It happened. I got old. I knew this would happen. Not with entire certainty. There were nights of heavy drinking in which I cavalierly declared that I would not make it to thirty. I grew to love that theatrical stance of rock star bravado, whistling past the cemetery at night. And now it’s Halloween and I’m sixty-seven. But what’s in a number, or set of numbers? I mean really, isn’t chronological time just a bit abstract, not to mention a little silly? No one lives their life in such a narrowly linear fashion. There have been days that I felt like I was eighteen again, and days when I was eighteen that I felt like was eighty. Michel Deguy in Paris rode into Saint Sulpice on a bicycle at age eighty-three, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. What may have been thought of once as a reliable science of deduction and analysis is a now a tinfoil eyeball gazing up at its own X-ray. Life gets weirder the older you get. What used to pass for scorn is now just a glazed calamity, frosting on a percolated organ, something akin to a heart or liver, a brain overheated from its own mismanagement, a handshake intermingling its fingers with the river blessing this moment with its autonomous water. The rest is silence. I can smell it in a book. That glitter of meaning behind the words, that amphibious slide of ambiguity through the blood of a scorpion. I hum the amplitude of human life old Walt, you son-of-a-bitch, supporting the Mexican war like that. What were you thinking my friend? Your poetry is so great. You and Pound. What’s up with you guys? Could it be me that’s wrong? Have my assumptions been askew? Judgment gets its ropes tangled later in life. Right when you think you’ve got the wind where you want it billowing and pillowing in your sails it shifts and the canvas goes flapping empty of wind and hope and direction. Clearly, the kind of life you’ve led, one’s philosophy and opinions have so little to do with the reality of what gets written. What’s up with that? Socrates was right it’s all delirium. A mad crazy zephyr blowing through the brain, no real harm in its intrusions, how could there be? What we’re talking about here is eternity. The stars. That forever expanding universe. Too huge to be comprehensible. It’s abundantly more servicable to go grocery shopping and not think about it too much. There’s nobility, qualities like that that one may aspire to inhabit, but who thinks about nobility anymore? Nobility was a product of the Renaissance. It has no place in a Walmart aisle. People worry about retirement, shelter, running water, nothing so quixotic as honor or virtue. Emotions are energies exploring our vertebrae for nerve endings, places to feed, places to inhabit, places to find being. One can melt into one’s self and find the universe there, there where what you thought was mere skin is skin indeed, but what’s skin if not a medium connecting us to the world, not separating us from the world. Touch something warm and tell me that doesn’t feel good. Everything oozes sex, but what’s sex? Sex is reproduction. And what’s language? Reproduction. That’s the melody behind the rhythm, the ecstasies behind the door, the fog drifting over the watermelon patch early in the morning, dropping its apparitions between our thoughts. The sugar of those crazy metaphors breathing new life into the dirt. Hummingbirds in the sugar of our blood, nothing equal to the measure beyond all measure, the shovel bringing up that first steaming clod, roots dangling like tentacles in a dream of death.
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