There are long spaces between my thoughts and my eyes stay half open behind the shade of my sunglasses. Faceless people move around me, someone takes a picture. My steps are light and distant, and a wind blows my jacket out behind me. Some part of me wants to stay here, safely anchored, but I let myself smudge, bleeding across the page, until I was the orchestra of the city street, the arid blue sky, and the nameless, whispering breeze drifting down the sidewalk.
The night before, I had spent hours awake in the dark, shifting onto my back, my sides, trying to decide whether I should try to pull myself free of these blankets or just try to push down what kept me up. Lately, if I had crossed my legs for too long, or had left myself in a bad posture, I felt an aching sensation in my bones, a feeling that there was something pulsing in them, expanding outwards. I pushed this thought into the undercurrents of my mind, but where I wasn’t pushing it down hard enough, it sprung up into new corners. The pain had been with me for months, but lately, it had become constant, stronger, and impossible to suppress. Even though I told myself it must have something to do with my bad posture, I couldn’t stop thinking of my grandmother, the new malignancies we found, the one whose last words were “I’m not ready to die.” A memory. New leaks sprung up and the water lapped at my ankles.
My mind was at war with itself and I could not stop it. If I just patched up the holes fast enough, I would have air. That thing at work inside me was feral, and it had no words to describe how much it feared the water. It screamed a language that I could not understand but only feel.
At some point I got up because I knew sleeping wouldn’t work. My mind was flickering, and when I pulled of the heavy blankets, the morning air was like stepping into an icy river. I found a heavy sweater, drifted into my studio kitchen, and turned on my stove to boil water for tea.
And then—my mind still strains and reaches when I try to grasp at it, because it was something so distant, and alien, that I feel like I was not meant to see it. I can only the trace the contours of it, see a shadow, and try to speak to what was there. But as the water began to boil, I felt the weight and gravity of some new planet, near the earth but hidden behind its shadow so that it was invisible. That planet was only endless ocean. It was entirely cloaked in the darkness of night, and I, from my kitchen, watched the roil and crash of the mountainous waves. They were countless stories high, and I now watched from the valley of the wave as they rose precipitously above me.
But as I was under the wave, I could hear nothing. The storm around me was quiet, invisible. There was just the sound of my breath and the bubbling of the kettle. I found now that something was freed, something that I could let drift. I let myself smudge, bleeding across the page, and I disappeared into the waves.
I am the ghost of my child-self
why do I mourn for the boy that I am not anymore,
trace the steps of running up the stairs,
remember the warmth of lost smiles.
mom, who made the brownies I can still smell from my room,
will not use that stove anymore,
yet dad will still try that same recipe, those same cupboards.
I still look for that kindred glow
but my blank wandering can only remember.
I am curled up, the blanket tight in my hands and tucked under my feet, but just as the lights from the streets below whisk and slant across my wall, so my mind is restless; with each hour I spend in postured rest, I become more anxious and fatigued by the harsh and incessant lights playing across my mind’s bedroom wall. Finally, I can no longer to be in the dark, alone with my mind; I turn over the blankets, drift into the kitchen, and listen softly as the burbling water starts to boil. With the warm chai tea cupped in my hands, I find my favorite chair on the rooftop deck, and rest one leg over the other. I find a quiet in this space between moments; and the constellations, although still at first, slowly start to turn under my watchful gaze.
Ode to Lost Time
Find me in wasted prayer to my lost time.
I’ll be washed up on the shores of my mind,
snared under dry seaweed, plastic ribbon and krill
thinking of the ocean deep.
I’ll think about the years I’ve had,
and each squandered choice I carry with me,
each moment that I could have pocketed
but wasted on an empty thing.
I bring together a list in my mind.
The empty hours on the internet I most wish I still had—
pointless shallow thumb-twiddling
and waiting for the next day to come.
When the tide pulls me from my prayer,
I hope I know how to swim.
When life gives you lemons
We need to start first with asking ourselves what this conversation of lemons is.
If we are to begin to examine the philosophical roots and entymology of "lemon," per se—and the question, of our time, whether the societal approach and reaction of "lemons" is to procure "lemonade—"this question in itself must be a crucial element of our examination of the issue at large (how it might fit into the lemonadum, as several prominent thinkers have thus been calling it), and it is imperative we understand and acknowledge that this inquisiton is not, as it could seem, a simple and prefunctory element that stands in isolation in the world of men, but is rather a reaction, and, in a sense, the natural precursor to a world that, in essence, is a world of suffering—of the dharma, as Buddhist thinkers propound—that we live in the world that is inherently and firstly a world of pain, a world in which the chief desires in life are promptly spurned, discarded and waylaid by the cruel hand of providence—Ad astra per aspera, and then to the earth of our sins.
If we embellish on this concern, we might be able to approach a full debate.