December 1st, 2021
Christmas Time Is Here, There, And Everywhere
It’s December now and winter hasn’t quite crept in yet. But it’s on the way. I’m sure of it. As sure as the trees lay undressed in the midwest and little lights go up all over town, along rain gutters, around license plates.
It’s all part of the show. You can’t change the tradition of it. Round and round it goes like a carousel with music and marketing and all our tinseled dreams wrapped up in pretty paper waiting to be unraveled. Ripped apart. Torn to pieces. Leaving us wanting. Wishing that the old feelings of magic and wonder could last forever and hold us in their warm memory. But they don’t. A colder climate will settle in soon enough. The barometer never lies. And that’s the nature of it.
I sat at my desk smoking a joint while watching The Beatles’ Get Back documentary on the making of their Let It Be album (Which, if you think about it, is an appropriate title for their last album together. As in, let it be as it was and let’s move on from here. There’s no going back to the way things used to be. It’s just not the same. And that’s the end of it. No hard feelings. No regret. No remorse. Nothing but what is, and what will be from this point on.
There’s no use getting in a tussle with the tumult to get your temperament tossed about.
That just won’t do. Everything changes eventually. We know this. It’s subtle and moves just a little in the amount of time it takes tie your shoes. Turn on the ignition. Open the door. So let’s get on with it. ((Also, it’s interesting that George’s first album was titled All Things Must Pass. Paul’s was all about himself. And John turned more towards Yoko. ((( Oh, and Ringo wrote a song about an octopus.)))) when I noticed the sun going down outside my window. The Long and Winding Road played through the speakers. I got up and looked out.
The sky was mottled with a harvest of pink and orange clouds in little puffed rows stretched out as far as the eye could see. Simple. Perfect little tufts. The days end played with the brick apartment building just across 50th. Softened its sepian hues. Lightened it a bit as if the brick could be lifted like cotton and tossed in the air without effort. I witnessed it. I was there. Here, at the Bungalow. Drinking hot black coffee, alone. The rest of the house was quiet. Still. Most of the rooms dark and vacant save for the first floor turned pool hall. Karthauser was out, undoubtedly dreaming of warmer weather down south with latin tastes on his tongue. Modelo and mezcal. Some kind of Dionysus in an Airstream on the beach.
I resolved myself back in my chair. Crushed the joint in a shot glass. Drank more coffee. Thought about Guff and a story she told me about a man who had sat between events in his life, saying all the while “Who’s to say whether it’s good or bad.”
Then I thought about my family back home in California. My two brothers. My sister. All of them older with their own families. Their children growing up faster with the distance between us. My parents moving to the desert to retire. To rest their bones in the dust of Arizona. My images of them undulating on the horizon of my life like a fata morgana. All of them ebbing and flowing toward and away from me. How strange it is that this tends to happen. Time being a far greater distance than the miles between us. And before long we are a year older. A lifetime has gone past. Our environments change and so too do the faces around us.
It was dark before long, and the craving for something sweet tugged at my strings. I put on my denim jacket. My ushanka. Brown slip-on dress shoes. Turned off the movie. Headed out.
I moved north on 50th and followed the orbs of golden light along the road. They drew me in. Called me in the direction of The Creamery. I went in. Ordered two scoops of peanut butter cup then headed east on Underwood. The trees were haloed with yellow lights. Looking at them head-on the lights criss-crossed in jagged lines against the dark sky like a web of gold spun there by a large holy spider. I moved on past Dundee Book Co., the building dark and quiet though there is a life in there. Enough so to excite the imagination and cause catastrophe to monotony. The rest of the houses were also dark and silent but they lacked the same sentiment.
At 49th I crossed the street and entered the community garden, felt the cold crunch of brown leaves beneath my feet. It was like a graveyard, most of the beds bearing dead things. All except the ones blooming with kale or green chard. I checked the Tiny Library there.
It contained a few romance novels falling flat and nothing else.
So I moved on. I thought about a conversation I heard that morning at the bindery. About bitcoin and the future of cryptocurrency and how it would decentralize regulated currency and level the playing field for all. Change the world with blockchain technology. All transactions accounted for. Dissolve the upper class. I shook my head. Not in disagreement, but disbelief that that would solve all the world’s problems of class struggle and create a utopia lacking avarice and suffering. I walked on past Exist Green and Marks Wine and Spirits both closed and dark.
At The Underwood I looked in through the window at the few flies hovering over their drinks at the bar. One of them lifted a glass of golden liquid and put it to his lips. The pool table in the back sat indolently. The place lacked vitality. It had seen better nights full of drunken passions. Fights. Serendipity. Laughter. A babel of lubricated lilts and wagging tongues. Outside a few locals blew plumes of grey smoke into the cooling air.
I moved on down to 51st then turned back and walked up the other side of the road, eating my ice cream as I went. Outside Hoppy Taco I stopped and read the plaque there about how a Japanese balloon bomb had exploded over that very spot in 1945, causing no damage whatsoever. How did it get there, this bomb? How did it manage to drift unnoticed to the very heart of the country? I hadn’t the slightest clue.
According to the plaque, the reason the Japanese did this was so they could chart a course for other weapons. This was all kept hush hush, of course, until Japan surrendered and the war was over. But who’s to say that’s how it went down. To believe in stories told by the media is a bit passé. But who knows. I shrugged. By the time I got back to 50th I had finished my ice cream.
I tossed the small cup and spoon and thoughts on the matter in the trash and moved on.
A few people sat on the patio of Cork N Bottle drinking wine and beer and smoking cigarettes. Bob Seger sang “Ain’t it funny how the night moves,” as I passed by. Some lights were on in the apartment building. nearby. I could see a few people moving about in there. Tending to their worlds. I walked out into the middle of the road with the shadows of trees wavering on the asphalt. The sound of them above me. Beside me. A friction of leaves and limbs. I stayed there until a car came then I’d move out of the way and moved back again.
I thought about The Beatles and the documentation of their death. I thought about their commitment to each other over the years and then it all dissolving into four separate directions. Each of them moving toward their own lives. Living for their own truths. I thought about that deeply as I walked on. What that meant. How it must’ve felt. I don’t think it was like bandaid. Or a scab. It had to have been like a limb being torn clean off with all the blood leaving the body until it bled dry. A few cars came and went and I moved out of their way.
As I moved on my mind seemed to take its own course and found its way toward analyzing how I’ve worked within groups, how I’ve, over the course my life, come in and out of them without becoming attached. Always choosing the course of my own life in the matter. I’ve never been one to hop on a bandwagon. Since I can remember I’ve always seemed to turn away from a crowd. That’s not to say that I don’t like people. In fact, I care very much for them.
If there is one thing I believe in, it’s human potential.
The possibilities that we can create out of nothing. Our ability to act out our imaginations. To plant a seed for the future and watch it grow as we water it along the way, and evolve out of that struggle. You. Me. Us. We. We are magical creatures! We with life and luster in our teeth and tongues and toes! I’ve experienced it. Seen it. Felt it. Done it. Plucked a thought right out of my head and made it with my own hands. And the beauty of it is that you can too. All you have to do is move toward it. One step at a time, and then never stop until you’ve made it. That’s the truth.
At my front door I put the key in. Opened it. Went in. Once inside I closed the door behind me and turned towards something warmer on the other side.
December 22nd, 2021
At Eppley with my head pressed against the window. Eyes closed. Waiting…
December 15th, 2021
It’s a slow burn until it’s over. And then it seems to have happened all of a sudden…
December 8th, 2021
I take the needle in hand and push it through the pages. I grab the needle from the other side and pull the thread through, watching all the while as it sews the experiences of my life together…