Well: I got my chemicals back. It took me about a week but they have been delivered unto me, though god only knows why or how. . . .
It may have been the letter from London that perked me up . . . the siren song . . . and the many fine emails I have exchanged with my friends all week. What the hell. I knew it would come back to me, at least most of it. I say this with confidence because I have lived through countless eras of being wholly devoid of my chemicals for long stretches of time—have seen some of them vanish from my brain, never to return. I told you I would prevail. I’m holding this letter in my hand and, by god, it really is something else. The envelope has little stars and hearts all over it, and is addressed to “Mr. STARSAILOR”. . . .
Why have I not listed my PO box on here? I really ought to. I had one in Portland and people sent me letters all the time. It sure was a good ol time. One time this girl in Berkeley wrote me a letter, and I wrote her back, except I used my actual home address on the envelope. And, wouldn’t you know it, she replied by shoving the envelope into my door. As in, she came to my home. Kerwin and I were in the living room with a fire going, and it was snowing outside a little, and then we heard this sound . . . the sound of an envelope being shoved into a door! We opened the door and this person was nowhere to be found. She was great. She had real nice handwriting, and she sent me a $20 bill when Dante was sick. When I moved back to Oakland, she sent me a book of Gustave Doré’s DIVINE COMEDY etchings, which I have always loved. Where’d you go? I think you moved to Berlin. Well, it was an interesting back and forth. I like that sort of thing.
Oh look! Here’s her handwriting:
Los Angeles, man. It turned me into a mess. Truth is, I had a good time there. But that pervasive sadness! of that place! It is unshakeable. All these many years later and I am not immune to it. Maybe no one is. Or maybe if you are, something is wrong with you. Don’t misunderstand me: something is deeply wrong with me, too. It’s just that LA has a way of getting into me, bone-deep and all that, and the only thing I can do is walk it off. It is both a reminder to me that all those days I lived long ago are over now, and that something new and hideous lives on in its place. That has always been the case, but it is no less horrifying to me now as it was five years ago. And really, since my perception of this sea change has grown more complex, such that I can see the spectrum of the thing from beginning to end all at once, and feeling the glide across the desert of time more potently than I had before, it affects me and hurts me more by orders of magnitude. I’m speaking gibberish I know. I’m clumsily trying to apply words to something abstract and not altogether interesting that I routinely experience. Oh well. I tried. What is it? I am mourning the ephemeral nature of all things. At that very moment when I see my phantom past take shape behind me, I know I have traversed too far down the tunnel to experience it the way I had before. Once you know what something is, you can’t have it anymore. I am envious of my own former mindsets, if only because I didn’t understand so many things that today I find myself bored with . . . like I’m watching the movie for the hundredth time. I can see the arc of a thing shining plain . . . I don’t even need to see an experience to completion to know all the possible outcomes. Whatever the ending is, you’re still going to be human when all is said and done. There is a sadness there to me.
I still love that stupid place. Maybe I’ll put up some more pictures soon. Maybe not! I went all over the place. I did a lot of bowling, don’t you know. I was on a team when I was a kid—a team called THE SHOOTING STARS. I had not played much since that, but I remembered everything and I was pretty good. My god, they have some good bowling alleys in LA. You’ve got to at least give them that.
And now, on my desk, a stamp with the Queen’s head on it, and:
“I sang my siren song and & you came to me . . . . . I am thinking of you & how similar I feel we are. . . .”
Man, yeah. Little stars and hearts right back to you, lady.
I’m OK. I have my precious chemicals and someone on the other end. I need to write more though. It’s killing me. I’ve got to go to the city tomorrow night to see my friend’s new apartment . . . it’s right across the street from Laura Rokas’ place . . . but before I go I’ll do a whole lot of writing. I need a gig, man. I need someone to pay me to write something, even if it’s just my expenses! Maybe I’ll talk to Sheffield about it. That guy has gotten me stuff in the past.
Nurse, I trust you . . . go ahead and put on that song that makes you feel lonely.