poetry, Prose

Instead of killing yourself

 

By Louise Anne Buchler

http://www.starfish-woman.blogspot.com/

 


 

Instead of killing yourself
You could make a cup of coffee, peel an orange, play a song you loved when you were thirteen, gangly, and coming undone.

You could paint your nails turquoise, lie in the sun, master Russian, watch Hitchcock films, read a classic novel, meditate on Kafka, and re-think existentialism, your life, your hair.
Watch trains, wave as they pass, stand on the bridge, feel small, feel big, take up space, walk, count every step, run, run faster, catch your breath, hold it, breathe out, let go, the universe as small as the palm of your hand, dispersed dandelion wishes, let go, let go and in letting go hold on
Say I love you, say I hate you, write a letter to your teenage bully, write a letter to someone you once loved, write a letter with all you wish to say and do not send it.

Lie on the grass, lie on the sand, plant something, keep it alive, feel the mulch under your nails, smell the wet breath of soil, pull out the weeds that choke and mar, make space for spring in your heart.

Tell a secret. Keep one. Fold an origami crane, unfold, fold an origami you, unfold. Listen to an aria, listen to Bach, listen to the symphony of voices in small spaces, pick out words, write them down. Observe everything.

Instead of killing yourself
Get a cat. Get 12 cats. Get one more. Feed yourself small spoons of kindness. Swallow. Repeat. Laugh at one thing, let the laughter engage your whole body; laugh at the madness, stupidity and beauty around you โ€“ your inner cynic may vomit (thatโ€™s ok). Remember your first race, remember the finish line. Remember yourself at 5,6,7 โ€“ remember yourself with love, the pictures you drew, the smell of sugar paper and oil crayons, Defend the scabby kneed, jewel of you, cast a line all the way back, champion that heart through the decades, wrap it in tissue paper, keep it safe in a cardboard box, champion all the incarnations of you. Remember how it felt when you understood that we will all die.

Try not to worry. Try to stay. Focus on sitting still. Focus on moving forward. Focus on the scudding clouds, the clarity of blue, September. Do not let the whim of others alter who you are. People come. They also go, they drown in puddles, they sail us over oceans of self-doubt. Sometimes they love us. Sometimes they understand. Sometimes they release us with a hook-wound back into the sea. Bid them well. Tread water, float, swim. Donโ€™t stop swimming.

Brave explorer, I know you have climbed a hundred metaphorical mountains before breakfast โ€“ every damn one an Everest expedition, I know something of world weariness, the longing to be still and Novocain numb, here, where everything ceases to matter, that unbearable anaesthesia; itโ€™s a quiet death and there is never a guarantee on the prescription pamphlet that you will thaw from this freeze – like a celebration roast on your birthday, or that change will come, running down the street with the laboured tinkling of a nostalgic ice cream truck or that you will wake a different person, who sucks positivity like a boiled sweet, a mantra of live! Live! LIVE, in your ears. I hear you, I see you, I send my love to you in droves of doves, a deep pelican beak abundant with fish, a handmade kite on a windy day, โ€œa bright red sloop in the harbourโ€ the suicide poets dancing mid air, their words like seagulls declaring their truth โ€“ statements are enough in broken climates. We are adorned in these miseries, the heart’s last vestige, it is a poor fit, we are all runway models with broken limbs, birds who forget their wings, we are stuttering like vintage cars, we are negotiating with our ancestors. We are not broken in need of repair, we never ignore the elephant in the room โ€“ instead we festoon it with marigolds, offer up a cup of tea. We know the impermanence of life; we consult with graves every day, toes dipping the surface, surveying the depth. We write our eulogies on the body, the staccato tattoo throbs the ending, we are anxious all the time.

