residual | part 4
‘To ache is Human – not polite –’
once there was a morning when
the sun dripped out of bed
infusing the air with the violet
drops of a blood orange, just
as citrus just as sweet, and
it was harsh and threatening. it made
the day action, abstraction
to concrete form, now. now. now.
what could i have done?
every brain was churning yet
in dream juices and acid trips.
what could i have done then?
i pushed open the doors
windows locks latches
and ah the reprieve! to drink
the atmosphere – clean and strong
as black coffee, and
an inhale – fear despair sadness cynicism
helpless hopelessness pain the dark
yellowgreen bruises burnt edges
weeds dark deeds
cheeks drop numb, and
heat prickles behind my eyes,
and words escape:
my heart bleeds like a river my heart bleeds like a river
my heart bleeds like a river from my soul
I’ve got peace like a river I’ve got peace like a river
so roll Jordan roll.
and the sky rippled with the stark dance
and the skyflash was brusque
with this exhale of it all.
its path was watercolored on the map of the sky
blood apple cherry rose copper blood
then darker, darker: scarlet maroon crimson
color, color gushing from my lungs in an arc
While I’d like to fancy myself someone who can be Strong Independent Woman (™) enough to not let certain things get to me, if I am being completely honest, a number of others’ comments both to and about me have stung enough that they stuck. Which is unfortunate, because many times they were not meant maliciously. And even more unfortunately,
(a) of course my reactions only reflected my own insecurity as well as
(b) a sort of existential belief that how others saw me was, in turn, how I was.
Anyway, this conversation in particular was great fun:
Other Person: “I love how you never get too excited or upset about anything.”
Me: “What? No, I’m not – stoic…”
Other Person Again: “Yeah, stoic! That’s the word.”
Oh lord. Not that it’s a bad word: the Stoics were wise folk, being placid is crucial at times, who doesn’t need composure, etc. Just, for me, the word is not really that (typically anyway) true. In fact, I get excited about really microscopic and/or silly things. That SNL sketch about how much Ryan Gosling hates Papyrus? Totally me. Once I wrote a series of essay-length rants about the more egregious parts of commissioning and publishing poorly-written SEO content. (If it were well-written, no problem, but…) After seeing mother!, and the movie ended and the whole theatre started complaining, to my regret, I replied to those complaints rather loudly: “Haven’t you people ever heard of an allegory??”
It goes on. I won’t. Better to quit while I’m, what, behind, and being revealed to be a very obvious snob.
But. But. All that aside, stoic is a modus I once used in contexts where being otherwise was, shall we say, frowned upon. Not a great idea.
Getting to a place of being not-stoic most of the time means something like this: being okay with dealing pretty words like blades that never deemed they hurt.
(It’s from the poem this poem’s title is drawn from – please read it! Emily Dickinson deserves all of the appreciation.)
All this is to say, I suppose, that sometimes, to actually get free from whatever bullshit is dragging you down, you have to relinquish everything you’ve been holding completely. A bit like an elimination diet: flush out all that’s not right for you so you can know for sure what is.
And maybe it’s an exorcism to and for no one in particular, except for you. Because it could be there’s nobody to blame anymore. And/or, maybe there never was. Still, it is release of some kind that each of us needs. Because, as the Great One said (and I’ll say it over and over): ‘to ache is Human – not Polite –’.