The rain has more rhythm in its descent from heaven than I will ever have in my body. The sound of it keeps me asleep when it’s steady and wakes me up as its pace quickens. Rain always represented excitement to me. Imagine growing up in a place where rain is the most extreme weather possible. As a child I discovered that rain cleanses the flesh and the soil. Rain symbolizes the end of one year and the beginning of the next. Kisses in the rain are more special, dinner in the rain is more meaningful, a movie in the rain is more intimate. I love to go to my favorite creamery and eat ice cream in the rain, for hot chocolate on such a day would be too cliché. Ice cream taste sweet but the rain is sweeter. I’m enamored with the concept of millions of people being wet at the same time. At rainy day recess we used to sneak outside and play anyway. We would jump in puddles and make a real mess of it. As an adult I have never regularly used an umbrella. I don’t like the idea of something coming in between me and god. I will receive every blessing that is sent down and I will let it wash over me. Maybe the rain will make me better. Maybe it will make me less fearful and more consistent. Perhaps it will give me a vision so I can see what I need to do to become whole once more.
The sun still shines brightly, even though it’s the middle of October, and I can see the serpents on the road before me. I can feel all of the temptations pulling at me but none will succeed. Temptation comes in the form of all of those people who try to get me to settle for less than I’m worth. All of those individuals who try to get me to stray off track. Whether they know it or not they will forever be avoided.
The sun over Lake Merritt
But alas the whole world can be seen as an evil temptation as well as everything inside of it. Every human being has an agenda. Every beautiful woman has a seductive voice and every one of your friends wants to use you for something. As I have grown older I have learned that temptation exists only in the soul of the individual; not in the outside world.
We are all weak. We all have urges and we all transgress. No one wants to be confined by rules that constrict the very essence of humanity. So we cheat on our spouses, we take pills that promise us a foretaste of heaven, and we take things we feel we deserve, instead of working hard to attain them. It is only after we are sober or after we get caught that we feel ashamed and I have discovered that it’s always easier to gaze through an open window than it is to stare into the mirror.
No woman has ever put a knife against my throat and forced me to cheat on my girlfriend. No friend has ever threatened to kill me if I didn’t have a drink with him. I exercise my own free will and I do the best I can but alas; I am weak. I confess to being selfish and I further confess to being judgmental afterwards. While under the influence of my many misconceptions about how a man should behave I found that it has always been easier for me to act than to verbalize my emotions. Instead of telling her that what she said hurt me I went out and became intimate with someone else. Instead of asking that man politely to respect me I jumped on him and tried to prove myself violently.
We are all in jail. We all need to see others in bondage in order for us to feel free but we often forget that we are what we project.
If I hold the key to the lock, which holds another man in captivity, and I must check on him every hour to see whether or not he has escaped am I not in a state of imprisonment myself? Am I not a slave to the actions of the man who I am attempting to enslave? If I try to put my mistress down by calling her a whore but I have risked the love and respect of my wife and children in order to spend time with her then wouldn’t that make me less than a whore?
I scrutinize every syllable/ letter/ sentence that I write while I compose this, however, I live my real life in a perpetual state of looking back. In the moment I am naïve, easily moved, and always weak. I look back on my past and try to make sense of senseless mistakes. I look forward only to close my eyes and shudder at the enormity of my own fear. I stumble backwards into the comfort of my own insecurities. I look back nostalgically upon a time in my life when I never once thought of looking back.
It’s pretty painful for me to lose a thought before I can write about it. I’m sure one would have a hard time believing all the brilliant things that come into my mind when I’m away from paper and pen. Sometimes they come to me while I am working and therefore I can’t even take my phone out and text them to myself. Thoughts are often fleeting like the seeds of a dandelion when I make a wish. Unlike misery, beautiful thoughts are difficult for me to retain. And to make matters worse I believe I may have lost a little bit of trust in the page. I sense that our relationship has become somewhat estranged. I’ve been meditating about the past more often. I’ve been involved in several conversations that have ended with me rambling on about my past. Perhaps I’ve been trying to replace my craft with an actual person. Instead of using human beings as my muse to create more art I’ve started to join them in all of their social activities and verbal communication. This could mean no good for a writer.
I feel my life getting better. My goals are beginning to become more visible. So I suppose that’s why I’ve fallen off the scene as an artist. I haven’t been to a reading in months and old manuscripts remain unfinished. I think about the ever-growing conflict between my artistic ambitions and my professional endeavors. I liken it to the war between my own carnal lust and my spiritual well-being. Everything is sacrifice. Everything is balance. Money, sex, heaven, peace, climax, rage, passion, judgment, poverty, shame, success, failure, depression, cultural death…and I oscillate between these themes of life as if I still haven’t got a clue. For I know where I want to go but at times I become confused as to how to get there. I can sense myself getting closer but one can never be too certain. At the moment life is still very perplexing, however, I am adjusting to it. I do sincerely love my life and I cherish all those who love me. Life, as ill-defined as it is, is so good. I’m blessed, I’m alive, and I will never be destroyed.