I have gone Wrong somewhere… in the Midst of all this Rightness… despite my honest Rightness

by dschapman

One last rite and the whole affair is finished; they’ll pick you clean, you can bet your bottom dollar on it – they’ll pull the spine from your healthy back, they’ll rip your innards to pieces, shear your skin with their fingernails – awful vicious fingernails, an awful gory scene. What’s a boy supposed to do? I knew nothing but honest goodness, nothing but faith and believing, and so I believed. Men, we do not change, and I will never be able to truly stop believing. I have tried and pretended and I have made a good pass. But I can’t dismiss from self my selfness, my tenderness, my distinct and fruitful weaknesses, rich and sundry, full of contradiction and romanticism. I love my mother and I love my father, too. I love them both because they are both good people, and in them I know goodness, as in me they know greatness, and sadness, and shame. I’d like to paint them in triptychs with Our Father in between. They deserve their place in peace and quiet; they deserve a prodigal son, and I should strive to serve them dutifully. I would like to serve them dutifully; I have failed them one too many times already, I do not know if I can do it. I do not know if I will live long enough to see it through. To see a dutiful job done well – to return goodness with goodness, honest love with honest love, not subversiveness or shame. Where have I gone wrong – and how did it go so terribly? Not generous, like Miller, nor kind, like Magritte; hardly wild, like the boy-poet, and already far too old; although in many ways I have followed Rimbaud’s progression acutely, distant though inert, and even in my ways outpaced him. To Hell with comparisons, to fragmented fragments of other men’s own insecurities and fears – petty observations, farcical truths, candid presences in singular modes of space and time with limited reach and hopeless agendas of communication – what good is greatness, after all? I can see it now – the resolve, the truth, the fulfillment, the success; and nothing in between but misery. If I suffer, it is because I have forsaken ignorance, for happiness is simple and shallow and easy, if one resolves to be simple and shallow and happy, in ignorance. It is no secret what sort of idiocy happiness belies; at best, contentment, at worst, the hushed existence of the unintellectual mute. Perhaps it isn’t quite that easy, but I’d call it no harder, and I would heartily recommend it. For the rest, we’ve modern thought, inexplicable pains of the human condition, inward-analytics and meta-physical unrealities to contend with – we’ve got our eyes turned blindly towards the sun, and yes, it burns, it is at times unbearable. Some of us will never see again. But some of us will keep on watching, and we’ll have seen it all – just not for happiness. And happiness will not be ours. Not unless we submit to it; and it is a decent and honest submission to make, and you will never regret your decision. Your eyes will close dreamily, your head will fall against a knitted patch of humanity well-kept and full of freshly cut grasses, your children will know goodness at least in you if no where else in the world…

But you didn’t hear it from me. I never said any of it. I never wrote a word. I mustn’t affix my signature to it, not now, not like this – I have been patient so far, I can afford to be patient for a little while longer. Do not affix your name to it; you’ll regret it later. A man must write a thousand works before he may sign his name to one. Until then… mercy, pray that no one hears you! Pray the streets are empty tonight… or else someone will find you, disgusted, and turn away in displeasure.

I mustn’t allow myself to drift between tenses and contexts, to alternate my level of awareness; it leads to insincerities, to meaningless drivel, to poor wording and cadence. I must bind myself to my most immediate awareness, my most singular and honest state, my subjects pure and indivisible; I must stay in a state of simple sincerity, I must dismiss from my mind my competing claims of logic and insulate my intuitions, my true beliefs; motherlove, seize me; literature, inspire me. Salvage from my soul what I can; begin to look around again.