I haven’t been this happy in a long time. The silence of Saturday night used to make me cower and cringe, panic in the restroom and bury myself under covers, waiting breathlessly for the sun to come up, for the vampire night to recede back into my nightmares. The fog of autumn burned off; a stillness and quiet flows through my empty house. I breath it in slowly, waves of peaceful solitude pour over me, smoothing out my idiosyncratic creases, taking me to a place most people live; a place I never knew–the world of normalcy and general complacency. Perhaps I could take up residence here, away from the shadow people and dark mental clutter that burdens me, leaving me washed out, shattered by suspicious conversations with everyone. Maybe this is forever. Maybe I am fixed, better than I was before. I can wake up on Sundays, make a big breakfast, do some push-ups, and spend a couple of hours in church with polite conversations and thoughtful meditation before returning to home and honest labor, cutting grass and sawing limbs, waving at neighbors before retiring to recliner to watch the game and dose off intermittently. Oh what a life I could have! How happy I will be from here on out. Everything is going to be okay. No more top secret distress over high cholesterol and the state of reality. Thankfully all the monsters and dragons have receded back into the darkness. From here on out everything is going to be okay.
Jasper Kerkau (1/28/17)
Sudden Denouement Literary Collective
“You are a runner with a stolen voice. And you are a runner. And I am my father’s son.” (Wolf Parade)
The weather is changing. In the morning I can feel it. It is just a matter of time. Eventually a cold wind will blow away all the dank humidity. I think about running, my lost passion. Before the bad back, before the squeeze of domestic responsibility, I would put on my running shoes on a cold Sunday morning and run until I had exhausted my legs, lost my breath. It was exhilarating. My life transformed when I was running; it was the action from which all good things sprang. I could never envision a life without it. Of course, I didn’t visualize the obstacles life would put in my path.
Years ago my mother gave me some dusty mementos of races my father ran in the early-eighties. I never thought of him as a runner. Later in life he had a big belly and was a connoisseur of indulgent, greasy meals. He labored at times going up stairs and seemed frail. I wondered why he quit. Thought that perhaps if he wouldn’t have stopped running his heart would not have exploded two weeks after retiring in his late fifties. I thought of him as I ran. I felt close to him. Understood what he went through getting up on an early Saturday morning and facing down a half marathon. Perhaps I understood him in a way that I never did. It was something that we had in common all these years after his death.
Like my father, I stopped running. Life happened. I think the end started with a back problem that eventually became an excuse. I slid into a life of leisure. The drive vanished. Again, I understood him; the distractions, the work, the family all became more important. Suddenly, it became easier to stop running. I wonder to myself if he ever felt the guilt, pined for the long runs, or the silent meditative runs when all the problems of the world seem to be held at arm’s length, at least for an hour. If he would have lived to an old age, we would have those conversations. We would realize that we have a lot in common. Maybe we would have a laugh and realize that I am my father’s son.
Today, as I eagerly anticipate the first cool air, I think about him. I also think about running. My life fell apart; unlike my father, I was not able to hold it together. Now I have half a family, smoke constantly, and find myself given over to the same indulgent meals—though I have not yet fallen prey to the protruding belly. I don’t know how to fix everything, but I am sure that the only thing I can do now is take action, put one foot in front of the other and spend hours chasing the silent meditation that led me out of the darkness years ago. It is so far away but so close. All it takes is action, putting on the shoes, grabbing a water out of the refrigerator and start running.
Jasper Kerkau (11/29/16)
I am a writer!
I sit on the left-hand of the gods and have a special dispensation to decode the secret, universal rhythms, find patterns in the whispers that are inaudible to profane ears. My role is that of an observer; a quiet, meditative force who has a holy charge to record the divine misery, the blind mysteries, the eek-and-turn everyday struggle of life, seen through the eyes of one who has divested himself of all worldly goods.
Who are you?
I am a fucking writer! I am convicted, given over to the great purpose of wresting the truth away from the earth, buried under layers of silt and sediment, caught up in the swirl of the waters that lean to the great gravitational forces as the world mercilessly spins into the great unknown. The curse is the burden, the pulling back the veil, looking into the languid eyes affixed on the gloss and glitter of shards of glass and bits of triviality, finding the gift in otherness, turning away from the doomed, and, alas, finding a tribe of others who beckon the same call.
What do you do?
I am a writer! Though during the day, I am an undercover laborer, engaged in the task of finding means to an end. Looking out of windows, staring at watches, waiting…waiting for life to begin. The toiling is for naught; it doesn’t define me. I work for a living, but when I put my head on pillow, or look in the mirror, I know exactly what I am. Touched by the hand of god, beholden to vision and in collaboration with a silent minority, hiding out, going through motions, learning, and watching. I am anointed by almighty forces, who plucked me out and spit me into the world with love in my heart, to stand in the shadows and pay the price for all of the beauty and all the unhappiness in the world.
Jasper Kerkau 9/15/16
I thought that writing would save me. This peculiar predicament. Awash. Catatonic drive home. The horror of entering my home, oh the deafening silence. Voiding my soul. Buried in failure. My salvation—the pen? I believe in the magic of words. The youthful passion only takes me so far. The hole is much too deep. In a dizzying display of personal failure and grief, I peel back the layers looking for some form of redemption. And yet, I end up with religious disappointment. I write and I still can’t find my way. I write and there is still a hole inside me. I write and I am still in the same fucking place, beset by a future that is obscured, desolate. For some reason, in my forties, I believed that writing would save me the same way it did at seventeen. There is too much water under the bridge. It is too late for me. Love may be the only redemption, the only hope. But, my inner struggle is an illness—a disease. Keeps me at arm’s length. I am on a horrible journey that may someday end. I just don’t know what I will have left at that point. Writing isn’t going to save me.
Jasper Kerkau (9/14/16)
I was touched by the light of the universe. The soft embrace of love, driving back the demons of self-doubt, bringing forth the beauty and laughter that alluded me. It starts with belief, hope and transcendent possibility. I never knew it could be like this, always arm length away from the essence. But, now I touch the soft pedals of life–feel the warm sun on my face; the icy landscapes transform into tranquil gardens of abundant life.
It was always inside me, obscured by the faceless horror and bad conversations giving way to transgressive motivations. I touch her face in my dreams, feel her embrace, the warm energy of a selfless connection. I lost so much time. I lost so much time. The horror show is over; the war has ended. The stinging sensation of dull, throbbing failure no longer matters. I shrug off the dragons and dark angels lurking in the shadows-I live in light, beholden to the universal forces of good, forged in the promise of goodly things. My calloused soul has been healed by the salve of the promise of a future that I never knew existed. The light of the universe touched me with her soft hand, her soothing voice driving back all of my secret turmoils, my private misery.
Jasper Kerkau (9/26/16)