by Darryl Price
"I still believe in love."--John Lennon
it was war of the ancient sort come to the shore at last. No one leaves this world
without an arrow through their heart. Why would I lie to you? We all fight in different ways
because the enemy is so very good at mutating into the one you love. It's a crime against
nature but most hardships are, brought on by a dishonest approach to the day at hand. Everything turns on that wheel. And that brings me to tears more often than the knife in my back. Yeah we
might as well gather our dreams in the open fields at night and sell them in the market place
the very next afternoon before they're stolen away from us anyway. I didn't want things to be this sad, they
just are. When John fell so did a star but it was hard to tell what was happening
because the sky is like a jelly jar full of countless shining seeds. Because a tremendous rainfall doesn't stop to
count itself...because so many of us are already well too old to still be acting so stupidly young. You
don't want to hear about any of that nonsense and I don't blame you. There are plenty of guitar-benders headed in the
opposite bluer directions than me. They'll be glad to take you out midnight dancing. I've got that on my list, believe it
or not, but when John fell I missed a step and flew over my own crying shadow. And then
there was suddenly an emptiness inside the same old bucket of lies where the soft world used to rub shoulders with the new wind's elbows. And
I don't like to pretend that there's nothing's wrong with us. It does no good for anybody. But it's
also moot. The world isn't going to stop having love. Yeah I recognize the fact as my own doing and not doing. Children climb into
flowers as easily as any parade of goofy bees just might. Clouds come out smelling like warm coffins. So is it a very real possibility, we might become true enough ourselves to the meaning of being here alone together like this to make a difference? I don't know.
I give it a halfhearted try only because I might as well toss up my dented two cents worth on someone's happiness. Everybody gambles for one more day, one night, one more kiss, one more moon, one more summer.
Only accountants are interested in the end of that long equation. But I swear when John fell the needle jumped off the prerecorded history of mankind and left a nasty scar in the wax. No one
wants to hear a warped echo following them around. But that's not what I meant either. Sooner or later you have to go down to the valley and see for yourself if you are meant to live
or die, knowing that you're always running out of the stuff that keeps you stuck here all together in the first place. I miss my old friend. Hell, I miss all my friends. I hope I gave you something
to hold onto way back when. I don't know any other way to say
it. And now there's this, there's
always going to be someone else answering a phone, saying ooh, baby, baby, and that's alright with me.
I'm down with it. Have a great big pretend ball. I just can't pretend that it didn't happen to me,
too, you see. So when John fell we all ran, retreated into our silly ass (no electricity for us nature lovers allowed!) caves and decided to live on nothing but luminous fish for the rest of our lives, but that's a diet that slowly eats you
out of your own skin, from the inside, and leaves you more skeletal than fabulous dreamer. It seals
you off from the other musicians of the soul. You become a one man band. It steals your ability to imagine a sly lover's smile. That's all I'm saying. Don't forget. Ask yourself. Do you like this life's track record so far? If you don't, what are you doing? When John fell a train lifted off a track and it disappeared into
thin air and it's never coming back, we might as well get that straight right now. You can
hear the chorus of “so what's” growing ever louder and louder by the moaning, groaning minute, like a bunch
of bull frogs who don't believe in predators in the moonlit grasses. Surprise! Pretty soon they won't even
know what they're harmonizing is for. Everybody will head for home with a snooty flip and a splash. When you
get there you realize it isn't there anymore, but only somewhere you used to feel pretty good about
yourself in. Well, dear family of man, that's the whole point of the air isn't it? We carry on. In that sense we are always it.
When John fell so did the collective, knowing smile, but it's coming back. It's always been right here waiting to happen again.
Let's do what we can to meet that fearsome ghost with something brand new again. That's what John would have wanted
for us, to find a fresh way to carry each other forward. And have fun doing it. The
higher you fly the deeper you go, said John, who was by all accounts just about as free as a bird as they come.
The Doomed Lecture
by Darryl Price
Life makes me sadder by the minute. It bobbles along and gets eaten up at every stop
along the way by something or other swimming menacingly under the current reality. It
eats itself if nothing else will do the job fast enough. You know what comes out
the other end. We might have each other as people, but we don't take
full advantage of that miracle as friends. We only come together to bitch and moan
and make a little money. The rest is all about the perfect getaway, as
fast and as far as we can make it on our two little grubby
feet. It doesn't seem to matter if we live or die alone or together.
That's all I'm saying. I've observed enough coming and going folks to know the
latest version of true love is a slimy soap bubble at best, pretty and
constantly in danger of a total meltdown to an extinction of its own making.
Beautiful and fragile like a tiger mouth butterfly and mutating at an alarming rate into
something much much uglier. Nothing to do then but get up and do it again
because modern work is more than for a while for some of the luckier
ones dwelling among us. They are beautiful to look at and we are not.
They throw it in our faces constantly because they can. The rest of us
have to look for meaning wherever we can find it. In an Italian meal
served by non-Italians, at the whole food grocery store aisle, in a new being
talked about wildly deviant book on sex, or on a late night TV show.
Life makes me sick. It doesn't seem to last longer than a mere lifetime.
It takes about a micro minute to cook, and then you're suddenly all undone forever.
And nothing has changed. People are still killing each other over nothing more substantial than air. Everyone's always
on the look-out for sure-fire ways of cheating on everything and still losing the
game to fate in the end. We run away into the jaws of the monster every time.
So why am I still so in love with you? What makes me care
if you suffer or not? I don't know. I really don't. It's like a
clock mechanism that lives inside me that can't be turned off until the end
of everything in existence. Not by hatred, not by indifference, not by any sort
of physical harm, and not by a ton of bullying facts to the contrary. This
is why human beings will always matter. They have this immortal thing swirling around
inside them like constellations. It is in their hair follicles, it is in their searching beaming eyes,
that they are capable of such deeper than a hundred spinning planets feeling, it
is in their wringing hands, their trembling voices. It is in their crumpled clothes,
their busy houses, their bumpy streets. It is in the way they dance like
they are all Van Goghs creating a masterpiece out of nothing but wind and space.
Poets have always brought this amazing gift to our small attention spans. It will
relight any banished candle within a hundred mile radius at any time given a chance. It never
really goes out on itself. It can't. It just seems to disappear from time to
time because of overgrown dark clouds. But any sane unobserved child singing a made-up
song by herself will more than likely bring it back up to full volume
in an instant. Any boy with a trusty wooden sword in hand can cause
the lightning to strike the rusted gate off the mountain and open a world
of real, new possibilities again and again. Mind is the real key to life.
The problem is how to be that pure when everyone around you wants to
dress you up in a business suit and sit you down on a yacht and
send you half way around the world looking for a lost treasure for sleeping millionaires.
The problem's how to be like that girl when everyone wants to buy your
voice and keep it in a box in a room full of boxes. Poets
grunt a lot, or they just shut up and try not to smile so
much when everyone else is trying to be so deeply serious about everything. The lectures get a
little bit boring, my dears, especially when the lectures of a butterfly are so
much more fun to have to endure all summer long. Give us a break!Go outside and play.
All rights reserved.
Original version was chosen for the print issue of Thunderclap Nine. Thanks to editor Robert Vaughan.
John was more important than anyone else I know, and by that I mean you could guide your boat by his star. He was a goof and a friend of the highest order to kids like me. The strain was probably impossible and yet he fashioned a soundtrack for the world that provided plenty of love and hope. He didn't shy away from feeling everything human either. He made his share of mistakes. But the underlying current of his strong convictions for peace and understanding were always there. And he was a hell of a Picasso-like cartoonist.