WHAT ONCE WAS, I ONCE WAS

He knew me before my confidence was

Crushed, bravado broken

Before my psychotic episode eroded

The self we both knew

He knew me when I was

Bold, brash, tough, and accomplished

We talked over a few days about good times

Performed a couple simple songs we used to play

He noticed me shaking, heard me fumble a few notes

Didn’t want to hear me narrate

The tragedy my episode was, is still

Doesn’t want to hear about me weak, my weaknesses

I don’t like it either

But as it’s me, I have to live with the narrative

Continue as best I can with

The awareness of what once was

What I once was

THE APOLLONIAN IDEAL

According to Nietzsche’s writing, my ideals would be called Apollonian

The Apollonian ideal according to which I live engenders

The isolation I have known

Sometimes despising it

Bare loneliness

Chasing learning, reading, practicing music, listening to music, writing

Pensive

All alone

Moving from one state to another

Across the borders of nations

Chasing schools, careers, saying goodbye

Assimilating the norms of new places

All alone, living alone, sleeping alone

Traveling alone—for business or edification, or it all

Times spent in solitude

Now enamored, in amour, estoy enamorado

Another soul in my solitude

Awakening love, awakened love, loving life, my life, the other

Loving even the Apollonian life I chose, choose still

In love with it all, enamorado de todo

ARCHITECTURAL NOTES OF ONE MEMORABLE EVENING

The jazz band transformed the narrow, ceramic-tiled club

They rearranged the ratio of people to sound to dark woodwork

The club’s architecture became the chord structures’ foundation to melody

The harmonic structure transported solos all the way up to the ceiling, blew the roof off

And into the sky, out to the streets, I imagined

I didn’t understand the people jabbering and blabbering through it

I stood rapt in the packed club, transported, transformed

Maybe the people had heard them before

(The trumpet was a fixture in town)

In the intense content, I, even I, was content after the two hours.

I noted that any given musician only,

Playing measures measured over time,

Time after time, would finally time out.

Variety shows the composition of the universe

Different faces, voices, combos, intonations

Render exquisite the transportation, the transformation

Of the architecture of a club’s tone, music and staff, vibe and patron

The very foundations—flying and buttressing the harmonic structure

Of one memorable evening

LEAVES OF REMEMBRANCE

The scattered leaves almost covered the evening’s brick paving

As we walked from one empty bar to the next

Where years ago I spent college nights

Drinking, joking, and performing on some Thursdays

After the day’s classes, coursework, researching, and writing

A chapter in my life, revisited walking through these empty bars

An old friend, children now all moved out

Recalling our band, friendship, bridging a 25 years’ gap

Filled with occupations and roles now like the fallen leaves

With which the season is done, released from their work in the season past

Me an alum living thousands of miles and decades away

He stayed, still plays, teaches

The woodwork of the bars still the same,

The ceramic mosai-esque tiles on the floor the same,

And the same, the dark, stained, aged hardwood floors

The young bartender didn’t know the owner’s name, a sometimes friend,

If he still owns it, as in those days when I used to come

When I was closer to the bartenders’ and waitresses’ age

Than my years which commanded an unexpected respect from them

In this place and generation no longer mine but in remembrance

THE MEASURE OF MY GAIT

But for one skill set

Bitterly lost from medical causes

But for my body’s vibrancy

Lost from age

I feel better and better in time’s passing

An ancient tree grows high and wide

I know heights, now

I never knew in youth

The breadth of my awareness

Expanded and expands still from youth’s constrictions

The young’s flash and intensity of passion

Have calmed, calming me, contenting my present

My measured gait is not due to decrepitude

I carry the weight of my awareness,

Thoughts, contentedness, purpose, perceptions

Measuring my stride through life

Enraptured in the valley-view of my past

The mysterious ascending current flowing toward my future

In the present’s contented, open mentation

ECONOMIC REALITY

I wanted

A new bed, couch, keyboard

Now I want

Money only for rent, electric, phone, cable

I wanted to make my life better

Now I want but to live

Somewhat as I had

I strain my imagination

For ideas for income

Considerations of my competences

Against an apparently stagnating economy

What I’ll settle for

Have to settle for

What I’ll have to lose

Can afford to lose

Can get by with

Can get by