The Stranger Adrift
The Motive of Metaphor
You like it under the trees in autumn,
Because everything is half dead.
The wind moves like a cripple among the leaves
And repeats words without meaning.
In the same way, you were happy in spring,
With the half colors of quarter-things,
The slightly brighter sky, the melting clouds,
The single bird, the obscure moon—
The obscure moon lighting an obscure world
Of things that would never be quite expressed,
Where you yourself were never quite yourself
And did not want nor have to be,
Desiring the exhilarations of changes:
The motive for metaphor, shrinking from
The weight of primary noon,
The A B C of being,
The ruddy temper, the hammer
Of red and blue, the hard sound—
Steel against intimation—the sharp flash,
The vital, arrogant, fatal, dominant X.
We went to my place after the baseball game on a beautiful evening. We were sitting on my balcony drinking espresso, for I had no alcohol at my place. I rarely drink at home or alone anymore, and usually I am home alone, exactly the way I like it, since my place functions as a place to sleep, write, and read.
The essence rather than the particulars of our conversation went something like this.
“Lynn, you appear not to think the way I expect you to think and want you to think,” she said.
“You do not say the things you used to say. You do not say the things I want you to say.”
“You do not do the things you used to do. You do not do the things I want you to do.”
“I suppose I have changed. I am not the person I used to be or knew,” I said.
“I don’t think I like the new you,” she said.
“Maybe, that is not fair. I don’t know you anymore. You might be alright, but I just don’t know,” she added.
I had no rejoinder. I have changed during the past five years. On many days, I do not even recognize myself. The difference now is that I no longer dwell on the stranger within. No matter who he is, I am stuck with him with no expeditious way to evict him.
I am the sum of my doings, experience, and memories. My days consist of writing from before sunrise until the sun has passed its zenith. Then I read for a spell. What can I say about the experience? I can say nothing. Even if I had something to say, it would be boring—boring exactly like what I am writing now.
However, in fairness to those who have not witnessed or who did observe the changes in me, I should tread lightly when around them. I am a stranger to them even though I often do not feel as if I am. I do not want to make my friends uncomfortable.
I have reached a state in which I always wanted to be. I am unanchored and unmoored. I drift upon the sea. Some days, such as this, the weather is calm and fine. When the storms hit, then it is simply scary. The storm does not cause fear: being alone in it does. To say that is merely to say something as banal as life is what it is.
I can tell you one thing though. I would not trade this placid day of drifting upon the sea even though I had to kill the old me and let a stranger onto the ship to enjoy the day.