Only You Are Invisible (4.)

Truth be told, I wasn’t always just a sandwich maker. I had my own business or tried to have my own business for several years. This too was after Maggie, and after the dim lights that was everybody after Maggie, dim because without love; false hopes, bright packages that fed my exuberance for the ultra fast shooting star. The business was, lets just say, having to do with words. It was a business concerning the payment of monies for the delivery of words directly into the souls of human beings. My heart was in it. Going into it now is not about how I miss it. I don’t. I’m glad that it is gone. It is about my victimhood. This is the most taboo of subjects, the pain that remains when you have been a victim of a vicious human being. Maggie and I were even then reaching towards each other to perhaps find a way to come back together, but never finding it, and it is because of the pain inside of me after having been a victim of another. Details lie. My tormenter was someone close to me, my partner, actually, a man who it turns out was afraid of his own shadow. Our business fell to us, a long story, and we immediately went in opposite directions each believing that he had a right to his direction. His direction was down. Mine was up. Maggie and everybody else calls this simply the state of the game, but I didn’t see it that way. Were we not supposed to spread goodness upon the earth? Were we not supposed to sacrifice in at least little ways so that the world could be good? Isn’t this what we were meant to do in the social realm and if each of us did our part the world would become a better place? The details were simply ugly until, in the end, long after the business broke apart, the victory over goodness that my partner’s face represented stayed in me like a putrefying sore inside. I became listless. I smoked pot. I cut myself off from intimacy with everybody. And there was his face, always there, my new god that I didn’t know was my god, the god of the vanquished, kind in his own way, loving even, for he spared my very life. I paid homage to him every day after he took away my “other” dream of bringing wisdom into the public sphere. I accepted that I was a clown. I accepted that I was the stupid one. I accepted everything that he wanted me to accept in order for him to have his way so that the war would end. In the process I pulled myself down. I tied a tether to the symbol of his dour visage and allowed it to drag me to the bottom of the sea. I tried to explain this pain to Maggie, but she didn’t understand. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps! Be a man about it! She didn’t say these things, but she said these things and all we did was fight as we sought ways to re-love. Until she met Mike and one too many misunderstandings from too many miles away made something click one day. She said she had an odd feeling all day long, said it in an email. I was feeling anger, which was really just sadness at the hopelessness and reality that I was soon going to be completely and utterly alone. She never called again.
Off she went, another unsuccessful visitor to the planet Me, taking the last taxi out of the universe on a passing meteor. And I truly was left alone. I had pared down everything in my life. My family was gone. If you don’t talk to your family your family doesn’t talk to you. Same thing with your friends. Turn off the tap and the water ceases to flow. As I dried up, the flakes of me arose into the air and I would inspect them like a child would a spider web, collect them in poems and wait for more of me to disappear so that I could perhaps see of what it is that I truly consisted. I still awaited a prize. Always that damned prize for looking inward, for going inward, traveling coursing fleeing flying inward as the outer shell hardens then cracks and you are left standing there unable to move. Your thoughts sometimes go towards the release of death, but you never contemplate suicide. The other day I told myself that I was ready for the end of all ends. This is forty-four years earlier than my father who died at 90 a relatively unhappy old man. How can I say that anything I ever argued about with my father contained wisdom on my part? I was wrong and wrong and wrong again. The proof is in the pudding. All the little children would laugh at the broken man. So stupid. I hope I never grow up! Ha ha. And I can no longer expect Maggie to be there. She wasn’t there to donate her life to a man who could not simply offer his own. She was rescued by Mike. She would not allow my partner to take her soul as well. And I’m glad. My navel gazing was a disease from which she needed to protect herself. She had made a mistake with me and she would have to collect the pieces that were left and move on, which she did. But I am still left alone, a victim, an altogether too sensitive victim who was forced to see that the world is an ugly place, not a high-minded one, that people gravitate down, not up, that we are animals and if God is not dead, he or it or she even gives hard lessons, hard enough to never want to contemplate His being ever again. Leave it to the children to believe so as to stave off their recognition of human animality. But where have I been trying to go by going so low? I guess this is the evil question that perpetuates my pain. Nowhere. There is nowhere to go.

Another week went by and then another and then another and then another. My paycheck is a joke. I live barely. All of the weeks are the same. False hope is a norm, a pretty woman who I don’t talk to, Maggie living in my blood, the anchor weight of my partner’s victory over goodness and me, the corrosive spill at the center of me. I wish I could click my heels and make everything go away. I wish that I could regain my faith in mankind and make it alright and safe for Maggie to love me again, but I saw too much. Couple this with Bush’s war, the flagrant abuse of people’s will in a supposedly good country. Too many things stacking up. My partner was gone. So was Bush, but they both continued to form me. A victim is a victim for a long time. It’s not like you can be a victim and then suddenly be free. Those who haven’t been a victim are the ones quickest with the positive outlook remedies. They’ve never been beaten to the ground. You can never pride yourself on being strong. It may simply mean that you have never been victimized body and soul. You are lucky. Luck isn’t to be paraded around as a virtue.

