I Think I Lost My Way

The "drifter" appears throughout Outside, Earthling, Hours and Heathen. He stumbles over land, proceeds aimlessly, without a goal, without a direction. He loses his way in "The Hearts Filthy Lesson," imploring Paddy to "carry him," and in "Something In The Air," he acknowledges that he lost his lover "along the way."

The very chromosomes of time and space have been disrupted in "Slip Away." Bowie confesses: "down in space it's always 1982." The earthlings are on fire because they are incomplete, uncompleted. The shallow man and the dreamer are "travelers interrupted." They proceed on the wrong day, at the wrong time, and are always a little late for the dawning of the day.

This discontinuity in time and space reveals itself in "I Have Not Been To Oxford Town." The protagonist admits: "If time had not stood still, if I had not ripped the fabric." In "Dead Man Walking," the main character slips through a "crack in the past." This derangement of the natural order of time and space manifests itself again and again. This is the Fool's path, a silent path through snowy fields in search of an aloof God.

The drifter has no freedom, no control over his destiny. Often he is ruled by necessity. There is no reason, no point at all to this small, needlepoint existence. He sinks or swims in a "sea of sham," and becomes "lost on the shore." He is a blind man in search of "eyes." He can't control "tomorrow's haze," or the "darkened shore." And once he claims a pair of eyes "moondust covers them." How can he have faith in tomorrow when he is visionless?

Only Heaven knows. Little Wonders are shrouded in paradox, ambiguity, doubt, and uncertainty. To escape, they seek "tits and explosions and big screen dolls." They dream their lives away. They seek "understanding" from sleeping gods because of their "great mistakes." Sinners with bloody robes seek absolution for their transgressions. Broken men search for healing in their "interrupted states." But none is to be found.

The slave enjoys some measure of favoritism and familiarity with his gods. Both gods and slave enter into an uneasy partnership. If the slave does not win the contest (by ruse or luck), he will incur the gods' disfavor...

This is the web we weave. No one needs anyone and it's not just pretend.

The chaos is killing him. The Simple Man botches complex fashions. Deranged and confused, he seeks the law, certainty, order. He's got to have a scheme, a plan for "tomorrow's man." He can no longer tolerate the "tower of Babel," or his burning shame. Feeling tattered and small enough to cry, like a ragged teddy bear, he loses his will to be next. He doesn't want to continue. He just wants to come quick and die. It's the beginning of the end and nothing has changed.

He doesn't want to be back where it all began. And he definitely wants to stay away from the future. He wants to call it a day. All things must pass.

He's a broken man, a dead man walking, falling through a crack in the past. His life lost in the fallen leaves. He feels like an oddity, an anomaly, a little wonder and yet he is merely a sober philistine, an anti-hero. This is his number: Zero.

He is older than movies, left on the shelf, a pretty thing going to hell, exploded, gone, worn-out. Where's the new morning in his life? Where is the lucky old sun in his sky? His city full of flowers?

Finally he has a chance. Something is about to happen. Something beyond this slowly burning, bruised passivity but instead he listens to the rain before the storm and it rides roughshod over him.

He ends up in a fantastic death abyss - displaced and discontinued, stuck with his small friends in a small life on a small plot of land and nobody laughs anymore. He feels like a stranger, so far away yet so near to innocent eyes, like a traveler shuffling days and lonesome nights, turning round and round, and upside down.

He turns again and again, through fire and rain, heat and cold. The silence flies on it's brief flight. This odourless man can not wake up the ocean now. The music is outside and it falls on deaf ears so he lights up his life in the flame-filled sunset.

Always in decline, he tilts his head back, overwhelmed by lies in his search for truth, overwhelmed by folly in his search for wisdom. His will to live dies. His Grace dies. This is the business he takes.

Things really mattered to him. The good things. The bad things. But now he just wants to be free. He will use what he can to get what he wants, living from hour to hour down here on Earth. He'll wait. Nothings too slow, but he's sleepy now.

Who will provide him with peace of mind? He feels like a failure. Nothing much happened all his life. Just a cold station all his life. A prisoner of fate, a servant of the higher powers, he offers up his soul for all the pain and sorrow of another tomorrow. No regrets - only rays of hope.

He wants the gods to take back his fear. He will give up his vanity for these new angels of promise but they offer him only despair. So he stands in the mouth of all that's pure yelling "down with the gods!"

The earthling-outsider who fell prey to the hours ultimately becomes a heathen, dancing in the dark, playing among the graves of the gods!

Nevada Kerr
November 2002.

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