“Please god, make me a stone.”[i]
“I felt three thousand miles rushing through my heart, the whole world only a dream.
I crawled among the boulders to make my bows at shrines. The silence was profound. I sat feeling my heart begin to open.
a single cicada’s cry
sinking into stone”[ii]
Why do I always feel so trapped? Trapped in this house, trapped in this family I both love and loathe, trapped in this life, trapped by the choices I’ve made and the choices taken from me, trapped beneath this flat blue sky. If I tried to leap off the edge and fly, the curve of the sky would catch me. I slide down its smooth surface back to solid ground again, never able to escape.
My brother’s dog is barking at squirrels one the other side of the fence. He will never reach them, and they know it, taunting him. Just like me barking for all the things I can never have. The only distance between us: two inches of dry brittle wood fencing, and a million light-years of impossible dreams.
“What exactly is postmodernism, except modernism without the anxiety?”[iii]
But the anxiety never really goes away. We just hide it better.
How does this end? Someone tell me.
“A last attempt: the language is a dialect called metaphor.
These images go unglossed: hair, glacier, flashlight.
When I think of a landscape I am thinking of a time.
When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever.
I could say: those mountains have a meaning
but further than that I could not say.
To do something very common, in my own way.”[iv]
“As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
‘Now his breath goes,’ and some say, ‘No.’
So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.”[v]
Why did she choose that title? What does Donne’s poem have to do with it? Where is the connection?
When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever. I mean forever, but all I ever get is never. I never succeed. I never escape. And of all the things I cannot say, I cannot even say what ‘my own way’ is. Or who.
And perhaps no one ever really knows who they are, not completely, though perhaps they can name pieces, echoes. But if I cannot even hazard a guess, what does that mean for me?
“If God had wanted me otherwise He would have created me otherwise.”[vi]
I need someone to make the decision for me.
I need someone to tell me the right thing to do.
I need someone to tell me its going to be okay.
I need someone to tell me whatever I decide is right.
I need someone to tell me its okay to give in.
I need someone to know me better than I know myself.
I need someone.
“Shine a little light,
don’t wrestle with the night,
don’t think about the future now.
I know it’s gotta stop love, but I don’t know how.”[vii]
I need a new razor.
“I waited you in the cathedral of spells
And I waited you in the country of the living,
Still with the urn crooned to my breast,
When something cried, let me go, let me go.”[viii]
I dreamed about a razor sinking all the way through my flesh and into my stomach last night.
Is any of this really worth it?
“I approach this love
like a biologist
pulling on my rubber
gloves & white labcoat
You flee from it
like an escaped political
prisoner, and no wonder
You held out your hand
I took your fingerprints
You asked for love
I gave you only descriptions
Please die I said
so I can write about it”[ix]
Christ, I am physically ill with my discontent.
And I want a razor.
[i] River Tam, Serenity
[ii] Matsuo Basho, The Narrow Road to the Interior
[iii] Jonathan Lethem
[iv] Adrienne Rich, “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”
[v] John Donne, “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”
[vi] Johann Von Goethe
[vii] Dry the River, “New Ceremony”
[viii] Anne Sexton, “Elizabeth Gone”
[ix] Margaret Atwood, “Their Attitudes Differ”
(Note: I kind of imagine this to be similar to a zuihitsu, sort of).