PART FOUR

Round and Round I'm Whirl-a-ing


(1)


Ironically enough, at some point during that time I'd spent wandering through the cemetery and down country roads, picking up garbage and musing over those homeless ones who'd deserted their former lives because they'd become too difficult to manage, I happened upon the discovery that my own life was verging on a state of collapse.  A part-time job doesn't pay much.  The bills – or rather, the unpaid bills – were rapidly accumulating, and it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to make the required payments on my mounting debt.  I finally found that I had no choice but to quit my job at the factory.  I've started a new job now, a full-time job, at a convenience store, where I stand behind a counter and sell lottery tickets, cigarettes, snack foods, pop, and the occasional household item.  I've also had to give up my car, and consequently my little house on the hill.  Now I live in a small apartment located at the center of town.  This town being economically depressed, its center – inhabited mainly by members of the working class, or, in some cases, the non-working class – is rather run-down and poky.  No longer do I roam at my leisure, partly because I have less leisure time available to me now and partly because, in these neighborhoods, I find there is little enough to occupy my interest.  I still sit and look out my window sometimes, mostly to listen to the neighbors arguing, occasionally to witness a public brawl.  But I remain fundamentally the same now as I have always been:  alone.  Alone, and also sometimes lonely; also sometimes overcome with sexual longing or with the desire for companionship of like minds; and sometimes suffering from a great boredom with myself.

And yet, if I cannot deny those incompatibilities of personality and circumstance that keep me from making wider social contact, neither can I deny the inward pull that drives me, now more than ever, towards the center of myself; and which of these factors is the more responsible for my sense of isolation I cannot really say.  The inward pull I feel is, I believe, an energetic quality felt by all living things:  the desire for self-actualization which it represents is, after all, one of the fundamental motivating powers of life.  The only condition imposed upon it is that of time, and time's motion too is circular in character, though marked by a linear progression as well.  Thus does the circle of life becomes a spiral, and nothing, myself included, can ever be said to be entirely self-contained or self-enclosed.  But I cannot help wondering as to the purpose of it all.  The constant evocation of the past that time's circularity elicits, not only via the memories stirred up by the replication of the seasons but, in some instances, through the recurrence of actual events and relationships similar to those already experienced, must, I feel, happen for a reason.  Certain thematic strands seem to constantly reappear:  this person reminds us of another we once knew; one string of events reminds us of others which occurred in a past we thought we had finished with long ago.  Why?  Is it so that, this time, we can do things "right"?  And yet I have difficulty believing in such concepts as right and wrong, for my determination as to what these concepts really mean is constantly changing.  It seems to me that the recurrence of certain themes in my life, as embodied by the people and events I encounter, has less to do with learning some moral lesson than with discovering how to be entirely "present" to experience.  It's true that guilty memories sometimes haunt me when I feel I have done "wrong," but to do "right," I think, requires adherence not so much to some arbitrary moral code as it does to being alive to each moment I live with as much clarity as I am able to call forth.  The more I am able to achieve this clarity, the more "right" my response to the moment becomes.  In this way, as I rediscover the past within the ever-changing present, I have the chance to recover a portion of the energy lost through the mistakes I've previously made because of my former lack of clarity and insight.  And, if that clarity and insight become great enough, my response will become morally "right" in that it becomes more profoundly appropriate to a given person or set of events.  At this point, perhaps, I may leave my regrets finally behind.  And, just as my earthly remains will be left behind when I die to feed the earth's soil, so too it may be that the remains of my past can be left behind now, in the form of memories become empty husks devoid of life, to feed the cosmic firmaments of space and time.






ROUND AND ROUND I'M WHIRL-A-ING


Round and round I'm whirl-a-ing

A-whirling round and round

Madly, madly whirl-a-ing

A-whirling round and round

One day the whirling of the world
Picked me from the ground
And set me down beyond before
Still whirling round and round

Now I am living wrong-side up
And dying right-side down
As all the world goes whirl-a-ing
A-whirling round and round


Round and round I'm whirl-a-ing

A-whirling round and round

Madly, madly whirl-a-ing

A-whirling round and round

Now all my smiles look like frowns
And all my joys like sorrows
For today is yesterday
And yesterday tomorrow

Not older grow I now but young
And younger by the year
Until I grow a baby's tongue
And look, and lick, and leer


Round and round I'm whirl-a-ing

A-whirling round and round

Madly, madly whirl-a-ing

A-whirling round and round

No longer have I faith in hell
Nor think I much of heaven
Religion's only alphabet
And counting one to seven

Sucking on the rotten fruit
Just made me too profound
So I have gone on whirl-a-ing
A-whirling round and round


Round and round I'm whirl-a-ing

A-whirling round and round

Madly, madly whirl-a-ing

A-whirling round and round

And science tried but art belied
It's my philosophy
That nothing can what I cannot
So now I follow me

Now I follow me with I
Then I with me again
And never stop to question why
Or how or where or when


Round and round I'm whirl-a-ing

A-whirling round and round

Madly, madly whirl-a-ing

A-whirling round and round

There is a riddle my life tells
And no one can explain
Wounded still yet still I'm healed
My ecstasy is pain

I don't know from where I come
Nor know I where I'm bound
I just keep on a-whirl-a-ing
A-whirling round and round


Round and round I'm whirl-a-ing

A-whirling round and round

Madly, madly whirl-a-ing

A-whirling round and round








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