There is no such person as Jaron

You won’t remember this. There was a place once called Jaron’s. And as much as there might be such a thing as privilege, I had it here. These names are real. I was just off the plane from Texas with a black, felt Stetson and a shirt that said “Listen to Black Sabbath” and I meant them both. We had crab cakes and whatever was on tap. I was drunk on the plane. Now, it was just a slip. The bouncer knew me from ’93, the bartender was my cousin and his wife ran the kitchen. I was, as much as any place, home.

The band that night was ‘Ale’a, sweet voiced in Hawaiian, and they were. Kala’i was fresh off his falsetto win and they were confident and the notes were true. In the bar where I was born. And they dedicated Hula O Makee to me and I knew I was home. I wasn’t yet married to Effie, but she knew about my stories and it was nice to have proof, right off the plane, that I was from where I said I was from.

This small-town encapsulation. This Kailua. Around the corner was No Name Bar where all the marines chose to brawl. Down Oneawa from Fast Eddies where Willie K played Hi’ilawe  and Hey, Joe. But Jaron’s was ours.

Let it be again

The number one song in the country at the moment of my birth, just finishing up a six-week run at the position, was Bridge Over Troubled Water. Sort of. That week, officially on the Saturday after I was born, the number one song became Let It Be. I find that two-song playlist oddly appropriate to my next 49 years.

I started listening to Simon and Garfunkel on Spotify and it reminded me of my life in the ’80s and ’90s. I can’t count how many times I crisscrossed the country. ‘Kathy, I’m lost,’ I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.’ But I did know why. And I do know why.

It’s a cliché to repeat how songs invoke memories. I can’t listen to Band of Horses without seeing her flit back and forth across the bathroom, momentarily visible in panties and my t-shirt, then disappearing from view. I can’t hear the Hold Steady without remembering looking at the back of my hand staring drunkenly at the veins and how empty my hand seemed while struggling through my divorce. And I can’t hear Simon and Garfunkel without also hearing the clacking of train tracks or the groaning of diesel-engined Greyhounds riding across the plains in the middle of the night, stopping in cities so small there was only a snack machine in the depot to get a bite, and crossroads with a flashing yellow light in lieu of one that changed from red to yellow to green.

I was on Trip Advisor the other day and I got bored of clicking when I had hit 500 cities, towns, and hamlets in America, Canada, and Mexico. Johnny Cash sang “I’ve been everywhere” and between two precise latitudes, it seems I have. “We’ve all gone to look for America.” And so we have. What did we find? What did I find? You?

I’m not ready

I remember how the bogeyman works. It was never really a man. Haunting, depending on your circumstance. Circumstance makes it seem like where you’re standing is a coincidence when actually there are none. You stand in that particular spot because you walked there. Unless you’re a baby cast aside from whoever was holding you, you are where you chose to be. And if even you are baby, you’re still somehow to blame.

No one walks innocently, even the innocent. Fake laughter and smiles and people that might help you or hurt you are all fake. Their looks castigate anything different. And yours look back the same.

The existential questions. Who am I? Who are you, motherfucker? They are essentially the same. Put differently, the answer is always the same. On the stage of forever you are nothing. No one. In one hundred years, no matter how strong or weak, you are dust. Pleasure, or pain, mean nothing. Everything is transient. That might sound nihilistic, and perhaps it is. It might sound Buddhist. And perhaps they are the same.

You can still look at the moon. You can still feel the sun on your face. That’s all you have. At least that’s all you can be sure you have. I watched a movie the other day, and the woman in it dies. She walked happily onto a train and her nose started to bleed and hours later she was dead. But the part that tore my soul. She looked at her friend just before her heart stopped and she said, “I’m not ready.”

That scares me more than life scares me. I’m not ready.

Rain

Everyone loves to look at rain. It’s romantic. Everyone likes to fuck in it or be in it for a second or two. Then the problems start. The worst thing about life is that it’s cold and unpredictable, even when it’s hot.

People tell you to do what you love. Which is, of course impossible. Love is a broken and divided concept, and it never means the same thing twice. You don’t do what you love; you do what you do.

Rain is like love. It’s pretty to look at. It’s pretty to think about. And when it falls it has that moment of pleasure. Then it causes problems you didn’t even know existed.

There will be an answer

The constant over-stimulation with music, with movies, with my quasi-Bohemian love-churning. And when I have been free, the deep appreciation for what I do and have loved in terms of what I’ve allowed in my ear, eye, and mouth holes. The ability to face deep-seated fears with calm and stillness, and the ability to regain control, somehow lost after briefly losing it. A reintroduction to a capacity for love manifest in an ability to forgive, and a need for artistic accomplishment with completed works of consequence is a distinct–perhaps ultimate–goal of the life I’ve been given. Finally, new found. Perhaps new finding is the more correct tense. The ability to turn things over in my life to the Universe. That unnamed creature-loving, for lack of a better word, energy that represents everything. That is just the way it is. Only good things happen when I let it be. Close your eyes, boy. There will be an answer.