Long Shadows

The shadows are always long on this street of shame, surviving long past the age of consent and the age of forgiveness. The shadows here are wider and darker than the moon but thinner than your skin. Blue like veins and longing, perspiring the iris odor of death and regret. You can come home to this but you’ll never sleep to it.

I’ve measured the floor-space in my head and found it short three corners. I can thrash and punch out the borders here but I will always find myself leaning hard against limitations I live by but didn’t set. I will always find myself setting my watch to ghost revisions.

I can see everything that’s come to pass all at once like a collage of bad decisions, young hopes with only the surface left of them, and love that has no limits, no boundaries, no definitions, no rules to hem it in or discourage the natural mold of life attachments. It doesn’t make me sad. It doesn’t cause me regret. It was right just as it was, just as imperfect and messy as it was.

Those who’ve died, those who’ve hung on, we all have our place in this story. In this street of long shadows. We’ve all got our sarcophagus of doubt that we’re waiting for someone else to open to the light and fresh air. And we’ll wait a hundred years until we finally see that the someone else is ourselves grown a little wiser and little stronger than we used to be.

There’s a pocket universe for all of our unfinished works, our brilliance just about to break through our skin before we die. There’s a pocket universe where everything we could have become is recorded and notarized. Where every breakthrough we didn’t have time to express or experience is shared with sleeping souls, with dreamers and artists. With writers and wiseacres.

I have no yardstick with which to measure the time I’ve got left to write the things I need to write or to record the things I’ve observed. I have no yardstick with which to measure how much I’ve accomplished or how close I’ve come to being my best self. That self isn’t today. That best self might have already passed me by or it might yet become – but it isn’t now. It isn’t now.

My best self is never now.


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