Memories From the Balcony – About Fortune’s Fool

Perhaps this might be too much to put here. But yet, I’ll put this here because I have no place left to put it. After all, that’s why I’ve built this place. This little chapel of my own that only exists in the steeples of my mind; yet, at least this exists.
At least I know this is real. At least I know that whether I am in the balconies or the cheap seats or whether I am downtown or uptown or high in the rafters of beautiful existence; at least I know what I have and who I am.
I say this is who I am because I’ve denied this for too long. I’ve denied me and you. I’ve denied my rights. I’ve denied my abilities to meet and greet and to reach or touch anyone or anything in fear that “hey, maybe it’s only me who thinks like this,” so perhaps it’s best not to say anything – least of all to say anything, just to say something for something’s sake. But yes, I have played the fool.

Again, maybe this is too much or maybe too much has happened already and I am like that person who walked in late to a matinee that opened and began more than an hour ago.
I know that I might have missed the beginning but let this be known, right here and now, I’ll be damned if I miss the ending.
This is all left here with an open heart because I have learned about fortune and fate and the flatlined nature of fate when fate betrays itself.
I am no soldier. I am not tough or strong.
That wasn’t me.

When you look back and think about the random things you remember, like the strangest things or tiny things from miniscule moments that would otherwise mean nothing; yet somehow, these tiny pieces become descriptive and unforgettable. These tiny moments of awareness become specialized traces of divine or spiritual revelation that form into a life-long memory which somehow serves or proves an instance of fate. I say fate as if fate has always been fated or destined or as if it were true when Romeo who loved Juliet screamed out, “I am fortune’s fool.” Suddenly, you look back at any of these tiny instances that stick out in your mind. I’d like to know something. What do you see?
What do you remember most?

For example, I heard a poem not once but only twice. I am reminded of this sometimes.
Mainly, I am reminded of this in times when I am alone or afraid of the dark.
Yes, me.
Afraid of the dark.
Afraid of loneliness.
Afraid of losing warmth from the hand.
Afraid that I will never launch or lift off.
Afraid the birds will never feed from my side of the street again where I can see them up-close.
Afraid that I will never see the park the same as I did when the sun was bright and nothing else mattered.

I heard this poem from a man who would otherwise be unmemorable to me.
But for some reason, this man stands out to me more than most others.
He was beautiful and tragic and charmed and wealthy.
He was a musician, poised and proper.
He spoke well. He dressed well.
Always tanned. Always kind.

His world was flavored and his history was iconic,
perhaps famous. Perhaps first-class, all the way; yet in the drunken moments, perhaps there was no class or no hope or nothing at all but more of himself.
Perhaps his low was different.
He was alone in a way that no one could redeem him. Perhaps this is why I remember him so well because, above all, his kindness during my hardship was something I had never seen before.
Or, maybe this wasn’t kindness at all. Maybe he was just him and I was just me.
Maybe his branch of peace was unlike anything I had seen in my times at war (with myself).
Or maybe I had to make something out of this.
Maybe in my immature mind, I had to be different and unlike him or his way of life. But no, there was no difference. I was just like him. Only, I had never dared to be as great as this man.
I had never dared to openly show this much love or this much warmth, so generously shown without the request of a thank you or to even be acknowledged.

I was no different from him nor he from me.
We were no different from anyone else in this world of cosmic people, all hurrying, rushing around like a rush-hour cab, swerving down Madison Avenue and dodging through pedestrians who forgot the slogan to “cross on the green and not in-between.” 
I am this too. Worrying, rushing and moving fast to get in line and wait even longer.

I remember this man as my friend and he’s a dear one at that.
I remember him plainly yet somewhat heroically because, above all, in a moment of contempt and outrage and while seething in response to my perception of my rejected life, I was forthright and forthcoming about my hatred for anyone and everyone in this world. Of course, I was young.
I was confused. I was sold on this idea that somehow there was a give and take, high and low, and that there are some who rise above and others who were meant to live in the underbelly of the beast.  My place in the pendulum had swung in unfortunate ways.

I was at my ugliest yet this man was kind enough to share some of his beauty with me which, at the time, I rejected.

He told me that he was unhappy for a very long time.
I don’t know if he used the word angry. He said unhappy.
I suppose he was able to relate to some of what I said.
I knew this man from a self-help group which is neither important nor applicable to the meaning of this entry.

However, while in my moments of self-despair and frustration, he could understand a certain piece of me.
I was otherwise lonely and longing for something more than just life or what life had to offer me.
This was more than a need to fit or feel or have desire and not be afraid to love or laugh or be anything judged or persecuted.
I knew this side of life. I had been fortune’s fool before.

He told me a poem, which did not belong to him, per se.
The poem was not written by him either.
However, this was shared with him when he was going through his own time of personal distortion. 
Hence, I suppose this is why he shared this with me

He said:
A bell does not ring until you ring it.
A song is not sung until you sing it
And love in your heart was not put there to stay
For love isn’t love, until you give it away.

Perhaps to you or to anyone else, this might be simple or too tender.
Maybe this is to vulnerable or unlike anything supposedly “manly,” if there is such a thing.
To me, I saw him as a man who was brave enough to dare my personal and outward hatred for anyone around me, including him.

I saw a person. I didn’t see him or his flamboyant outfits which, in fairness, he was pretty glamorous.
No, he was amazing.

I wouldn’t ever dare to give love away.
Then again, maybe I hadn’t found love.
Maybe I didn’t know what to do with my love.
Or, maybe I was afraid that my love wasn’t enough so before my love was spoiled or misused and rejected or tossed away like an old paper that lost its meaning and before once more that I played the role and became fortune’s fool; I would sooner destroy my love while furthering my hate, furthering my contempt and my lonesomeness before allowing myself the foolish taste of rejection.
But in truth – I knew he was right.
I knew that I am not an island.
I am not insulated or isolated or so terribly different that my love is not matchable or more, that my love is undesirable. 

I never knew how to love, at least not then.
But I knew this –
I knew that somewhere and somehow I had to find something which was more than just finding another person to become the other half of my being.
I knew that I had to find something within me which is more than love or more than my ability to feel love because I had to find the bravery to feel love.
I needed to find the release from myself so that I could be brave enough to explore its every feature.
I want to understand every curve, every inch of love in splendor and in turmoil, in stages of beauty and even when love is not at its best; I had to understand that love is not about perfection. But more, in the face of imperfection, love is perfect because true love defies the eyes of anything imperfect.

True love is unbreakable.
It comes in different levels and in different forms.
This comes in stages and in different phases of awareness.
This is felt differently for different people.
This does not come simply or pain-free or without work.

I understand why Romeo screamed, “I am fortune’s fool.”
I’ve been there before. It’s happened more than once.

I can see where fear and rage has taken me. 
And I know why too.

I can see what haste and unsureness leads to.
I can see myself now, perhaps clearer than ever and yet –
I can understand fortune.
I understand fate. I understand the here and now, the in-between and as we make our way from the purgatory of our lives, I know that we’ve been looking to make our escape to Eden.

I know that I have been a fool.
I’ve kept the bell.
I silenced the song
and the love in my heart was kept there to stay – but the fact is, my friend was right.

A bell does not ring until you ring it.
A song is not sung until you sing it
And love in your heart was not put there to stay
For love isn’t love
Until you give it away . . .

Take it then
And I’ll sing for you
Let the bell ring
And I’ll share my love for you
I say this because I’ve been fortune’s fool for way too long.

And it’s about time.
It’s a good time for a morning, downtown maybe, like by where stingy Lulu’s used to be, down by Avenue A.

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