Though you are a beautiful notion,
You have come too late in this day,
You rise only to be stunted-
By my resigned and resenting eyelids.
Though you may never see day-
Be breathed unto the intellectual air-
Or feel the freedom of ink and page,
Know that you were my own,
One that I loved though I can not remember,
You are undoubtedly one that I cherish,
For you have risen with me, by me, and for me,
You are one of the few I can call my own.
Recently, I asked one of my professors if he could recommend a text that would help me with a particular essay. Without delay he rummaged through the shelves of his office and lent me his copy of a text, an action which I am highly grateful for. There is only one oddity that I have noted in this. The text that he lent me is filled to the brim with his markings and annotations. I find nothing wrong with marking up books, in fact I heavily support the practice, but its the glimpse into his thought process which makes me mildly uncomfortable. To use the term lightly, it feels voyeuristic. While in this scenario it creates a mild unsettled feeling, it is the one thing I love about combing through used bookstores. Feeling a history in the pages, not just the words. On one day in particular I found a book that I will never forget. A copy of Machiavelli’s The Prince with two things tucked under the cover: A train stub from New York to Boston, and a visitor’s map of Beth Israel hospital… oh the stories that holds…
To throw this out there, for those who may actually being following my train of thought within these posts, this realization was sparked by the same event I wrote about on Friday.
Driving through urban streets, there can be a myriad of scents seeping through the window. One in particular crawls through and I notice it immediately, remembering it fondly. My mind goes to the days of my childhood, running around with the toy guns making their little cracks. Laughing and running through the twists and curves of white suburbia. My smile sours when the realization strikes me, as it always does on this occasion, that we played in the wisps of gunpowder. Down these streets there are no children playing. There are no laughs of joy. There are still shrieks of surprise. Down these streets only tears fall at this aroma.
Man alone with himself is always a difficult area. One reason is the ambiguity of this situation, any one could be alone with themself socially, physically, emotionally, essentially in many ways. However the one sense that I have come to find as particularly taxing is man alone with himself without his vices. Being in a secluded state is always more bearable if there is any possible or viable form of adulteration. I am now in a state where I am removed from all of my vices, and I realized I have my lion’s share. Whether it be drinking, drugs, sex, I cannot, for one reason or another, preform any of them. Now I witness the difficult sense of isolation, with myself in my entirety. I do not find myself that unbearable but the fact is that in any staggering moment I find myself alone without a crutch, and the sense that I have nothing to lean on perpetuates the sense of isolation.
On this night, I spent my time in a way which I always enjoy, walking around campus having nothing more than a genial discussion with a friend. We talk about benign topics, but they ultimately cultivate into our truest concerns: papers, projects, work. To go back to the beginning of this story, or even before that, as these things always do, there is the matter of exactly where my campus lies. In order to maintain my wonderfully freeing guise of complete virtual anonymity I’m going to keep it generic: nice campus on the outskirts of a relatively large urban area. Being in our guarded and patrolled safe haven has had an interesting effect. By proximity we (being a mildly large group of students) feel we have a right to comment on the happenings around us as though we can truly have a say, and yet, behind our welded gates and our constant patrols, this voice of recognizing the outside element has no real weight. On this night the importance of the conversation pales in comparison to how it was punctuated. I myself have joked casually about being reminded where we live and that there is a life outside this haven, a darker one at that. But now, for the first time I grasp this concepts. There is no winter wind more chilling than hearing that deafening crack cut through the nights air. No longer being able to casually muse at what it must be like, instead being forced to envision it all as fact not speculation. The look on those faces, the blood on the pavement. Above all that unforgettable, echoing… pop, pop, pop.
Deaf. Or Something like it. A ringing left as the latent herald leftover from a good night kicking. The loss in one sense, being, the loss of a sense resulting in an unexpected harmony. Sitting here, half unable to hear, I feel that which I would have otherwise ignored: the reverberations, sound incarnate. The building as a reacting sound-board receiving all and answering back. A peace simpler than ever, between myself and a thing. The virtually unheard of emotional response of the inanimate, deeply echoing the animate.
Over the years I’ve developed a quite fond relationship with the few things that have been consistently around me. Those around me fail to realize this. I like my simple objects, nothing too extravagant. I’ll take my barren cinder-block walls over cool shades of taupe. I take comfort in my Wal-Mart generics, not the name brand organics. Everything from my thrift shop clothes to my cardboard coasters. It’s more than what I’ve gotten used to moving from dorm to dorm, it’s the things that make my true home.