce
I realize I am alone in this fight
A moment of panic, a scream
I need to get out, “get out now!”
But you have still not moved
As the monsters strike, I flee;
My fingers slam the door shut
Divided again, my two worlds
But now you’re in there, locked in that room
Locked within my past
Time is what we need
If it never slipped from our fingers
Wouldn’t it be man’s greatest inventions
If he could only hold time?
“You earn, you travel,
You read and even love;
You sing and dance,
You laugh and eat merry;
Why are you discontent still?
What would you rather be doing?”
Something, worthy of time”
Saw a wishing well
And threw in a dime,
Said let’s take a walk
Let’s go back in time
So we turn back the years,
Beyond reaches of pain
To happy days as kids
Dancing in the rain
There’s me splashing puddles
And Curly’s scraped his knees
What an age to just have fun
What joy to be so carefree
Why go back, let’s stay right here
Let’s hide inside this borrowed time
Where love, like us, is innocent
And lovers don’t need to rhyme