Sun was low and dirty and I couldn’t help but notice the fall colors dancing around like it was all there in perfect symmetry, all reason and rhyme and beauty and magic, the orange and fading green and the deep, deep red settling with all the time in the world.
The air was crisp, my breath visible in clouds rushing out of my mouth, I bought some bubblegum at the corner store, watched the young hoods hanging out in small groups of indecision, (uncompromised compromises), walked slowly down the main strip hands in my pocket observing all I could, all the lost ideas and the beautiful moments and the street-corner babble carousing to the BANG-BANG beat of the moment. Cars raced by in flashes of silver fiberglass, leaves fell from the trees lazily in direct contrast to the animated urban scene, people either smiled or cried or just went about it all happily and beautifully, and there seemed to be an electricity flowing through everything, loose and wild and purposeful.
A homeless young fellow asked me for change…
A lady in an aquamarine skirt bopped up and down while crossing the street...
A guy with long sideburns cigarette in his mouth helped a suburban couple with directions (oh yes, the Niakwa Building, it’s just down there, see that cross-street, Portage Avenue, yes, oh yes, just past Main Street, thank you thank you)…
At a bus-stop a young street-girl smelling of booze and chemicals laid her head on my shoulder and began to cry as the bus pulled up and I climbed in it…
Sometime later I hopped off the bus and landed in a residential neighborhood, large elm trees lining the avenue, golden leaves piled high in corners, kids playing in the drooping sunlight, and tricycles and cats and sand-boxes and green parks and dogs barking in the distance and old men hunched over on front porches and it continued…it continued as people stood at bus-stops at midnight, as they washed dishes on the late shift, as they watched T.V. with nothing else to do, as they froze in rundown apartments, as they put their kids to sleep with empty promises, as they laughed and sang sadly, as they slept for no reason at all, as they parked their cars rich and glum, and the hobos outside huddled in doorways still freezing their asses off, still running from the man, still moving in the exact opposite direction from everyone else, hmmmm, wild.
But most of us don’t notice cuz we’re too busy filling our bellies, we’re too busy eating when we’re not hungry, drinking when we’re not thirsty, laughing when we’re not happy, having sex when we’re not aroused, loving when we’re not in love and would be better off alone. As we follow orders without even knowing it life waves “bye bye birdy crazy babies” and even the ancients gotta cry a river for me and you and the other happy-pappy Sunday morning back-beat-drivers, and your friends start stinking, and your grandmother starts drinking, and your priest overdoses, your college professor goes bloody crazy, your favorite poet sells Cadillacs on Channel 8, rock and roll plays in elevators and your best friend finds God.
There was beauty, yes, there was ugly and downright painful as well, yes, yes, yes, but at that specific moment there seemed to be an understanding on my part, a cynical acceptance of things being the way they are, an absence of ranting and mad-dog raving, perhaps not an absence of raving, but a quiet version, a serene almost Taoist doing-by-not-doing interaction with the outside world.
I finally reached home, walked through the door tired and happy, and my wife was smiling lovely and beautiful and simply all there – she sat at the computer glass of white wine beside her and wrote and banged and the keyboard made a beautiful sound, and she laughed large and cocky and genuine and brown-eyed-knowing, and I realized, OH YEAH, all the back-alley-wonder loved and lost, all the golden autumn colors fading reluctantly into the night, all the sadness and beauty always present hungry and relentless, all the strangers that piss me off endlessly on any given day, all the simple handshakes and gorgeous early morning kisses,
all of this,