still

What a year a difference makes.

Still here, though, still this, still that, still looking, still wondering, still hoping, still hungry, still putting words away and bringing some new ones out, still trying, listening and hearing still sirens and car horns and wet tires on wet streets and still chilly wet rain from low multi-gray wet paint-soaked clouds and still cool wet air in lungs and still murders on the news like a few last strikes before we huddle for the winter we still pretend isn’t coming like last year but everything is still different and, well, I haven’t changed a bit

and that’s what really makes me remember.

That’s not true, not really, not exactly, but I still feel I still always write the same—some might say I’ve changed a lot and don’t remember well, still, and I might say I’m still just contrary, might say I’ve recovered, recovering, and I still remember just fine.

But still. Still no good at sounding definitive about anything but the few things I know and still saying things in moments and later forgetting how I put them like how my mother used to stash cash around the house and forget where it was and now that’s the same as the ways I say because the impulse and the action are everything and all mine just like they were all hers and all true, we just sometimes don’t recall the details and that’s still me.

Still me still in pursuit of magic but catching, lately catching and still adding commas and repeats for rhythm and pace and calling it all out self-consciously like that counts for something when the whole thought is a white cloud stencil floating on the wall above a graffiti’d alley dumpster like profundity over trash and I know there’s plenty to refuse and plenty to recycle and putting it that way makes me cringe but I’ve had enough delete and maybe that’s the difference and what else…

what else…

what else…

…thinking more, drinking less, writing more, sinking less, spending some, but not burning, no longer searching for lost self things but finding, more or less, no longer dreading day but still sometimes somewhat fearing time’s erasure, and falling in falling in falling in and over again, all over again from June to fall like Norah’s season’s trees, changeably,

and thinking what a lifetime difference three months make and it’s all just some seasons away and some constellated worlds apart from a year ago but still oh so clichéd close like when I stood in a shop on the southside with strangers and Esther Phillips started singing not about the difference a day makes but release me and I slowed down and said well that’s appropriate and one of the strangers by the shopcounter leaning on his well-leaned-on elbow said yep, the universe is always talking and stopped

and I looked at him like I was home and said

and we just have to listen

and he said mm hm and listen is probably the most important thing we don’t do.

That was in the winter, and the seasons change and come back around but I’m listening more and still remembering and that’s what I mean by recovery, partly, still, and I still think fast and talk slow and still find the words in someone else like “each man is a half-open door leading to a room for everyone”[1] and “what good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness”[2] and still ruin flows with footnotes[3] and still wonder

what would I be if not still dreaming,

cruelly still knowing the day’s still too short no matter when the sun goes down.

And as the rain comes down and still makes its sound I still want to ask if this isn’t the most selfish thing you’ve ever read, with its stillness and constellations and the song, another song, goes never gonna get it right so I play it on repeat to be contrary because I know I finally did and that’s different, the one, still, always will, still

and right around the corner is the cold of winter to give me summer’s sweetness

so I listen the way the streets soak up the rain for slick and shiny moments remember-blended for all the years and seasons and worlds of differences still to come.

 


[1] Tranströmer, “The Half-Finished Heaven”

[2] Steinbeck, Travels With Charley: In Search of America

[3] yep

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