I remember a night out downtown South of Houston, or SoHo, as it’s called. I remember thinking about the people I was with.
I thought of the pretentiousness of people standing at the bar, fueling each other with lies and drinks like whiskey and bourbon.
There was a portion of the night where I stood off to the side to just watch them.
It was like going to the zoo to see animals in their natural habitat; only, none of this was natural . It was all fake.
Everyone bragged, posturing, claiming to live a certain way. Meanwhile, I stood back near a window with a cigarette dangling from the corner of my mouth. I was trying to pull off my best impression of “Cool” and wondering to myself, “What the hell am I doing here?”
The place was high end, high-fashioned, and money-hungry. It was me that felt out of place. Not less than. Just out of place. Everyone toasting to one another and me with my club soda, the sober guy, and designated driver, I began to think how easy it would be for me to vanish from this crowd. Besides who would care (except for me) until it was time to drive home.
My favorite times in the downtown scene were the times when I broke away from everyone.
Part of me wondered if they noticed and part of me didn’t care. I walked around and wondered if where I stood was the same place where Jim Carroll was when he tried to find O’Hara and feel inspired.
There was always a desire to write. There was always “The word,” I just needed to learn how to nurture it.
I needed to define this, to create it, to not be afraid, and to be comfortable in the pocket.
I’ve always wanted to stand at a mike in a dark room with only a stage light on me, smoke lifting from the crowd and me, speaking one of my first prose.
Maybe I would take one about the social illness I’ve been fighting against for decades now . . . .
There I was . . . lost
I sat down to feel a warm rush move through my body.
My mind collapsed
body folds in
and the room slows down
to a perfect little crawl.
The outside world is irrelevant –
my mind responded to a chemical reaction
like a chemical resurrection.
A light swung;
dangling from a fixture
in the center of the room
I could smell vomit.
But that didn’t bother me
I was unmoved
I was detached (perfect)
I felt like a loose cobweb
swaying in the breeze . . .
Enter the Nod—
But dig . . .
I loved how euphoria came along
to push reality to the side;
it melted the hard sounds
and softened the sharp edges
It euthanized the positions
between stress and boredom
and loosened the ties
that made me feel tangled
Vince came in asking to set up.
He sat nearby as and told me,
“Never let it get this bad, kid.”
That was like the elder warning the younger,
though I never understood why.
We both fed from the same stream.
He told me, “You should kick.”
Vince said, “You should find the book.”
And by the book, Vince meant the Bible.
Vince carried a Bible with him.
He would recite verses.
He quoted scriptures, and I would listen,
because they always seemed to fit.
I mean, after all,
I was just trying to find a little redemption . . .
(Aren’t we all?)
Sweat rolled down my nose
I re-entered the room,
emerging from my nod
and Vince was back at it again.
As Vince was about to shove his rig,
“He who follows me
shall not walk in darkness,
but have the light of life.”
His eyes were half closed and watery
His posture bent, drifting downward
“I am the door.”
“I am the bread of life.”
“I am the good Shepherd…”
God the Father spoke in my dreams
I saw my poison
I watched my sin materialize
and weeping angels as fell from grace
upside down, and backwards
I could almost hear them dying
in soft explosions
that collapsed the bridges in my mind.
Light came in, like Genesis
like the birth
I reached for synthetic light
hoping to touch the sunshine
or gain a glimpse at heaven . . .
The powder answered my riddles
but never explained them to me.
“Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me
in all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord,
I thought to myself,
“I hope so Vince,
because this sickness is incredible.”
God, that was so long ago . . .
Sometimes I look at people and the lives they live (or pretend to.)
Like that night out for example with my so-called friends. I had always felt unfit. I never felt whole or maybe I just felt as if something was missing something. Or, maybe this is what happens when you hang around the wrong people in the wrong places because being somewhere is better than feeling like you’re nowhere..
I think of adults without children and how they must feel around adults with children. I think of the way we separate people in categories.
We separate between The haves and the have nots; meanwhile, regardless to what we have(or don’t have) in the end, we are all just trying to find our way through life. This is complicated enough without adding the pretense of bullshit living.
We waste too much time assuming about others. We forget ourselves and judge others in tests that we could not pass ourselves. Deep down, we all have something going on. Therefore, no one belongs above or below. The idea of equal ground is truly a relative thing.
unfortunately, concepts like this are hard to understand when you’re young and just trying to find your way
I used to mind feeling different. I don’t mind so much anymore. This just means I am me. I have to nurture that.
Today marks the 28 year of a path I chose to take a long time ago. I have not taken a recreational drug or mind altering substance for the sake of personal redemption or escape in 28 years.
I have created a new life for myself. I have grown some, done some, and seen to some amazing things. I still don’t do open mike nights though. But who knows . . . maybe one day
The rest is all up to me
I know I’ve made mistakes. I know I slipped that one time. But I kept my promise for 28 years and I don’t plan to give up anytime soon. It’s just . . . . well, wherever you are; I just hope you can see this.