I guess you could say I’ve spent a lot of time with the guru on and off.
The summer I met him, I was sitting in my front yard with the sprinklers turned on drinking a beer. He was walking by on the street, and he stopped and stood in the street for a while, smiling at me. He had black teeth.
I got up, and I followed him.
I followed him across town to the beach, where we sat together and watched the waves come in. “The roar,” he said, “Is like the road.”
When I asked him how the roar was like the road, he told me to listen.
I met the philosopher years later.
They stuck the needle into the philosopher’s eye, but not before reminding him it was he, in fact, who had told them to put it there. In a roundabout way he had, they said, when he said the center of the eye is hollow and you can stick a needle right into it because it’s only a hole, after all, and can do no harm.
Now the philosopher is blind, but if you ask him, he’ll say he’s richer now than ever. “Life is suffering, after all, and what good then is a life spent without a good wholesome dose of it?”
“I came here, after all,” he mentioned one night, drunkenly, “So I better just get my money’s worth.” I asked him what money he had paid, but he just groaned and then ignored me.
Every time I hear a train’s song in the distance, I can’t help but think of the blind philosopher who had loved them so much, their songs, which he said were sad. I had to light his cigarettes for him.
I always had a lighter on me, and maybe that’s why I was really his friend.
He died too soon.
I still feel like he’s here.
“Never left,” he would say, exhaling smoke into my face, making my eyes burn; I know it. “It’s like the old song,” he said, never finishing the thought.
As I write, my roommate talks to me from the other side of the back porch table in the dark. The light from the laptop lights my face, and so I know she can see me, but I am blinded from seeing her. I smile to know how the blind one must have felt.
His final words to me so long ago were, “Get me a beer,” and then, “You might as well just job a hole in the bottom of it before you give it to me.”
He died as I was jobbing the hole.
Now I leave beers on his grave, and somewhere I imagine him opening them his damn self.
He once said to me, “You should never trust a philosopher who drinks beer.”
I told the guru I never said I trusted the blind philosopher.
“You are who you associate with,” the guru said, as if it made a flick of difference.
“Give me something I can use, and I will leave,” I told him, sensing I had become something of an annoyance to him.
He proceeded to stare deep into my eyes, and I held his gaze. It was raining, I think, or else the sprinklers had come back on. The stars were out; I remember that.
After a time, a little grin parted the guru’s lips, and his rotten front teeth drew my attention away from his gaze. I wondered what he had on me.
I wondered how such a wise man could let his teeth rot out.
“Jim Morrison loves you,” he said.
I left, and I still wonder how the roar is like the fucking road.