There was a time that grief, confusion, distraction--motivated a kind of creative flow within me.
I can remember moments in which I had pure, rabid focus, determined to forget my present circumstances, and delve into a world that I could predict, control.
To craft a sentence that states more than one thing.
To sing a song, which speaks to more than one person.
To make a play that says mouthfuls upon mouthfuls. Words that tell a story, a story that holds meaning.
Today, I stare at half-finished projects, listless resume spaces--unfinished and clumsy songs.
some internal strings have been cut, the hardware is outdated, dusty, ill-fitting.
It is as though
I am standing with my nose nearly touching a painting, unable to see the full picture in front of me. And if I step away, my nearsightedness is so demanding that the whole thing jumbles into patternlessness, it is meaningless.
How do I tell you that it feels as though the whole world is slapping my cheeks and telling me to wake up, get up, starting moving, keep moving, be strong..
My first love. My best friend. My father. Gone in less than five years.
Yesterday, I saw a girl that looked like you. Same hair, same clothes, and with a similar manner of speaking.
I thought I was hallucinating, and momentarily wondered if I have finally cracked, tipping the scales of grief and tumbling into a sort of madness.
"excuse me, but you look like someone I used to know"
I discreetly take pictures, seeking confirmation of this fact from far away informants. I am relieved to find some level of commiseration. Deciding that this is not, in fact, a hallucination, makes conversation easier.
"you--actually, you look like someone I know as well",
It is a bricolage of memory-- pieces taken from different inhalations in time.
The now and then smash together for a quick kiss before parting.
In an instant, I am reminded of the time he switched his black hair to white, and the white to black, only to be disappointed that it took me weeks to notice the difference.
we smile at one another, and I think about my past life for a moment longer, before I am flung back into the now. My nose trained, once again, to a dot on the painting.
This too, will not pass.
He too, will never disappear from our lives.
We will carry them on our backs, stacked three high, and our muscles must become stronger. Our throats must learn not to close from sadness. our skin must toughen--it cannot turn to hives any longer. After enough time,there are no more allergic reactions to absence.
But it is an indiscriminate, an unpredictable time.
I do my job, but not much else. I come home. Depress guitar strings, but my father is at finger's reach, and I am quickly fatigued from the stretching.
Well-worn songs promote blindness. Certain stretches of highway may cause spontaneous combustion. Photographs are suspect. Ambition is arsenic.