The Long Here and Now

THE LONG HERE AND NOW read by ELAYNE G. JAMES

To get the cadence of this piece, listen to my reading of it in the recording above. Lyrics are below.

This is a piece I did for the prog rock band I write lyrics for. They asked me for something “submariner themed,” and the only stipulation was that it not have a regular metered rhyming scheme. I thought on it for a few days… and then a few more… and came up with… Nada. Zip. Zilch.

I just couldn’t hook into it for some reason. A week or two later, I fell asleep thinking I would probably just tell them it wasn’t going to happen and then, that night, I had an underwater dream. I woke the next morning with a story in my head and a single line, “One little crack in the glass.” I grabbed my journal and this is what poured out… (I recorded it so they could hear the rhythm of the piece which is all-important when working with music).

THE LONG HERE AND NOW

I know. I know.
No one will see this note
after I am dead
And yet I am compelled in the here and now
to say what must be said
How to begin? How to begin?

The last words I will ever write seem too important
Too important to be jotted on the back
of a submariner’s report but there’s only so much time left

The clock-face on my wrist counts down the seconds
with cruel indifference till I take my last breath

Words are all I have here and now
words and the metal that separates me
from death and the vastness of the sea

One little crack in the glass and everything changes
Everything I feel
Everything I sense
Every little thing takes on a razor-sharp clarity

My submersible goes from cabin to coffin
in a single glance
Out of options, out of wishes, one last chance
to get it right
before she takes me into her long embrace
and I vanished without a trace
into the depths of her being

One last chance to say what needs to be said
but how do I begin?
Start again
Start again

The first story I read as a child
sparked a lifelong dream
and set me on the path
to become both scientist and explorer…
A man stood barefoot on the sand
held a shell to his ear
heard the call of his lady the sea
and in his heart he knew he could not ignore her
for in her siren song was the promise
of longing and adventure

That was me
I knew
Even then, I knew
That this would be my story too

It has been a good life, a life of love and discovery
The wonder of the ocean and all its mysteries have been the gems I carry around with me

Secrets yet to be revealed
have ignited my soul and my imagination

Her mystique has fueled my hopes and fears
and my deepest desires
But more than that, she has been the love of my life
and I don’t regret a single second

I’ve been devoted to her strength
her grace, her beauty
I have tried to solve her riddles
and understand her ways

She has shaken me to my core
and brought me to my knees
But never have I blamed her
for she has given me so much more
than I ever could’ve dreamed

One little crack in the glass
and she takes on a whole new meaning
One little crack in the glass and my life is complete
One little crack in the glass and seeing is believing
One little crack in the glass and I am at peace

No I don’t regret
a single moment of the time I’ve spent
chasing the elusive discovery
believing when no one else believed

What is it like to be the man in the story now?
The man that spent his life in pursuit
of the possible dream
The Don Quixote chasing those things unseen
by the common mind
Those things that none think you’ll ever find
When everyone knows you’re insane for even trying
but you dive deep
for what you seek
Because what you seek was always waiting
in the dark below

One little crack in the glass
and you don’t have far to go
before you know all there is to know

It’s like I spent my life searching for life on other planets and they’ve spent their lives denying anyone else exists.

If I die, I die
I’m at peace with it now
I leave nothing of significance behind
just the knowledge that it’s real and none will ever know

I just wish I could tell someone, anyone, what I now behold
I wish someone, anyone, could know
I found what I’ve been searching for all along

Does it all mean nothing
if my discovery goes undiscovered?
If no one ever knows the treasure I’ve uncovered?

It’s real and it’s here, that magnificent ocean of light
My discovery ends with me and I willingly give my life
To the sea
To the sea

One little crack in the glass and she takes me on a journey
One little crack in the glass and my life is complete
One little crack in the glass and seeing is believing
One little crack in the glass and I am at peace

Definitely a “Bottom Drawer” piece, eh?

I just thought it was kinda cool, not to mention very different from how I normally write.

And since it ended up not getting used, I thought I would post it here. ツ

“You never know what you might achieve when you rise to a challenge. Failure is not an actual thing, it’s a thought construct, an attitude, a state of mind, a belief. Why not instead choose to believe in success and see where the road takes you.”

– Elayne Gineve James

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