Only You Are Invisible (2.)

But it wasn’t always like this. By no means. This is the end result, although I am “only” forty-six, at a set point during a whole lifetime of encountered dreamworlds. It’s true what they say about youth. It keeps you insulated. Youth and dreams go hand in hand and until about the age of maybe even 40 you live in a dreamworld bubble of protection called “potential.” Maybe potential…nah. A ruse. This whole line of thought. Potential is just another way of saying that you think that hope, much better than despair, is still kicking inside of you. But if you don’t do something about it, do something tangibly about it, conservatively even, take the hit, be a nerd, do the time, relinquish the reins to others, bow down…that’s it. Bow down. Always hated doing it and yet here I am, standing day to day on the line, liked but not a success by any means except on a very, very pared down scale. Reality is the death line on a hospital heart monitoring machine. I know that sounds bleak, but it is true. It tells of the fact of the story of our most basic fear. Death or Death Without Meaning. Might as well just jump right to it. Death. Many people say that they are not afraid of death, but that is because they are insulated by youth. Those afraid of death aren’t really afraid of death as much as they are afraid of the slow nothingness that turns you away from life. They are afraid of the living death that comes from having “failed” to stand up in life, point to death and say “meh.” It’s all for looks. If you couldn’t even thrive in life, if you failed financially, then it’s obvious that you couldn’t even put up a good fight and your fellow biological creatures are somewhat disgusted with you. You failed to provide a good example of strength while alive to give the idea of death for them a good twitch on the nose. You were a symbolic failure. You made it seem for them like death could really get its claws into us poor mortals and drag us down slow and if it could do it to you, than egad, why couldn’t it do it to them? We are all supposed to keep a stiff upper lip about the whole prospect of life and death. We are supposed to be strong, to ever propagate the species, and gain wealth so that we may ever soar over the world, strong and brave and free. Of course, one day, our wings will weary and we will sail downward to our required final perch, but only to be raised back up again by a higher power which took note of how we maneuvered this life and, because proud of us, lift us right on back up again. We are to never stop soaring but for only a moment. That’s how we are supposed to live and if we don’t then we are a bad example, a scary fact that must be ignored. We bring bad hoojoo to the air around the heads of everyone around us, and what we find is that this has the actual ability to make of us who fail to inspire quite literally alone. People peel off one by one as lost realization of potential becomes more and more apparent.

If you look into the literature you will see that on a social level all this talk about death is a major faux pas. But if you look into the literature, the psychological, literary and philosophical literature, it is all over the place. There are obviously two distinct ways to go about thinking of the world, the electric, dynamic and hopeful and the flat. The talk about death is of the flat world, like I said, the line on the heart monitor, the meaning of the line on the screen. To even talk about it you risk losing the hearer forever. It’s that strong a subject. But as you get older you can’t really even talk about the weather anymore either. You can’t talk at all with adults about anything. We all become too smart. We’ve all heard all the lines, wrapped our minds around all the tricks others can pull since everybody is vying for power in some way. Speech just seems like complaining, even to yourself. The decay of your social status, the loss of your potential, poisons the holy everyday air of immortality belief that must be held sacred by all who still hold breath. To open your mouth is to release seemingly harmless tidbits about life, but each tidbit has a corner of mold which disgusts, the beginnings of a rip. Age equals smarts. We avoid decay both spiritual and physical like the plague. You see it in the pop culture. Everybody must be beautiful, but if you look at the movie star magazines you can see how even the most beautiful of the beautiful are somewhat faded in some aspects. The middle aged have targets on them so you feel sorry for them. They too are on the continuum. Even they. And behind them are the young, the absolutely flawless, a new champ given their own try to show the world that death does not really have to take hold. That’s why we have children because there is no way that death is lurking around there, but even there, even there… even I once was a child.

It is grim, but something that must be addressed, gotten out of the way to continue. Of course I don’t think about death all of the time, but if there is a story to be told death must be allowed into the room, given a wave at least. It doesn’t need to be invited to the table. Who would invite death to the table? But it must be given a nod so that its last laugh is not too uproarious, perhaps only a chuckle. And there is a story to be told here. Of course the only good story to be told is a love story, but a love story is really only a good love story after the love is gone. This is a sad truth. Otherwise you lack plot. I hope nothing more than to be totally wrong about this. We have all lost love in our lives. Love is the promise of not being alone on that road to death. There is a great belief that love can override death. It is the only thing that can. But stories must come from things that happened in the past and things such as love do not remain intact forever. That is why it is a story, because it is no longer there and the story-teller wants to remember when it was. It feels good to remember when there was hope against death, and to remember love is one of the best ways. You could think about death all of the time, I guess, but it wouldn’t really make a difference in your life. It would hinder your life actually. You would be a Gloomy Gus. So it is true that you must fight against the negative pull of the thought of death. Fool yourself if you must, but first you must doff your cap and then you can go about the business of flaunting life in the face of death until it is your time and you don’t mind because you have lived.

