Turn To the Quiet

 

It’s one of those mornings when I’m on the road again in my head.  Packing sleeping bags in the cold mountain air.  Blowing steam off my coffee in a circle of other travelers.  Packing up to leave, pulling on heavy boots.  Twelve thousand feet above sea level.  Hungry but exhilarated.

It’s easy to forget the struggle: what it takes to choose the adventure over the safe.  To get to those places and exist in them longer-term is mostly a matter of willingness to abandon fear, to detach from whatever status or position achieved, and then there’s the objects of our affections to be suspended or let go of.  An apartment, a car, a job, a semester, a social circle, a mentality, an ideology, a lover, a life dependent upon the comforts of the known.  Easier done when you have less to lose, but even then most will naturally balk.

For me, all this was nothing compared to what it took to return.  To reintegrate back into a culture built on and fascinated by the concept of freedom, yet embracing a type of freedom warped by comparison to the freedom you’ve just experienced on the road.  A freedom that almost looks like imprisonment – a rat race.  Yet this is the same rat race that gave you the road, the resources and privilege to earn it by struggle.  You yourself, you realize, love the rat race too.  Each day suppressing true feeling, true significance in order to keep up.  From time to time you wholly accept its superficial qualifications and you strive to reflect them, become them.  You get off on it, at least one small part of you feels this is natural.  Until the day that you just can’t take it anymore.  And then you turn to the few people whom you’ve ever really loved, in your mind.  You turn to the waves, the trees, the birds.  Sand, rivers, the clouds.  Tiny lights flickering in the shadows.

 

 

Come With Me

 

Yes I admit searching for your face in crowds afraid of what I’d see.  You came in closed the door leaned your bike against the armoire put your keys and wallet down on the dresser and stay

ed.  We listened to the same musical refrain over and over after the film credits stop

ed since you made it last

even long

er than needed that evening, years

your presence melts resentments and smile fades priorities then there’s only innocence in us.  I’ve felt long

ing and awe and dread since childhood toward everything in life and everyone I’ve loved.  This is why poetry picked me without asking.  I’d eventually tell the truth, sometimes incredibly pained and sometimes without flinching in a way that served an art.  I was less than eight when I knew I was alone.  I see her walking slow

ly

in memory, eyes locked down at the ground watching feet move mechanically, but once she stop

es to stare at a glow.  Strange.  A mesmerizing purple hue around a shadow, circling the contour of the dark form in the sidewalk – was this some prophecy for today?  Six brothers and sisters new lives pop in and out of dreams like a vague connective tissue.  Purple orchids sit in the windowsill wait

ing for water don’t need too much attention, bookshelves crammed with ideas and lyrics and pictures don’t make missing someone better or easier the exceptional courageousness it takes to care.  Beyond the selfish, superficial, convenient or practical no bar, text box, or website brought us together.  You said you noticed I always look at the poem during critique instead of up at the group, you stay

ed long enough to get to know me a little but not very deep.  My most entitled and arrogant phase featured this loss although I couldn’t explain how much loneliness this arose from and alienation.  I still can’t keep up with demands in all directions by myself but who really can or how long

can we pretend.  Later on we leave after a short time.  Except in rare circumstance we see differently those places in them we fear and elements in us embracing those who don’t want to know and those who do and we take all of that, all of it.  What kind of knowing is this fantasy saying this does not have to be so exciting.  Saying stop

by hang out in the studio as you draw for a time or whatever because it is not about your body or not your body only, not about exotic trips or going out impressed or impressive and we are not rushing out of here either, not on our way home because there’s nowhere really to be, nowhere like here at least because why not with you, why not here mixing paint testing glue for collage building something any kind of creativity beyond our outfit and face and the lighting or even the freedom in doing nothing also, stretch out in the grass for hours or lounge on the patio quietly, why not cooking pasta and talking late into the night, where are these people?  Those who don’t care about time?  This does not have to be so exciting it just has to be true.  I want to go find them and set down my keys on the table, turn off the internet and TV, to tell me their stories or notice the majestic shape of a tree reach in every direction for the sun to form such pleasing angles, am I crazy?  I am angry because there’s no antidote to the recklessness of others.  To the tyranny of business, being busy and making things happen.  There’s no pathology in craving more significance to our company — is it so dangerous to desire this today, feigning instead to resist real feeling as a means of self-improvement?  I have feel

ings.  That need not be cute or palatable.  Take no hallucination of ideals, that aesthetic is so tired.  The end is coming soon, dears.  Come by my love because fifty thousand options, fifty million options are not you, because fifty billion other options are still not who you are and because it does not matter about tomorrow, even now doesn’t matter because there’s nothing to do.  In truth, there is really nothing.

Drink tea with me, no pool, no bar, no fancy food, no nice clothes, no entertainment.  I’m up the mountain pass now sipping the tea, bundled in wool, iron and wood and smoke billowing from fires in the freezing cold, there is no service here, and everything is free.  I long for you here but will find somebody to come with me, somebody along the way who wonders what it would be like to set their keys down anywhere, anywhere, and love those you find.  I create no words, no art to sell truly, I make piece after piece for those I hold and a place for us to exist in is all the same affair I work for, beyond the obvious yet not beyond those held in the middle of the darkness because the only thing we have that’s free in this world is each other and we know it.  This is why poetry is not endangered.  Is this not the belief anymore, here – what happened?  Nothing is just only ours.  Everything is for each other.  This is one truth of mine among many.  I wish it weren’t so sometimes.  I’d like to need no one, but this contemporary promise is a false idol of sorts.  I unpeel bananas

in the kitchen for breakfast, oranges

in the afternoon and adore them in solitude.  I don’t really adore french fries, though they taste good —  body is treated like this too.  It matters how you see

things, when we unpeel and also when we don’t.  I’m still being with them, still in love irresponsibly on paper and on screens and whatever and it’s great.  For us cyc

ling colors through bay windows, stay

ing up all night.  I come here to write for tears of long

ing to watch icy blue rivers in us melt

from ancient glaciers — they need a job.  In this moment as with most that matter nobody knows this about me and it’s okay.  I am the same as everyone.  You who recognize this thing.

You, taking heart