18 February 2009

Not Square, Not Round, Just Us

Out on the edge of all we know there is a place I used to go
Any time I didn't feel that I belonged in what was real
And I would see you there arriving on a desperate prayer
We'd sit and talk, we'd laugh and cry about the meaning of it all

Those days are still clear in my mind, with only a little fuzz around the edges. The sands of time wear things down no matter how I try to resist, and that’s alright. It has taken away some of the edges. My memories are no longer Beaujolais, they are Burgundy. I sometimes wish I had that sharp intensity of youth again, riding the bleeding edge of that wave composed of energy, hormones and stunning naivete.

I sometimes wish I had you again.

Wait, I am misleading myself. I don’t know that I ever had you. We never said we were good friends, so it was never realized aloud. But perhaps that is the beauty of it all. We never had to say, it just was. That friendship was like art or obscenity or beauty: no one could really define it when asked, but we knew it when we saw it.

All around we'd hear the sound of what the world was saying
But something in us can't subscribe to games they say to play
Yeah I don't believe
That we ever fit in anyway
We never fit in anywhere
Only here, and we know here is not perceived reality…

I don't care cause I know here is where I always want to be

So what happened? How did it get away from us? I know the obvious answers: time and distance growing ever greater. Like watching two satellites looping into orbits farther and farther away from one another, until eventually they have no gravitational pull on each other. At least, none so great as to be measurable. This is too bad, really, I never knew how much I enjoyed the effects of your moon on my tides until you were gone, out of sight. The process was slow, gradual and working on a scale of years. I know that now. It reminds me for some macabre reason of that supposed experiment with the frog in a beaker of water, heated so slowly to boiling that the frog never realizes he is dying until he is cooked. Gross, I know, but my mind works that way sometimes. And I am feeling like the frog.

… in the rain where we would share the loss and gain
Of everyday we had to be the things we knew we couldn't be
And we would laugh until we choked
Everything became a joke
The only way we could survive so we could live another day

It seemed like that some days, just you and me against the world. Typical adolescent overwrought world view, we were happy in our hyperventilation. We were our mutual shield and support together in a crazy feedback loop of dependency. A dependency we probably would have denied if questioned about it directly. None of us in our right minds then would have admitted to such a perceived weakness, not to our parents, not to our teachers and in no way to our friends, no sir. “To know a thing is to know the manner in which it can be destroyed” and we were having enough trouble staying alive in the shark tank of our peer group as it was. You and I knew it, and that is why it was never said aloud. Our little secret, and it stayed that way.

I light a candle in my mind
Just to see that bright face shine
Hear your voice so full of dreams
I seem to know what they all mean
And you have always been a friend
By every means to every end
And that to me, that loyalty is worth believing in

Do you light a candle for me in your mind, sometimes? I wish I knew. Maybe. I did for you, the frequency slowly declining as the years went by and I grew older farther away from home, from the place I used to be. It never went out, not completely. Ha. The geek in me thinks of it more as the difference in the glow of the sun: what I used to see from Earth I now see from the rings of Saturn. Gone from strong and bright, to weak and cool.

It’s still there, though, a flickering testament to a friendship long faded.

I wonder now and then what it would be like to launch myself back to Earth and regain an orbit closer to the Sun. Would you still be there after so many years, maintaining the circuit? The journey back would be a long, arduous trek with uncertain outcome. I don’t know that I have the energy. I am still marveling that I managed to make it where I did, to be so far from home and a life I used to have. A life that I forgot I still needed on some level.

It is cold and dark out here. The mystery that brought me to this frozen deep space landscape no longer holds the promise it once did. Familiarity has not bred contempt so much as fatigue. The stress cracks are deep upon the metal of my soul, a surface pocked and stained from the years of exposure. I do not regret the scars. They each have a history, a layer added to the pearl accreting around the grain of sand that I started out as. I cannot, will not give them back. I can’t. The layers are thin, perhaps, but cling tenaciously to one another. So tightly that to attempt to remove one layer would surely destroy the layers adjacent to it.

This I will not do, removing layers. I cannot be so selective as to deny the risk of removing you.

From my station among the rings, I keep watch on the Sun. I’ll keep my oldest channels open, listening to the background hiss of the Universe, waiting for that day when I might perhaps hear something new. There is a telescope, antique and worn, but knowing my hands like a twin from the womb. Through it I scan the skies I once knew, looking for the other half of the double planet I used to be.

