“Time went by and he got sicker. He stayed in the bed a lot more at that point. I remember every morning tip toeing into the bathroom for my shower trying not to wake him up, and every time I opened the door to come out he would roll over and say, “What are you doing pal?” He just loved me so much…there was not a sweeter man…
I lived with them consistently for 3 or 4 years and was in and out all the way up until 2013, and for a few weeks last year. At that point, he really wasn’t getting out of the bed that much at all anymore. I would wake up, no breakfast smells in the morning, grandmother just cooked it when it was obvious that he would actually get up and eat, and that could have possibly been late afternoon. I would get ready and walk into his room. I would pet him and he would wake up and grin. We would talk briefly about what I was going to do that day, I would ask him how he felt (which somehow was always great), I would tell him I love him, and then it was off about my day.”
One afternoon I was propped up at a bar sipping on a beer while over the music system came the voice of a young Leonard Cohen lamenting a time he spent in a somewhat infamous New York City hotel.
‘Great song,’ the barman remarked.
‘Not so great hotel,’ I harked back in a light tone.
‘Ah, I’m sure the Chelsea Hotel isn’t the worst of them,’ he retorted back with a blindingly ironic smile.
He was no longer the six-foot two-inch stud in high school with the jet-black hair that he combed to imitate the “Fonz”. He walked with a straight back and proud swagger carrying a chip on his shoulder put there by the circumstances of his home life. His reputation, as no one to mess around with, was well earned. He was unafraid to take up for his friends if they were being bullied.
5:40. I get up. One of my housemates is already hogging the only bathroom. Cheap cigarette smoke blankets the air. I am going to choke.
6:40. Just learned that I have to make a paper star to give out to my “star pupil of the week.” Since I haven’t even started teaching yet, I’m not sure what to do. If I draw a blue star with stripes, little eyeballs, and a smiling mouth, that should make a fifth grader happy, right?
7:15. School assembly begins. Two little girls bring a large flag of Honduras to the center of the stage. Everyone else starts singing the national anthem.
I don’t like to call myself a Road Rager. I would rather the open road. I prefer the white, fluffy clouds and bright blue sky. Empty pavement. Instead, I get the blaring headlights and the cars swerving into the opposite lane just to cut me off. All I want is to get from Point A to Point B. That’s it. No headaches. But I seem to dance at least with one, if not two, on my way to work and on my way home.
The television set was black. The remote rested in the teacher’s hand. The project was simple. The students went to work, and most of the footage shown was humorous. Some of it was stupid. Nobody would remember it. They would only remember her.
She had walked down the hallway with the boy and girl. The girl called the shots. The heavy camera rested on her shoulder. The boy was eager, awaiting direction, and she poked her head into the passing classrooms, looking for the perfect spot.
It was Saturday night and it was, literally, the best thing going on in the beat-up, dusty, old town. The girls that dragged us there all wore their fancy dresses, and they made sure we wore nice collared shirts. It was what almost everyone in the venue would refer to as “Sunday attire.” The marquee in front read, “Extreme Midget Wrestling”, and by god, it was in every facet or sense of the word. However, I thought the term would be offensive—I asked if they’d rather I call it something more politically correct. They said it was a sanctioned event.
The sponsors chose to hold the event in a gnarled skating rink. The place had seen its hey-day during my childhood.
The sunlight tapped gently on the glass window. A soft breeze slipped through underneath. Clouds decorated sky, a portrait of life compared to the dark, dismal walls inside. A murmur of traffic hummed with rhythm, and vibrations fell quiet against smooth, pale floors. And the world continued on without a second thought, leaving this place, leaving me behind.
Time had become a dream. Days were counted into nights, and nights were spent waiting for days. Whispers of the wind told of the seasons to come, and another end to another year passed by. Yet, I remain.
Hollywood is my Emerald City. Beyond its golden gates lies beauty, imagination, and inspiration. The yellow brick road lies at my feet, but my ruby slippers have not found home yet. The journey still lies far out of reach, and there are no lions and tigers and bears at my side. I walk alone, and the skies darken under doubt, despair. But this is where I want to go, and the first step I take may be my last. Or it may be the door opening upon a great adventure.
I step forward. It is 2007, a year after Silent Dreams was born. I was one of those poets cyber shy in sharing my work. I’ve had my writing stolen from me before, and the internet was unknown territory.
Harry Frankfurt, an American philosopher who has taught at Princeton Yale and Rockefeller Universities, explores in his lectures the idea that what one loves reflects what he or she values and their own self conception. Frankfurt believes that what we love and care about is a part of our psychic raw material and cannot be changed without intense personal examination.