1. Vita brevis breviter in brevi finietur.
Desire stumbles upon us as a covetous ache. I think that I know why. I’m alone now facing the wrong end of an embrace. The taking. (Stop for a moment and forgive yourself. You’ve done nothing wrong but believe in something fallible. The error of your ways is the love that you gave. Breathe out . . . )
2. Mors venit velociter quae neminum veretur.
I listen often to conversations that I am not a part of and with fierce intent. The most compelling ones are admissions, ones freely offered, of suffering inflicted arbitrarily upon others. There’s something beautiful about a guiltless confession. Like abstract art or a windstorm threshing branches and leaves.
3. Omnia mors perimit et nulli miseratur.
And there’s something violent about forgiveness. I think we must break off pieces of ourselves to survive. We trail them behind us to mark a path from youth on to our search for promises that will not all be kept. I’ve heard no secret to tell me otherwise.
4. Tum fi puer iterum et omnes complectere.
Sometimes love is a nightmare that we don’t fully awaken from.
Sometimes it is a hymn that baffles us.
Sometimes it insinuates perfectly into our warmth.
Always it evokes an ending.
An ever after.
It folds around itself.
And dreams . . .
I was ten years old when I first thought I knew what the world was and how it should be. I’ve been trying to prove myself wrong ever since.
Some days, sadness is an epiphany. It reconnects you to yourself, reminds you of what is precious to you. The swell within you comes from a place of delicate power that we should never cease to envy. Still,
I would prefer to wake up
one day and not feel a sense
of loss . . .
And instead feel a living, breathing form of optimism with my first gasp out of a dream. That’s my ghost of the future, no eyes, no form, only essence to fulfill. It’s to me to rake it out of a moment–
somehow. I’ll be standing
in footprints that aren’t
just a memory.
Author’s note: This is a reworking of a story I’ve posted here before. Here’s a link back to the original for those who wish to contrast: Original Version
He pitched his car into gear and pulled out into traffic, collected visions of the city in tow. Their words still rang in his ears, so pitched with anger and frustration. I think their garden is wilting he found himself thinking. The stagnant traffic roiled though silent, each vehicle an accusation against the others, the whole an aimless, livid wave. On a deck protruding from a nearby apartment, a defeated-looking man shouted with absurd impotence at a group of loitering teenagers below. They believe only in the failure of their neighbors he almost said aloud this time.
When toward the outer edge of the city the roads finally opened up, he began to pass row on row of well-kept houses all staring at him as if important and not willing to let anyone forget that fact. No one ever dared to question the manor, a man or woman’s castle always, yet all buildings lie: with civilized facades, groomed acres, yet opaque walls and sealed doors. The most beautiful opportunities are inviting he believed though often their grounds are thorny.
He turned onto a highway lined with strip malls. In one, a rundown mechanics shop boasted a twelve-foot-tall sign that read JESUS LOVES YOU. Would Christ have believed in machines? Would a savior wish to salvage rather than renew? One who is inscribed so majestically in books must only believe in words. Theirs is a simple power. His next thoughts he verbalized even though only to himself as if he needed to hear how they resonated back within him: I know what my beliefs are. However I don’t know what to call them. I have never seen their face.
Where the land met the sky
and they dissolved together into a mist,
I began to understand imperfection.
It is two selves who fail one another:
one that we desire to become;
one that we truly are.
Perfection is a singularity.
To be human is to be fragments
reaching out, never satisfied . . .
I don’t take the sugary wisps for granted
not today tomorrow or ever
my M. C. Escher tastes
recall the feeling
to be at war with satisfaction
I cannot swallow
when my heart flutters faster than
my eyes can linger
over the depths the breadths
the long thereafter
arrest us in the silken moment
white on white
“It’s funny what time does: each day a drop of water, and without you realizing it, the stone below the drops wears a smooth divot.”
–from The Burning Girl by Claire Messud.
I’ve been thinking about time a lot lately, as a medium for action and growth but also as a deteriorator of these same things. Every moment accumulates within us like an uncountable number of births. They engrave themselves in our skin, in our eyes, in our mind. However, they carry with them a promise of expiration.
The more time we incorporate, the heavier it weighs upon us. Our most troubled relationship is always with fate.
It becomes easy to get stuck in one place, one small rut in life, because somehow you fool yourself into believing time is not really passing if there’s no new experiences to be had.
I’ve stopped trying to figure out who I am and what I am supposed to be. The heaping of moments will determine that. Ours is to arrange them into a compelling story others will want to retell or rewrite for themselves.
It is hard to be generous in a world full of exploitation. People learn to believe that ulterior motives lurk in every action. And so when you give without expectation, you are feared. When you want for nothing, you are a stranger in a strange land.
(perhaps the diamond
is the biggest myth of all
its entire value
We need to articulate more of the difficult truths, for we lie to ourselves far too much. Moments can blur together and leave us in a fog of uselessness. Even if I can see no farther than your eyes as they dive back into mine, I want to be immersed in something unfathomably real.
no one has entered this world
by choice (it’s no Secret.)
but we continue living
as if the inevitable act were
an unshakeable belief.
we fire through some moments
and crystallize in others.
our Perfection disembarks when
we enter this mortal entanglement.
we defy the simple ideologies
of affection and lust (without
Love–how does one tell
flesh from stone?
somewhere inside our Breath’s
insistence lies the answer:
draw in. force out.
what takes must give
(reluctantly . . . but freely
all the same.)