Free Write Inspired by a Paragraph

Free Write Inspired by a Paragraph

There exists a wondrous bookclub, twitter.com/BetweenTwoBooks where one piece of literature is explored every two months. In April, writer and musician, Nick Cave recommended, ‘Here I Am’ by Jonathan Safran Foer.

I tend to take my time with most books, and go slow with little exception. They are like old friends, travel companions. Sometimes, I’ll thumb over a single page/chapter/passage, and it will fill the room, the streets, wherever the road goes. I finally opened the novel today, and read the very first paragraph, not entirely knowing what to expect.


Oh my stars and atomic components.

Far be it for me to even begin to understand the pain of living through the vast tragedies of war. I am blessed to live the life I lead.

But,

Ever since coming to California, I’ve known homelessness; lived in empty odd shaped hotel rooms of nowhere and nothing; draped over sleepless buses; caressed by the sand, warming tired bones in brief deep slumber; curled up on a blue blow-up couch with nothing but a used towel, its origins not entirely known, freezing until the sun bled over; hidden in a rose garden, spread over the dirt, thorns that held concealment, grassy floor beds until the guards came; known those stars; hard concrete, hitched against the frigid supports of a building, walls of glass with vibrant coloured flat screens exposing the outside, welcoming sleek cushioned chairs inside, the doors locked tight; huddled close to my guitar case for warmth in the shiver of destitution surrounding; with methheads, the forgotten; a homeless protector of the innocent whose wife and child of three months were murdered, an act of jealousy by his best friend through the pangs of endangered youth; he was only eighteen; with the broken saints of the streets, the run down, pumping heroin into their veins for a brief moment of perpetual relief; with thieves who had hearts, their cold clotted shells unveiled a mask to survive; with the self-absorbed tyrants, stalking Hollywood towers for an easy chance towards greed, whatever sells; a man who called himself “king”, spoke like a car salesman; offered me all the jewels money could buy, even the coat off his back just for some cash and a lead, swore he never killed anyone; with the living lavished, generous but distant family members in an awkward enclosing scape, jacuuzis on the viranda, “it’s no big thing”, sick as a dog, walking on eggshells; I was never around, and I hold that regret to my chest like a raygun; where late nights and lack of eye contact were considered a distasteful mark of insanity; with my mother, bless her heart and her apple blue hair; with kind eyed taximen from home and, “God bless you” on their smile; with the music makers illuminating a patch on the sidewalk with lightning in them; a man and his nephew with no home, no sleep, but good natured, and hope glistening within their captive eyes; with a young delinquent fighter who lived in a homemade tent and a mattress under bridges, by the water basin, where the trains pass, and it’s beautiful, so very beautiful.

I draw through the nights; the lost thing, roosting in a little corner by the window with compassionate souls who have seen the face of hell.

We talk about rape, serial killers, shootings on the street, the sex slave industry; school teachers who pay off their friends to keep quiet; they guard the doors while the professors have their way; ejaculating from the classrooms above, watching students kiss below; monsters that know how to blend; sickly experiments spoken under sickly fumes; addictions glaring temptation, but love is stronger; car exhaust, nuclear futures; it may not happen, but, it might.

There were sleepless nights, and when rest came more readily, nightmares loomed as a constant. The News headlined parades of foreboding annihilation like an animal rearing its fiery crown; eyes opened wide, burning a hole into the ceiling; wanting to die and live simultaneously, waiting for the bomb to drop, and then,

nothing.

The never were, all fall down; or will our flesh melt in radiated anguish, a torturous decay that resembles aging excellerated? No one should die this way.

Last night, a woman was drugged and raped on the floor above us; they slipped her cocaine. Three women were stabbed on Sunset. No one should die this way.

I shouldn’t go out at night alone. This street’s a killing field, an every day massacre, but I’ll venture fourth, walk through the city after dark, and remember.

Remember the magical secret places, mystical towns; the ocean at sunrise, cliffs from above; touching sea anemones; all my loved ones; the beauty of the seldom seen, cryptically crouched between dark spaces; when the light from my cellphone hit the mist at night and suddenly crystals surrounded in air; every kind heart, gesture, remark; singing in the streets of the give ups, the left behinds; meeting a beautiful soul in an auto repair shop; the ability to draw, to write music, to have a voice; to sleep in a warm bed; all the selfless acts never seen; feeding the birds; the musk of old parchment; petrichor; the way trumpet flowers smell, and those little white blossoms adorning
the staircase leading to Bolinas at dawn; walking through the desert, guitar in hand, surrounded by screaming intoxication, plastic bottles, bright colourful things, but somewhere far above, there were stars.

No matter the twist of time, I remember what it was like to waltz with the full moon,

and I believe.

Thanks for reading. It means mountains.

To all involved in @betweentwobooks, thank you for creating this wonderful community, giving members a safe welcoming environment to freely discuss insightful literature, and inspiring so many people. You’ve helped further my creative efforts, and better my atrocious grammar, even given me a push in coming out of the closet. I mean this both figuratively and literally; lived in an actual closet with CDs and books lining the ceilings and floors throughout most of my life.

Just, thank you. Bless all your beautiful hearts. ❤

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