Wednesday, June 6, 2012
The Old Man of Carmel
(Stream of Conscious)
There is an old man, and he has a house on a cliff overlooking the ocean, it is 1962, and he is seventy-five years old. Too old to have lived that long. He lives alone; his wife has passed on now some ten-years or so. He has lived here since the 1920s, born 1887. He feels, and knows he’ll die soon, perhaps next year, or later this season, but soon. He’s a poet, and knows many of the Poets of his day. He still has a tinge of the face he had thirty-years ago, with that carved out sculptured look, out of stone. He is thinking, talking to himself. He has not traveled much, nor ever been in the Army, he did attend college, got a four-year degree. He has it in for humanity, yet he has really not experienced much, but sitting in that stone house of his, day after day, year after year, trying to split atoms inside his head. Yelling at God for all his mistakes, and if it was up to him, you could leave him right on that rock, and he’d think himself to death. He really hasn’t written but fifty-poems in eight-years, and short ones at that. Prior to this, his best books were back in the twenties and thirties. But he gives God credit for creating beauty, and the rest of the world stinks, and he’s part of that problem. He is a good poet, as far as poets go, but seems to be bent on narrow mined premises—somewhat negative. That that is the way he is, and that is the way the world is to him…it sucks.
Where does it go? The universe expands, it just goes on and on and on, and man with it, someday, someway it all going to explode inside a nebulae, and that will be that. Any questions…? That’s my hypotheses anyhow. It will be one day, man will use those weapons he has and bang, the whole world will be alone again. He thinks, man thinks, he and the earth will go together, be buried—be, not buried per se, how about, instead of buried, tortured to fragments, roaring up into flames. Perhaps that is how it all began. But I didn’t do a thing, and I was, there I was, not one negotiation, and I was here on earth. Too many people to feed, and they’ll take all this land someday and put apartment houses filled with a horde of people, throwing banana peels out the window, and it’ll all be a garbage hill, if indeed I’m able to come back as ghost, what sorry day that’ll be, I can just imagine it: walking up the cliff, I see this fellow with his little boy and they he waves at me as if I’m lost, and I say ‘Ha, I used to live here, and just thought I’d stop by and take a look,’ and he’ll say, ‘You’re on my property, and kicking up all this dust,’ and I’ll look about and see all those banana peels, and potato chip bags and garbage laying about and he’ll not have even noticed it. By gosh, maybe it’ll be better to just keep old memories and stay in that coffin, blank like.
That’s how people are you know. Generally speaking that’s how people are. Self-interest. War, I’ve lived through three. I should mention before mentioning anything else, I’ve never understood war, nor have been in one, I suppose in that way I’ve been like a bird sitting in a tree, but I’ve watched it come and go, them, war, come and go, but what I see is a country takes the whole sum of its products and sends it to the soldiers to win a war that is no crisis to us, in some far-off country, and we end up pumping and pumping all our natural resources and energy into this war, that way, and my taxes go up, just so I can look over the edge here at the beautiful ocean, so I can buy cigarettes for the soldiers, and I do smoke but I pay for them. Something has happened to man in the past, I do believe this, with heart and soul, someone, maybe God, maybe an alien, maybe he fell out of tree—I don’t know, but man got this wound, crack over the head, which half-melted his brain, and then bombed Hiroshima, with the other half. God forbid, should that wound heal? On the other hand he did climb down from that tree, leaving all those other half apes, and apes, and walked the earth, dodging those large cats and whatever, and got cleaver, and exercised that half brain some, and here we are, it is perhaps not all that simple.
I live alone, and am alone, I’m not lonely though, and that’s different. We’re all pigeons in God’s pigeon coop, trying to get to the moon. That’s why he scattered us while building that damn tower called Babel, so we’d take forever getting to a dead rock in the sky that shelters us from the sun, which would devour us, if and when he decides to move it. It is just an enormous illusion to me, another tax burden, trying to get there. The best thing do is just live your life as you have quietly, away from the warriors of the world, those who want all the medals and things the world will remember them for, after they’re dead. They’ll not even fill up the gaps in a book: war is for looting, raping, and taking, and killing.
I suppose I flatter myself somewhat. I know my words go to the wind, fall off this cliff like mud. But I have to write, it is what I do, and that makes me go on. No danger in that. How about an ode to a Saxon Warrior, or Greek Macedonian? Heroes with strong bones. Now all you got to do is push a button, and bang: the war is over, and you don’t need anymore war heroes.
Smith is here—was here. Little of him remains in my head, we were friends, no we are friends, he’s…no he died August ’61, that’s right, a year ago or so. He’s dead once and for all. He passes me like a ghost; I can see his figure in the mist down there. I don’t care to linger on Smith. The dead can only envy the living, as they garnish their teeth. I suppose they are now trying to hold Smith down firm as they used to I see him more and more nowadays, pull him back down, I’m tired of his face. I do not care to be bored with shadows, and shapes in the sea, or sky today, but they are there. The brimless clouds are looking for hats—looking at me; I wrote better poetry than him. His was too devilish. I sense he’s still there, perhaps seated behind a rock, reasonable to thinks so. We all have a history we’ll have to face, after death takes us: I don’t see him head or feet now. Perhaps, H.P. is with him, or George. Could be; he could be; maybe. The clouds are coming, taking my light away. These old eyes can’t see clear in such a distance. Another hypothesis, one day soon polar ice-caps will be completely gone, and New York, London, Lisbon, San Francisco, L. A., they’ll all be underwater.
Stupid obsession, I still think Smith is down there, looks like it. Are you there! He doesn’t say he is, I thought I saw him though. Yes, yes, I’ll be joining you soon. I feel it, know it, and sense it. No more questions on that subject.
He liked sitting in his shack, I like my boulder house—it took me long enough to build it, and its tower, in a way, we are both owls of the night, we think in the night, fifty-thousand thoughts a night, unnatural for common man. Poisonous if they think so many thoughts, it’ll make them into insects. Who? I dare not infer who, our president, is considering extending a war; I mean to develop Vietnam into a war zone. This does not escape me, I’ll not live to see it illuminate or burn. The entire continent will be involved, one-way or another. At my age, I’ve already lived too long. I ate a big lunch that makes you think too much. God has no pity on, munches—those who munch and get fat and do nothing else because they’re too fat to move; he has pity only on birds: funny, people say he or she say, they eat like birds, the birds eat like hogs, the hogs, eat anything.
I love the rivers, and as they drip into the ocean, they feed the ocean; I’ll use that for a poem I think. Where’s my pencil? I’ll give God some credit, he makes beautiful things, only to let man destroy them, or when he gets angry, he destroys them Himself.
Hemingway, Faulkner, they all suck, they want glory all the time. It is in vain to tell myself, to write for money and glory alone, how about humanity? That satisfies me. I don’t really know, not really, I’ll try to say it another way. They are stone death to kindness, and beauty. Both drunks both write about war and its glory. I could write about the Boar War, but I don’t. The human race will not last on earth, too many people, so a war kills them off, like faceless flocks: it has to be, how you going to feed them all?
I’m getting tired; want to go take a nap. Old people dream too much, because they think too much, because they take too much responsibility upon themselves, because they war, think of war, and drink, and kill and think about taking the other man’s wife on the sly—and he can’t get it on anyhow; how can anyone sleep with that floating through one’s mind. Push that all aside, and your dreams will be less fatal—but I can’t, why? Because man’s world puffs me up to much, like a frog puffs himself up or is it a toad? And I have to stick around to watch it. When death comes so will deflation.