You know how things begin:
You tell yourself, hey – this is it –
This is the beginning.
And that’s what it becomes; for you, for me.
That’s because beginnings are arbitrary,
They only happen when you tell yourself they’re happening.
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table.
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Streets that follow like a tedious argument.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street.
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time.
To die—to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To die, to be really dead, that must be glorious. There are far worse things awaiting man than death.
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there's the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil;
The undiscovere'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns.
This is as good a time as any – the one we’re in.
“As of now,” there’s a phrase.
“As of now,” ; where everything is, where everything is happening;
Where every beginning that’s ever begun
Has had to begin
Here, where we are.
As of now.
This instant, within all of the instances
Where all the beginnings and all the endings
For that matter
If, where we are,
In this huge, immense moment
Are all our yesterdays.
One next to the one before it,
Next to the one before that,
Next to the one before that.
Going back as far as the eye
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
We left before the police came.
It was morning by then, and dawn.
I am in blood
Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.
Naturally, I was feeling very bad,
As I went down there.
Down Wall, from girder into street noon leaks,
A rip-tooth of the sky’s acetylene;
Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft
A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets,
Tilting there momently, shrill shirt ballooning,
A jest falls from the speechless caravan.
Under thy shadow by the piers I waited
As apparitional as sails that cross
Some page of figures to be filed away;
—Till elevators drop us from our day.
I just kept going down and down there.
It was like going down to the bottom of the world.
I found my brother’s body, there,
Where they had thrown it away on the rocks, by the river,
Like an old, dirty rag nobody wants.
He was dead and I felt I had killed him.
All afternoon the cloud flown derricks turn ...
Thy cables breathe the North Atlantic still.
I turned back, to give myself up
Because if a man’s life can be lived so long
And come out this way, like rubbish,
Then something was horrible
And had to be ended, one way or another
And I decided to help.
In this amazing come-and-go,
Now is the only time anything can happen.
Now is the only place
Where everything that’s ever been
You know how things begin,
You know how things end.
You tell yourself,
“Hey, this is it.
This is the ending.”
And that’s what it becomes
For you, for me.
That’s because endings are as arbitrary
They only happen
When you tell yourself
Maybe that’s why they happen
The way they do,
Any time you want them to.
Could be this very moment.
With inspiration from, apologies to, acknowledgment of and gratitude for: Ken Nordine, T. S.
Eliot, Robert Frost, Shakespeare, Garrett Fort & Bela Lugosi, Abraham Polonsky, Ira Wolfert & John Garfield, Coleridge and Hart Crane.