An Analysis on a Historical Epic Poem.
I grew up in a community library. Book drives and donations, or the lost and found or someone waiting to forget brought in books during Late December and Early Summer, but mostly, it was just us; worn covers and hand-me-downs. Little spinal fractures and spirals twisting on the front covers.
From time to time, a book would watch daylight from the wooden oak. Some left and returned. Some disappeared without a trace. I sat somewhere in between the history sections and the poetry, such things we had signs for; romance, fantasy, biographies and recipes, big dictionaries that couldn't walk as well as the others and sat down with a heavier sigh each time they were used, older versions gradually disappearing into dust.
I listened to music from a small radio. Scanned newspapers from this angle. Watched boxes come in and out and in again. Watched piles of coffee cups take over the table.
I liked this. I didn't mind the sages to my left; stroking their beards and smoking pipes, or wearing rhinestone glasses, or wearing old army uniforms and kohl around their eyes. I didn't mind the worn, dusty blazers to my right, scarves drawn tight around the neck, black spectacles and ink stains on their calluses. I liked the consistent scent of coffee, the music from the radio, the rain beating through the windowpane, this big brown shelf with big brown and black and white books.
So, being shelved with the classics was an anomaly. There were less scarves, more necklaces, and elaborate dresses with skirts that could span the size of a walking path. Skirts that covered your legs or that ended at your knees, painted with watercolour, the vagueness of a grey-ish tone between the primary colours and rainy days. I looked at my own turquoise rhinestone glasses and patchy muslin scarf and my skirt, that ended at my knees, painted something like the sunlight before dawn. I made some friends.
It was as if a hummingbird knocked at my window. I clicked my ruby shoes thrice and ended up in two different places; I watched the coffee drain out of the pot from two angles and heard the rain hit atop my head instead of right beside me. I watched the librarian shelve and reshelve books, watched borrowers and books through a full century around the library and ended up home each time. I watched fiction books look at romance and chat over tea, and history books visit the philosophy section and stay for a few weeks. I heard the small click of heels on the wooden floor and sat on the table and grew up that way.
This is a short piece based on Pride Month: I won't get into anything heavy or serious or political, but on an emotional level, Pride Month is about acceptance and identity, personally. I use the labels aromantic and asexual, and I grew up in a family that didn't really acknowledge either; a brilliant family, but that expected me to find love and get married one day. Not really a possibility for me. Whoops. So, outside my family, I had friends and a community that could support me where they couldn't; I started believing I was less defective, like I could belong somewhere and be myself at the same time.
I fit in with the community I grew up in, more or less, but my own personal experience has seen me try on different labels, fitting my own needs to encompass myself - to be a person without having to compromise positive parts of me. It's not the best metaphor, but it's kind of how I think of it.
Not everyone's had this experience. Some people were shelved wrong entirely. Some were made with the wrong cover. It's complicated, but who we are, who we love, parts of ourself that we want to talk about: this community, especially as this level, shows that we are not alone. Who we are, how far we want to look and label ourselves; it us up to us. And there is support.
And I find that kind of beautiful.
I won't be offended if you don't agree with it. I know; it's different for everyone and sometimes difficult to understand. And, personally, I just don't really care if anyone's offended by the Pride community, as long as we treat each other with respect, right? If you are and you still read this, thank you.
Thanks for reading. Happy Pride, loves <3
20:26, Monday 23/05
with a soft purse of silky lips,
that fall onto the slick street,
silver with light,
like the sun as it approaches the horizon.
Like the sun; just before it begins its job;
fall down the side of the earth, sun,
like the peak of a mountain,
and looking down,
rocks skitter down,
down the jagged edge,
like a lump in custard,
like standing forward on the tips of your toes
with nothing to support you:
I am brighter than sunlight.
And all that follows is void of such promise;
that single hour that
Khonsu is welcomed
and allowed to kill us all.
That single, amber circle
A flaught with maps;
When the world was just one garden
From one end to the next,
And all the rivers were neighbours who
ran away before they realised
how beautiful this was.
It is here,
the end of
['All The Light We Cannot See', written by Anthony Doerr]
It all started out as an experiment.
