In high school I drove a purple Honda Odyssey
and I named it Ulysses, because that’s what the Romans called the hero of that story
and I told people that it was to see who was smart enough to be my friend.
And that joke was more than a little arrogant, looking back on it.
But in the mid-2000s I was the proud owner of an Odyssey and the knowledge that I’d never be cool
So I’d send up these flares, these light-up signals over Gotham to see if anyone would answer
and I never stopped
I still write messages from rappers into my sermons
and I call them poets, call them by their real names
and I recite them with the gentle prompting nudge of an elbow into the ribs of the person sitting next to you
and I can’t decide if I hope people get it or if I’m doing this for me
and it was never really about being smart enough or clever enough, was it?
It was about finding someone who would see these things left like post-apocalyptic graffiti and say: “Oh, I get it”
About finding someone who had devoted the same brain capacity to knowing these things so you can feel like you hadn’t wasted your life engaging with all of this stuff
To know that you’re not alone
We could share in the secret handshake that our lives had become, knowing that someone finally knew the other half
Like drawing half of a fish in the dirt and seeing who’d come along to finish it