We read books, but we don’t want to read books. We want to read ourselves. We make mistakes and afterwards we let go the fact that somebody may have been misrepresented forever, that we have been misrepresented forever. We/they scream to be released from the invisible shackles that we place on one another. Judgment is the name of the game in make it land. Poetry circles never forget where the honey is, but they must find it first and that is all the fun. Some of us shy away from it completely. We are in good company, especially in the poetry game. Lots of loners here. We are truly a society, averting our gazes, slinking off to be alone and forgotten, hoping that someday we will be seen and small smiles will be placed upon our faces and we will know that we existed, that contrary to everything we know, that we are not invisible. There are roses upon our cheeks. Here we do what we can by having a reading at the Starbucks on Thursday nights. The cars drive by outside the door and if you sit on the patio you watch and listen to them and try to imagine a world in which poetry mattered. After awhile the poets come out and we act like the cars aren’t there, that we don’t live in an ugly world (for most of us are poor). We sing deep, dark songs about our lives because we know that we have to matter at some point. Some of us are serious, on our way to higher and higher literary heights, forces to be reckoned with. Others realize that it is poetry and it will not be heard outside of the plastic faux wood paneling of the fast food franchise. It all depends on your age. We are all just circling ourselves, unaware that we are in the wrong place if we want to be a literary caricature someday. We should all be in New York smoking pot at parties for the Paris Review, rubbing elbows with Zadie Smith and projecting kindness through comedy like Gary Shteyngart. Poetry is a sideline for most. We are novelists and filmmakers (without money for a camera), photographers, vagabonds, students, workers and dealers, not drug dealers, but those who simply deal with life. I am a dealer mostly. My inability to market my work properly sends me back into my poetry giving me output but no ending in sight. The thought that this won’t end is too much for most poets who eventually seek out laughter, lots of laughter, to make up for the browned corridors of thought that they have alighted upon on their treks into themselves, the ever journey, laughter and escape and money the real things, and I’m not being sardonic, like I’m some real poet and they’re not. I would advise escape at as early an age as possible from the trek of the literary mind. Philosophy is, as they say, a walk on the slippery rocks. My remedy for everybody is to drop out of school at thirteen and go to work. Childish charm will put you in a position of authority by sixteen. By twenty you will be in management. At twenty-five you will be a millionaire telling recently graduated poetry scholars what to do, visiting them at their jobs of scrubbing or serving or caring. Go with the magic while you’ve got it. Education is just another sales pitch. You can get that later. You can always catch up, and when you are older you are actually a better student. Youth believes that it can become king or queen, and it is right. Education questions the notion of what success truly is. Blindness to thought, believing in your existence, knowing that you are not invisible from the very beginning, ego, lots of it, this is the way to succeed and be happy for the trek down the rabbit hole is forever and forever.

I guess a lot of people are waiting for the blowout. They touch me only very lightly, little smiles to the little left of me that they can understand. People from the world of my former business are gone, although I still keep their faces in my computer as does everybody else. Information, it seems, is the replacement for connection, said David Mamet, not in those exact words. It’s true. I can tell you everything you need to know about any number of people, but as to what they smell like, what their mannerisms are, I couldn’t say. They are my friends, but friendship is not what it used to be. As a rebel against social media I am left with very few options. I know I should live in nature, to get away from the ugliness of the totally uncivilized American city, but I never make the move. My real friends I do not talk to because I don’t know if I am the person that they used to know and they are probably somewhat worried about the same thing. And I realize that there is a torpor settling in over me the further down I go to try to form a being that is knowable. To have to move to a strange land and do a strange job among strange people seems like a call for me to live in the outer world, which seems like a deviation from my path. But sooner or later it will have to come to pass. I will have to enter the real world in a much more substantial way, suffer the inconveniences of having to be a part of this melee that we call life. But for now I will sit quietly here and make sandwiches, suffering quietly, desperately in a plotless world where what matters most cannot be seen, is as invisible as I am to myself.

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Published in: on June 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Only You Are Invisible (3.)

