Into the Sea · nothing makes sense
I was a lonely one. Wrapped up in the hard-shelled follies of self-pity.
I cracked that coconut. I keep cracking it. And every time I do, it doesn’t take long for me to slip back into folly. It’s a goddamn roller-coaster I can’t seem to get off.
The story of my mind is that of two rampant tugboats trying to maneuver a 400,000 tonne oil tanker in a tiny harbour. They both have their own conflicting ideas of how the maneuvering should be done. Pulling in the same direction never crosses their minds.
There’s the logical, stoic tugboat calmly explaining: «Hey, this is the obvious route to go. It’s also safer.»
And then there’s the lovelorn, hopelessly romantic tugboat proclaiming: «But this is the scenic route! Never mind peril, look at that sunset!»
Well, fuck them both. They’re nothing but trouble. Yet I seem to be anchored to them for life.
A while back I wrote about «that mysterious, wild-eyed, quiet stranger» and how I wished I was such a someone.
Today I realized it might be a good thing that I’m not. What hell it must be to always stay in the corner, alone — fearing that if you were ever to partake in sociable conduct your cover would be blown. As soon as your mouth opened, you’d be exposed as the socially awkward, shy man you really are. Or as a complete buffoon, void of any of the clandestine elegance formerly exuded.
‘Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt, as they say.
In many ways I am a mysterious, quiet stranger (not wild-eyed, I think). I never know if I should introduce myself when meeting friends of friends, and I always keep quiet and out of the way. The few times I do say something, it’s either commonplace or spoken so softly low that I might as well have kept it inside my head. It would probably have made more noise reverberating inside my skull anyway.
The usual reaction new people have when meeting me is «you’re so quiet» and/or «is something wrong?» Yes, I’m quiet. A lot of things are wrong, but I always look like this.
‘Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, et cetera.
Then again, maybe it’s better to be a proven fool who, at the very least, tries, than the suspect of a wordless crime deferred.
Some people have a certain grasp of language, they master it and transform it into art. I’m not one of these people. I hear ideas in my head that are both beautiful and art-like but that’s as far as it goes. They exist for a split second, just long enough for me to realize their greatness, before they vanish leaving me a puzzled mess.
«I had it, it was just here but no more.»
As a poetaster and a pretentious hack I often wonder if these people whom I admire for their craftsmanship and creativity have found some way of channelling their ideas onto paper, or if they too have fleeting ephemeral ideas a thousand times more grand than mine that leave them just as quickly as they came about, and that they’re just plain old better than I am.
«Maybe it never was, maybe it never will be, but it’s surely gone now.»
In the end it boils down to jealousy. I don’t need to analyze what I just wrote to realize my own inadequacy. To each his own; to you, I raise my glass.
It’s been growing for quite some time; I no longer know how to deal with it. I never really knew. Carver once wrote «The mind is sick tonight,» and he prayed for Chekhov to ease it. I once turned to music to ease my mind but it no longer strikes me.
Dust, hairs, ash is congregating on my floor. Sheets of paper are strewn across it and there are two dirty plates on the floor. There’s more where that came from in the kitchen sink.
As I prepare to write, my mind goes blank. It always does whenever I try to concretize my thoughts. I stand perched, my arms supported by the open windowsill. My eyes glaze over and I casually glance at the trees, the houses — the mountains across the bay in all their speckled glory.
It is the middle of May and there is still snow covering the mountains. What was once all encompassing has now worn thin, like the wax shell of a lozenge after you’ve suckled it a while; you trace the lozenge with your tongue — spots of uncovered soil rasping at it.
«I’m still here,» it whispers.
I take another drag of a Marlboro light, I look at the strip of paper covering the border between tobacco and filter. It tastes different. Sometimes different isn’t what it should be.
Devoid of thought I am reduced to a numb fingernail; throbbing.