“what’s all this living for, anyway?”
-ancient Sufi proverb
Well, here we are again,
drinking beer on the far, bright shore
of 39th and Bell (a.k.a. the palatial front porch
of Prospero’s Bookstore) when, suddenly,
the rooster ring-tone of my cell-phone
goes off and it’s mom calling
(all the way from Salina, KS) to tell me
there’s a big, ugly storm marauding
our way (as if we couldn’t see the signs, ourselves,
but I say, “thanks anyway, Ma.
Tell Dad he still owes me a twenty for that
Royals/Red Sox game last week. Have a good night.”)
But it does get me to pondering out-loud
if this year or maybe the next could be
the year that the Hillbilly Christian Rapture,
the second American Civil War and/or
that giant meteor people have been talking about
for years now (like a frustrated lover just about
to go crazy or give it up) finally comes.
I suppose, in the meantime,
we (meaning, this time, Johanson and Cunnyngham,
Whitehead, Leathem and me) should just keep on
keepin’ on with our usual any-given-night-of-
the-week routine: talking politics, movies
and books, telling tall tales of wildly glorious
misfortunes and tragi-comic misadventures
from the sunny slopes of long ago,
gawking at girls (of often dangerously
indeterminate ages) as they parade
and runway by, even occasionally betting on
the erratic behavior of cockroaches
to see who buys the next twelve pack.
Damn. How many years have we been at this?
How many years has some more or less
unwaveringly consistent variation
of this particular street corner court
been holding forth?
How is it a year ago feels like a decade
while some half-remembered something or other
that happened ten years back
somehow seems like... yesterday.
And here we are, the five of us,
afloat and adrift in that nebulous neutral zone
between “not as dumb as I used to be” and
some girl saying, “you’re just a little too old for me,”
between the Bloomsbury Group and The Lost Boys,
between the Isle of Davos and The Island Of Misfit Toys.
And, like the overgrown Peter Parker/college kid/as of yet
still undiscovered artistes we may very well be,
we’ll probably keep on keepin’ the faith for as long
as we’re breathing (at least without a tank).
And, like that much misunderstood, much maligned
Frankenstein of our generation, Roy Batty, we will
probably be left desperately wanting “more life, fuckers”
when our custom designed carriages and rickshaws
come to carry us off, respectively, to the Big Who Knows Where?
And besides, what the hell else are we gonna do with our time?
Meanwhile, back down here at the ground-zero/cross-hairs
of the Big Here and Now, the crew has somehow
spontaneously multiplied into a crowd
and there seems to be a heated debate going down about
who would win in a fight between Magneto and Doctor Doom.
And someone’s pulled out the ever-reliable
Kennedy Trail of The Dead (and maybe even a little
something about the admittedly inherent mysteries
of Building 7) while someone else is taking bets
on which Righteous Culture Warrior/Clown
the Republicans are gonna be bat-shit crazy enough
to even think about nominating.
And the sky suddenly goes all charcoal/chiaroscuro.
And the first drop of rain
hits the sidewalk with a sizzling pop.
And the thunder comes out
like someone’s strict father model of a God
took a drunken tumble
down a long flight of stairs.
And the stars
and the crickets
must surely be right, once again.
-Jason Ryberg, 2012