“Would you like to buy some snake oil?”
I inquire, grasping at a world
held three inches from my face
on a string, like a toddler
choking, always choking
on some giant, inky juggernaut
meant to be human
I never read my words correctly
or spew them out the same way
instead they superimpose as gradient,
crawl from my feet to throat
like spidery, gauzy nothings.
and I want to scoop them up
wear them like talismans,
scatter them across my skin
and feel their darts of truth
in unknown places
wishing for the willowy legs’ assembly
into sloppy calligraphy
one bold enough to frame caverns
and record the tales of being–
like the homeless man in army clothes
who nestles serenely under trees
and never bothers to beg for money
or the young boy who uproots ants
from sandy hills and burns them
with a magnifying glass, the only way he knows:
slowly, unnecessarily, and relentlessly.
me? I’ll stay broken until I die.
but I refuse to discard those dreams
where I shelf my vanity
and replace stories with purpose
where I swap my eyes with mirrors
and leak out the dirty vapor
until it all vanishes
to a lucid mirage
“yes, that is what I meant after all”
She told me “write write write write write” and I swear colors exploded between the gaps of her syllables.
“Spend as much time humanly possible writing,” she said. “Trust me.”
And that was it. I knew the gravity of a lark’s plight. Why I can’t believe in god–why I can never say anything lasting about the first time I fell in love–where sin dissolves after bloodshed.
Here, only in subjectivity, I can be. I’ll take my brevity and bury my heart in yarn, twisting and knotting its threads into some imprecise, truthful pattern. You can find me within the layers, hidden like a lost pocket of conversation, clinging to the hope that my life is not a cliche.
There, I can plant an idea, grow a tree, and whittle my labor into a pipe. I’ll load it with potential and it’ll burn into delicate mushroom clouds–organic like the dreams at our feet.
Me and my visions, we’ll summon together the north and south pole and whir lightly over the axis of catastrophe. Parallel, we’ll know the freedom only possible in a well’s stomach.
And if it all becomes too fleeting, I’ll burrow into pillows made of hand scratched letters and admire the inconsistency of tree roots. My ankles will sink into caverns. I’ll throw tridents at the impossibility of clockwork and my vessels will shoot rockets from my heart.
And like a raven who sees the shimmer in blur, maybe, I too will find the color of nothing.
“I would only believe in a god who could dance. And when I saw my devil I found him serious, thorough, profound, and solemn: it was the spirit of gravity—through him all things fall. Not by wrath does one kill but by laughter. Come, let us kill the spirit of gravity!”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.” JD Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
“he said the great presence
that permitted everything and transmuted it
in poetry was passion
passion was genius and he praised movement and invention
I had hardly begun to read
I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can’t
you can’t you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don’t write”
From WS Merwin’s Berryman