I am my mother’s afflictions
I sleep beneath the living room window and wake
in the gray light, feeling as wan
and confused as the earth in April,
pale and feeble after the thaw.
I struggle along the tangled underground lines, hoping
one will lead me back to the source.
The terminal station, the wellspring
of all this hot liquid fear.
I try to chase the reasons but they scatter like spiders,
scurrying away to the far edges of my vision. April
is such a long time away.
I worry the tired beads of phrases,
stand a moment too long in the doorway.
The distances between us are widening.
LIke the brown frozen fields of my childhood, I think.
The air is thinning. The wide white spaces
of calendar days.
I leave the city. I walk along a gray dirt path.
I lie down on the unbroken earth
and begin to speak in a long-forgotten tongue.
"What is the source of our first suffering? It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak. It was born in the moment when we accumulated silent things within us."
Gaston Bachelard (via wesoinspired)
It rained that day too.
The iridescent oily swirls of the parking lot, the awful universe
Unzipped and gaping. My body cracked
And hanging on its hinges.
The colorful bracelets ringing your wrists.
Cinnamon tea, years later. The taste of absence.
Cream-colored walls, intimacy slowly washing away.
A different homeless man begging on the corner.
The silent witness of glass.
People walk by dressed all in black,
In red velour, in cheap orange slickers.
Clutching thermoses and umbrellas and the shell
Casings of some rich dark universe.
It all happened too quickly.
Tell me you’re not still a little bit sad.
Mountfort Street Sidewalk
I hear you in the slipstream of trains
Rushing beneath my open kitchen window on warm nights,
Rustling the hanging plants, stirring the stillness
As if you’re just the other side of the chain-link fence.
Summer sweeps through the streets and evaporates.
Buses sight to a stop, kneel to the scuffed curbside, and I
Can still smell you in the tar.
There are still so many reparations to be made.
A gray moonfaced satellite dish. The acidic rain falling
On brown northeastern cities.
The last blue September sky burns itself out.
"Whoever has no house by now will not build.
Whoever is alone now will remain alone,
will wait up, read, write long letters,
And walk along sidewalks under large trees,
Not going home, as the leaves fall and blow away."
Rainer Maria Rilke, “Herbsttag” (October Day)
"I see sad crushed plastic
everywhere and put
some thoughts composed
of words that do not
together and feel
a little digital hope."
Matthew Zapruder, Come On All You Ghosts (via bobschofield)
Note to self on a rainy Wednesday morning in early October
Here is some advice: go and find somewhere else to be. Just do it. Even if it is raining. Especially if it is raining. Hold your umbrella in one hand and your coffee thermos in the other. People are more gentle in the rain. Notice the bright orange leaves growing soggy in the gutter. Notice the blue condom on the sidewalk. It doesn’t really matter where you go or what you do. Just get out of your apartment, just remember that you live in the world. Bring a book or three and read on the subway. Become the kind of person people ask for directions. Drink all of your coffee and then buy another one. It’s worth the money. Walk around a bit. It doesn’t really matter where. You can always find a bus to catch. Do homework somewhere besides your own desk. Sit and relax somewhere besides your own couch. Make a mental map of the city. Take pictures of things. It doesn’t really matter if the pictures are original. We like to bitch about the plethora of sunset pictures and cityscapes on social media, but ultimately it means that people are looking, that people are seeing the world around them and appreciating it enough to want to make a record of it. Stop worrying so much about what you look like. You’ll figure out what you want to become by feel. You’ll be walking down some street and it will hit you that this is who you want to be, or at least a glimpse of it, at least a part of it. Sometimes you just need a reminder. It seems like a lot of effort, but it’s worth it, every time.
I Am Afraid I Have Written This Poem Before
You will have to forgive me. It was something
About soap lather and scalded pink bareness.
It was something about going away again. I’m sorry.
A dark curl of wet hair clinging to my shoulder.
I am painting deep swirls of bruises into my skin again.
Some god is listening in on our kitchen conversation.
Some god is listening to two other gods
Having sex in an adjacent room.
Somewhere beneath, there are many hospitals.
Many trains, many yellow rooms.
You will have to forgive me.
The gods are falling asleep alone now, silently,
One by one.
It will be awful and then it will be over.
Sometimes lines of poems I know pop into my head unexpectedly. Sometimes they are lines of my own old poems, like life is reminding me of its habit of circling back on itself. This comforts me, even on nights like tonight.
I am a little more settled now. I am listening to The Hours theme while doing dishes while the rain is falling outside. There is a scarf draped awkwardly over the windowsill. I still have so much to do, but it is okay, I think.
I hate this post so much already.
It is 7:21 on a Sunday night. Probably later. All I can think about is getting a job, and homework, and ablism and sexism and sex and bodies and being angry and pretentious and cliché and self-absorbed. How do you stop pathologizing your experience? How do you stop romanticizing your newly un-pathologized experience? How do you explain your goddamn laziness if you can’t tell yourself that the reason you can’t bring yourself to clean your apartment is somehow tied up in the reuptake of some questionable brain chemicals? How do you explain how raw everything is if you aren’t somehow special?
I’m sorry. I’m jaded. More and more so. I keep committing to things I don’t give a damn about and I keep shying away from everything I want. In other words, I’m a typical college student, or maybe a typical example of a certain subtype of college students. Do I care about that? Fuck. I’m not unhappy, I promise. Just a little under the weather, just a little under the influence. You don’t live in a vacuum, you know. I can hear the interstate outside. I can hear the trains. Do you still want this or not? (Hint: it is okay either way.)
You are not sick. You are a sensitive person experiencing the world. There is nothing wrong with you.