Nine thirty PM.
A bit ago I remembered my love for Chris Squire’s bass with Yes, back when I bought every Yes record I could get my hands on. This was forty years ago and I was in high school. The band did beautiful work: creative, artistic, and poetic. I want to say that their lyrical inspiration came from Romantic and Victorian poetry, particularly Blake and maybe Tennyson; but I can find no hard evidence of such influences. Nobody seems to know about Jon Anderson’s reading habits along these lines, though I imagine that every young English student was exposed to the classics. So all my guesswork on it is fruitless at least for now… Sometimes I think that, for the sheer quality of the poetry, no one can compete with Alfred, Lord Tennyson. You can see it in a short lyric like “The Eagle,” especially the last line: “Like a thunderbolt he falls.” If I were to dedicate myself to poetry writing, I’d want to be like Tennyson, even though I’m American and he was English. Indeed, such an ambition is probably absurd…
Quarter after nine. I think I might schedule a ride to take me to the bookstore for tomorrow. I don’t know; everyone is so apathetic these days, it doesn’t matter what I do. Yesterday I got pretty excited thinking about my birthday next month. I’ll be 55 years old, and it happens that 5 is my soul number in numerology. Five means things like sex and rock and roll and other extraordinary pleasures. I might get my heart’s desire or then again maybe not. Nothing happens unless you put some effort into the endeavor. As of now, nothing is happening anyway. There isn’t even a breath of air outdoors to disturb the trees. It’s cloudy and cold, gray and lifeless as a cadaver. But Aesop ate his dog food and gives some signs of life. There’s something alive. I just heard a mail truck over on N. Park to break the spell of silence. “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls / And tenement halls.” Hello darkness, my old friend… I’d kind of like to buy a nicer edition of Dubliners. This gives me an excuse to go to the bookstore tomorrow. I see so much of people missing opportunities to enjoy life, and religious asceticism makes the situation worse. You won’t go to hell for having a good time today. And yet I feel I’m whistling in a hurricane. “It is better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all.”
Quarter of ten at night.
Lately my thoughts at night, lying in bed, are rather difficult since I revisited my childhood memories by means of old music. Basically I am concerned for my mortality and what that means for me personally: heaven, hell, or maybe nothing will greet my consciousness when I cross the bar, in Tennyson’s words. He believed he would meet his Pilot at that time, and you know, that’s a poem I ought to read again… I just did that, and he said he hoped to meet his Pilot face to face, but he wasn’t a hundred percent certain. It’s a beautiful lyric poem; I wish I’d written it myself. But as far as the question of the afterlife, I might as well resign myself to ignorance, for it’s a puzzle no one has ever solved for humanity.
Beginning in my thirties, I used to dream recurrently of being in the house alone during a power outage. I flicked a light switch on and nothing happened: no power or light. I was already a ghost in a dark house. It always makes me think hard about the nature of existence: what is the light and where does it come from? And where does it go when it’s gone?