My head’s been reeling lately, but I don’t know how to put it down. Seems like this life I’m living is just writing material. That small flicker-the only way I know to describe it-of creativity wants to spark into flame. I seek oxygen, head clearing particles, enablers. This dull shadow winds from the back of my brain into my consciousness until it can no longer be ignored. Perhaps this spark contains the only part of my life I cannot ignore. This part pulls me toward it; I become a mere flutter toward the flame of my creativity, my obnoxious self-absorbed, self-aggrandizement. And, how I hate adjectives usurped by nouns with the use of “ment”. I meant to sound educated, and I only end up tooting my own horn, sounding as pompous as an airbag filled with flour. Lord help me burn out as bright as I’d hoped.
In the mornings I feel the cold creep in; it lingers in my bones, brittle as the hulls of stinkbugs I crunch on my way to the toilet. I can smell the cold go right to my brain. Chill undulates in waves of numbness which lets me know I’ve finally taken a turn toward something beyond misery. Why do you find autumn so sleepy? A crispness in the air cleans me past the cold creek which is my religion, and again I trek on. At this point, I can be sure I might never be sure of a thing in this life; however, as my godmother says, I must take action. What better to replace the longing, nagging feeling of being a husk than sailing headstrong into something…anything?
When will I stop feeling so lost and start feeling like some semblance of human again? It’s been a rough past year-one to add the pile as brittle as dried starfish. I’m ready to see these years go up in flames under the brilliance of lighter fluid and creativity.
I saw the glimmer in your eyes as you told me my favorite writer had died months ago. His obit only appearing in the New York Times after death. William Gay, you’ll live on in my mind, just like all those ghosts that continue to haunt us.
The boy who told me – I can’t remember his face. Only the smug in his eyes and corners of his lips as he twisted the news into my gut. My bewilderment must’ve excited him to no end.
Gay’s passing leads me to other significant deaths in my life. All my loves – Lucille Clifton, William Gay, Jane Kenyon, Donald Hall – are dying. Bryon, you too were gone in an instant. Would my phone call have made any difference? Remember when I made you wash your “raven’s wing” hair for the first time in a year?
You stumbled on those train tracks with certainty. The green fairy beckoned and you followed her to the point of no return. The only question I have left is – were you sleeping before the roar of the train and the lights?
And even now, footing remains slippery in this realm. We cannot be sure of anything, but for these demigods passing through, more exists beyond this place. I’ll be happy to transition to some worthwhile form, like dirt.
Just as hibiscus flowers promise you the world with their eager magentas and flagrant reds, I fell for your silent grandiosity, a promise contrived. You leave me dumbfounded, the boys and flora, yet I come back for more, wondering how many other girls you’ve regaled with the same soft words. Our blue eyes open in wonderment; you pull the hibiscus across my lips and whisper sweet nothings.
And, I mean “nothings”.
I come home to possibly the biggest homegrown zucchini I’ve ever encountered outside the prize-winning agriculture warehouse at the North Carolina State Fair. Maybe it was the two cups of coffee (when I could’ve stopped at one) or maybe it was the way my roommate carefully propped it against the plastic skull from last Halloween, but in that moment, I felt happy, truly happy. I don’t know, but I’d say the living’s in the details. Happiness is a warm gun and the smell of a sleeping kitten’s fur. It’s a good start to an unknown beginning.
You carry the flowers
in the early morning
stiff as a wedding
bouquet or perhaps
posed as a funeral