there's a way to run the day or make it your partner running alongside you; there’s a way to make it work, call the day your friend; there's a way to do it: a way to try. if you should meet interference - wrong ways, passionless, wayside partners, unwound works, friends stuffed full with enemy tongues - there are ways to run ‘round these obstacles with the day, still yours, in-hand.
you must pause at the roadblocks, acknowledge them cordially but do not over-respect them or the day will lose respect for you and disappear - wonder why you counted higher, weighed greater the grievances of storms over sunshine and daylight saves - you, itself - daylight is a measure in self-preservation - and the day will leave you should you choose the thunder over the lightening.
there are families to tend to; mouths to be made, money to feed and the day, we lament, does not provide us enough hours to do these things, obsessing our private lives - day needs to give us more time to do what’s necessary. children must be schooled, learned so they might one day work and parents already educated must put their education, schooling to work so they might cling to their average day and i and the daytime know what all schoolchildren learn: those to whom evil is done, waste daytime in return. do not let your mouth stuff itself full with enemy tongue, vain language pouring competitive excuses; mismanagement and grief: we must suffer them all and over and again but do not over-respect this elderly rubbish or the day will leave you - leave you alone amongst strangers you call by the same name - the error bred in the bone of each woman and man is the error the day cannot abide and it will leave you to be loved - alone.
but who can live for long in an euphoric dream? these are merely unexpired clever hopes. hunger allows no choice: i’ve none to tend to and though no one exists alone… all i have is a voice.
a voice…and the day.
as i walk out in-hand with the day - my partner, my lover - the crowds do not stop and remark at the romance; they do not see the glory of normalcy shining, the iridescence of obstacles overcome. instead, they remark on the brilliant resonance of bands and the songs of their lead-singing lovers: until the ocean runs dry, till China and Africa meet, love it has no ending, salmon sing in the street.
and i and my day go by unnoticed, as do the city clocks whirring and chiming my lover’s desperate lyric.
but band and singer play on,
loud like squawking geese gone about the sky,
and the day’s timely message clocks in as a miss;
i and my lover walk gone,
hushed passion, like deserts when they sigh - then
singer coughs, we laugh and, in naked shadow, kiss.
late, late in the evening, lovers are gone with their crooked hearts, off to love crooked neighbours - 'o, let me not deceive you! - even day will leave. but…my lover always returns: you cannot conquer time.
day disrespects us most grievously when reminding us of that - the day is not ours at all but we belong to the day and when the day decides we aren’t to have anymore of lightening, saving, it’s the most tyrannical of appointments - one never intended for our planners, calendars. whether the days cut short are yours or those of another there it is: the unscheduled reminder that yes, you may work with me, you may call me friend but i am the more powerful of us two and no matter how well we work together, at the end of the day, at the end of days, i am the one in charge, i am the dictator - after all, you orbit me.
we don’t believe this; don’t want to, anyway. we wouldn’t buy plane tickets to Boston to see our parents next Christmas if we thought they were going to die in August; wouldn’t renew our driver’s licenses or stock up at wholesale clubs, purchase extended warranties on $4,000 flat-screen TVs if we didn’t believe we were going to be around to enjoy or use them.
“And yet it moves…”
that’s how you work with the day; make of the day your friend. do not look beyond it to the next day or you'll quickly come to know your friend, partner is a selfish one: the focus is to be on them. in fact, they want you to seize them! what passionate partners days can be, if you get to know them, the ways to love them! take what this day offers and make of these offers the best gifts you can and what cannot be made into gifts - what surely are obstacles - you will do no more than acknowledge them cordially - do not over-respect them - before returning to the day.
even when the mercury sinks into the mouth of a dying day, there is a damn given, emanating from a lightening ray: the death of a poet is kept from his poems.
when we mourn death, lament the passings of our dearly departeds and we do - we do lament, dearly - some sound the “Funeral Blues” but many never know they’ve stopped all the clocks, cut off the telephone to the smirking bemusement of a passed poet who never meant such sorrowful sincerity; rather, satire. brilliant satire, at that.
"The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good."
it’s precisely the kind of sarcasm and wit i’d want read on my last day.
but if on the morning of your mourning these words reach down your throat, into your heart and pull out a cry of unhinging understanding then for love’s sake, may the day be your friend and let not friends stuffed full with enemy tongues share such stupid knowledge with you but if they do, you will do no more than acknowledge them cordially - do not over-respect them - before returning to the blue day, its glimmering ray of hopeful lightening and the damn that love gives.
oh, how difficult it is to maintain these relationships: every twenty-four hours awaking to a fresh, dewy kiss from the day, this new lover, a stranger met in one night’s stand amidst the royal blue velvet pouch of midnight’s sky; that precious purse unknotted by some careless hand who indifferently slung wide, like loaded die, Auden’s stars that do not give a damn. from somewhere across the universe pocked with burns, that gaping bag hung over your head, the day plucked passion and swore it a diamond, promised equal affection and, hopeless with dreams, engaged your hands then you fell fell fell from the sky, fell to bed, slept with the day now kissing you awake and you blink, think, fumble for a name, “Which day is this?” this new day, this day is new but this day has an old name and when this new day rouses you with droplets of dew they trickle down your spine with chilling, day-old familiarity: the bored, itchy trigger-finger of a seven-year spouse who, like certainty, fidelity, will on the stroke of midnight pass: in rapid-fire succession for the last time stroke you with itchy-finger, disengage from your hand, run out the door towards the horizon and quietly shoot for the moon.
how difficult it is to maintain these relationships, every day, over again.
you awake with the day after all of the other days - different names, all the same - and you give small pause to ponder these battles.
you roll on your back, look up at where the stars once were and know, quite well, that for all they care, you can go to hell.
you try to roll away from the day but the day is on you; you must go where the day takes you.
you must face the day.
and when the day is done the same lullaby is sung and once more i’ll lay my sleeping head, dear love, human on your faithless arm.
but in your arms, sweet broken day,
let the living creature lie,
mortal, guilty, but to you
the entirely beautiful.
let not one whisper, not a thought, not a kiss nor look be lost do not disrespect the day do not forget to keep it close, your partner, your friend who, even when giving you their worst must be recalled as a gift, treated with love.
“We must love one another or die.”
i don’t know that it can be stated any simpler than that. but it doesn’t seem to be taking, so maybe write it down, tack it up someplace where you’ll see it upon waking each and every day.
Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.
W.H. Auden, “Lullaby”
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.
they're the most beautiful words ever strung together. there's no diamond more brilliant, precious than those eleven gems. they promise forgiveness, absolution; they promise humanity; they promise unconditional love; they promise tomorrow...and every day after.
i hope you make friends with the day. i hope you make a friend today. mostly, i just hope you have a nice day. and make it a day that another will find nice, as well. you can do that by saying something as simple as, “I hope you have a nice day!” or, better yet, “I love you.” but I’m a crazy-ass, bleeding-heart, writer-type who woke up this morning thinking, “I’m gonna’ take a break from that piece that’s kicking my emotional ass and write something light and easy!”
and here we are.
i love you. and i really do hope you have a nice day.
and if this image of Auden's wrinkly old, floppy face doesn't in some way make your day a little nicer, well...i dunno what to tell ya.