I am a man at odds with his very own self-image—a poet who only sometimes seems to find the right words to describe the world around him—a musician who will more than likely never reach the euphoria that hides itself within the walls of the many notes that still pass themselves off as a possibility to be played—to be discovered.
There is the romanicist and the realist—the dreamer and the daytriper—the guy who goes to work everyday and is faithful to do his best but at the same time would like to be on a trip around the world drinking coffee in sidewalk cafés from Paris to Barcelona—Venice to Vietnam and all the ports in between.
“Something’s lost and something’s gained in living everyday”, Joni Mitchell sang so long ago and maybe Andy Warhol needed a little more time in the spot light and used up my fifteen minutes of fame creating the now famous Campbell’s Soup Can silk screen day-glo print.
I am convinced of nothing at this point but certain about this: Progress is being made but sometimes it seems like the guy in the picture—the one we see advancing—lives in another city and at night falls asleep in a room identical to mine but has none of my memories—none of my fears—none of my dreams. At times it seems like he will make it but not even begin to appreciate the struggles and the sacrifices it took to finally win the prize. To finish the race—complete the course—finally reach his destiny and fullfillment.
I am aware that things in the natural are always darkest before the breakthrough—that we are almost always closer to where we want to be than where we think we are. But tonight, I seem to be looking from the valley rather than from the mountain top and I realize that it is only a matter of perspective—a matter of where I let my mind relax. I can not think myself into becoming the president of General Motors but that doesn’t mean I need to let my mind reduce me into becoming a bag-person destined to walk the streets of Loredo forever.
At this point I am not even sure I can find the end of what my thoughts have begun—or whether or not I need to. I am aware that I can sometimes say more of what I mean by writing than by speaking out loud. Or at least with people that don’t fully get who I am or have the patience to wade through a few disconnected thoughts to finally arrive at the center of what is being bought forth.
As I have been writing I have been listening to Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, both piano players beyond belief—playing music that was recorded 10 to 15 years ago but which still vibrates with a certain validity today.
I am reading Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino and perhaps this event more than any other has put me in a place of creative longing and desperation for something out of the ordinary.
Or maybe it is listening to the set of teaching tapes by Dr. Michael Ryce called Why Is This Happening To Me Again that has unearthed and loosed all sorts of things in my life. I am simultaneously a doe caught in someone’s headlights and a rock climber ascending a difficult mountain with only my hands and feet to aid in the climbing process. Weak and strong—daring and timid—all of these attitudes and feelings swirling around in a small shallow pool in somebody else’s backyard.
As a pilgrim who began his pilgrimage with only tomorrow in my sights, I have come a long way and seen a tremendous shift occur in the heavenly realms that are constantly overhead—swinging back a forth like a porch swing on a windy day. Healing has many facets and as one part of a person grows stronger, work begins on a piece that is connected to another part and so on and so forth.
The words are still there—merely waiting for meaning to fill them up like so many buckets set about the yard with the purpose of collecting the rain that falls—alphabet like—from time to time.
I received an e-mail last night from my younger brother who sent me a poem I had written and recorded more than 30 years ago during a period when I was thinking a lot like Jack Kerouac. Since it is the 50th anniversary of On The Road, I give you the poem Sweep.