(articles I thoroughly enjoy)
location: New York City
This is not a story of what I want to do because I’ve done it. This is not a story about who I am or what I am because I am not. This is a story about the stillness of the city at night, when you catch it at the precise moment where the air is as fragile as the light from the light posts, and the streets are as asleep as the sun, as asleep as the many that lie in their bed without enough energy to weep anymore but just to close their eyes.
I find myself caught in this moment not as much I would like. But whenever I am, I have to tiptoe through the midnight scene just as a boy does when he gets up and leaves the family he has created in search of a new thrill. And those lucky few that have eyes opened enough to catch the city’s state tiptoe too. No one wants to be responsible for interrupting a baby’s rest. No one wants to let a moment become a memory.
Which is why I don’t know if others realize it when they step out onto the dim lit pavement. When their drunken chatter emerges. When smoke rises up from the cigarette they just lit. I had just witnessed a how alive street sign could be, how poetic the doors of closed storefronts are, and how beautiful it is when one can feel the world start to spin less and less to where they can keep up with it. I can’t spend the rest of my life trying to keep up with it. I can only spend it searching for that moment again.
“I think death is our reward. When we die we go straight to nirvana Heaven and that’s that.” – Kerouac
“Don’t think. Just dance along.” – Kerouac
“See the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn't really want anyway such as refrigerators, TV sets, cars, and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures.” – Kerouac
location: Chicago, IL
I amount to nothing. Thank God. I am at Jimmy's Bar on Ashland listening to poetry by creative writing majors, who also amount to nothing.
I talk to Jimmy, the owner, as he pours me a drink.
"Are you a poetry fan?"
" I've never met a poetry fan. The only ones in love with poetry are the ones writing it."
I smirk. "Well there's quite a crowd if no one likes it."
"Yea, well, people gravitate towards anything containing the illusion of meaning or some profound truth. Even look at me! I am sounding like fuckin' Oscar Wilde," he laughed, "Do you want another drink?"
I nod and then listen for a moment to the poet on stage. If he didn't talk so slow then maybe I could appreciate it. Everything is ruined by the attempt to be something greater.
Thinking back to the drafts of work on my own floor, I sigh. Sometimes, I cannot wait until I die so that my writing can be uncovered, while the world realizes the tragedy of my death and what a loss it was. Oh the talent! It's not that I want to die but I want a chance for another facet of me to live.
Jimmy pours the boys next to me some rum and cokes then turns to me.
"So yesterday," he says, "I decided that I would stop buying gas station sunglasses."
Jimmy is growing more and more into his over-the-hill persona, reluctantly coming to terms with the fact that he received a government check in the mail. We went to college together. And all through college, he was an advocate for gas station sunglasses -- wearing them indoors and out, proclaiming you can not get a better deal elsewhere.
"Don't. You love them."
"Yeah but I think I only loved them because they were cheap. I thought hey, four dollars, might as well! But now, I realize that whether four dollars or ten or twenty, a waste is a waste." He lit a cigarette while I shook my head at him.
We turn to the poets on stage and pretend to listen but like everyone else, we are instead immersed in our own thoughts.
I've long forgotten how to regret meaningless conversations. Thank God everything is nothing.