Thursday, March 16, 2017
JAY WALKING ACROSS THE AUTOBAHN
Jay Walking Across the Autobahn
If I had known where this was all going to end up
I never would have taken this trip
No, that's not right, I take that back
I had no choice in the matter
I was born with a suitcase in my hand
A wad of dirty hundred dollars bills
And a longing for something I've never known,
Let alone found.
There was a tiny seed germinating in my heart
Weed or flower, who knows? (I have no wisdom)
Beauty or ugliness, who can tell? (I have no sight)
Not the sight of a wise man or the wisdom of the blind
But extra-sensory perception that comes from misuse.
They say that God protects the innocent and the fool
(Some say the alcoholic and the atheist)
It's been my sad experience to learn
That the inebriated fall all the same on broken glass
But do not know until much later, how torn and broken
That they have been all along
But I am not a drunkard.
I did not believe in God
For twelve minutes in the hot July sun
One long Monday morning in the sixteenth year of my life
I did not believe in anything because I had been damaged
And all the faith had been grabbed out of my heart
And sent off down a raging river that issued from my own eyes;
For twelve minutes I was an atheist.
Being alone in the universe without a creator
Is the loneliest feeling you can ever have
There was no one to rail at, no one to cry to
No one to blame for everything and nothing
And no one to beg for mercy
When I had come to the end of myself;
Therefore, I am not an atheist.
There was love there in the desert
Here and there, an oasis or two
Shade from the heat as I wandered like Ishmael and Hagar
Wondering what I had done besides being born
At the wrong time to the wrong people
But love, like everything, is fleeting
And slipped like sand through my fingers.
Did you ever have a song stuck in your head
That just keeps playing over and over and over?
Well, that's my life, my memories, few as they are
They play in my gray cells like tiny transistor radios
Crackling with static and intermittent signals
That never come in quite strong enough to identify.
I have blisters on my feet from walking,
Blisters on my hands from carrying this luggage,
Blisters on my heart from being burned so many damned times
That soon the scar tissue will be five inches thick and impenetrable
But I can't seem to stop walking
They won't let me
And I won't let them let me.
I saw a crazy man once;
He didn't see me, I don't think
But I watched him for a good half hour
Out in the middle of the freeway in America
Batting at birds that were not there
And talking to people that did not talk back
I was fascinated by the conversation
And only grew afraid when I saw an angel
Take his arm and escort him to the curb.
I think I might have an angel
Otherwise, why am I still here?
I've fallen off of mountains and washed up on to seashores
Been hit by trains and hurricanes
Still clutching my battered suitcase,
Still breathing through the sea weed, my heart still pounding,
Long after the world had given me up for dead.
I don't even remember why I started writing this now
I have no one to mail it to
There's no post office box waiting somewhere
For someone to turn the key in
And exclaim, Hey, look! A letter!
There's no reason to start a diary now
Here at the end of my life.
But still, I feel the need
To record my thoughts
As I stand here at the side of the road
Watching cars go whizzing by at 125 mph
It's almost exhilarating to feel that wind in my face, my hair
I think I could almost feel happy.
When I finish writing this, I'll put it in my suitcase
With the other little things that mean nothing to no one
The bit of fish net and blue glass,
The song that the sailor wrote, the red autumn leaf,
The feather that fell from the sky, the dream I tried to paint,
The coat with no sleeves and the bottle from Paris.
It's been a long, strange trip indeed, around the world
I started out alone and that's how I'll end
My pockets are still full of money, for I never needed any
(You cannot buy what I desire)
I'm no older than I was and no younger than I wish to be
And if I am wiser, it's because I've learned
That what I'm looking for cannot be found here.
I touch the items in my luggage one last time
To thank them for accompanying me
We have shared many things, these treasures and I
(And not all of them terrifying)
If inanimate objects can feel anything,
I'm sure they feel my gratitude and devotion
And having done that, I square my shoulders,
Get a firm grip on the ragged, black suitcase
And step into the road.
March 7, 09