Friday, January 13, 2012


It was still warm enough last night that I could walk and despite losing some cash between my apartment and the drugstore, it was so liberating to not feel trapped within my walls come sunset. While others are talking about the end of the world, this is feeling like a new beginning.
I grew accustomed to walking, not having a car for so long, and weekends in my teens were spent wandering through Parmastan, pilgrimaging to the record store, the Goodwill, and the library, or down to Timeless to get new bass strings and wish I had the money for the vintage Gibson SG on the wall.

In college it was getting out of my dorm room to walk through the empty streets of Kent past the house parties and barfights to clear my head and ponder and soak in the way the street lights glowed golden after sunset, swing on the playground swings or when the church was open, to go sit in the sanctuary and just be still. Most of the crimes in the town back then involved underage drinking or the kinds of things that happen at places I didn't go to anyway, so I moved with relative impunity, at all hours of the night. It's said that bad things happen at that time, and they probably do sometimes, but those hours under the moonlight and the streetlights and the neon have always been when I've had the best conversations and felt most alive. This thing I dearly love to do that others find strange. At least I'm not the only one.

Upon moving out, I found Lakewood perfect for these sojourns too, enough people on the street all the time, at the bars and the pizza parlors, hanging out at the record stores, sitting on the balconies overlooking the main drag. When I moved to the Almost-Hood last year, I loved wandering through there in the summers when I lived with roommates and such, but found living alone extremely isolating, as certain streets at all times, and most places after sunset, felt like no-go areas and it killed me to drive one or two blocks over to hang out with some friends or see a band, because of the drugs and the prostitution and the drama that could go down. What's the point of having everything nearby if Cinderella's going to turn into a pumpkin by midnight?

It never occurred to me that this act of wandering with some purpose not so much of destination but observation had a precedent, though I make no pretense towards originality. But my fellow peon, with his Francophile leanings and recommendations of sundry literature inevitably led to my discovery of the concept of flaneur, which resonated strongly, that while I don't do the pleasure-seeking more akin to Baudelaire, the restless spirit, the insatiable need to observe and understand the workings of the urban space and to be inspired creatively, that I understand even if it seems strange to those who don't do these things.

And while I've done these solo so often, having another companion for these journeys brings its own pleasures, to share the sights, to see what I might have missed, the conversations that ensue, the moments of silence, of shared camaraderie, the occasional sense of awe, and the knowing that the laughter will bubble up at the same time. These are the souls that I know are kindred, because they understand.

Who walked between the violet and the violet
Who walked between
The various ranks of varied green
Going in white and blue, in Mary's colour,
Talking of trivial things
In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour
Who moved among the others as they walked,
Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs

Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's colour,
Sovegna vos

Here are the years that walk between, bearing
Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring
One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing

White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.

The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,
Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke no word

But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream
The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew
And after this our exile

1 comment:

  1. Oh, this was merely the written portion of your initiatory rite into le Club des Hashischins. You're fooling no one.

    'tis not bad outside now, hope you're darkthroning.