The Wisdom of Saints: An Essay





she was a princess of disengagement. a real princess. she would try anything to get away from something she couldn't quite remember. something long forgotten. long neglected. a habit long established. never in the here and now. always the next place. the next thing. always gone. and he was the long forgotten thing from which she was trying to get away. he wore her escape like a badge of courage and honour. he carried it as if it was a precious object, a delicate flower or eternal fire. the passing years did not weary him. she thought she was free as a bird of the skyway but she was only as free as a box of jumping frogs.

sometimes there is more freedom in chains than meets the eye. eyes are often mistaken and deceived. the same applies to the heart. often the heart sees more than the eye. eyes and hearts often fail and then we have to deal with what is left. generally all that is left is dust and bones - and sometimes a strong sense of freedom or sometimes only a slight sense of nothing much having really happened at all. he tended a flame. she escaped from one. and ran to another. wasted time and other hobbies. trains leaving stations, delivering their load and then returning. a sky made from bicycles. a heart made from scars. most so called modern art is rubbish. he was old school. and she was addicted to the new. if the first wave was of any real use there would be no need for a second or third. if you have real skill with a sword there is no need for a shield - but he always said this with a wink and a stupid grin.

she had no time for his foolish grin or for miracles on main street in small town america or for the tricks memory plays on the angels endlessly scattering rose petals on the floors of palaces of remembrance. wherever here was she wanted away. wherever he was she wanted away. and she had the wings and the means to do it. constant flight and no rest takes its toll. we pay for everything one way or another. sometimes knowingly, sometimes unknowingly. sometimes we do deals. we trade. sometimes we crash and burn. sometimes exactly what we need is to crash and burn. she was one of those - rarely comfortable in her own skin. haunted and empty she was accepting of the cost. and a blind man could see the ghosts that lived in her eyes. the ghosts adored her but she was so frightened by them that her only response was flight. flight. crash and burn. and history repeats itself like scenes in an old black and white movie when the projector has stalled.

wherever she was she wanted away. away from him. away from the ghosts that live in her eyes. away from the ghosts that live in his veins. away from paper boats on a village pond. away from skies made from human hearts. away from hearts made from scars and bicycles made from cheese. away from buildings made from broken biscuits and the dreams of orphan children. away from a cruel world of dreams. to another cruel world of dreams. away from crowns of thorns and fields and rivers of blood. away from nightmares and the silent screams of chronic addiction. away from the king of swords and away from me. thirty years on a bar stool leaves its mark.

when they walk - they walk. but sometimes they come back. the moonlight told him so. and he was fool enough to believe the moonlight. when they walk - they walk. sometimes they walk too far. sometimes they crash and burn. sometimes we all crash and burn. the moonlight waited and watched. and he waited and watched with the moonlight. in time he became one with the moonlight then in time they waited and watched no more. other fish to fry. other books to be written. other books to be read. other lives to be lived. distant stars to be studied. other songs to be sung. the impossible is always possible. the unknowable is a seed in your pocket and in time the unknowable can and will be known.

will you still love me tomorrow? who the fuck knows? what it was, it wasn't. what it wasn't, it is. thus sayeth the moonlight. and ride on cowboy sayeth the stars. the lights go out. then come back on. death comes as a wave then leaves as a wave. we are dust and stone, paper boats on a pond, fine swans upon a lake, mice in a field of grain. death comes as a wave then leaves with a wave.

what happens when two worlds collide? crash and burn. from here to eternity. crash and burn. eventually she ran outa roads to run and came back to him. she inspected him as if he was an insect under a microscope then she snorted like a horse, laughed and cried, then left again. crash and burn. one wonders what charles bukowski would make of unrequited love. fuck it he'd say. yeah he'd just say fuck it then he'd walk thru' fire like he was peeling a grape in a kool new york bar. yeah ragged strangers on fire in every kool new york bar and all looking for her - the princess of disengagement.

the moonlight and i are writing a book on the subject of unrequited love. apparently every poet must have at least one. the moonlight writes the first line then i write the next, then so on and so forth. it's coming along rather well. the moonlight has a rather elegant turn of phrase and i do my best to fall in line and not cause any trouble. but the moonlight is a real poet and it's kinda hard to keep up. we do most of our writing on a park bench. the cold night air doesn't seem to bother the moonlight but it sure as hell gets to me every now and then. but when i get home bb king on late night tv singing and playing hold on warms me and kinda keeps me kinda sane. it's a cold cold world i guess. kinda. and tonight my heart is like the arctic. melting slowly. and in my eyes ghosts sail paper boats on rivers of stars. and a procession of princesses of disengagement dance lightly on the melting ice.

in our book the wisdom of saints the moonlight and i conclude unconditionally that unrequited love is a selfish and purely negative state of being which should be avoided at all costs. we study and and assess the wisdom of saints. better to crash and burn or build a ladder to distant planets. better still to hang around in kool new york bars looking to be picked up and abused by french or austrian aristocrats. cold showers do not work. better by far to stay at home and selflessly study the vedas by candlelight rather than venture out and risk falling victim to the debillitating plague whose name is unrequited love.

we conclude that the only known cure is to walk thru' fire whilst peeling a grape like charles bukowski. yes everything is wonderful in the wonderful world of books but as i sit here on this park bench counting the midnight snowflakes there is no cure. which takes us nicely onto hammer throwing. hammer throwing is still big in scotland where only throws that draw blood or damage bones are considered successful. scotland recently had the opportunity to vote to become a modern independent country or to carry on living in the past. romantic fools that we are we voted to dwell in the past amongst our countless glorious failures and defeats. the moonlight tells me pine martens in scotland have been striving for some years to find a cure for unrequited love but i find this hard to believe. yes these days i find it harder and harder to believe anything moonlight tells me. moonlight is inconsistent and glib. one minute moonlight is a he, the next minute a she. and now that we are no longer writing together i fear our book the wisdom of saints will remain unfinished.

unrequited love is a pain in the ass. it turns men into women and women into demented harpies. and harpies into dust.

july/august 2014