Stuck in the past, I go from happy to sad and back again in a flash. I feel too much, much too fast. I have poems to write, but not enough rhyme.
Frost is on my mind. There are two trains at my station, but only one for me to ride. It’s been a long millisecond. When will I get on with my life?
“For me, I will always have an empty, perfectly non-functional and therefore free space where I can express my thoughts. Once the machine has exhausted all of its functions, I slip into what is left, without trying to judge or condemn it.”
—Jean Baudrillard, The Agony of Power
Freedom today means the freedom to buy whatever my little heart desires. In a single click sometimes. The freedom to rate products anywhere from one star to five. To become a smart shopper with purchasing power, a temporarily satisfied, repeat customer.
True freedom—the freedom I treasure—is the freedom to sit alone with my thoughts. To unplug the power cords running up and down my spine. The freedom to write in invisible ink things like “screens are draining the light from our eyes.”
Thoughts are nothing new. Almost everyone has them. I want deep thoughts. Nuanced thoughts. Impossible thoughts bigger than a breadbox. Secret thoughts no database holds.
I want a face my phone won’t recognize. To hide the light behind my eyes. I want intimate encounters with brilliant minds. Books on capes. Odes to meadows, row boats, weather balloons. I want to write things like “contemplation is an endangered thesis.”
Below is the inspiration for my latest poem, “The Moon Is a Wild Creature.” It’s a passage by Hayden Carruth from Reluctantly: Autobiographical Essays.
Hat tip to Jacqueline Winter Thomas and her Tumblr page, heteroglossia, where I found Carruth, sad in the Universe.
“I had always been aware that the Universe is sad; everything in it, animate or inanimate, the wild creatures, the stones, the stars, was enveloped in the great sadness, pervaded by it. Existence had no use. It was without end or reason. The most beautiful things in it, a flower or a song, as well as the most compelling, a desire or a thought, were pointless. So great a sorrow. And I knew that the only rest from my anxiety—for I had been trembling even in infancy—lay in acknowledging and absorbing this sadness.”
The moon is a wild creature.
Stars are stones in the sky.
I toss and turn in an empty river bed,
anxious for the rest of my life.
I read Sartre’s plays religiously,
just the funny ones, while pondering
simple things like black holes, folding
river beds, and God’s infinite field of vision.
My mind trembles.
The moon is still
a wild creature.
I can’t forgive myself
for all the pain
I put God through.
The moon resembles a wild creature.
Stones are fallen stars
asleep in a river bed
where I buried my dreams.
The moon is something else.
Stones and stars are different things
I count thirty-three shepherds
and a flock of non-believers
digging for answers
beyond my wildest dreams—
convinced my life unfolds
in an infinite field
where God throws
and a flock of non-believers
down a black hole for trespassing.
However strong we claim to be, we’re all vulnerable. Disappointment, tragedy, and sorrow spare no soul. Healing begins when we’re gentle with each other and kind towards ourselves.
In Power of Gentleness Anne Dufourmantelle writes, “Being gentle with objects and beings means understanding them in their insufficiency, their precariousness, their immaturity, their stupidity. It means not wanting to add to suffering, to exclusion, to cruelty and inventing space for a sensitive humanity, for a relation to the other that accepts his weakness or how he could disappoint us” (15).
I admire Dufourmantelle’s wisdom and appreciate the poetry within her prose. Her call for a sensitive humanity has inspired me to articulate my thoughtful approach to life and writing.
As a vulnerable artist, I affirm the power of humility, acknowledge my limitations, and admit to feeling sad, lonely, and afraid. I recognize that everyone suffers in their own way, and in my words and through my actions, I show people compassion and encourage them to do the same.
Not everyone will get the message, but I’ll pursue my (com)passion anyway because I can’t do otherwise. I can’t be otherwise.
I touch my lips
To every mouth
She calls her own
An acquired taste
Some prick at the gym called me a pussy.
I said I am what I eat.
I was going commando.
He gave me a wedgie.