Prose from the Dust Bin

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 | |

Jewish Museum Berlin
I've been feeling the autumnal rush of weird creativity lately; been conflicted about issues of time/duty/wants/needs. I had a discussion with a friend today, he said I'm showing clear signs of going through a quarter-life crisis. I'm freaking out about my place on this planet. When our father's were going out into the world their expectations of a life well lived were to get married, provide for their children and have steak on Saturdays. Our generation has taken those expectations and broken them apart and reassembled them into a shape that has a much much higher "acceptable minimum" level. I find myself here, in my office, freaking out because I haven't yet written a great novel, or recorded a well-respected album. Christie's has never auctioned off one of my paintings. Conan has never taken a pot shot at me.

I know this is ridiculous; its arrogant, and it's wildly unrealistic. The difference is the ability to be cognoscente of the unreality of it but still demand all those things nonetheless. The constant gnawing at the back of my mind that I'm not spending my time wisely is becoming a din I cannot ignore.

All these thoughts led me to rummage through some old work stored deep in the caverns of my hard drive. Folder: Writing. Subfolder: Poems and Short Stories. Filename: Fire.

I thought the first paragraph of this piece had a distinctly angsty voice and a cold emptiness that was appropriate for the season. Please leave comments, that the only way to improve. Enjoy.

Jewish Museum FacesIn the end, it is preferable to not be dead. Mayer admired this quip. He liked little self contained bits of poetry; they made him feel enormous and witty. Mayer also admired the ghostly dance of ash that surrounded him. Its blackness was entire in a way he hadn’t often seen. Black like staring into the center of someone’s eyes, movement and life and subtle hidden things. A cloud of ash pirouetted off to the left just inside the line of his periphery. Mayer turned and the ash was twirling much closer, having shifted in the currents of heat that now coaxed sweat from pores to ruin nice linen shirts. The ash wafted and twirled in erratic fits and starts, now brushing gentle black flecks across Mayer’s cheek, now backing away to give another dance and curtsy. A soiled napkin sat between Patrice’s uneaten dessert and a tidy pile of lobster legs she’d meticulously worked the meat from, separated into delicate portions, and nibbled at fastidiously. Mayer had always despised these napkins. Mayer is a man of thoroughly modern tastes and sensibilities. He enjoys clean lines, reasoned geometries, and a smattering of color when affected to do so. The frilled edging and baroque embroidery of the napkin that now sat at the end of Mayer’s gaze turned his stomach. A tiny blob of cocktail sauce marked the corner. The napkin was better for having been sullied. That bit of condiment was Pollock, and Mondrian, and Rothko. That drop of goo was salvation; dabbed unceremoniously from the corner of Patrice’s mouth. Mayer took the napkin, wet it in his water and wiped ash from his face.