Thursday, December 27, 2012

Old Flames XXI: The Ol' Patriots of Romance

Dearest sly protectors of saintly hearts and groves of men and women out of line with the American Dream, it's time to rise up and get yours. What was redder than the farmhouse? What was wilder than the river? What was scarier than the night sky? The heart.

Wouldn't you agree, students?

Truly, truly, truly.

This is the afterglow of conversation, the coy nap of the ancients, the truest form of dreams. Wait for the end of time, and you'll discover a mass grave of clocks, but you won't get the wrath of a god. And so goes the ocean, and so goes the horizon, and so goes people. We are the worst forever that somehow has the reputation for being the best party.

Beautiful confetti, angelic cake eyes, every balloon in town, why wouldn't this be the reclaiming of our childhoods? The future is the most sold-out show of our time. Ask the priests and the rabbis. I hear they're in a bar somewhere right now, according to some joker.

Hear those church bells and dinner party string quartets? Oh, this will surely be the swelling of summer and Christmas in the same gut reaction. Century lands for century men, say the willing. Beg not the word of god, for our ears are fragile, say the others. What gods would be here for a vacation home anyway?

Pirates slurs and patriot sweats, this is the free-flow panic of a lofty, crafty zeppelin of a man. Wit has no end for the wealthy, just as the gods have no end in sight of all humans. Wrap this world like a banshee and wait for us to pen the great works of a century empire.

Played well for a bad deal.
Sung high for his dead pals.
Waited in line at the pearly gates.

This steamship chants out a blues song as it coughs along the evening water. White memories just floating down the forest glass with orange jives and yellow whys awash in the golden hue of the background. Spill some pinks and reds, we're sweet on the onlookers.

I just hope we did this better than anyone. I hope we rocked out for good. I hope we ruined that party we only now heard about. Slummy chumps squawking on the radio; too poor, too sane, to get on the megaphone. But we were boys, and boys will listen to anyone with a hero's inflection.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, sell us the sandlot back. We've hardly touched the place since childhood, all with nostalgia biting at your heartstrings that you mistook for intestines. It's a complicated issue, says the guardian angel on-watch. What, glorious angel of time and regret, do you really work for minimum wage?

I was born a charity case, and I have the trail of fallen women to prove it, wrangles the mouth muscle in a fit of old-timey swagger. Born to Hollywood during the Golden Age, everything changed when they gave superheroes a drinking problem. It was supposed to be real, says the executive. It was supposed to be art, says the critic. It was supposed to be both, says the artist.

From all angles.
Out of lungs, out of mouths.
Out into the world, those fresh breaths.

Why did we have to die all those times before? Because we had to get broken to get mended to get strong. I get it now, says everybody and nobody at once. Watch out for the boundaries of this play, it may be on its way to Broadway.

Junior high memories crank out like bluegrass, and I wait for the birthdays and holidays to stop, but once I get to the end, I only want to go back. It hurt like hell, but, as Churchill chuckled his philosophy, if you're going through hell, keep going.

So that's how I became a writer, I'll tell the interviewer. And she'll laugh to her male co-host, and I'll go home a rich man. I'll go home in my fast car, to my faster wife, to my slow-motion wet dream of a life. I was made king of your dreamscape, lord of your nostalgia, prince of your longing. I was the playwright that murdered that plot. I was the anarchist that burned the government. I was that wordplay on that wordplay. And I didn't even have to beg to do it. It was given to me by time. I was the first at this. I was the first car to race, the first tv to destroy, the first whisper to be heard after love-making.

So true was this grief, I wailed as a vaudevillian for days. I was hope uncouth. I was barely awake in a song. I was the tremulous yearning of better days. Where were you in that labyrinth? Did you see the end of days? How did we end up here?

And what good was any of it?

I wonder.

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