Nights in a city of glass

Sometimes I catch myself wondering if and how much the past six months have changed me. So many things learned, relearned and reorganized. Two thirds of my life's building blocks thrown into a cement mixer with a fickle mind. It spits out one thing or another when the mood happens to strike, often with no warning. The amount of intake and outpour is quite a spectacle.

There I am, there I go, the self-proclaimed man of clay with bits and pieces ripped off and tacked on with alarming regularity. Fresh off another wipedown of my not-so-shining-anymore armor, inked with another new set of cuts and dents. That armor has lost much of its luster, but it still has strength and presence. An ample target, no doubt. My robes are torn and my sword got stuck in its sheath a long time ago, but I refuse to discard these tattered trinkets. They are quite integral, though sometimes even I make the mistake of labeling them a nuisance.

With the assumed role of an observer, I take to watching people on the prowl. A strange dance. Friends and lovers who don't deserve to be called either. Awkward yet methodical steps around one another's trust and respect, disgusting self-deceit to justify personal fulfillment, a constant mismatch of cravings leading shadowed faces to exclaim: this will do. Desire wrapped in a very ugly package. I mirror what I see against my own modus operandi. The end result has a tendency to make me feel sick. People are dogs. Soft to the touch yet violently unpredictable. Selfish beasts of paradox, scared and confused. I'm trying to be something else. Statistically I must be successful at least on occasion.

People have their agendas and are quick to trample over one another to reach whatever they're striving towards. I'm too weary to mind the former and too wary not to be expecting the latter, yet caught off-guard surprisingly often. Some unforeseen occurrence draws me into an equally unforeseen chain of events. Eyes meet and heartbeats go from tick to thump. It sparks something inside, but I'm a bit too fargone to succumb to delusions, no matter how grandiose. My immediate impulse is to tie my tongue and walk away before a glass wall breaks. Before the stem sprouts thorns. But I can't. I'm so preoccupied with being Mr. Nice Guy I forget how easily things go tits up when you expressly strive for the opposite. Things sort themselves out accidentally or by sheer luck of the draw. Rarely for the best, though that's mere assumption.

But let it be said that I am no one's fool if not my own. I've noticed that I have grown a bit of a habit of painting myself up as some sort of stick figure adhering to Charlie Chaplin's immortal Tramp; accident-prone and warm-heartedly mischevous, but never guided by ill will. Duckwalking from one whoopsie to the next. But you can't blame the balcony for the fall if you're the one constantly dangling over the edge. I may be a stick figure to most people - many of whom seem to never grow tired of marveling at my musical exploits or this journal, for example, and how nothing melds fluently with their cardboard cut-out concept of who I am - but one would assume I'd know better. Perhaps I'm delusional after all.

A girl with angel eyes faintly glistening with well-hidden optimism listens to my stories and calls me naive. Her voice has a touch of frost, but the punctuation has a sweet undertone. It signifies a measure of understanding, though perhaps somewhat reserved. I do not miss a beat in joining her exclamation in delightfully bittersweet unison. We continue to uphold the harmony with a shared laugh, though both refrain from pulling a veil over the tones of cynisism shadowing our joint vocalization. A rare stroke of honesty or an act akin to giving up? You decide. I'm out of mental juice, tired of thinking about thinking, passively content in conducting another vain exploration of what I want by dragging my droopy eyes across the floor. Passionately unfulfilled.

I tell her I'm damaged goods and laugh, forgetting that such a punchline doesn't really serve its purpose as a deterrent when fact is draped in humor. But at least it's poignant. Or... at least I hope it is? Because I am, you know. Fubar. A point well worth noting.

Later, I find myself enveloped by some Hollywood rendition of romance. My guise is that of gleeful detachment, at least at first. Scenes flow from one to the next and I begin to recognize more than my fair share of lines from the poetry in motion on display. The two people kiss each other so passionately it has a whisper of desperation. Enough fervor to make mountains crumble. They latch onto one another like drowning people hugging a piece of driftwood. The joyless in me wants to dismiss such sights as melodramatic and proportionless, but I know they're not. I remember sensations like that. Moments when the world disappeared. I remember. Faintly and from a distance, yes, but still.

I half-jokingly told a friend that I seem to be inflicted with some sort of emotional shortcoming that expressly prohibits me from reaching any measure of happiness, yet it simultaneously imbues my desire to continue the search for such a state with neverending vigor. A true Catch 22 if there ever was one. Again, the punchline would fare better if not hindered by a factual backbone.

To another friend I retorted a piece of internal dialogue one succumbs to in the late/early hours of the looming dawn. While looking for one thing you mistake something else as its tail and in the process become even further entangled in the machinations down the rabbit hole. Something about misshapen desires and a pair of overly eager feet ready to pounce towards a light shining in the night. Might be a beacon or the glint of a predator's eye - you'll never know until you step out to find out. To my recollection I phrased it quite well, so I'll refrain from reiterating too much, as to not spoil it.

Still, the principle has substance and sustenance. There is an idea behind that which is formless; an encrypted manuscript. A voice as loud as it is incoherent. Blinding stabs of white noise born from desire without direction.

The wolf howling at the moon for he knows of nothing else, then? Perhaps. At least for now. At least for tonight.