I don’t know if I will ever return to the inner system, but I keep alive the hope that it is possible. And if I do, it would be no small comfort to find you there.

…We never fit in anywhere
I don't care cause I know here is where you've always been with me

(Italicized lyrics from “Never Fit”, by Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus of Dreams on the album A Good Thief Tips His Hat)


  1. What a nice post. I'm trying to be serious at your blog today Irish Gumbo.
    By the way....I love gumbo. I'm not too sure about the Irish kind but I love the Creole kind...

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  2. What a nice way to say I miss you. My ex would have taken a liking to you, maybe he wouldn't be my ex anymore if he talked to me like that

  3. I can relate.. remembering an old friend. Especially that kind of friendship.. secret and not quite fitting in.

    Sometimes the danger, the risk of pain, can all be worth it.. if just to know they're still there. :)

  4. "This I will not do, removing layers. I cannot be so selective as to deny the risk of removing you."

    very smart smart man. I liked this post very much

  5. There are some candles that have been sitting there for a while. I need to light them soon.

  6. As always, so well written, you take us on a journey with your words.

    "Do you light a candle for me in your mind, sometimes? I wish I knew."

    Don't we all though?

  7. Sigh.......

    I'm yearning for something after reading this post. What, I don't know. I didn't have this in my life. I sort of wish I did.

  8. I'm sad to say i'm not sure if there is anyone out there I feel this way about.

  9. this reminds me of past friendships and people who haven't been in my life for a while. Yet at the time when they were, we were together against the world. One hand in the other like lovers.

  10. How ironic that today when I was cleaning out my office today I found a box of letters that my friend and high school and I used to write back and forth to each other during class. I hadn't thought about her in years, but now I want to find her and tell her what I found a laugh about it like old times.

  11. "This I will not do, removing layers. I cannot be so selective as to deny the risk of removing you."

    Exactly how I feel, what I mean to say, when people ask me what I'd go back and change if given the chance. I'm stealing this!

  12. You Were Never Mine - Janiva Magness

  13. Are you talking 'bout me??? I didn't comment on your blog yesterday. Sorry! I was busy! I'll never do it again. . . I swear!

  14. p.s. I never heard of that thing about a frog, but I did try to cook a bunch of crabs that way once. . .believe me, they knew what was going down!!!!

  15. MMMR: Thank you. You can be serious or silly, whatever you like. :)

    Candc: I appreciate that, thank you.

    CPM: You said it very well.

    Panic Room: High praise, and thank you, very much!

    Braja: Hey, M’lady :)

    SK: What a lovely analogy!

    Rachael: Thank you, glad to have you on the trip.

    MD: Yearning for yearning? I get that…

    Bernthis: Maybe there is, you just haven’t remembered yet :)

    Pamela: Word, sister.

    Syd: Very well said, sir!

    Kat: I knew it was you :) Give her a holler, cross that bridge…

    Cat: *blush* And like the album title says, “A good thief tips his hat”…I’m flattered.

    Captain: I’ll check that out.

    Lizspin: (laugh) no, ma’am, just thinking of an old friend. And I like some crabs!

  16. After college, I moved to D.C. and a college friend moved to L.A. We were both young and trying to reach a dream, that neither one of us achieved. I was alone. He was alone. So we wrote. And ever so slowly, he became a great friend. 20 odd years later, with spurts of contact and non-contact, I know that he is the one person in this world that really believes in me. I am so glad that I never lost him.

  17. yes i think we all have these small inner flames that we can warm our hands by now and again. a lifetime of flames keeps us warm in the end, that's the idea right...

  18. I love this. And that's all I'm going to say.


  19. This was beautiful. It makes me appreciate the fact that I have had the same friends since I was five.
    I don't know who I would be without them.

    Beautiful post Irish


  20. You are a wordsmith. This is why I always come back to the 'Bo.

  21. Briana: Very nice. That, as they say, is priceless.

    Maggie May: Very much like that, yes.

    Janie: You sure that's all (grin)?. Thank you.

    LS: My guess is you would be a very different person. And thank you!

    Flutter: *blush* Thank you. Hopefully, in the right direction!

    SMUK: And I am honored to have you. Thank you.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...