Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dirt In Truth Is Clean

(Photo by the guy who snapped my "Mr. Mike" mug shot, Adrian Buckmaster.)

I'm a fool. An aging clown who increasingly lacks better sense. I won't go into specifics. That's not important. It's the middle of the night here, and for what seems like the thousandth day in a row, I'm awake, rattled, crazy from sleep deprivation, mistaking shadows for friends and fantasies as lovers.

A friend suggested exercise to wear myself out so I can sleep. Sound advice, but shit man, I exercise all the time. I'm still locked into the blue collar gig, which is quite physical; and while I get the aches, pains, and numbness that comes with this, especially as I age, it doesn't knock me out. I wish it would. I wish it would kick my ass into deep slumber. But it won't.

I lift weights, punch the heavy bag in my basement, occasionally shoot hoops, though my jump shot is fading, and I can't spin in the paint for a lay up quite as easily as before. Nothing works. I think of death, but then I always did, even as a teen. Most writers paint death metaphorically, giving it a name, face, habits, some kind of smooth apparel. For me, death sits in the corner, quietly reading a dated magazine. It has all the time in the world. Its patience can be deafening. Dressing it up in amusing colors would do little to mute its presence.

An old, dear friend, a relative by choice (sometimes you can choose your family), reemerged in my life recently. She told me that a mutual friend, whom I hadn't seen in over a decade, was dead. He was in his mid-40s. Booze probably whacked him. He loved to drink and pounded it hard. I know the feeling. Some bodies can take it longer than others. Not his, apparently. Death claimed him quickly. Probably didn't get past the table of contents. I'll write about him soon.

Outside, the world continues to burn. It always will. I read headlines, stay aware, but it's becoming more abstract to me. Is this imperial privilege? Or do we all lose the edge that once informed our lives -- assuming we ever had it? Any explanation will suffice. I'm tired and open to suggestions.

The wife has written a snappy piece about "Mad Men." She still has her edge. Hell, I'd fuck Don Draper. But death would have to leave the room first.