There is another reason that I have nobody and pretty much nothing except my thoughts and my poems. The real world does not seem real to me. All I pretty much see when I go outside is pavement and curbs and strip malls and gas prices and supermarkets and ugliness. This is the world in which I live and am asked to thrive. This is the world that asks me to be a part and to keep a smile on my face. How is this supposed to work? I live in such an ugly world. People too are ugly and don’t trust each other. Everybody is segregated, the young from the old, the ethnicities from one another, class differentiation everywhere. It feels as though I must batter down these walls by force somehow if I am to simply find someone to talk to. I don’t have the energy or the will. So I stay to myself. My only substantial relationship is with Maggie and we rarely talk anymore. Our sporadic almost accidental conversations are ghosts of conversations already passed. They are no longer memorable. They are streams of thought which pressed us further and further to the edge and away from one another until finally we split and the river continued, non-remembered dialogues turned into sickly colored streams of emotion, mostly of pain, but fueled by love at least. Not that love is present anymore. Love was betrayed long ago, but the force for caring about these streams of memory is love, love gone, but love that once was, and still, in some way, exerting a powerful force. Backward looking hope is what it is, as though you could turn back time, suffer through the dialogues forgotten over and over in your head, colorless streams, the paltry remnants of real dialogues. You can peel nothing away. All history is forever and unchangeable, but the invisible me does not know this. The invisible me hopes for the unattainable because anything seems possible in the world of the void in which we are placed at consciousness. An open slate from the beginning and through to the end, thoughts unreal. How fact when swirling inside the mind of the past that lives within my present mind? World within world within world.

And it is that complex. Still, people that I do bump into accidentally in this world expect to know me by asking about my place in this world. They consider the world in which they also walk to be the real world and I cannot even begin to understand how to explain to them that this world is the least important of the worlds there are to inhabit. So conversation always goes directly to the world least important, but most obvious, which is that of my state of being within it: I work at a sandwich shop. I live alone. I have no relationship. I am forty-six years old, much too old to start anew. And that’s where the conversations usually end. It’s pretty cut and dry as to what I am all about and it is usually enough to cut the conversation short. It always works this way. If only I could stress the inner world to them then perhaps they could understand, but everybody knows that to discuss the inner world as though it is of true importance is a ruse to cover up the meagerness of ones real real world. No children. No hope of children or love. Unhappiness because of the failure in this world. This is inferred through my sorry stats and I do not usually have the energy to go into a long treatise on the nature of things as they really are, to map out for them the psychological and spiritual landscape of me. It usually consists also of explaining how I got to my sorry state and this is considered complaining and nobody likes a complainer. It’s just that they would never believe me if I told them. I am invisible and it takes a good amount of my energy to function in a world where this is the case. I am not blind as they are to the fact. This makes all the difference. I guess this is what it means to be blind. You must be blind to your invisible state of being if you are to function as though you were not invisible. All of this in explanation would take much too long, would sound like complaining and wouldn’t be understood anyway. Even this explanation sounds like an excuse, but can I help the way that I was made, to believe that I am a spiritual being on a human journey? If this is true, and I always believed that it was, I must live with the consequence of the belief. As a spiritual being I have no real form. My outer form, one which I cannot see, holds little consequence in the grand scheme of things. Thus my weakness. Thus my failure in the world. If one looks at me they don’t see me. they just see the outer me. So much more than that. How does one carry on a conversation?

It would be so easy to simply stop the dialogue. I am not talking suicide. This is not in my nature. What would be the point? If I devised a quick stop to the way that I was made I would have nothing left. I would be a shell. I would fall down and not know how to get back up. The turning back from the inward trajectory is a long, long road. It is hazy and there is nothing to push you forward. Inward is the only way. Ever inward where words can meet you along the way. You gather them and put them in poems and you have a tangible essence for others to know, but like I said, there is no market for poetry. Only a select few want to follow you on your path and even if they did you wouldn’t have real communion. It might give you a feeling of existing, but you wouldn’t know. There would be no communication back to you, just you into them, the invisible world concocted into tangibility so that you can know that you are at least alive. I think therefore I am sort of thing. And then it would be gone. If they finished the poem they would know a little about me, but I would never know anything about them. They are fellow grand canyons in which the birds of thought also flit and flit and flit about. There is the spotted robin. There the blue jay. Interesting. Close the book. All of the aloners alone still. All the invisibles invisible still, for nobody believes in the unseen, or if they do believe, do not know how to know it. Feel only. Words to describe the feelings, clouds gray and ever-stretching, billow upon billow upon billow. No easy slots for categorization. No place for us to meet, for meteors never meet meteors. Thoughts, always on the move, cannot envelop completely, not nearly as well as a simple hunger pain or sexual itch. Better to bolster the real world. Prepare a world for fellow units to be bolstered, sharers of genes and noses. Success is in creating families and this is set in place by God. No thought required. Introduce thought into this plan and it will fall away, fetter away. An animal is a million times smarter than a thinking man. We are all animals. Here is another way of looking at the blindness question. We must be blind to the flitting thought of the inner world if we are to get down to real business. We must be blind, but how do I change the way that I am? How do I stop the need to be a poet? Truth is, I can’t. I must be a poet to the end or else I will disappear altogether. I must piece myself together with these images as though they are of what I truly consist. Perhaps I could one day be proud of the vessel like the successful of the world are. Success is truly built on the straightness of noses, the clarity of eyes, the flow of hair and the choice of dress. But I cannot strive for this which many critics would call shallow but I call animal blindness, survival technique, the only way to success in the world. Why would creation make a man like me so one sided?

