It’s been awhile, but sometimes I’m inspired to write. These days, it seems like it’s mostly memory that serves as my muse. Central Europe is awash with faded impressions of important events of my young adult past. It’s a place that once held so many people with whom I’ve since lost touch with, all of whom my mind treats perhaps with greater affinity than it should. They were all important in their own way, though some admittedly more important than others.
It might be argued that memory could have been the real thing that drove me back to this part of Poland more assuredly than fear. Central Europe, after all, was the place where my ideals first met reality, and where I learned my limitations, as I had a few years earlier in Mexico, in ways that I probably shouldn’t have lived through.
Looking back, I know, in the grand scheme of things, my young adult insecurities were merely first-world problems. They remain important only to me. I also know that, Nietzsche notwithstanding, the bridges I’ve burnt have not made me stronger. But I do want the ashes and debris from their conflagrations to make me somehow wiser.
To be honest, this burst of expression came as a result of a chance non-encounter with someone who looked familiar. As you get older, the chances that you’ll run into people you once knew gets greater. Statistics bears this out. Sometimes, so too does experience. But it’s not always the experience you want.
I intend on posting a new writing project soon, one that I hope will result in something more commercial in nature. But for right now, I wanted be more “Vogon” (in the Douglas Adams sense of the word), and share some poetry written in and for this moment in time. Other than the occasional haiku, it’s pretty rare that I share my feelings in this way. But sometimes, this is the only way.
So with that, please forgive this imposition in words, this indulgence in my more personal, albeit unrefined, artistic expression. I believe the new project, which will begin in the coming weeks, will be more interesting to more people than these words. But I feel I have to get these out of my system anyway. Apologies/enjoy.
The bloom of comatose memory
Somewhere, a bus rolled southward
Passing buildings of a Central European city
Ancient homes that once held the elite
Of some celebrated yesteryear.
Suddenly, a fiery red specter flashed
From beyond the drabness of daily commuters,
That unlit mass of humanity on its way to daily duties
And the promise of monthly pay.
It wasn’t quite the color of fire
More the color of flames set against
Autumn leaves and dried heather
Which under the right conditions would spark bright.
I recalled a younger day
When that face highlighted by flames once promised much more
With an aristocratic nose, a beguiling smile
And a fierce determination in her eyes.
I had once been infatuated
Young and impatient for returned affection,
The type that simply would never come,
It left me alone with memories of a road far different from hers.
But this ghost brought me for a moment back to a hopeless hope
One that still tries to confuse me today
A dream that started before Alpine distractions and Ukrainian siren songs
Divided us and took us far from any chance of being together again.
The bus at last pulled up to my stop,
And in challenge I deliberately walked to the exit she sat nearest;
She offered me no sign of recognition,
Though I knew she knew who I was.
And so with face downward, I stepped away
Onto the wintery streets of late morning
And I drifted quietly down the windy walk
To the home that welcomed me with a much happier shared reality.
But this brush with a ghost left me tired, and I laid my head to sleep
In hope that I would dream of the words
That would finally expel from my soul that fiercest demon of all,
Regret for things that might have been.