“my beerdrunk soul is sadder than all the dead christmas trees of the world.”
― Charles Bukowski
― Charles Bukowski
It’s not healthy, it’s not productive and most of all it’s not fun. But today I wallowed in it, wrapped it tightly around me and made it my skin. There was a confluence of events that hit like a tsunami and then forced me under, temporarily out of reach of the light. It was inevitable and unexpected. It was like it might feel for a cat to be tossed casually in a clothes dryer for the amusement of the kids who, while not necessarily bad, still wanted to escape the bad in their lives. As long as they got what they wanted it didn’t matter what else got hurt. It was like having no opposable thumbs.
It was like pressing my nose to the glass, the very thick glass that separated me from the ability to be calm and rational. I could see unruffled me, but thoroughly disgusted and despairing me was the one breathing hard returns on the glass. It was like I had read the book to the end and while a goodly number had also seen it through to the end and what hard things the book predicted, so many, many more had refused to turn the last few pages and just tossed the book aside. It was like watching people work at a crossword puzzle and avoid the words that distressed them: drones, civil liberties, innocents, women, children, foreign, war, murder. It was like suddenly inhabiting the body of a homeless person and being the one who must shuffle through the intake line for a cot that will be dutifully disinfected before your very eyes while you stand patient and nervous at the same time, wanting nothing more than to slide under a white blanket made of polyester material and imprinted with little red crosses. It was like wanting that even less. It was like the friends of like-mind, people who had traded information and were not afraid to face the end of that book, well it was like they had disappeared in a puff of snow. In fact, they had not. In fact, I had disappeared myself. That is despair.
No bullets were dodged. No storms went down easy. There was utterly no reason to cheer. That is despair. Yet there was cheering, loud and clear on the other side of that thick glass wall. And my neck ached from head shaking in disbelief, in despair.
Somebody hoped I would find happiness somewhere as if that was my problem. I find happiness everywhere that it exists in its generous, selfless guise and have since childhood. Tomorrow I will find it again when the skin of despair will be peeled back if it has not already evaporated of its own accord. And I’ll read more revealing books to the end. I will not shy from the harder words in the puzzle and I will remain among the ones who will do the same.
PICTURED ABOVE: PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR BY CHARLES BUKOWSKI