And without you my output has been prolific,
scribbling till the ink blots stop making stanzas, but rather
mountains, winding away- lost in the valleys.
Mists of Glendaloch,
standing frigid in the lake till the birds made nests of the curls of my hair.
Wanderer and speaker aloud, running my hands over pages like fingers
play with notes and chords.
Guesswork mixed with assumed intonation.
In the hope that given time, I might stumble
across some clever set of words
that takes me home to you,
and undoes the curse that keeps my manuscripts piling up.
Like dust in the mansion,
where footprints appear suddenly,
on the untrodden floor
where there can be none.
I went to Europe for a time thinking that it would change me for the better, like living on my own would in some way show me I had the power to do so- and for a short while, it seemed like maybe it was that simple. But Europe has been more dynamic than that, more brutal, and more telling. Never in my life have I felt more broken. It came on suddenly, for many reasons I can think of, but the crack-up left me feeling weak and spineless. A homelessness grew in me like Godlessness and suddenly, despite my own two feet holding fast, the very ground on which I imagined my passage felt ripped away.
I think Christopher Mccandless (aka. Alexander Supertramp), of Fairbanks Transit bus #142 fame and eventual demise, put it best. He set out on the road to “kill the false being within”, and I feel in my own way that I have unintentionally and irrevocably done just that. The false being within left at around 6:20 in the morning in a flat in Dublin and festered with the dirty pasta dishes I couldn’t bring myself to do. The false being within deserted on the streets of Paris when I walked under a nearly full moon the hour and a half from the bus stop to my hostel (where I now currently sit in a bunk).
It is only after breaking myself down, cracking-up in full, that I’ve found a semblance of foundation. I just pray that i recognize something of what I left when I come back.
To the rattling and shifting Irish train I’ve been listening to a recording of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan”, which has cast the glow of a cigarette smoked basement club in the 50’s.
But of course it is not, its fluorescent lit and a terrible tacky light blue and ever so slightly off white. Over the last hour to be honest it’s started to give me a headache.
But in the rattle I can feel my hand steady myself against the exposed brick masonry, and the sight of the rail car ahead of my own moving slightly out of time with my own feels like improvisation (though I know well and good that it isn’t).
But in a subtle and repeatable moment on a train to Galway, my heel cannot help but tap on the carpeted floor as though the spirit of some grand company possesses it from decades prior. And though it is neither significant nor remarkable, the strange ramble keeps me good company along the way for a short while.
I can remember quite clearly, the way that you would wake up when I got into bed at 5 in the morning. Your hair was short then, and when I ran my fingers through I, I always felt the strands end too soon, and then they were on the back of your neck, and then we were together.
I remember these little moments in flourishes of faintness- watching the countryside. Inside my notebook is a post card I wrote you, though I don’t know if I want to send it. It would be a shame though, because I always paid for the postage.
But I don’t think you want to hear from me anymore. Maybe a lack of post makes things easier for you. But not for me- for me I’ve got to write you, and pay the stamp fee as if I were to send it, though I never do. Not since the first one I typed met with no reply.
I hear from you rather in the Irish hills, taste you in the city air that is still new. Like Banshee calls, they are pen strokes, and perhaps I haunt the moor of your home in Connecticut some three thousand miles away.
If so I am well and truly sorry.
I was never any good at containing such a strange thing as spirit.
Never sleep these Dublin spent days in a freshly cleaned kitchen, mouthing words to the incantation. Things don’t change in a little flat where everyone else is sleeping. But I can hear the wind groan on the cement of the apartment block, and there isn’t a trace left of the stale Adirondack air. It once filled the cavern like joy and black, but left as I stepped from the airport and watched the sunrise. The ancient exhaustion rose like carbon from cars, the scent of piss from alleyways, or calloused heels from my walking boots. I found faith in all of these things, and I welcomed them gladly to the former cavity of long expired trepidation and choler. On my first day in the city, I found the fee for entering the Cathedral was more than I had on me, but I’m sure my words were audible. “So this is what it should have been like all this time”.