Untitled No. 2

I’m home in New York following a 24 hour sojourn to my hometown of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. I have the week off. It’s my first full week off in New York City since I moved here in 1995. I’m not entirely sure what to do with it, as spending it at The Dead Poet is kinda’ out of the question.

I took the train to Philly Saturday morning, and spent the afternoon wandering Valley Forge Park with a friend from high school, talking mostly about love, and growing up. I wanted to do a bit of a photo essay for you since I write about the park so much on these pages, and intend to do so once I can extract the images from the camera.

It was staggeringly beautiful there, as always, bathed in the golden winter half-light (I love half-light, though I love full-on light more). I’ve never seen more deer there; hundreds upon hundreds of them dining in the tall grass, back lit by sunset. Our parents find the deer infestation to be quite the nuisance (I swear, they were all talking about it), but we city folk find it kinda’ nice.

After the requisite Wawa hoagie dinner (turkey, Swiss, extra pickle), I made my way to my friend (and long-ago girlfriend) Kir’s annual Christmas part which promised a full roster of high school chums (we used to call ourselves The Ferris Bueller Crew — lame, I know). Everyone was there, and for the first time, many of ’em had kids en tow. Kir had rented a photo booth, which provided hours of seminude fun. By 3am, the babies had gone to bed, the spouses had all passed out, and the remaining dozen or so of my closest friends — my God, I’ve known many of them nearly twenty years — were left carrying on conversations that began with “Remember when…?”

I seem to be largely remembered for being drunk, or stoned, or both, most of the time. For doing things like snapping the banister at our senior week house, then vehemently denying it. And for dating, or hooking up with, most all of the ladies in the group. I’m still doing damage control at 32-years-old, though increasingly the defense of my behavior sounds something like, “Um, I was sixteen!” Which I think is explanation enough.

It is an odd phenomena, really, to sit with these friends of so many years. Somehow, despite it all, we all accept and love — cherish, really — one another, warts and all. There’s a great deal of empathy and understanding among us. It’s pretty neat.

Of course, it all leaves me a bit melancholy. But what doesn’t? That seems to be the prevailing emotion (is it an emotion?) in my quieter moments these days…

Like this morning. I walked home from the West Village. It was a beautiful sunrise, despite (or perhaps because) everything was just a touch out of focus (my contacts dried up so I threw ’em out). Anyway, I try and save something for myself here in The Daily Journal, but suffice to say, I wrote a new song on the walk home (“Untitled No. 2”) that goes a little something like this…

For the first sixty blocks, the sidewalk was bleeding
If the concrete could talk, it would say it was fleeting
If the buildings could move, they would stand up and walk out on you

And the larger the leap, then the further the fall
And the more you can keep, and the less that is lost to your hands
Try and understand, try and understand
It’s not you, it’s just the bridge you must cross
Try and understand, try and understand
It’s not you, it’s just that admission has costs

Another song about transition, I guess. And loss, or something. Like Leonard Cohen says, “Every artist has one song he writes over and over again. And the beautiful thing about this endeavor is that you don’t realize you’re writing the same song repeatedly, but in fact, it keeps returning to you wearing the original blue gown.” Well, I think the blue gown was more of a floral slip, but whatever. I’m confident that the answer comes with waiting.

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