I went back to work. I was feeling down when I got there. I was tired. Another day. It is my world, my real world so I feel I must come back to it if I am to keep credibility as a real human being. I went to work and made hundreds more sandwiches. There was a little drama among the managers. There was a little backstabbing among the employees. This is what passes as life, the interaction between beings, but nothing happened that could be said to matter. Nobody got closer to revealing truths about who they really are. Conversations were all concerned about the outer world. Getting more in the way of love and bolstering of physical self. Get big. That is what the job is really all about. People come in and eat our fat laden sandwiches and get big. They literally fill a hole. Of course they are also filling their souls. The holy act of digestion, a rite repeated daily. The holiest of holies. There is no escape from the depths of unconscious need. The need is so great that it would envelope us all if it could be given outer form. But it can’t. This is what Thoreau meant when he said men live lives of quiet desperation. The need is just too big to even give form in words. We are mute as we want what we don’t know that we need. The flow with Maggie was strong, and sad because strong, ever present it seems, for we never forget or stop wanting love. The memory of it after its loss sustains and tortures us at the same time.
Life is not a song, not really, although it has been compared to one. It is a monotone, one long line of different movements, but long and one and forever. Nothing ever breaks out. Break out of what? We are captured by our skulls and try to expand through other people and other things. We wish to infuse our inner world with an immaculate gas that will raise our cheeks and brighten our eyes. Then our bodies get in the way. Fall apart. Or other things happen. We lose faith. There is just too much meanness. We see it. Notice it for a first time. Then a second. After awhile we begin to believe it is our basic condition and we are ashamed of ourselves because we thought we weren’t animals and then we knew we were. This type of thought is illegal. It is the type of thought that will get you banished from the presence of normal society. What we are supposed to do is glean the essence, suck the juice from that which is before us. If we cannot see the good, then we are to look harder until we find, take it in, then move forward until we find a big stash of goodness and rightness, take that too, and if there is a lot there, make camp with it, be sustained by it, like bees in an especially fragrant field. But we must seek and this is the law.

Maggie has run off with Mike. She finally found her guy. Mike works in the medical field and it took him a long time to work the relationship into something sexual because he is as much a foreigner to intimacy as I used to be before I met Maggie. Now he is on a nightly foray into the worlds that I had known and I can’t hate him for it. I pushed Maggie away. I. As if there were an I. This thing, this space that I feel breathing, this dull unpolished orb seeking glean that could not allow me to keep Maggie inside with me. Two invisibles are better than one, but I could not trust myself anymore, this ever present need to go further. It left me weak when the real world did call, another bright light and I would seek escape and I would have done it again to Maggie, would have left her again, felt restless, left her alone. But this ever inward trek has left me nowhere. I can feel now enough to trust that it is singling me out by eliminating that which would take my attention away from it. It is the ultimate selfishness really, this inward journey, a prize never given, a prize praised early in life with titles like spirituality and mysticism, but a shabby prize in reality, for to collect it you must be completely and utterly alone. I don’t want it anymore. I want to give up my career. I made the wrong choice, to step from world to world and then write about what I saw. This big mirror that I try and hold up to my face, a face that I could not read even if I saw it, a face that others can read at the first second of contact. It hasn’t paid off. They said that it would pay off. It hasn’t. They never gave you the numbers. All of the great poets were successful. Every one in the book and the book was very thick. So many successes. I would be one of them. My thoughts would be remembered long after I was gone and this was much greater than any day to day existence I may have had while here on this feeble planet. History would remember me. I would have actually have had a face, a quite memorable one, and the face wouldn’t have been the face, but the depths of thought and spirit roiling, sailing, living, flying free beneath that face. My face would become a symbol for truth, a fine previously unveiled truth lithely exposed through my talent which was the base matter of Me. Was I really so insecure? I think so for I have held on to this dream my entire life. It makes me feel like a child now. The superhero that I thought I would become was never recognized as the dream of a child. Upon a man it lays clumsily like a suit too small. And here I stand, walking day to day in this suit. The comic was hastily and unprofessionally drawn. The audience had better things to do.

Published in: on June 5, 2013 at 5:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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