If I Needed You
 
I’m working from a sort of cloudy memory here. So you’ll have to please forgive me if I get it wrong. But the story as I remember it is he’d written the song in his sleep. He’d woken up in the middle of the night and it was all right there, on his doorstep, so to speak. He’d needed only to pick up a pen and some paper and write it all down. So that’s what he did and then he went back to sleep. When he woke up the following morning he picked up a guitar and played the song straight through, exactly as he’d written it that night, and exactly as you can still hear it now. Said more than once later that he never changed a thing. “Not a lick,” I think were his exact words, the ones I’d heard him say, in a documentary, if memory serves. But isn’t that something? It sure is a beautiful song. And he sure was a beautiful writer of ‘em. Both songs and words.

Anyway, like I was saying, certain words came to me in my sleep last night. Now, I’m no songwriter. So let’s just be real clear about that. But still, something was compelling me. So, same as him, I woke up and got myself a pen and some paper and wrote down all the words. After that I turned and went back to sleep. I don’t own a guitar or anything like that. Nor am I able to play music or sing songs. But this written account of something or other was still sitting there beside me when I woke up. Now, my words aren’t as pretty as his. But here they are just the same.


Welcome to here, where
It’s vexing and hypnotic
Inside tunneled covens of illogic
Siloed
Opposite
Polus (from the Latin)
Bomb shelters
More or less
Shells
But organisms
Inside
Frustrated in protest
To serve
And protect from
Storms
And winds
Four scored leaves
Scored poorly
Wet and whipping
And adrift
Over and above us
That plus the miasmic
Ballast
Burning noxiously
Below
Under land, under feet, under seas
So sore from shining
Browned and grayed beneath
Currents of anguish
The Barrier’s grief
In jest
And great relief

It’s not like we’ll be missed or remembered. Not by anything here now, I mean. But maybe later. Like dinosaurs. By whatever comes next. After us. If anything comes next after us. Anything like us, but better, probably, I mean.

Also,
I’ve been meaning to speak with you
About something
About several things, actually
Not least of which,
With all due respect,
Is the metastasized invective
You’ve been carrying
Curdled in your deepest reds
And gone raw 

You know that stuff’s toxic, right? I get it though. It finds its way into me sometimes too. Not sure where it comes from. Maybe the red meat. Or the meat-eaters themselves. Or the vegans. I don’t know. But I think about it a lot. I see my flaws magnified and under bright lights. Don’t think I don’t. And I see yours sometimes too. But I’m much more forgiving of yours than mine. In the end, I mean. I just wish I could speak with you more about it. Because I’m happy to discuss and assess my flaws and potential misperceptions with you. And I mean it. I want to grow and be better. But we need to talk, absent all the outrage, or at least with some checks on the outrage. Otherwise it just muddles everything. On that note, I don’t mean to be overly critical or impolite, but I’ve noticed something rotten in a lot of people’s Denmarks lately.

Something
Ashen
And stricken
In our
Limbic
Systems
And I hear we’ve been
Wearing our insides out?
Has that ever been effective?
But I guess it is the fashion now
Like carpet bombing the equator
Also known as
Saturation bombing
According to Wikipedia
Also breathing fires
And blowing bubbles
Into the coddled
And the watered-down
Washings ashore
Dispersed, as it were, or as they were, rather
In binary form
Out of Mother’s earthen womb
Into Mother’s open wounds
In style
And in all the magazines
This cool autumn

That’s how I’ll remember us, anyway
From my muted perch
On alien ground
Or somewhere in the trees, maybe
Sustained by all the empty spaces
Surrounding me
Tiny
Indivisible old me
Born again
But not like that
Not like you might think
From those words, I mean
Born again
With those words
I just mean
Born without
Born not with
Any more than what I bring
Any more than what I mean
All misunderstandings but a singular echo

There,
Or maybe even right here,
Where
All barriers and towers
Might one day be mightiless
And invisible
As far as the eyes can’t see
But still there, unfortunately
A history
Built backwards
In fevered pain
And branded bigly
But not just in his name
Anymore
Now in the names of everyone
@etal and #ourmiscellaneousscreamsandsighs
Broken
In a case of
Emergency

Or, on second thought,
Fuck it
Let’s start an electrical fire
With all this technology, I mean
A light to sit around
And stare inside
Yes
Good
And also God
Don’t forget God
Or to remain motionless
In staled stories
Always remember to never move forward
Unless it suits your competitive interests
Like picking up
After all the pedophilia
Still happening
All over
The map
In the areas outside our phones
Which we can locate from our phones
And drop pins

But let’s tune out all reason, too
And deny man’s upward climb
And woman’s
No one should be excluded
Is what I mean
Do you see?
Because it’s the right thing to do
Never mind all our anger
And our rage
Or all the recklessness
Therein
Untamed
And ineffective
Let’s operate from our purest wrath
To impede the rise of all genders equally
And to impede the rise of every person of color
Under every flag of every color
Under the wailing sun
And under our poisoned skies
And under land and feet and seas so sore from shining

But, hey, fuck that, too
Because fear is what’s really important
People need to be afraid
So we’re going to need to hold onto some hope
If we want to keep everyone afraid
Which we do
Apparently
That’s how we learn
Apparently
From constructing fear
It’s the best wall of all, really
For keeping things out
Or holding them in
So let’s keep building!
Smaller enclosures
Higher!
Let’s hold onto that
And venting
And God
And war and apple pie

But I’m afraid I might need to leave all that to you.

Because I walk over here now
I guess I’ve been moving this way for a while
Inch by inch.
Burdened not less, but distantly, more distant
By those giant and infinite structures
Simultaneously opposed and built
By my own ilk
In a day
Or a generation
Or this lifespan
Of a species
More or less

I haven’t really kept up with it all
To be honest
And who can?
And be still?
Or still be?
But
Still
My head
And its constituent parts
Keep me pretty attuned
To all the ways
In which all the things
Might go wrong
It’s anxiety, I guess
Which comes on with certain
Negative connotations
But it can be a useful tool
Anxiety
In moving us forward
And keeping us hungry
For its end
Or some small sense of relief

I am still on your side, by the way
Always here if you need me
To listen,
Or to speak
About all things
Just as I’ve needed you
Before
And now
To listen
And to speak
To me

But so,
If you do
Come looking
I’ll be the one
Way over here
And separate
With the heart splayed open
And the mind less burdened
Opened wide and wandering
Through all the love and muck


Suffice it to say, I didn’t wake up with each of these words already lined-up from front to back in my head. But the first bunch of ‘em were there, fully formed and waiting, and as soon as I started writing ‘em the others quickly followed, like a sort of rushing water, the whole lot of ‘em moving of their own accord and without pause. I guess you might call it a poem since there’s no music. But I don’t really know anything about that. And, whatever you’d call it, I must admit to also not really knowing what it means. Though I feel like it must mean something. Otherwise, why would it have been waiting there, on my doorstep, so to speak, all through the night and then there beside me still on this cool October’s dawn?