“The past beats inside me like a second heart.”– John Banville
I recently had the luxury of finding an old notebook, one that had been used simply for creative purposes. It was about fifteen years old, but you couldn’t tell by its condition. However, the age of the notebook became more than evident after opening it up. To me, anyway.
Upon looking at the chicken scrawl that was my teen handwriting, and the pages and pages of pretentious writing that were also mine…I had a serious cringe moment. I don’t think of myself as a regular Hemingway, but my immaturity was on full display in those pages. It was also real clear that I had no real insight fifteen years ago. Just based on some of the passages I could stomach reading.
“…of the stiff, suspicious statues –
I stumbled along in agonizing anticipation
The voices were hollow and near
hiding in the plaguing darkness
I stopped –
and took in the sky…”
There is absolutely no meaning to that. I had no idea what it meant then, and I still don’t. And I won’t try to pretend to spin it now.
The notebook is full of writing that makes me grimace. But its writing shows a side of me, one that I had yet to even define at that point.
It’s only one of many notebooks I could dig out and have the same feeling over (I have even at times thought about getting all the “old stuff” together in a chronological fashion of some sort, but life hasn’t allowed for that to happen). They’re the notebooks that are the basis for anything I am now.
They include song lyrics:
A worried man’s got his worried mind
And sees with two eyes that have gone blind
I been standing in the back just trying to get her name
When you’re that hard-up for a little fix
You ain’t clean, just a sober addict
You’re a million miles away, and everything’s changed
“I bought a brand-new mirror
and I hung it on the wall
I knelt before it every night
And prayed it wouldn’t fall…”
And then I stumbled upon this last little piece. It’s a poem that, at even twelve years old, I have found some merit in.
The Day I Left
the day I left,
in shackles and hand-me-downs,
the hardest thing –
that once remembered dream of
I left the beach
I left, strangled and oblivious,
the curtain of hope decaying,
a penned elegy in my place
she was a sad-eyed mystery,
who was whatever I wanted,
(left the beach for this?)
Instead of diamonds for sand and the sun for a father,
we have this –
Bombs for beachballs, tanks for cruise ships,
war for fun-in-the-sun
I see it all thru concave,
visions of mass deception,
a summertime loss
this wavy clarity takes away
the truth and enlightenment we need is found
in nuclear warfare,
and in our God,
I left in sleep
I left her
I push this way,
you pull the other
The day I left.
I found salvation
But not the kind I hoped to find
I found loneliness
I was blessed
on the day that I left
I guess if I had a point in today’s ramblings it would be to be careful what you hold onto and what you throw away. It may be old and it may be immature, but it also might contain the plotline for the next great American novel.