Third Eye Blind

 “Beauty is truth and truth is beauty; that is all you know on earth, and all you need to know”John Keats

 I didn’t think I knew twelve people but when I tallied up the names I invited to follow my madness that’s where the number rested. A few stragglers aside I’ve only had one hold out; guy I’ve known for twenty-five years. He says his inbox spills over and he doesn’t want to upload any words he doesn’t already agree with; kinda’ like saying once a thing is known and believed it can’t be unknown. In any event I’ve got about as much chance of changing his mind as Bill Maher has convincing Ted Nugent to hand over his firearms. “You can have my beliefs when you pry them from my cold dead brain”.

 He did say he’s pulling for me and that’s more than most have said so there’s that; enough to give him a pass without feeling a bit wounded. Maybe I caught a break with the number. Christ had twelve followers and look how that turned out. The one guy he was closest to, Judas Iscariot, turned out to be just a tad too close. It’s still a common tale; the falcon flying too far away to hear the falconer.

 Anyway, I’m a man standing on a whale fishing for minnows; what with Kardashian waving her ample rear end around the web and Madonna’s new album and the best of the lot Mad Men; I’m lost in obscurity. When I published my first book they said there were 175,000 new books published every year in America alone and the only way to penetrate that mass was to hire a Publicist and they start at $3,000.00 a month so these words shall also rest in shadows since there must be ten times as many Blogs as books what with no barriers to joining the self-important. So I suppose short of getting mentioned on CNN for threatening someone important I’ll have to rely on an inspired act of god to turn my art into cash.

 Jimmy Mac, a force of nature friend of mine, has written a book (Onto Old Earth) in the fantasy genre where structure and concise narrative, keeping tract of the arc of the characters is paramount and I’ve no doubt he’s going to snatch the golden ring since he has in spades the most powerful thing a man can have; Will. My own personal neurosis has self promotion stinging of bad form.

 I can’t write that way or live that way. Victor Hugo said that “genius was the ability to burn and to fly”. I have to get off, get high, burn and fly, shed a tear with every true sentence; write to quell the beast but also to ask the questions that escape those traveling through life so fast that the nuanced subtleness of artistic expression just gets by them. Pouring out the word is self-administered therapy; a way to solve the problem of THE, and my, human condition. It’s a Krishna kinda’ thing: “The best way to help humanity is through the perfection of your-self.”  

 I do enjoy Mad Men though since I almost went that route back in 1968 when I was twenty years old with wife and child; the salad days. I could have been my version of Don Draper; that would have been easy. Woody Allen’s quip about the phenomenon that drives me to that conclusion is spot on; “80% of life is just showing up”. But something, well everything, it was 1968 after all, told me to pull over to the shoulder and reconnoiter the situation. So I did and decided if I went that route I’d end up with my feet nailed to the floorboards. So I took a hard left and never looked back.

 As a result I have no visible means of support; that quality that back in the day with vagrancy statues on the books and plenty of room in the jails was a crime and got you arrested and sent to jail. But uncharted paths build character; that trait that can only be forged in the crucible. Character is a man’s invisible means of support; not to be confused with reputation which is what others think you are but character; what you really are. Strip away all of mans visible means of support; wealth, possessions, family, friends, lovers, success, power and even education and he’s left with only character.

 I used to think you could judge a man’s character by how he stood in the perfect center of a tornado; personal, professional or public. How he summoned character to hold him self in the true middle of the storm where it’s serene and calm while all around is chaos and danger and destruction. Or maybe by the way character is built by the ability to deal with the indifference of a woman whose put the hook in you so deep she’s your own private Afghanistan; where its said “great powers go to die”; or in the way the Generals explain that sinkhole to the troops “it’s a shitty war boys but it’s the only one we’ve got”. But later when I heard that Abe Lincoln said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”, I yielded to his sentiment. Character is our most valuable asset but it can’t be bought. It’s our essence; the sum total of our value.

 Helen Keller mused articulately; “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved”. Perhaps we can draw a line from Henry Millers honorable hang-dog protagonist Willy Lomans’ quest for celebrity and wealth and the notion of style over substance first visited for us all in one of the three great American Plays; “Death of a Salesman”; directly to the current fascination with Hunger Games.

 We are all Willy now; pitching ourselves on Facebook and all the other self promoting devises have made us all salesman; creating propaganda for whatever existence has forced us to become; romanticizing the corner where we’ve been placed or placed ourselves; putting wrong-headed emphasis on the ability to sell, to charm, to convince; has led directly to the vicarious thrills of reality TV; and I’ll go you 6 to 5 that phenomenon, just like the parable of Hunger Games; will not end well.


About circusinpurgatory
Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized short stories, poetry and prose have been published in the Starry Night Review, Elegant Thorn Review, Language and and Vagabond Press; the Battered Suitcase. His latest book “Armor of Innocence” and first book “Walking the Midway in Purgatory, a Journal” are available on-line and through bookstores.

One Response to Third Eye Blind

  1. James Mcfarland says:

    Yo Mr Nick: Waiting to evaluate and critique this piece. Please change type-o of my book title to ONTO OLD EARTH. Please resubmit to me for clarification and accuracy. The ‘Middle Earth’ mistake makes me look unoriginal, like I’m capitalizing of Tolkien’s success, etc., blah blah.

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