In the Wheatfields East of Eden
I left a note for me;
Uncovered in two-thousand four,
And penned in ninety-three,
The first sentence read:
“Do you remember me?”
I remember you, a fragile child,
With eyes of blue, like robin’s eggs
Like puppet Johnny’s wooden legs:
When played we ventriloquist-
“Oho!” he said, lifting his head,
I was just asleep.
Boy, my throat is dry, you think, could I–
Have something to drink?”
“Do you remember that black bird?”
You were a graceful swan,
Turned into an ugly duckling.
I remember how it squealed
Between the stove and windowsill
I am that scared bird flapping still
Trapped between the plastic and the sun.
Eden’s not too far away,
You’ll see them all again.
At the old oak writing desk,
With an ivory fountain pen;
Take a left out of the fields,
And then drive on:
They’ll be waiting by the pond,
With all you’ve wished to see:
Happiness and dreams fulfilled,
Quarters in the wishing well.
“What have you gained, what have you lost?
Does daddy sing those same old songs?”
Daddy has ten years been gone;
We lost him in a wintry fall–
He wasn’t much to me, in life,
But in death he was my all;
He doesn’t sing, his silence does
We lost him long ago, because-
His heart was weak when he went in,
And had heart attack again.
I still think of that midnight call,
And mother said, “Ok,” that’s all;
One moment there, one moment gone–
I heard my mother drop the phone.
I tried to act like I was sleeping,
She sat down on my bed, and weeping
ran her fingers through my hair and said,
“Brandon, baby, daddy’s dead.”
Shocked I could not one tear shed,
And thought about his life instead:
I hearkened back to long gone days,
When we went fishing in the rain;
Through country side we’d ride,
As deer and turkeys passed us by.
Every morning, every year,
Another life had disappeared–
And lying there in my old bed, to hear,
And silence stole down my face a tear–
The tears rolled lazy down my cheek
My face in pillow,
all I could do was weep;
I wished that I was but asleep,
And everything was just a dream:
No more rides, or country songs;
He was gone forever;
You can escape the siren’s song,
But their silence–never.
And what I’ve gained, Vincent, my son,
He to me was so heaven-sent
His face shone like the sun.
He’s always happy, full of glee–
He did not get that trait from me;
Still so young, he looks like you,
Curly blonde hair and blue eyes too;
He’s mute and carries lettered blocks–
To spell out what he wants to say:
My living dream he laughs and sings,
I once had nothing, now I have all,
And I will keep my seneschal.
“How kind has time been to your mind?”
I’m an old man now.
Who do you love, what do you do?
I never leave the house.
Have you found your way, still lost–
The truth came at too great a cost.
Hopeless as a puppet strewn
I wandered those old roads alone
Still singing father’s sing-alongs
“Remember when you couldn’t sleep?”
Mother would come into read,
About the fearsome giant,
Who stole the light and lay behind it;
The stars he kept in his silk bag–
Then through the heavens he would run,
Until the giant was slain–the sun reborn,
The light brings life to a sleeping world,
the carpet of the daytime slow unfurls,
When that parricide the fire of the sun undead,
When her story was thus reading
We slept most comfortably in bed
And had recurring dreams-
Everything turns backwards then
And now the mirror screams at me
Where are you sacred trinkets then?
Father’s golden fountain pen
and aunt Jenny’s music box
Both were sold for heroin
Twenty-five bucks a pop
They were before this note forgot
They should have left me where I was,
When they saved me from the dust
“Did you become a worthwhile man?
Or did desire drive you mad?
Still screaming at the mirrors, too?”
The Dream machine–it spit me out
I walked at night along the shore
Drinking vodka more and more
Stumbling on the shore at night
Singing my profane hymns despite
Seeing every day the same old scene
Junkies like broken figurines
I thought myself as a
In the Dream Machine a cog
Paper plates stacked on the floor
Tattered posters on the floor
The drug of choice for the junkie is more.
Out of money, out of time,
I try to find catharsis in these lines,
In my head there is a dreamworld,
Sleepy and far away–
The sky is made of liquid water
And the seas made out of clay.
Pills and pipes I’m up all night,
I sleep throughout the day
I read a lot; I’ve tried to write.
Perhaps I am not doing right.
No glory for the prodigy—
Just vodka shots and liquid morphine.
that has been my waking daydream
A song I’ve sang before.
And in the silence of the twilight all I want is more.
Does father sing that country song?
Daddy has been ten years gone.
Do you regret the things you write?
They are brief glimpses through the
We circle the sun like wanton flies,
Until our neon fire dies
Remember when you were a child?
I was happy then.
We ran through wheatfields in the sun,
We lived to play pretend.
The things you’ve done, the things you’ve seen—In the crystal of a dream,
Went by the years in silent rings.
Those majestic circles riddles by;
A jigsaw puzzle in the sky.
All lost in the violent weather
Which in terror come together
And in the end when bodies die—
What does the spirit leave behind:
The animating essence of the mind.
Do you remember that December when the weather most you fretted stole away to write this note?
You were in a wheatfield filled with snow
how well I know
how well I thought
of all those years when I was lost
that so I penned this letter to
myself to just see if who
I was still remained—
a wicker basket in the rain,
a discovery that led to pain,
When I have heard each, every word,
I still don’t think I’ll know—
The motives of the puppeteer behind the shadow show.
I kissed the air instead of lips,
And woke up as she disappeared—
Hope was an angel mangled wings,
Who struggled by and by—
Just like a one winged butterfly,
In desperate circles but to die.
I’ve ran from fear by chasing dragons,
And I’ve ran from dragons too.
But most of all I’ve ran from you—
The confused child who tried to prove,
He wasn’t born ordained to lose—
That hopefully I’d do enough,
To show I was of use, to see—
That I was what they said of me,
That I have been of use to you,
I lingered for a moment, vaguely aware,
Then the feeling disappeared—
Nothingness, no time, no self, no thought,
And when I woke I prompt forgot
I might be writing letters to myself from different times,
So when I’m born again I somehow might find,
Proof of what I’ve been before,
Proof of what I’ve left behind.
Letters to a single mind,
Being reborn throughout time
How many bodies did it take, to see,
If ever I’ll discover another person as me;
A thousand miles, a million more,
If I’ve been people in the past,
I will be in the future.
To come across as though another person,
Though knowing that I wrote it:
Will that new body of mine notice? And—
If it does, if it’s you, you’ll know,
There’s one answer left to know
If you see this and you’re me,
the man who once sat behind,
all these clues I’ve left to find:
A small green hill and textile mill,
A greenhouse and a pecan tree—the
wheatfields east of Eden made for me:
If I make it back I’m sure I’ll know,
That I’m still a part of the show.
If these my words you look upon,
For me to matter when I’m gone—
Take a right out of the Wheatfield,
Head east for Eden, on your own,
Paradise—a long walk home.