(I remember moving in and out of fevered sleep. May 1991. Unemployed, broke, failed. Finally sick and alone, too weak to move, adrift on a foam rubber pad. Take this as what he thought about before entropy finally kicked in…)
The boy knew. A thousand years ago in another life, he knew.
Grow up. Make a name for yourself. Become a man. Make your mark in the world. Let ’em know you were there kiddo!
Yes, young Ozymandias. Go and do that. Trouble and toil, bubble and bubble. Fret your sweat-soaked soul upon the stage for your hour.
Then what? The hook, of course. Grim Reaper as stage manager. Nice try kid, NEXT!
Fuck this. Fuck that. Fuck all that. Go and build a mighty empire in the desert, spend your years getting it just right, and then what, die under its meticulously planned shade?
The boy knew. A thousand years ago in another life, he knew. It’s all pointless! Nothing you do. Not a single one of your accomplishments, brags, passions or scorns matters a whit. Not a fucking bit. A patch of industrial ruin, a nifty bit of faded Americana by the roadside. Someone’s life and love and trouble now a hubble of rubble. A hunk of junk. A bit of shit.
The boy-as-man went ahead and walked the path anyway. For a while. Just to see. To see him be the lover that spurns capricious and is himself spurned in the end. The answer-man who fixes everything but can’t fix himself. The Buddhist with the slippery ego. The drugged-out carcass, the stupe simmering in the jail cell. Walk the path son. But not too hard. Why make this more than what it really is? The boy saw the end for what it was. Why dwell on infinite insubstantials day in day out till your pump seizes up? Who’s gonna care that you did when you’re gone? You exist as object-in-space in another’s context anyway, as they do to you. You know you’re real, everyone else might be too. This might be all someone’s fevered dream for all we know. It might be yours.
The boy knew. A thousand years ago in another life, he knew. And dreamed it anyway one fevered day, dying sick and alone in the desert heat. Making all this up as he lay there, piecing random things into a chain, a path of what-ifs into oblivion.