” I was born in a drought, I hope I die in ya mouth. ” – Lil’ Wayne
It has been a long road right back to where I started. The ironic curving of the cosmos closing the ellipsis. I could not document any of that road because I was in a drought. Also a flood. A flood and drought are really just two sides of the same coin, to the extreme, past the tipping point. The drought was one of writing, the words stopped falling, ideas stopped growing, paragraphs could no longer be cultivated, populations starving. The flood was one of experiences of a certain sort. A sort that change you and yet leave you utterly alone with yourself. Like the forging of steel from a hot furnace. Burning out the impurities. A holocaust of misconceptions.
Human beings are constellations of ideals. Creatures of habit. Pavlovian automations. Yet, we are capable of escaping the cycle. Unhinging the stars, forming new ionic bonds, biting off the pavlovian finger prints. This is the great dichotomy of human existence. Are we masters of our own fate, or products and parts of the finely tuned machine? I don’t think that I care. I really tried to. I tried to buy into the nine to five, shinny shoes, mortgage payment, dinner at seven, sidewalk chalk, grocery store, fine print, speed limit existence. I wanted it so badly. The safety of a group recognized reality with rules and institutions. Where the road of right and wrong is so clearly defined and well light. Functioning in that world came surprisingly easy to me. I was good at it. And for a good while I thought that I was happy in it, because in some ways I was. I liked the routine, the fact that I knew what came next, there was no chaos lurking around the corner, the wheels of commerce and civility turning well oiled and smooth. Every day similar, every hour comprehendible, every instant recognizable. It wasn’t until I would lay down to sleep did I realize that underneath the comfortable coma there raged a spirit suffering. As I watched the moon in the sky covered and then uncovered by clouds I could hear the old voice whispering from outside the cave. “Something more, something more.”
This is all very poetic and allegorical, so I will simplify it for you. I think it was Tim Leary who said it best. “Tune in, turn on, drop out.” Which people took as a mantra or a rallying cry, like peace love and understanding or Superbowl or bust. But they were missing the point. “Tune in, turn on, drop out.” are instructions on how to live life correctly. Find something interesting, experience it, enjoy it, learn from it, then let it go. Carry on with what you have learned and pass it around. We want to own everything. Put our name on it, piss on it, you cant put a fence around a human being, it ain’t done anymore. Everything that we try to hold unto eventually slips though our fingers or worse yet resents us for holding it back in the end. This is the creation of strife and anxiety. Our inability to allow things to come and go. We have built entire civilizations, religions, and societies around the idea that what is good must be protected and conserved and what is bad must be eradicated and forgotten. The problem here is that the universe, the human mind and concepts of good and evil are not static. We are fighting a losing battle against nature which is always progressing, growing, being reborn, also burning, faltering, and regressing. There is no order, only chaos.
That is why I had to come home. New Jersey is chaos. I guarantee there is no other place in the union that capitulates to madness as quickly as this state. And furthermore has mastered it. Case and point being the storm. When I ask people about it they say they are tired of the storm. They have not recovered physically but mentally they got over it in hours. The chaos of the situation, the displacement, the hopelessness was not something new to them. It is something that resonates directly in the fibers of every New Jersey resident. A suicide state learning how to live. Not skating on the brink but diving head first and coming out on the other side. As horrible as it is to be home it is also vindicating. It is not revolutionary to say fuck you here. Whatever that means.
I had to write this because I had to write something. The drought is coming to and end. I find myself now writing paragraphs in my head again. On napkins and the margins of books. My brain is back on. This, whatever this is, I haven’t as of yet read a word that I have written, is the beginning. To prove to myself that I still can, still want to write. That I still have something in me of consequence and it was not an illusion. And most of all I saw something yesterday that reminded me of how this all began.
In memory of Brandon BeeBe.
We carry on in the recognition and respect of those men and woman who have shed the burden of this world, leaving us with the glory and hope with which the wore them.