Rambling Fire Smidge Blues.

by Serge Bielanko

Sometimes the heaviness is so much and you don't have any clue where it's dropping from, huh? The thick fatty slabs of responsibility, the hunks of righteousness...they come crumbling down on you rapidly with all the grace of old mildewed drywall: pieces in your hair/on your lip/all in your eyes. A real mess. All the bills and the debts and the appointments for more bills and more debts they reveal themselves to someone like me while I'm just resting under that shade tree over there by the road sipping a jug of sweet wine and minding my own goddamn business. I'm just watching a moth bounce up a tree trunk and here they come, up over the rise, their bayonets glinting in the morning sun; an endless line of soldiers...a hundred, a thousand, oh there's more!...they just keep appearing and multiplying. The army of a lifetime.

I stand no chance.

I'm exhausted as hell but I stand up again and without even dusting myself off I'm running down that road away from them. Again. Bastards never even have the decency to just put a stupid mercy bullet in my back either. They just keep pushing all that heaviness out ahead of them with their slow steady trooping down the lane like some thunderstorm from hell. And that's the stuff that kills you slow, that heavy load that keeps on coming. You get to relaxing a sec and there in the distance you see the rising dust cloud of their inevitable approach. It jabs at ya.

The problem I have with all this is that I know what the end result usually is. It's the funeral they want you to have for your dreams. And your simple silliness. You're supposed to pack it all away into a box over a short period of time and then one night you just take it out and dump the precious thing into a deep dark grave that some of the soldiers dug for you. All the stupid things you used to do when you were young, all the late night shenanigans and the powerful lusty sex and the dollar bills in flames between your young fingertips...they all get dropped into the hole in the ground. Old love letters or dirty emails you kept for years and your meaningful copy of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE or ON THE ROAD or whatever, in they go. That weed bowl made out of a deer antler, the rolling papers, all the cassettes you bought at Tower Records of The Cure and The Sex Pistols and The Misfits and whatever stuff you thought was gonna be your punky theme song for life...when everyone else had to enter rooms to the same ASS Tracy Chapman tune or something; all those things and the passions and real true spirit and soul they represented for such the short time that it turned out...in they fucking go. Fill up the goddamn hole. There is an endless army standing at your back just hoping you might have the brass balls to resist. But I don't, of course. I'm too tired. Flabby.

But I want to fight some of it off if I can. Can't I re-define myself somehow? Aren't we at least allowed to know some sort of Freshness again as we move along through the years? I'm not talking COCOON here. It's just that there must be ways to keep on my toes without trying so pathetically hard. I don't want to repeat myself with all that falling in love with newish bands or tip-toeing through sexual affairs or turning to snorting or smoking or even drinking to get off. I just want to keep some of this weight at bay for awhile. That makes sense, right? For Violet as much as for me.

Yesterday I was bored and went downtown to the bookstore. I picked up some things for me...a Thomas Hardy book, a mountain man book. Then I tossed them down again and headed over to the kids section. GREEN EGGS AND HAM. THE RAILWAY CHILDREN. NURSERY RHYME TREASURY. I picked them up for my daughter. For now or maybe for years from now, whatever. Then I found this book called HUMPHREY THE LOST WHALE and I started looking at it for God knows what reason. Cool artwork drew me in, I guess. Its a true story of a whale that swam up under the Golden Gate Bridge in the fall of '85. He kept swimming too. A hardcore dreamer of a whale, he just got to swimming and loving it, I suppose, and so he kept on going and before too long he'd gone way back in and found himself trapped in a small river. The whole city was watching, rooting for him. Scientists showed up. This big dumb whale, I felt I could really connect with his fearless ass. With his story. There are times in life when we are so sure of what we're up to. Even if we're young and confused, it's all so good. So natural. Everything so serious like being trapped and being lost...it all seems a trillion galaxies away.

It's later on, around now for me, that dreaming versus living becomes such a pickle. I want to remain vital. I want to keep my wits and I am really scared of my mind just numbing itself and shutting down, one department at a time. There is so much art and music and literature for me still, isn't there? For me to pick up on and show Violet. For us to pick up on together? I need to care about the movies that are out, man. I need to devour something wild and loose now and then. I need to keep on living in the face of all this shit that piles up on all sides and draws your focus away from all those radiant things of beauty to all this diabolical fine print.

I know the ceiling has to crash in on most of who I was eventually. But not all of who I was, ok? Let me keep a smidge of the fire. Let me poke my face out from under all the bills and taxes and responsibility now and then to let my daughter know I'm not some grumpy beaten lifer. Let me fucking do it even if its just to tell her that Humphrey made it back to sea ok after all. And to tell her about AC/DC. And Charles Dickens. And all the beautiful things that you should never box up no matter what.