I make lists on my phone – Notes from Brené Brown’s books, My personal shame inventory, Favourite TV shows, Who I consider myself to be, My top 50 books, What I want for my life, Ideas for poems about COVID-19, Affirmations, Qualities had by the guy of my dreams, Men I can remember sleeping with, What’s important to me, Recipes, quotes, Psychic medium readings, Parks to visit for nature walks, Friends who awoke, Christmas card recipients, How to control emotions before a full moon, People in my life I value and miss, Ideas for courses, Films by Jim Jarmusch, and My bucket list. I make lists on my phone— That’s all you need to know.
Learn more about my first book of poetry, Eden Refugee, here. If you know anyone who would enjoy it, please share.
Everett, in the movie Paterson says, after pulling a fake gun on everyone in the bar, “Without love, what reason is there for anything?” I don’t know, Everett… nothing, not a fucking thing that matters anyway. Without love, every day is the same damn pandemic day. Wake up, walk the dog, make coffee, drink coffee, read a book, do housework, work at the computer, walk the dog, eat lunch, work at the computer some more… Make dinner, eat it, walk the dog, maybe phone a friend, watch Netflix, go to bed. Get up the next day and do it all over again… in pain. For what? How many useless facts can I hold in my head? I forget more than I learn, every day, so little of it matters. Without love, there’s no reason for anything. Without love, every day’s a pandemic day. Without love… we don’t really exist. It’s all just the matrix.
Well, I finally made it to the city that never sleeps. Of course the very first place I go to is The Dakota. I spent so many years reading about it, picturing it in my mind, dreaming about visiting it and now I am actually standing right outside its famous wrought-iron gates!
It is October the 9th, 2009. I have specifically timed my very first visit to New York City to coincide with his birthday. Surely he must come out and acknowledge his fans on a day like this, accept their greetings, perhaps even blow out the candles on the cakes some of his admirers will undoubtedly bring along.
Within five minutes of arriving at The Dakota—and what a thrill it is to see it for the very first time—Yoko walks right past me. Strangely, she carries no presents in her hands and looks rather melancholy on this joyous occasion. No, not just melancholy, more than that, she looks completely disconsolate and deflated, shrunken almost, as if some vital part of her has been amputated. But surely, once she walks into their apartment on the 9th floor, his famous wit will cheer her up and his cheeky smile will make her smile, too.
Meantime, I will stand here and wait for him to come out. I have flown across oceans to see him and see him I definitely will, despite those ugly rumours I overheard some time ago about something horrifying that apparently befell him a while back. What nonsense! Crazy things like that just don’t take place in our world. Surely fate would take extra-special care of such a man to ensure nothing bad happened to the creator of such sublime and immortal beauty. Why, I am certain he is half-lying, half-sitting on his bed right now, as I’ve seen him do in photos, picking notes on his guitar and creating more sonic jewels of ineffable wonder.
And so I will stand here and wait for him to come out, till nightfall if necessary, for I have to prove to myself that he is in fact a real person and not just an idealised construct created by mankind to satisfy its insatiable need for heroes. For it is almost impossible to believe so many timeless masterpieces could inexhaustibly flow out of one man. What if he is just an archetypal symbol of our hopes, our dreams, our aspirations for a utopian existence and so all my waiting is in vain? But no, that can’t be!
And so I will stand here and wait for him to come out, till nightfall if necessary, to wish him a happy birthday and to press into his hands some of my own poems and stories, so that he can see for himself that we both share the same ideals and beliefs.
And I will grab the opportunity to tell him how much his music has meant to me over the years, how his music gave me the inspiration and the courage to reach for peaks in my own creative endeavours, how music for me is the loftiest form of art and the most sublime means of expression. Alas, not being gifted with having celestial sounds divine arising and frolicking in my mind, I instead am constrained to convey my inner being through lame, unwieldy, coarse lumps of words.
I will let him know how I have tried to continue his mission of spreading hope and light around the world through my own writings, my own actions, my own conduct and interactions with people, for even one small candle can destroy the infinite darkness of the entire night.
Until then, I will wait, for I know if I wait long enough, he will come. He just has to come, for New York City is the place where everything is achievable, the place where impossible, ineffable dreams come true. And so if I just close my eyes and wish hard enough, surely he must appear!
“Waiting for John” comes from a series of pieces written by Boris Glikman titled “Impressions of America” after he visited the USA. This series takes a surreal and unusual look at America. Read more about Boris’ adventures here.
An Ode to the Century Past
That was the age of despair, disrepair of the damned and the condemned but this is now, the New Utopia.
That was the time when we killed off our muses, throwing their remains to the ravenous dogs; our innocence disembowelled, our hopes quartered with five hollow-point bullets on that cold December night.
When six million replaced six-six-six as the accursed number of all eternity and six million nameless faces, six million faceless names were extinguished for that greatest crime of all – Existence.
But this is now, the Neo-Utopia.
That was the age of despair, disrepair when raven-black sun threw rays of shadow upon the Earth and giant bullfrogs ate pygmy antelope bones, hooves and all.
But still we fought on, hoping for meaning to appear. Yet when it arrived, it was only in our dreams, dissipating the moment we awoke and grabbed at its gossamer threads with our crude, clumsy hands.
And this is now, the Last Utopia.
When the city that never sleeps finally retires to bed, exhausted by its own exuberance and hyperactivity, then and only then does John appear at the memorial dedicated to him in Central Park.
Betrayed and forsaken by God, Fate and Mankind on that cold December night, John now performs for no one but himself, singing softly the sonic jewels of wonder he has composed posthumously, and still believing, despite everything that had happened, love is all you need.
He wears a hat made out of a mincer which is filled not with dead meat but with living strawberries, his favourite fruit, and his piano is a zebra-girl hybrid who died young, at the very same instant John passed into eternity.
If all this seems to be quite bizarre and beyond belief, one must remember this is New York City after all, a place where impossible and ineffable dreams do come true, if only one imagines them hard enough.