It’s never too late or early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit…you can change or stay the same, there are no rules. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
If you’re going to go your own way, don’t expect anyone to come with you. If you are an artist and you do exactly what you want and not many people appreciate it, that’s just the way it is when you are going for your own. If you are a warrior of the soul in the present climate, then you will always be met with mediocrity and resistance. Do you care? Why should you? Why waste your time being frustrated when you don’t seem to “measure up” to the smirking cowards that line the highways? What did you expect? A parade? Open arms? Maybe you should take a step back and reevaluate yourself. Perhaps this is not the life for you. Perhaps you are not strong enough to live this way. It is only a few who can walk the line and thrive. I am not talking about casualties who are limping through it, looking like hell. I am talking about those who are filled with joy when they see obstacles and pain on the horizon.
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes, AWWW!
“I want someone who will know every freckle or scar on my body. I want to know yours, too. I want to tell you everything. I wanna let you read my journals and hear your input and let you write me love letters to find some morning when I wake up and need to write about the dream I just had about you. I want to read your words and then look beside me and see you sleeping. I want to wake you with kisses and see you smile and feel your breath on me. I want to take showers with you in the morning. I want to make you breakfast and make love on tables, counters, floors. I wanna spend my whole day thinking about that spot you touched me earlier that made me shiver and plot all day how I can do that for you. I wanna call you on our breaks just to hear the calm of your voice, the sincerity in your tone. I wanna plan for the future, I wanna know you’ll be there in the morning. I want to meet your family and know your mother’s favorite flower and the right jokes to tell your father. I want to know your favorite places in the world, your favorite movies, books, songs. I want to know who the first girl was to kiss you, to break your heart. I want to do everything right so I can be the last girl to kiss you. I’ll protect you. I want to go into your closet when you’re not around and put on your oldest, most worn tshirt and smell you on me. I want you to feel weak when you catch my scent on your clothes. I want to dance with you in our kitchen, in our bedroom, music or not. I want to know what faces you make when you’re happy, sad, mad, content. I want our bodies to always find their way back to each other in the middle of the night. I wanna be able to make out the sparkle in your eyes even when it’s pitch black in our room. I want to get drunk with you and carry each other home and laugh and spend our whole hangover in bed laughing about how stupid we are. I want to get high with you. I want every single slight touch to feel 1000 times deeper than it is. I want you to feel my finger tips in your blood stream, I want to feel your lips in mine. I want to make you so angry that you wonder why you’re even with me, which in turn makes you remember all the reasons why you actually are. I want to give you the entire world. I want to watch you become everything you set out to be. I want to love you through your struggles and your triumphs. I want to be one of those triumphs.”
I want you to tell me about every person you’ve ever been in love with. Tell me why you loved them, then tell me why they loved you. Tell me about a day in your life you didn’t think you’d live through. Tell me what the word “home” means to you and tell me in a way that I’ll know your mothers name just by the way you describe your bed room when you were 8. See, I wanna know the first time you felt the weight of hate and if that day still trembles beneath your bones. Do you prefer to play in puddles of rain or bounce in the bellies of snow? And if you were to build a snowman, would you rip two branches from a tree to build your snowman arms? Or would you leave the snowman armless for the sake of being harmless to the tree? And if you would, would you notice how that tree weeps for you because your snowman has no arms to hug you every time you kiss him on the cheek? Do you kiss your friends on the cheek? Do you sleep beside them when they’re sad, even if it makes your lover mad? Do you think that anger is a sincere emotion or just the timid motion of a fragile heart trying to beat away its pain? See, I wanna know what you think of your first name. And if you often lie awake at night and imagine your mothers joy when she spoke it for the very first time. I want you tell me all the ways you’ve been unkind. Tell me all the ways you’ve been cruel. Tell me—knowing I often picture Gandhi at ten years old beating up little boys at school. If you were walking by a chemical plant, where smoke stacks were filling the sky with dark, black clouds, would you holler, “Poison! Poison! Poison!” really loud or would whisper, “That cloud looks like a fish, and that cloud looks like a fairy”? Do you believe that Mary was really a virgin? Do you believe that Moses really parted the sea? And if you don’t believe in miracles, tell me, how would you explain the miracle of my life to me? See, I wanna know if you believe in any god, or if you believe in many gods. Or better yet, what gods believe in you. And for all the times you’ve knelt before the temple of yourself, have the prayers you’ve asked come true? And if they didn’t did you feel denied? And if you felt denied, denied by who[m]? I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror on a day you’re feeling good. I wanna know what you see in the mirror on a day a day you’re feeling bad. I wanna know the first person who ever taught you your beauty could ever be reflected on a lousy piece of glass. If you ever reach enlightenment, will you remember how to laugh? Have you ever been a song? Would you think less of me if I told you I have lived my entire life a little off key and I’m not nearly as smart as my poetry I just plagiarized the thoughts of the people around me who have learned the wisdom of silence. Do you believe that concrete perpetuates violence? And if you do I want you to tell me of a meadow where my skateboard will soar. See, I wanna know more than what you do for a living. I wanna know how much of your life you spend just giving. And if you love yourself enough to also receive sometimes. I wanna know if you bleed sometimes through other people’s wounds. And if you dream sometimes that this life is just a balloon that if you wanted to you could pop—but you never would because you’d never want it to stop. If a tree fell in the forest, and you were the only one there to hear it, if its fall to the ground didn’t make a sound, would you panic in fear that you didn’t exist or would you bask in the bliss of your nothingness? And lastly, let me ask you this: if you and I went for a walk, and the entire walk we didn’t talk, do you think eventually we’d kiss? No way. That’s askin’ too much—after all, this is only our first date.
My father is standing there in a pressed shirt and a knock-off Ralph Lauren polo, and he’s asking me what angle he looks best in, and bringing in lamps from the living room and my sister’s vacant bedroom, because it makes him look less haggard, less like he was run over by time.
Against a blank wall, with bloodshot eyes and a smile that shakes when I press flash, he is standing there, sucking in the pot-belly that only age can create, and asking me if these photographs make him look hirable, and it’s breaking my heart,
because sometimes you realize that a life that a man is living, may not be the life that he wants to live, and that there are dreams that he shredded along with old legal documents and divorce papers, that he had to sacrifice on cliff-sides, to keep you safe, and one day he’s going to wake up and there isn’t going to be anyone to take these pictures for him any longer, and he’ll have to go in for job interviews instead, and you know that he stutters in front of people who aren’t you.