The time before work is pretty uneventful for me. I do a lot of reading since I am a literary type. Sometimes I go see movies. My brother and sister live in town, but they don’t really like me, not really, and I am getting to the age where I’m pretty sure that I’ve taken on all the attributes of that crazy uncle that your friend had when you were a kid, the one who died or actually went crazy. I guess they think I’m close to that since I have absolutely nothing and nobody anymore. So they stay away. That death thing again. But I’m not close to going crazy. I still write my poems, every day usually. Some pretty good stuff, but there is no market for poetry and it’s hard to explain it to them. They just don’t understand why I don’t just try and do something else. Because it is my career, I try to tell them, but they don’t get it. It’s like they are staring into the mouth of the abyss and the abyss is me. At least I have my college degree to give them some sense that perhaps I am not crazy. At least that holds back total pity from their non-understanding eyes. Maybe that’s why they let me be and don’t dig in too hard. They’re letting me be a failed poet even though they believe it is a lie and that I am lazy and the baby and I’ve gone into all that. I puttered around the studio for awhile. Listened to the neighbors make love, made some ham and eggs and then walked down to the coffee house and tapped on my computer and read NYTimes.com. I then went back to my studio and slept. I woke up and wrote a poem about the fuzziness of the sound of the silence that is sometimes thought. It made me feel pretty good to do that and it is a major theme, the sound of intangibles, the feel of esoterica, the look of the invisible. I guess I always sought a challenge. But like I said. I am invisible. I really am, and I have to devise a way of seeing and understanding myself if I am to have a sense of who I am in the world. Maybe other people can just go about their days as though they too are not invisible, but I don’t see how they can do it. It seems that everybody should be spending their days concentrating on such things, but apparently they are not. They are too busy. Are they busy forgetting? This seems to be the standard interpretation of the malaise of the modern person, that they are busy forgetting who they are so as to make a living and thrive in this world. Striving after blindness in a way, but it sounds very negative and I can’t see how blindness and forgetting yourself is the same thing. How can you forget yourself? You are there all the time even though you can’t see yourself. If you forgot yourself you would simply be unconscious and that’s not what I want. I want the opposite. I want sight that leads to a higher awareness of life. I would want to forget my pain and I would want to be blind to the interruptions that would cause me to have less a sense of higher life, but to consider forgetting oneself and blindness the same thing… I’ll have to think about that.

I wrote another poem about a blind cat. Why I chose a cat I don’t know, although I do remember once coming upon a blind stray in a junkyard. I walked into the yard and maybe seven cats scattered at the sight of me including this one, a mangy tomcat who sensed me, but didn’t quite know where to run or how fast. I could have easily caught him. I had such an overwhelming sense of pity for him. I didn’t know how he could survive. I didn’t know how life could be so unfair. But he apparently could and it apparently can be. If you don’t doff the hat to death then you keep it as a dangerous stranger instead of what it is, a major part of life, maybe even a tool of God, although you hate to think that your own demise could be the way that God wanted it. Such a thought hurts the immortality fantasy, makes us feel that life is cruel. Rosy turns to bleak for a moment and then must be returned to rosy, but as you age people become aware of the fantasy and stay to themselves more. They don’t want any more guff in the direction that death is not also for us. Such things as blind stray cats bring these things back to us. Everything comes back to us. We are perpetually pushing the same story away from ourselves. It is mostly unacknowledged. I think Freud called it repression. So, yes, a good chunk of our day is used on repression. It’s real. It’s scientific. I wish I could make my family understand that there is a world like this out there, in there really, but they would never believe it. They’ve got their God tool and their fantasies and their bulwarks against defeat. If they need to defeat negativity they will do what others do, blame others, me included, the government, liberals, the economy, sin. My brother and sister bought into the whole Jesus thing even though they were raised Christian by a real Christian. Nobody told them that the Christ of this new age of Christianity is a lie, that Christ was co-opted by conservatives to further their political (economic) well-being. It’s sad, but the bridge cannot be crossed. We are now a nation of true believers. We just haven’t begun killing each other outright yet, although we are doing our best to kill each other with un-Christian rules. Take food from babies, abandon the old, but do not touch the billionaires’ money. They never acknowledge that the richest among us own, I hear, 95 percent of all the wealth in the country. Instead, they see a shining example of worthy people on to whom God’s light was purposefully shone. If only they could be so blessed. A racket. They will never see the racket. More death. More death. Little tinges of it that aggravate me and keep me from joining them. In two hours I go back to work. Work staves off death by keeping me alive. I just have to work on having a more positive attitude, but I’m not sure how to do that when I see death maneuvering ever closer to my family and my country. I do the equivalent of shaking my head to get the bad thoughts out. Don’t be a Gloomy Gus. Don’t call wolf. Get a real job. But I’m paralyzed in the headlights. Don’t they see how going against love kills? I stand on the side of love even at the expense of having love, of having anything, really. I just must not lose hope and I must also seriously consider finding a better way to survive, even while understanding that I am invisible. I must go through the world blind to the fact that I am invisible. I must make believe that I can see me and I am good and strong and free.

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Published in: on May 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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