I was reminded of a quote from Mark Twain this morning.
“Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”
I watched some of my brightest heroes give in to gravity
and trade their bravery for a glimpse of something easy.
In the end, I was never sure who was hurt most by their downfall —
me or them?
I do not claim to be so wholesome
that I cannot understand man’s thirst for greed
or his hunger for lust.
I am neither innocent nor pure.
I am like anyone who has blushed in their life —
or needed to . . .
A man afraid of his own brilliance
is no different from a colorful bird
afraid to leave the cage
and spread its wings to fly.
I have been thinking about man’s fear of his own talent
and how that fear consumes him
before he ever takes the next step.
I, above all, am afraid to be that man . . .
I took a walk passed Columbus circle the other day. The last time I was there was to meet a literary agent. He agreed to meet with me as a favor to a friend.
I remember how frightened I was when I went to see him. He was a tall, gray-haired man. His look was outdated and his jewelry was a bit much.
I could tell he had no interest in speaking with me. This became obvious after his limp-wristed handshake when he greeted me near 63rd St.
He spoke quickly, as if he was a butcher being humane to his slaughter.
He told me, “You don’t have it, kid.”
He said, “I’m not telling you to stop writing. I’m just saying. . .”
Then he paused.
I assume he paused because he saw the look in my eye. Perhaps I looked the way a young boy would seem while his dreams were being crushed.
He explained, “Look, don’t feel bad. I turn people down all day long.”
Then the agent quickly excused himself.
Said, “It was nice to meet you, but I have to run,” and then he disappeared down the crowded sidewalk on 8th Avenue
I still write though.
this is how I bleed
this is how I materialize
this is how I purge
how I replace the thoughts with an action
this is how return the favor of those who criticized
or put me down.
I was told that agent lost his job a while back
I heard he left the business too.
But me . . .
I’m still here, and someday,
I am going to see that man and thank him for the challenge