May 13, 2014

No Going Back

You can't go back. You can try but you will fail. The place and circumstances and people you knew have changed and nothing is how you remember. Everything is different. Even your memory is deformed. Mutated. It changed when you did. The road is wider. The corner store is gone. They tore out the railroad tracks and paved the old clamshell road. Everything seems smaller. The people are older and fat. You have not gained a pound. They remember your face but not your name. Only the enormous German police dog remembers you. He jumps up at the gate and licks your face while a neighbor shouts: "He tore off a woman's face!" You lick him back. He remembers your scent and that you gave him snacks and once a chocolate covered cherry with a Valium in it to stop his all-day barking. He loves you. You love him. The people rent you the same room from five years before. The price has doubled.

But you passed out of their neighborhood and out of their lives and they changed like you did. But not like you. You kept moving. You may have mistaken mobility for freedom but by chance or odd design you found a different kind of freedom that no one understands. There's no use explaining. You barely understand. It took years of miserable loneliness for you to get it. It's the freedom to cut loose and leave stuff behind and keep moving and live like a traveling hermit, while walking among them appearing normal. They cannot comprehend because they are more social. They pity you but don't say it. They hate being alone. They need each other. They need someone to talk to. They talk all day and night and it seems very important to them. They start talking when they wake and stop when they sleep. You go days and weeks without talking to anyone except store clerks or people at bus stops. It's all you need because people talk such merde.

Old yippie that you are you still feel the same. You don't believe the hype. You saw the leaders with their masks stripped off and the monsters beneath. You saw the hypocrites and the dead soldiers. You saw the slaughtered people. You saw the whole damned country boozing it up 90 miles an hour down a dead end street without a care in the world. Your home in Louisiana where the flamingos and cranes lived in millions has become a green-scummed chemical cesspool. The birds won't return for a hundred years. Why should they? Birds are smart. They know poison when they see it.

It is disgusting. A gaudy casino occupies land where the old First Baptist Church was. The people are disgusting. The politics is disgusting. The politicians are disgusting. The million lookalike strip malls from coast-to-coast are disgusting. The interstates full of disgusting trucks tearing up the disgusting roads and hauling money from place to place are disgusting too. The shoddy chipboard furniture is disgusting. The porno industry is disgusting. Most of the films are disgusting. Prices and profits and wages are disgusting. The greedy capitalist billionaires are disgusting. The poor people with no morals or honor are disgusting. The fabulous fiberglass casinos shaped to resemble lavish palaces are disgusting. Gambling is disgusting. Churches are disgusting. Priests are disgusting. The list goes on and on. Lists of disgusting things that most people accept without question. You look in the mirror and that is also disgusting.

You don't let it get to you anymore. Now you are old. You watch your skin wrinkle with age and your muscles atrophy, and it is not lovely. Worrying is not worth it. You tried to make a difference and never made much of one. You helped people along the way but wasted most of your life trying to figure things out and to follow your grandmother's consul: always to do the right thing. You wish you had stayed in the Marine Corps. That was simple. Learn to kill and do a good job. Put your life on the line every time you go to work. You could be a general if you had known then what you know now. But many generals are disgusting too. Still you would not mind killing a whole bunch of bastards. And you call yourself a liberal. Finally you live with your own contradictions. Sometimes it cracks you up.

You wonder what it all was for, and finally you know that this is what it was for. It is not so bad. You tripped over half of the western hemisphere working and reading and writing and finally just wanted a place to rest. This is it. It's quiet and peaceful. The rent and utilities are paid and you have a fast computer. It is your social life. Nobody knocks on your door. You are happy in a way but happiness is a relative thing. Being happy is overrated. At least you don't have to go to a hateful job and listen to them jabber about nothing all day. Do you hate people? Are you a misanthrope? No. You are simply sick of hearing them yak all the time. They chose their paths. You chose yours. Live it and die when you die.