Wednesday, February 16, 2011

i once had friends, too

I didnt think I could make it up onto the ledge of the billboard, but you both climbed up so I followed. Obedient but not submissive. My actions mirroring yours out of respect, trust. The early morning made the light fuzzy-- that four am hour when reality feels suspended, when everything is grey and hazy like an old television with staticky snow as its only reception. The metal was cold against my legs as we sat along the ledge. It wasn't unseasonable-- it might have even been warm, for that time of the year-- but the metal hadn't seen the sun in ages, and felt empty and cold, like it might never see the sun again.

We sat there talking, bullshitting mostly, because even though we can talk about anything, we usually tread the line between superficial and philosophical. What is pain? What is anger? What is absence? What is love? It's intensely personal and yet strangely detatched-- again, out of respect. Some things don't need to be said to be understood. And sometimes you say more the way you dance around the truth-- that nugget of clarity that would be the climax of the conversation, but it would also kill it.

We numb ourselves with whiskey or weed-- opening ourselves up by numbing ourselves. We read poetry we've written or found somewhere in a book that looks deep and literary. We sit in a circle, speaking in tongues, reflecting on what the other has just said. This makes me feel like a phony, albeit a well-read phony. I don't know what rilke meant in this line, but I like the imagery. Or at least I like the imagery in the translation. Whatever man, what matters is the spontaneous reaction the line elicits from the reader, not what it was actually intended to mean. What IS meaning, anyway? Can your reactions ever REALLY be wrong? (poetic crisis averted; back to philosophy, where everyone can bullshit their way in and/or out of a point)

what is truth? Who the fuck knows. Sometimes I frustrate myself with this circular conversation, other times it's the only kind of talking that makes sense. The vague kind, the kind that says things without ever really saying anything at all.

Tonight though, we walk. We walk circles around each other, debating a point we won't remember in the morning, up and down empty streets where civilians are sleeping silently inside their mortgaged homes with their manicured lawns. This is what the world would be like if it were ours-- none of it belongs to us, but we are the only ones who see it, who know it. I know what your maple tree looks like at 3am in the moonlight, mr. smith-- the tree you look past every morning to see if your car can get out of the driveway. Hope you're sleeping well.

We're polite in our debate, diplomacy peppered with profanity. As we make it toward the billboard, we start to quiet. The dawn is coming.

With our legs dangling in the early morning mist, our highs retreating and sobriety creeping in, I feel more isolated than I ever have before. Soon i'll be states away again, and i'll put my poetry books back on the shelves because no one wants to hear me try to make sense of german sonnets and no one there wants to humor me when I ask what is truth, because to them it's like a secret i'm not allowed to be in on. And this version of myself, this sweater knitted of questions and make-believe and smoke and alcohol and honesty and forgiveness and acceptance, it'll get folded up and put back into a box until moths come, pulling threads until all that's left is the fuzz of a four am.

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