One said; "you have led no life from here,
You have not once witnessed the world
when it has the power to open your lungs,
and it all escapes, and you see stars."
Days spent in solitude are such an existence:
To love is to survive,
To survive is to walk around wearing earphones,
To smile is to learn to create prints
with spots of paint around the edges.
It is my nature to make science of art-
My hypothesis serves: are they genuine
when they smile?
This is just a statistic.
So we walk the green glade of hollow glass,
Shattering one layer after another,
Laying on top of some with warm arms,
Breathing in front of others and tracing demons,
With warm breaths,
We warn people before we take our first step,
We walk through like floating,
we slip through the cracks with bright seagull shrieks,
Calling the waves back home.
When they are so warm, without
An inch of tundra below;
Am I not enamoured by the truth?
Am I not overwhelmed by friendship and new promise
and the chances they take to love?
Just a number.
I understand why she said,
"We cannot stay,"
When there is so cold and here, so warm,
Without an inch of wooden walls
soaked with rain and refusing to break.
I understand why she wanted
To stay here where we can close doors,
Where we can be close and distant,
and love all the same.
Have I led life?
Doesn't it wave from the corner?
Like smoke reaching halfway across the Arctic,
And reminds me that I am only trapped
when I have closed my door against them all.
My hypothesis serves: are they genuine
when they smile?
Isn't this real?
Thing like sugar and lemon,
Thing like ashen fire,
Thing like volcano and hurricane and
Love and wishes and small 'Mento!' things,
Thing like yes and no and yes again,
Soft thing of pillow and warm water
and cat fur across your elbow.
Like soft smiles and worry,
Filling a house with furniture;
Three rooms and two beds,
One large wardrobe with clothes stacked atop,
With clothes hanging outside,
With soft blues and bright reds and fond yellows,
And perfumes and tissues and
Nothing in the bin.
I have grown far too attached
In one day.
One said; "you cannot lead life from here.
You have not once witnessed a world
which has the power to open your lungs,
and it all escapes, and you see stars."
[I know this is rather fresh - undrafted and unedited. Sorry about that. Thank you :)]
Close your eyes.
I focus on necks instead of eyes, so I cannot see the panic set underneath them. Hair swishes like a curtain, holding light back. Their eyes are LED lights, like that movie with aliens with the fighting scene in a bar. Dimming them is like pulling sunset closer to your heart, so they used up all their batteries on the first day. When they flood, we are swamped with pondweed and mud. When they look away, it is more painful, because I looked at all.
They are withered grey, like ancient olive branches trying to find their way back home.
I walk around in a film's opening scene. There is everyone and everything watching. They are waiting in agony for the next big thing. My eyes are like lenses that blur before focussing on a single, exact point. The flash comes fast; I fear the dust in the corner; I fear shoes that stomp in front of me like alien battleships; I fear the slow, sudden slide into night. I fear that, when afternoon comes, so will my exam, bobbing on water like a small sail boat, which will surely snare me by the hand and pull me undersea. Where there are no answers at all.
Sitting is good. When I can curl up, it's better. When the teacher isn't looking, I fold myself in and knot bowlines. I curl up like a hair claw; snapping into place the moment their gaze releases me. I feel loud, I crinkle my body into chocolate chip cookies; one chip for every saccharine eye in the room. My throat makes sounds that are lost in the soft, afternoon wind, people are shaping play-doh mouths, without words, flowing out of honey pots and sticking to the outside of my peach jar; so I watch every movie with Andy Warhol subtitles on. Just in case.
They don't allow us in the bathroom during break. I'm currently a harboured fugitive, then; accomplice 1 and 2, the door and the gap underneath. Anyone who tries to peek will be stuck. I have done worse evils, along with talking and existing, so I'd say that hiding in a bathroom stall is not much of a crime. Neither is silence, but if silence was a law, then aren't we all imprisoned, here? Sometimes, I just want to sew up their big mouths so tight that their nose would finally be employed. Then I realise I cannot possibly be the victim if it is my mess to fix.
Smiling. Just... smiling.
