the years go by & the trains go by & tonight the storm has rolled in, full blown, lightning illuminating the sky like so many dreams long lost.
the rain fell hard in my eyes dripping down my hair as i stood next to the water feeling the spring air envelope around me; poetry whirling in my brain. these are the same storms that tore up oklahoma last night, & texas- tonight i’m praying a tornado might touch down suddenly, throw this city off it’s balance, all these tiny ant people who hover & dance around one another so unknowingly. we are all strangers.
if i had it my way a tornado would tear up the earth take us back to the original soil help us remember all those things we take for granted
we are all so lucky but we are all just as equally hungry for more –
we are the most selfish creature, these humans,
the dreams long gone,
the busy hum of rush hour traffic,
the tired breath of air,
the disease that festers in so many of the unlucky ones,
the smoke we inhale to feel something,
the chemicals we consume to try & find the innocence we all seemed to have lost so long ago, somehow.
and yet it’s all the same. we are all in this together. we are all stuck here. the night is dark- thunder crashes outside. i sit in a coffee shop & try my best not to analyze myself but instead to recognize parts of me in the people which go in & out the door behind me. pick up their conversations & identify that i may have said the same thing at some point in my life. it helps me feel less alone.
i fall in love with everyone i meet in some unexplainable, minor way. i am remembering a dark night in Galveston texas when the gulf brought in cool january air & we sat in a small diner under hazy lights. the waitress smiled & made conversation, it could’ve been the most peaceful place in the world in my memory now. across the rows of empty booths & ash-less ashtrays sat a man in a wheelchair. he read a book & ordered a meal, did not look at anyone, even the waitress as he ordered. he was reading his book so intently it made me wonder how he could be so brave. what was his life like? how many nights just like that one had he spent in near empty tired diners like that one, alone & engulfed by the words he consumed the same way people ate full course meals? was he happy? was he sad? he did not notice me, of this i am sure. but how badly i wanted to have a conversation with him, if only to try & understand. to help someone else is to help yourself. i learn the most about myself from other people, in a quiet, silent way which i have never truly understood & maybe never will. these small memories which may seem so insignificant to anyone else will stick in my brain until time herself gives way- until my life ends & i will remember. people need to recognize the smaller victories of the world; there are so many things overlooked. i care too much. i think of it as a weakness secretly.
and so i stood in the rain for twenty minutes, bob dylan singing & the rain coming down harder & harder- i dared god to show me a sign that my life was going somewhere, or that it wasn’t, or whatever, just something. just something- something to help me not feel so goddamn alone. people i meet, who i want to know- they don’t seem to want to know me in the same way. i want deep conversations, i want true connections, i want to know i’m not the only one who can feel these sort of feelings. the harmonica wailed in my ears somethin’ beautiful & the rain just kept falling, thunder & lightning & all the gods or whatever there is mixing in a way i couldn’t explain.
so now i sit, my hair drying after being drenched, coffee shop 9:45pm, my mind filled with poetry as it always seems to be- i am a stranger among strangers, there are so many people in this world. so many different possibilities. my hair is wet & my skin is wet, but i don’t mind. i was made from water. if there were a tornado right now, i would be sitting in this cafe- we would be forced to stay. we would hide, cower together, be afraid. why does it have to be suffering & sadness that brings people together in the highest way? i will never understand.
bukowski once said that the most intelligent men were those who were the most alone in life. i wonder if the same goes for women. otherwise, i’m fucked.
bukowski is still dead.
now the coffee shop closes.
we are off into the world again, insects. alone.
By Jessica J. Johnston