Charleston

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

Here’s a little thing I wrote sometime in 2001, a couple of years after moving back to Tennessee from South Carolina. I wrote alot back then. I still believed that writing was good.

I was wrestling with regret and trying to convince myself that becoming “simple” could change how I felt. I was wrong, but here’s what I wrote:

Charleston

She wasn’t the same, you know –
Different in a way that left us both desperate.
Grasping at anything special between us.
And there I stood – foolish forced grin
on my face. God, I love her
then and now, I said.
It was obvious, I suppose.
Her, beautiful and classic. And me,
so young and hungry. In the early times
we were good. Years apart, no ones fault.
I knew all along I’d be back,
couldn’t expect her to wait the way
she’d been; fragrant, warm, even
delightfully boozy. Upon return
I found her changed. Dirtier than before,
cool and an obscene drunken stranger.
Nights I’d loved her through alcohol eyes,
turned sober and out of reach.
Through age, it seems, I’ve learned
to be simple.

Looking back, it wasn’t a great poem. And after all, I was wrong. Charleston hadn’t changed. It was me. It was the fear that I’d never go back that left me critical. It was the fear of losing my youth and moving into the blurry grey walled reality of responsibility. My own fear was ugly. When we visit now with you kids, it’s different again. The reality of what I gained is beautiful in the end and Charleston never changes.

I love you,

– Daddy

“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”- Jack Kerouac