I stand here in the limelight in front of the mirror from today’s, yesterdays, and yesteryears that have swiftly gone away. So much of promises held from what could have been but never were. The passion for what was is no more. Gone in one night where it all went awry sees the blackened ashes scattered all over the floor. A few exaggerated exhales later with head bowed the question I ask myself that may never bring an answer is where did it all go wrong?
My shadow accompanies me no more as I dejectedly walk down these dirty decrepit streets alone in my rejection of any semblance of face to face connection. A smile I may offer up along with a mechanized greeting to somebody I know that passes by me in my path but I cannot allow it to go any further than that. The uncertainty from people I thought I had known chose to reveal the contempt they hold on me. You extended a desire to reach out to me to help me. I accepted your invitation only to be snickered at, verbally spat upon while you passed YOUR final judgment that I am what YOU and your group decided I was. The thinness of my wallet was the target of your malice.
For my person, I never wanted once. In need of sustenance yes I did call upon you. It was for that in memoriam of somebody who gave without thought you were there to carry on his work. You followed in his footsteps until you could no longer cope with doing acts of kindness. Frothing and foaming at the mouth as this pathetic excuse for a person (in your eyes) had come to be of in need again. No matter what befell me that night it was all that I had coming to me as I was told it was. Yet, you knew only of what you believed as yours was the only reality that was real.
“Let the music keep our spirits high. Let the buildings keep our children dry. Let creation reveal it’s secrets by and by, by and by. When the light that’s lost within us reaches the sky.”-Jackson Brown-Before the Deluge. “I offered up my innocence I got repaid with scorn.”-Bob Dylan-Shelter From The Storm. “It’s not the way that you say it when you do those things to me. It’s more the way that you mean it when you tell me what will be. And when you stop and think about it you won’t’ believe it’s true that all the love you’ve been giving has all been meant for you.”-The Moody Blues-Question. “And so you see I have come to doubt all that I once held as true. I stand alone without beliefs. The only truth I know is you.”Simon & Garfunkel-Kathy’s Song. “ And summertime was falling down and winter was closing in. Now the warriors of winter they gave a cold triumphant shout. And all that stays is dying and all that lives is getting out. See the geese in chevron flight flapping and racing on before the snow. They’ve got the urge for going and they’ve got the wings so they can go.” Joni Mitchell-Urge For Going. These words are not words I wrote but they cling so preciously to my soul.
Where Did It All Go Wrong? Yes, there were other roads I could have navigated my way onto but there was no way for me to know which one was right. I saw no glittering gold that had eluded me which was now there for the taking. There was no promise for the future nor forewarnings of what I was carving out for myself. I didn’t know. Or if I did know I pretended not to know. My vision went blind, my hearing went deaf, my senses no longer sensed way before any of that happened. There is plenty of blame for me to blame but in the final analysis, the blame is exclusively mine to own.
Going back in time I remember one lonely hot and hazy Summerday sitting on my bed looking out the window above me that did not see the world strumming my guitar using the few chords I remembered from another time waiting for my red phone to ring. It did not. There was nobody there. There was nobody anywhere. I was not in the same place I had been that was once alive with friends, fun, and laughter. My blue four-door sedan that was the last contact I had with my friends once the purchase was arranged was left hugging the curve a scant few feet before the entrance to the building where my friend who would help me form my musical tastes had since gone away. The name was still taped to the side of the buzzer button but the sound was never sent. Never heard.
Days went unendingly by with nothing except for the music from my “boom box” that I would soon have to part ways with. The goodbye was not painful but nonetheless, all I could feel was the pain I tried to deny existed. The red phone now resting on the floor along with Swish Swish and Yow Yow rang with fervor. My best friend was on the line with the news he just became a father. Yes, I was elated for him and his wife whom I had dated. Suddenly my forehead was bluntly struck by imagined bricks. What about me I demanded to know. Where are you going? The nightly pilgrimages to Brooklyn soon began. It ended when she and I decided to live as one. So there I was an instant father of three with two cats, a mountain of records and cassette tapes. Of course by that time I had long since learned the erotic pleasurable process that leads to creation if it were not inhibited but dealing with the end result was overwhelming. Going back to that process a nightly basis lead to child number four but this one was mine as I was his father in every sense of the word. That will never change as it cannot change it being a fact. There could have been others but it was not to be.
Was that where I had gone all wrong? Should I have stayed in my underground haven? No, yes, maybe and definitely not but maybe or the heck with the questions although they gnawed at me like a gerbil trying to bite through the bars of his cage. Had I left myself behind would that be where it all would have gone wrong? My final answers will come but they had not then, they have not now, possibly never will until…. I lost myself in all those years whereupon I was transformed into somebody else I never knew. But now who is the “real” Joel and who is not? This too cannot be ascertained. Did Phil Ochs (my hero) have the right idea when he decided no more?
When is the next train to forever? Take me, console me, comfort me, rescue me, help me I beseeched of you! Instead, you disillusioned me, dismantled me, right as you rejected me. The roots of where it could have at least partially gone wrong are planted in your rotting topsoil. Just like prior chapters of the book of my life I have yet to write are under lock and key so shall this chapter be. I no longer live life as you do. Truth be told I have not for while. A time will come for cross-examination by those greater than all of us. There is not always complete confidence of me knowing me but I am okay with that. The spotlight that now shines down upon you leaves nowhere to hide. Your disguises will melt under the heat.
Out behind the sadness, there are wonders of joy walking hand in hand with hope. Smiles are on the horizon. Still, I remain bitten by bitterness. I remain entrenched in my body armor that gets dented but never for long. Never for long. Not for the likes of you or you. Where did it all go wrong or did it go all wrong? The venting process is now complete. I have in a sense licked and healed my wounds. Hurt will be felt when I am hit but pain only lingers for so long. Hey, by the way, why aren’t the Yankees spending money like they used to? Old George never did things this way.