I stay at my locker too long. Doors shut and creak above and around me, aiming for my right wrist, my left shoulder; books fall down in an avalanche with no warning. I feel like there is someone here, over my shoulder, so I focus on each spine of my paper books, letters blending and blurring, letting fog surround my head with white dew. I crack their bones in my bag, rip their skin with my teeth, pick at their lining when I'm bored, leave them here when I'm done. When I turn, I hear my footsteps echo in the hallway.
An average school day isn't exactly 6 hours. It's about 5 and a half. Bells ring, boards snap, numbers written on them as we rehearse our annual play; 'A Day in the Life,' because we all stood in the writers' room when they called for volunteers. We don't write subtitles. It's a news anchor, reality television, a cooking show, all at once. They smell with their lips before they bite. We cook hearts alive and eat them at lunch. Even when I do not go to their sordid banquet, I am surely as bad as the rest of them. Silence swallows my left wrist and sticks it on my neck. The script is carved on the back of my head.
We are apt volunteers. We are heroes, rascals, I am the very image of my mirror. I stick myself in my schoolbag before I close the door. I take myself with me as I walk out. My scarf is part of me, rough and weather worn from holding the sails.
"Who will remember me when I'm gone?"
Asked the wind yet again with their tiresome yawn.
"Not I," said the sun,
"Nor I," said a cloud,
"Nope," "Nope," "Nope," said the three pips of birds,
And the moon merely left without saying a word.
So the wind
Against the grey old
Looked at the
Before they drifted
['The Red Wheelbarrow' by William Carlos Williams]
Like a lilting litany of melodious lullabies,
Little, lifeless soft sways to chimerical love ballads;
A soft, hushed, stony, striking, static thing:
Tripping, you tumble off the highest shelf;
A pitiful, pitiless, painful thing,
Of golden rings and conch shells.
Crashes into the coast, reseting once more,
Whimpers, 'hush', gushes out of the water faucet:
Casting the whales from the ocean,
Washing shoals safe to shore,
Wilting survivors on the sea bed,
Living less life than before.
I bleed you, mollusks and bursts of ink,
Blotted sinks and husks of shells,
Who sing me back to asleep anew,
Who herds the sheep of mottled stars;
Who makes up half-and-part of me,
And, callous, tears my whole apart.
You whisper waking hurricanes,
Your fill of sorrow, pained by joy;
You weep when I'm aslumber,
You smile when I'm awake,
You've lived more life than lords above
And forgot the human race.
As ashy, art of aching slack
and racking of the rope;
Of brushstroke that bounce westwards,
To articulate every hue,
You scoff at red, yellow, purple;
Dyed a permeable, bloom of blue.
[Thank you for the challenge]
When he strolls in, my first thought is:
"I like his bag."
He is carrying a messenger bag,
coloured like the skin of a kiwi,
a bag I have always wanted.
Planted with old, waterlogged volumes,
the subjects he teaches,
full of words and stories in twisting grapevines.
It is sinking your teeth into cold, fresh peaches,
after so long of the same, sluggish lessons,
that could swallow you up and turn you inside out.
He thinks of favourite words like pulling plums from a tree,
Freely scattered so we could pick them up.
He is especially unremarkable;
a worn, leather book in a library,
with spelling mistakes here and there.
Now, that we know that he has been something to us,
something like a teacher;
His apologies and polite and witty zingers.
And his utter delight in getting his own room.
And his 'thank-you' as we walk out the door.
His dictionary full of plums,
like a clean jar for a fresh pickle,
taking us by the collar and pulling us along;
To a world not particularly cared about,
But that we watched him tell us about,
with the magic of a verdant wild,
among fruit trees.
And, before we go out into this world that smells
like rotten strawberries under the green,
Some of us will carry satchels,
planted with opinions and stories of our own,
And his opinions and peppermint candies,
swinging by our side.
He was a peddler, and he wore a coat to show it,
pilgrim of arts and 8-ball,
a shrine to the obsolete;
What he knows, he will give you like lifelong trinkets,
and be gone the next day.
[I may redraft this another day]