One night, deep in an uncertain period in my life, I sat in the dark, smoking a cigarette and looking down a narrow alley to the street at a single streetlight. Cars and trucks blurred under it. Insights came, showing me how it’s all makebelieve, an agreed upon fantasy. It changed my life.
Revelation deflation, air out of the balloon, sitting in the dark, ass hard on the sofabed, where I slept, off and on, until the shuffling finished…
Who the fuck supposed to sleep on these things? Snakes?
Not lost, not anchored, between.
Sometimes, you flow here, rudders up, not giving much of a shit about anything. Perceptions reshuffle. How thin it all is, how breakable. Why don’t we demolish the damned mess and rebuild, like with baseball when you can’t win?
Outside, down the alley, street light framed on a mid-winter night. Cars flash past. Soundless.
It’s dark where I live. I’m feeling around, reaching for chunks of reality.
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
Poe, but nobody’s sure.
Does not read like Poe. Gently surreal, like some mystic, maybe mystically planted in Poe’s head.
Ordinary folks don’t get such insights. All have access, but if you want to scare the living shit out of yourself, try on that dream within a dream baby sometime. Float free without your seatbelt, your guilty conscience, your self-awareness filtering the wine…
Ineffable rendered in poetry a half century before eggheads caught up with it.
How do you suppose Poe knew?
Did Patanjali, 2,000 years cold in the ground, take a spin around the block in fresh lyric, use Poe’s pen to spin an unfathomable web?
So, I’m sitting in the dark on this rock hard bed in one infinitesimal corner of the universe, and I’m thinking there’s no way in hell it all has to be like this.
Why are we stuck with General Motors, General Westmoreland, General Electric and grinding dilemmas forced on us by extraction from nature?
What a piece of work is man? Oh, please. So’s a rabbit, a marlin, a frigging tree stump, for God’s sake.
Alternatives swim in the mist.
You’ve got Mozart, Matisse and Marilyn Monroe.
We’ve role models, man. Don’t tell me the best we can do is Henry Kissinger, Hollywood and higher education.
And yet, the metallic contraption rattles down Main, car after car, truck after truck, like it must, like we must.
We could have horses, llamas, oxen, wind, or shit, man, we could just sit still.
Why wake up every day and agree on this mishmash of material? It falls apart if we don’t agree on it.
Let it go.
Shards and tiny splinters spill through the preexisting vacuum.
Would it be awful if trucks turned into sand and the rumble of cities refined to Strauss, sweet rhythms marching through us, sweeping into night?
I.e., must we be so everlasting dull?
Must everything be squared, geometric, insults to the gifts of evolution, like we want to truncate it, like we want DeSotos, Edsels, instant oatmeal, binge watching, pre-ripped up jeans, entertainment, pills, ointments, opioids, depression, Congress, creepy experts about everything, erectile dysfunction, and who sleeps normal anymore?
When it could all be different with the flip of a conscious switch? Who talked us into this?
One thing Mike helped translate, from Cummings:
“A salesman is an it that stinks excuse.”
“America was built by salesmen,” my boss once told me.
It’s why we’re wrong.
David Stone is a New York City based writer whose most recently published book title is 21 Poems. He is also the author of a dozen novels, including Lucky To Have Her.