from "The Autobiography of
by: Jesse S. Mitchell
You can be invisible, transparent, and never make a sound. In fact that is the key, never make a sound, don’t distrub the flow and make ripples in the noise…no one will ever see you. But no one can stay soundless forever or all the time.
My front door is apparently about a quarter of an inch on all sides too large for its frame. It takes a great deal of effort to even move it…let alone unlock it and open it…but I do it and in the same way every single night with my shoulder and a great deal of racket. One million light bulbs spontaneously blaze up and cast a golden glow over one million curses. I will endure.
The first thing to see inside is stacks of books, records, papers. That is also the last thing to see. Except for some random chairs and tables (also covered with stacks), that is the only thing to see. I have tens of thousands of grey and white, black and white, sepia toned photographes, some in sticky piles with turned up edges…a little yellowish, I have some in books or wrapped in plastic. I think most of them are pictures of family members and old houses…I have no way of knowing that, however, and nothing looks familiar to me in anyway…I could have some other person’s entire memory. Who knows whose life I have been living? I have towers of rare records. I have towers of common records, too…and towers of everything in-between. Everything sways and rustles in the absent breeze that is really the vibrating of my shuffling feet on the weak floor. Soon it will all break through. Boxes of books no one has ever heard of…or would care to…I have read them all. I have listened to every record, cd, tape here. Watched every movie. Wrote every note, message, scribble, secret code…
You see, the first thing I thought I was going to be was a musician. I could always tell I had something to say. I was convinced at an early age that it was going to be through music. I developed an all-consuming thirst for music: theory, history…everything about it…I learned it. I still know it. I even eventually even acquired a minor talent for it. Nothing really great…I could do some things…I could make it look good, but it never felt comfortable. It didn’t feel good. It felt fake. It was a long, sad time figuring that out.
The next thing was poetry. I was going to be a poet. I learned everything there was to know about literature, from Keats and Yeats to Ginsberg and Pound. I wrote a few things…like this one I see here on the top of this dreadful pile of junk…
I don’t like tremelo
And I don’t like vibrato
All your notes rattling in my air
…and it goes on in much the same fashion. Most of my poetry was like this…wretched. It never meant anything, except perhaps that at the time I wrote that gem up there I was suffering from a very loud and proactive guitar-playing neighbor. Didn’t mean anything deep though, nothing important, not to me and definitely not to anyone else. Some of it was published, here and there…again, nothing big.
I got on a philosophy kick, a religion deal, mysticism, atheism, the list goes on. I got political for a while. At first, I was embarrassed by my name and did anything to distance myself from it…Ayn Rand books…I could not hold up under that and swung right back into the the big, comfortable, bearded arms of leftist intellectualism. Now, I don’t really care about or for politics…or any of the rest of it either.
I write down things I feel I need to and when I decide what it is I need to do with them…I will.
I have to sometimes move stacks around to make new paths through the house. The first place I go is the record player, every night when I come home, the record player. I turn it on and watch the record fall down slowly on to the black circle. I listen for the needle drop like a junky waiting for that skin pop, backwards blood rush. As my house fills with music, my blood rushes and I stop making noise. Swallowed up in the sound, invisible.