I don’t want to be that guy
Found dead in his apartment in middle age
Succumbed to self-indulgence
Compelled by the very darkness
That impelled him to succeed

I’m no celebrity
There’d be no shouting about it on every channel
The newsfeeds would not be flush with
Heady, sympathetic remembrances,
indictments on morality,
video and full-spread magazine retrospectives
on the life of a troubled career.
“He had so much talent.”
“What a waste.”
“How could he be so selfish?”
“He shone so brightly.”
“Why did he take him away from us?”

I don’t want to be that guy.
I could be that guy
In my own little circle of friends,
In my own little family,
My own little planet
A selfish satellite
To my own little sun

The creative life
Is a more demanding life
Than the life otherwise lived
By the creative liver.
It shouts at you and calls you names
It gushes forth everything
In bombast and hyperbole
For us to sort it all out —
Especially the darkness
Which crows for us to embody it
To make it real
To scrape it along the whetstone of our living
To hone the dull blade
And makes us walk barefoot on that edge
To get to the other side
Before it steals us away
Because it knew we’d never give up
And that we’d learn to ever give in

I don’t want to be that guy
The stolen ghost
Haunting the lives of those who loved him
Out of a sense of embarrassment,
Of humiliation,
Of having failed to live up to
The image of the god
That drove him into the light
And cut his feet out from under him after all.

We could be that guy
But for the guy that was that guy
There to warn us and keep us from
walking that path
And never getting anywhere
Living the life otherwise lived,
Risking nothing.

I want to be like that guy.
Risking everything, bloodied feet and all.
Cause I’ll have that dark compulsion anyway.
We all will, we all do.
And instead of swallowing it into
Some kind of cancer, we should chew it up and spit it out
On that apartment floor where the body might be found.
Post it on Instagram
And say “That dinner didn’t suit me!”
And go on living
Like something had ever happened
Like the booze and cigarettes and the sexual abuse
Like the guilt, the shame, the shadows we cast
Like the life otherwise was the life we’d already lived
And like the life we’ve got in our hands
Can continue to be shaped

Our darkness is the material
From which we shape the clay feet of
That giant every time we look to its visage instead of its trunk.
We think to ourselves that the risk we take is to decide to smash its feet
But the risk we took
Was in not deciding at all
And finding ourselves crashed onto that apartment floor
with clay everywhere
And speculation about the
Missing hammer that smashed it.

I don’t want to be that guy.
But I’m happy he was here.
Not because of the moral of the story of his life
But because of his living.
His doing.
His being.
And because he was us, anyway,
whether we wanted that to be or not.

Copyright © Wiley Quixote