Jay Gatsby

America in a sense is a country defined largely by the fact that its many children have been deceived and robbed.  The allegiance and values we pledge ourselves to are largely the exact opposite principles upon which the country has been founded upon in the eyes of many.  And yet, as ageless now as it was to the distant pilgrims who sought this golden land, the American Dream’s banner still waves precociously and piously over the ramparts of our collective ambition.  If ever there was a mythological literary figure to represent the sheer incorruptibility of the American Dream, it must surely be Jay Gatsby.

Honor, meritocracy, the aristocracy of reason and ambition, are supposedly the principles upon which our spurious democracy was founded.  Yet in a cursory review of the history of our country we find a nation founded upon acts of dishonor, chauvinism, and avarice. Divorced from the past, we still find in the present that the great promise of self actualization and moxie are not the gilded keys to America’s True Promise that we were led to believe as children.  If our National pride is sickly, and our promise tainted, where then does that leave us?

For some this cynicism lends itself to an abject apathy that manifests itself in the proliferation of internet memes and a spattering of irreverent media decrying the death of meaning and utter listlessness of the universe. To others, the truth is a means to take the reigns from the cold indifference of circumstance and plow the solid rock into form and beauty.  This is what separates Jay Gatsby from the millennial, and makes him utterly timeless.  He is at once The Dreamer, and The Dream.

Much of his life in the Roaring 20’s has analogues today, issues over wealth and class, he defined himself by his lack and his desire.  He reforged himself using the very tools that America itself was built on, profiteering.  This is not a slight against the man however, in fact what makes him ultimately redeemable and incorruptible (despite wealth’s ability to corrode) is his remarkably pure vision, one of impossible, all consuming, love and achievement.  He wanted only to afford that which he could never hope to own.  He loved Daisy Buchanan more than she deserved to be loved, not because she was a being unworthy, but because he had already taken her all those years ago and the Daisy he met later was not the same person.  His expectations of her could never be matched because she was Daisy Buchanan and not Daisy Fay.  Maybe Mrs. Buchanan would have had enough of the love he sought, but how many of us secretly love the phantom of someone, still here but long gone.  A dream is timeless, a moment that can feel like eternity and yet fades so subtly.  It is a moment that exists and is real, utterly devoid of any temporal reference and yet it can be something that takes root in us and blossoms through our actions.

If we were like Jay Gatsby would we too be Great?  If we held on to some impossible incorruptible dream, would we too be granted the temperance to seize our success from the acrid slobbering jowls of America?  Or would we too be swept up in the Great Delusion that encourages us to punch in another hour as Columbia and her many confederates pick us like leaves from the Tree of Life to line their laurels?

In either case there is something to be said for The Dream and The Dreamer.  What I take from Jay Gatsby is that we are mortal without our dreams. Not our dreams collectively, but our defining dream.  Our dream is our compass, and our past our sail, it doesn’t matter that its America.  When our dream is impossible to taint, there are no heights we cannot reach, no riches without us, no devil’s claws can latch to our skin.  We can all be Great too…

Like Gatsby.


A Message From Me To You While On The Road

“Somehow the way the sensations of the world just possesses you when you’re barreling down the open road, it seems as if Life just isn’t really your choice anymore, more like it’s a narrative unfolding and you’re following the script. I could feel the floor of the car vibrating some wild rhythm in tune with the engine, its almost like the universe was kind of focused on me. My preoccupation was upon the mounting tension I could feel upon making it back to Chicago. I was only a couple hours out, but I could already feel that icy blast of cold air as soon as I opened the door to 417 Reynolds Place. I was gonna hear it, the pure acerbic cries of Jody, and the distaste of her mother’s mother. The point wouldn’t be that I was back, but rather the time it took to get back, and the prior destination as if she didn’t already know, and how I was spending my time when I neglected to answer her daughter’s calls.   But I already know how its gonna go, Jody’s mother wont let it happen that way, not for too long. God knows I hate her mother, not Jody’s, her mother’s mother. I’m still not even sure if Jody’s mine. Kira…if anybody could make space for me it would be her, Jody’s mother, Kira. If she’d spent half as much time paying attention to her own life as she did worrying about me she might’ve had her own place by now. She surely would’ve been finished with school; I know Jody will though, when it’s her time, of that I’m sure. You know driving down this country road like this kinda reminds me of the sort of stuff you usually hear as a kid like ‘the fresh air will do you good’ or ‘stay inside for too long and you ain’t gonna turn out too right,’ I always had trouble with that sorta thing what with growing up in the inner city and all. Most kids spent their times outside, I was inside listening to my grandfather tell me stories about the old country. How the family used to be much richer back on the island, all the weird shit people got up to after learning the secrets of obeah, and all the faint distant lies of what African royalty used to be like. I used to think that sorta stuff was cool if not a little bit scary, now I think its all pretty funny. Such a shame how the old era ended, now we’re stuck in the land of the Yankees paying taxes to colonizers while our county is being called a shithole. The same people who sign off on the paid leave of the men who shot my cousin down in the street like a dog three days ago, walk around my neighborhood eager to buy our property and purchase my aunt’s ‘ethnic cooking’. This is the last thing I want to think about as I’m riding across state lines with my dead cousin in the trunk, it’s the sort of thing that makes me remember just what I really can do when I put my mind to it. Don’t worry; the cops will never see me though…not if I don’t want em to.”


