last night anna and i were listening to the bob edwards show on npr on the way home from work. edwards was interviewing the author of a memoir detailing his experiences of being kidnapped on the streets of new york city. the dumb-ass thugs held him hostage as they took his bank cards and cleaned out his accounts. then let him go. the thugs were caught pretty easily because they used a stolen mobile phone from a previous victim of the same kind of crime, and were tracked thru the phone records.
i bring this up cuz edwards asked the guy how this ordeal changed his life. his answer was that it allowed him to be more free, to stop worrying about the small stuff, and do what it is you desire to do. if that means go to brazil with some friends, then do it. if yr desire is to stay in yr garden, then by god plant. cuz in the end something will take you out, and it may happen all of a sudden. there are no guarantees in anything. we all know that.
in my early 20s, i think i was 20, my best friend was shot twice by two 13-year-old kids who tried to steal his mountain bike. it went down like this: e. borrowed a cool bike from b. (who remains my oldest, dearest pal) and took it for a spin around the neighborhood. e. lived next to a freeway which had a pedestarian overpass. e. was stopped by these two kids at the top of this overpass. they blocked e. from passing and demanded his bike. he told them to fuck off and pushed them aside. as he got a few feet he heard a pop and his arm went numb. he heard a 2nd pop and his left side went numb. pure adrenalin took over and by the time he got back home he was dripping blood from two bullet holes.
next day i visit e. in the hospital. he's recovering from exploratory surgery. the surgeon found that both shells made clean holes and had missed vital organ and arteries. in other words, he was going to heal up just fine. i told e., dude, you were lucky. they could've hit yr head or spine.
e. looked at me and said, lucky! i was fucking shot!
not luck, but chance, which seems to rule our lives. we can guide chance, hedge it a bit, but that is what arguably governs living. like writing a poem. when it is going well i've no idea what the next line will be. and often writing will appropriate overheard snatches of conversation, texts from books or journals open beside the computer, pieces of a sitcom or tv commercial. what i can do as the writer is hopefully use what materials i have and let the poem guide me.
i keep using horace's dictum: carpefuckingdiem, because he was one of the 1st to state that nothing lasts, everything is fleeting, what matters is passion, love, commitment, dedicated hard work. in whatever yr endevours might be.
life will kill you, eventually. fear of life, dedication, rejection, love, failure, work and so on, is death now.