Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bruises Where You Can't See

If you could read my mind, love,
What a tale my thoughts could tell.
Just like an old time movie,
'Bout a ghost from a wishing well.
In a castle dark or a fortress strong,
With chains upon my feet.
You know that ghost is me.

If you Could Read my Mind
- Gordon Lightfoot (though I much freakin prefer the cover by Johnny Cash)

Hey there. You in the back standing by yourself. Come here. Come closer and take my hand. Let's go for a walk. I need to ask you something.

Do you remember what if felt like?

Passing notes in class; crude elementary school drawings with hearts, and a haggardly drawn phrase “Do you like me, yes or no?” And that wonderful buzzing sense of joy the first time it returned to you with the “yes” circled with multiple exclamation points.

Heart hammering in your chest, clammy palms... walking to the front door after a chaperoned date; that awkward moment of indecision, standing at a crossroads, bare and unadorned. And finding the courage to lean closer, feeling your eyes close of their own accord, praying to any gods that will listen that the other person won’t pull away. And feeling for the first time, that fluttering of something that was no longer fully innocent, but still far away from anything sensual. That first incredible kiss that blotted out the world and turned it to psychedelic shadow; the sound of wind rushing in your head like a freight train. That soft brush of lips and the elation that followed as you walked away. And later, awake in bed, reviewing the night, trying to savor it like some wonderfully exotic candy.

That's what filling words on a page feels like to me.

Do you remember the first time you reached out to hold someone’s hand and they held it back?

And the first rejection; the first heart break. That aching hollow that feels like it’s threatening to consume your entire being... that seems to desaturate everything. Each time you see them is like touching a raw wound and your heart dies another little death, and slowly you realize your first adult lesson; the only thing that can take the hurt away is time and time alone.

Do you remember?

I never believed in writer's block before. I always thought it was a bunch of shit. Hell, for that matter, I still do. I know the source of it all comes back to the individual. Shit, I know it well. But sometimes shit happens. And sometimes you veer off into a part of the woods where you see bad wolf-shaped shadows. Sometimes you get out on your own... other times you need someone to throw a flashlight your way so you get the fuck back out.

They say that if it wasn’t for the darkness, you wouldn’t be able to recognize the light.

These moments - these lights and darks - they make us who we are. A friend of mine recently said that bruises give you character. She was in a position to say that since this same friend not only has taken a lot, but recently dished out quite a lot of bruising. But when that door is opened, it’s a Pandora’s Box with no way to stuff all of shit back where they came from. But even so, that’s never stopped most of us from trying anyway. It spills out no matter what you do - no matter what Band-Aids you try to use.

Here's to gypsy stones and cold spots.
Here's to a sucker bag of Patrick Swayze and Black Panther Parties.
And here's to not just knowing the light's still there... but knowing you can get your ass back to it.

The rusty wire that holds the cork
That keeps the anger in
Gives way
And suddenly it's day again.

Two Suns in the Sunset
- Pink Floyd