(Somewhere along you linger, in warm sheets against my facsimile, haunting my dreams like a shade…)

{I know The Sun rests on your shoulders, by the way your skin glows like gilded mahogany.  I know somewhere in your cells lies a wicked light that doth sunder a man to ashes. I know you over again like the Morning Star, it’s lost titles, and the songs of The Heavenly Host.

And you were a promise I chose to keep.  Over and above hollow vows, precious stones, and sweet things which in their apathy, refuse to persist.  You rescued The Day from my night, with The Sun resting on your shoulders. Your name is a word worth keeping.

What does grace look like?

It swims in the eyes of a Black Woman.

What are riches worth?

That which she chooses.

And a Black woman is…?}

[And she took the form of elegant persuasion…

Her hair coiled around the air like cocoa butter and castor oil, starving it of lifelessness.

Lips filling the sky like sun and moon, she had her own gravity.

Something unearthly, Godlike burned in her eyes…

Her skin slid across The Elements like Energy, contouring to the imagination, ebbing and flowing to the desires of the mind.

Flowers blossomed as she sighed.

Her laughter stirred inertia in The Cosmos…

What wit? What force of Fortune would endear me to you?

How horrifying a mistake I’ve made to live so long without you…

Please excuse my tardiness.]


Butterfly in The Night

Stranger things have happened…

Somewhere in the vastness of a churning ocean once, as waves berate rocks into sand.

Under a twilight sky of mystery and intimation, as stars alight dreams and daring of impetuous mortality.

Maybe if I…

Could steal some late hours from you.

Duality is selfless, its hold on individuality selfish.

Soft smile aloft fragile shying wings.

Can I twist the vapors that shapeth aero-space, for you?

Lay your pinions betwixt the aether, scrape aloft stellar parades for you?

March at celestial pace for you, lie in wait attuning Heaven’s gate for you?

Selfishness, that begets selflessness.

These things I feel. And are true.

Eyes that hum like levitation, in the silence of the cosmos, as I lay bare my truths to the peering, beckoning Sun.

Body built like obliteration, humility, worship…My last to be offered beyond my sake.

In you I am lost…

My center redeemed.


The Numinous Waters of Aquarius

Within still waters.
Let my skin breathe.
Against vaulted walls painted like skies.
Stretch my mind to tether infinite.
Bellow old ruined thrones and scattered crevices.
Tread my veins.
Pour overflowing.
Word over word.
Ringing, extolling, parables.
Etch yourself within, beyond.
I as anchor, you as beacon.
Call forth tides.
Heave in silence.
Whisper from the deepest cracks.

For Tomorrow

The future is a steady march, like the relentless seconds that chip away resolutely into eternity. It is a mysterious serenade, like notes on a scale tied to dimly lit rooms full of smoke and perfume, cocktail drinks and cocktail dresses, where the word is a hum and the air is a buzz, and applause is a must, with voice spun silk like the prize of a loon admist nights of June where the prize is the Moon. The future is a horizon where the sea is the sky, where the greatest treasures are buried above and the freest of freedoms resides below, where the difference between swim and fly is the position between imagined endeavor. The future is the measure between probability and possibility. Or alone if you let it be. The future is the prosthetic of my destiny.