"You're him, aren't you?"|
A beautiful, young girl mistook me for a poet today. All eyes and smiles, she was vision from some dark, enchanted place. No, more than that, but I cannot say it.
How flattering it felt to be held in such esteem by this living icon of beauty. A poet? That she could look at me and think me capable of creating something that moved apart from the harsh rhythms of this world. I was flattered at the obvious mistake. I am flattered. Beauty does that. It has a way of disarming the senses.
Once, I met a poet, but that was long ago. I knew him by the flavor of his life and the weight of his trials behind him. He was a noble man, a truly noble man. Were the fates kind and the workings of man as they ought to be, he should have been a lord or something greater still. The weight of his gaze was a physical thing, all intellect, perception, wisdom, and humor. I met him as a brother in the streets of Los Angeles. Thirty-four years old and homeless. No friends, no family.Just a wandering prince eking out his meager existence in an empire of thieves.
He was a poet; a priest whose cathedral lay not in stone, but in the hearts and minds of those who would share a moment with him. He lent grace to the world through his presence and his passion. I have known no one like him, before or since. His Name was Harris Agosto, and he was my friend.
It's difficult to imagine that I could be mistaken for such a thing. My life is not so full of giving grace. The virtues of the world have left me disinclined towards the poetic. My passions and dreams have all been traded away for the routine of day-to-day living. I dwell in the rational world, just like you. It's a world of compromise and making do. The people who live in it experience the profound only through the stretching of their stunted imaginations.
I marvel at what cold and colorless details clog the day. Each precious moment squandered in the doing of, essentially, nothing. Empty. Making our excuses look acceptable to those around us has become more important than paying attention to what we actually feel. We've lost our hearts somewhere in between all the television, sport-utes, and nine-to-fives. It's too fucking great a price to pay for anything, let alone such empty, empty contrivance.
The "rational" world stalks a poet. It hunts him down and bleeds him when he is remiss in tending his fire. Compromise has stolen the passion from the man and the music from the stream. There is a wall between us now. It stands between man and nature, as well as between man and his brothers. We've built it ourselves. It's made up of all the "ought to's," "shoulds," and "have to' s," that we systematically staunch our passions with everyday. We cram them, clog them, and force them away beneath all the empty contrivance of our day-to-day routine. It is inhuman, and in the doing of it we become a lie.
Can we tear ourselves away from our televisions long enough to notice that it's not our world that we're watching, but a hollow contrivance cast with people who pretend to be everything that we're not? Can we lay down those books, those epic stories, and just for a moment imagine what it might be like to go out and live our own? Can we break away from the excuses afforded us by our nine-to-five obligations and loose our beautiful, passionate hearts? (It won't happen tomorrow. There is no tomorrow. There is only now. It's all there ever has been and all there ever will be. Now. Just now and the fucking void, there are your choices.)
Can we, somehow, muster the courage to follow our passions? No. We won't, will we? There are too many reasons not to. Instead, we'll wait and lay back in our later days wishing with all that we're worth that we had just lived when we had the chance. That's the inevitable price of trading love for the excuse of survival. Grip that truth and look it in its hoary eye if you're set in your course. The excuse of survival. That's all we're buying. No one lives forever.
Where is there room for poetry in such life as that?
We found our second chance at biblical Eden hundreds of years ago. Instead of honoring what we found, we came unto it, razed it to ashes, poured concrete on it, and built New York. We are not a culture of the beautiful. We are a culture of the hideously ugly. We are self-important cancers on the heart of human kind. We whine about trivialities and view our world through distant, clouded eyes. We are, ultimately, death to everything that we touch.even ourselves. There is no forgiving that. There is no venerating that. There is nothing sacrosanct about it. I piss on it, scream, and grind my filthy heel into the splintered bones of it. I hate it, and fuck you if you try to rationalize the existence of it. Fuck every empty soul who ever stood to rationalize the foul and the horrifying. You are bastards, all, and I renounce myself from you.
Poet.I am not he.
I quest. The poet has already arrived. He is home, even if his home is squalor and suffering. A poet can find beauty in ignorance, and more importantly, he can take you by the chin and make you see that beauty yourself. I can't. I quest, and I shall not rest until I find what I have been seeking for all these empty years now. It would be safer to call me Pellinore than poet. It would be closer to the mark by oceans of difference.
How can I abandon my pain when it is the only thing that has ever made me beautiful?