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Monday, February 5, 2018
The Blood of a Hobo
He never let me down. But when I finally met him 12 years ago I looked at a rundown version of myself. A foreboding meeting, an encounter of acceptance, and all I wanted to see a look of wonder in the eyes. Yet I only saw pain behind his eyes, the depths of a paincave I could only imagine. What was it? A disease? Regret or shame? Drugs? Yea, maybe it was drugs. Nah, it was a bipolar disorder. That’s it. It has to be with eyes that filled with pain. I mean, he was a hobo, a fucking skid row derelict for his life; not this hippy happy hobo trendy thing, but a REAL hobo. His paincave ran deep; he endured everything, no regrets.
I watched his mannerisms, observed his gesticulation, studied our similarities, arms waving and his face convulsing, his fingers gyrating, hearing tales of a hobo life. I mean, being a hobo to me is like a Mexican being a Mexican or any ethnicity that bleeds that ethnicity. Watching him: fuck it; I bleed hobo.
I rove over lands like a coyote, on the fringe, rather, within a fringe of society feeling ‘outside.’ I often wonder how I have made it, or not lost it. How am I still here? I often wonder how I have not ended up like him, even though I am him.
A year ago this day, I still felt detached from everything, mainly people and society. I had walked 6500m in 7 months and felt obscure, apathetic. I kept blaming a lightning strike that struck within about 150ft away, reasoning that the electric charge travelled within the ground and put me miles away from myself or anyone else. I felt blank, sullen. I drank heavily that night, a year ago today. Something deep inside felt heavy and empty, a blank mass. I felt the lightning strike again, the blink of the flash stayed with me.
The flash stayed with me like an excuse, like that first encounter with him. Unbeknownst to me, I felt him, finally losing him. I recall glancing at him and consciously saying to myself ‘that’s me.’ A few months later, my mom told me that he had died that same day, a year ago from today. The details hazily obscure, although his life within a fringe heavily apparent. And that date, last year, I pinpointed that blank mass in my memory and intuitively knew that was why I ached that night, that my paincave echoed with that flash of lightning.
Found on the side of a desolate road in an old minivan, hunched over, bloated heart, diabetic, fraught with pain, guilt and shame, succumbed to the elements——did he have that look of wonder behind those eyes. When I saw him: did he ever? He must have, because I do. I think he gazed in the vast distance, contemplating nothing, only discerning wavy blurs, the blues of the hobo, the pursuit of the unattainable, the chase of the infinite, erasing time, eroding self. With the brief encounter, I wonder, still, and my eyes smile more that my mouth. I saunter on towards something I know not, a nameless path, towards the indiscernible.
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Dirt! That is beautiful and moving. Was this a relative?ReplyDelete
In every blade of grass, in every drop of rain . . . .ReplyDelete
That's something my dad said once, but it truly embodies where and when I feel him. You were shown that man's suffering and soul. Is it a place your soul had once been? Were your souls connected at another time? Isn't it fascinating how you feel so connected to this person, yet probably not nearly as connected to people you spent much more time with? Life is continually mysterious and perplexing. Lost souls can take many different routes, yours covers endless miles. I'm lucky to have travelled some of them with you.
Jess, thanks for those profound words. Hope your well.Delete
The world is made of stories. And life is made of choices and consequences. Some choose the story that pain is romantic and noble. Some choose not to choose. I don't understand either of those.ReplyDelete
Thanks for this post.
Thanks for reading and your comment. Good words to ponderDelete
"Hobo Joe", a reference neeve uses in jest when crossing the paths of nomads. perhaps, there is a bit of hobo joe in us all. seemingly, more so than others. thank you ryan, for the taleReplyDelete
Thanks Kim. Hope your well. Miss ya!Delete