ONE NIGHT STAND

A realization has been clarifying

Surfacing amid currents of incubation

From which my truths and convictions

Emerge, fix, and enlighten my ways

 

Living feels increasingly like

The experience of a one-night stand

So many—perhaps all—of my enjoyments

Lack permanence, will depart; will leave me bereft

 

Five years adjusting—enjoying—a life in a new city

Friendships I made, vocational commitments

Departing to another new city

Making friends, vocational commitments

 

And even persisting in one place a long time

Businesses grow, downsize, lay off

Long-established establishments adjust

To the market’s demands, aging demographics

 

When a person is young, time feels long

One year is like an eternity

And few things change in one year

So it looks like things will always be

 

But with the perspective of many years

And the witness of businesses, clubs, and restaurants that close

Friends who move away, get terminally sick

One sees that happiness is subject to fortune

 

And so one takes the pleasure that the moment affords

Knowing that it may end precipitously

And that enjoyment may be over

Yet one partakes in full, aware that it is fleeting

Awake to its transitory nature

Courageously enjoying, not denying

What happiness a given situation affords

COMING TO TERMS

It’s dawning on me that I will not be able

To reclaim 27 years lost,

The development I could have experienced,

When pills and depression

Robbed me

Of a competence I once had,

Which could have flourished into greater form

No, I can’t reclaim those years

Nor the increased competence I would have gained in those 27 years

I must accept the limitations on

My ability

Sad, or philosophical

I cannot reclaim those years

I may never recover even what I once was

Let alone what I could have become

With 27 years of practice, application, learning

Tragic, the waste, those lost 27 years

Coming to terms with what I am, where I am

The competences I do have, not

Those I don’t have, I could have had

THAT STRANGE SADNESS

My mind returns to the sharpness

I used to have

My will returns to a strength

I used to feel

Subsequent to a med adjustment

And relief from soporific side effects

I feel a strange sadness

As I contemplate the former competence

I used to enjoy

And wonder, at my mature age, whether

To attempt to recapture

My former competence

Or to rest in the memory

Of what I used to be

In that strange sadness

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

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