I find a forced conclusion โ€“ writing it down I imagine we meet on an autumn day, the first leaves scatter like old news โ€“ our hands are cold. We sit in silence, the air perfumed with chimney smoke and the taste of green. We are held in the moment, a devastating despair, we face it together, we sound out sadness, mouthfuls of vowels swelling in gutfuls , escaping the gape, they flap and glide โ€“ our glossy winged birds, squawking and calling, diving like bombers, circling like vultures, spinning with sorrow. Perhaps we cry, perhaps we feed them bread crumbs and worms, perhaps we load slingshots with tiny stones and shoot into the void, perhaps we build an ornate birdcage, perhaps we become scarecrows, perhaps we release them, perhaps they return. โ€œI am not okโ€ we say, โ€œI donโ€™t know if I ever will beโ€ โ€“ for a moment the sky clears, we are a strange tragic chorus, we are a sad repetition. The birds abandon their squawking. We nod in recognition.

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poetry, Prose, Reviews

fences

Inspired by the 2016 film Fences (click here)
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spin the ball with me…hold that leather skull in your hand it’s just baseball

it could be rocket science ingredients leaping from tube to tube with the fear of fire and the desire to turn into something cold and remembered

in baseball folks are running from plate to plate sometimes you miss the ball like it’s a force you can’t see…an idea you can’t free…a divorce in your head maybe

an old man is out building a fence…he buys sturdy wood…he wears a smile and a stare that crawls into your bones

he churns up the naked loam with an old spade…his hands cling to the wooden neck the same way a jaded man fondles a bottle of something strong enough to wash emotions away

“one day I’ll finish this damn thing” he tells himself…earth, sweat and spray rinse dense memories he cannot leave behind unless he presses his lips to the gentle kiss of a gin bottle

old, polished, strong to the taste just like a boy he remembers and the man he forgets

 

 

PhilosopherPoet

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poetry

dreams

tonight i watch the man with the baton
rinse his thoughts in the wind.
he scuttles back and forth
like pinocchio pinned to
a coat hanger

his brain is riddled with the
thick worms of LSD
he ducks and weaves through
angry stars who
navigate his narration

it is midnight he snorts
twirls skips collides
between the cars
buttoned down
to the tarmac

i am drunk he is high
i laugh out amid my
necklace of friends
because tonight is about
the company of lunatics
and the naked foibles they fill

right up until the alarm clock
the next morning that drums
like a siren into your head
it watches the ย mixture of memories
and nocturnal music
crawl into my bones

PhilosopherPoet
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Philosophy, Reviews

Rooted

What I find interesting about human nature is the way we break things up. We label, categorize, number, annotate almost unconsciously. To give you an idea of what I mean I will use the simple school playground as an example.

Take any group of kids, and pick them at random (just make sure they’re all the same age, or peers, if you will). Tell those kids to go to school for two months and very soon you will have the divisions you see in any playground. The Prissies, the Sluts, the Jocks, the Geeks, the Academics, the Rappers, the Goths, and the Fat Kid who always steals your lunch. No one tells us to isolate and make these classifications. We simply do it to justify our own self image and to feel ‘rooted’.

 

If you were to look at our ties with other evolutionary species (i.e. cows, mice, apes), we’re only separated by a few chromosomes. In other words we’re barely out of the jungle, so we feel safest in herds, just like any other mamal. Surviving on your own, means you’ll soon get tired and eventually slaughtered by some creature with bigger claws. So as people, we look for similarities and cling to them. Sometimes we’ll even put race aside simply to have peace of mind.

I guess that’s the more pessimistic view on people. We’re not only drawn to similarities due to desperation, the flipside is connectedness or being. Children on the playground will make friends, form close relationships, because commonality gives us a greater sense of being. Don’t forget that the so-called alpha male, is not always a problem. Humans have a natural desire to compete against each other purely to grow wiser and/or more skilled. Comparing and competing may become exhausting if it’s done on an extreme scale, but healthy competition means our sense of being is elevated.

Think of the alpha male this way… If the alpha male never existed, since the beginning of our evolution, do you think the human race would still exist. If we purely fought for our OWN territory and never considered gathering warriors together; is it even logical to ask if we’d still be around? Allow me return to our playground experiment in the meantime.

Prissies, sluts, jocks, geeks, academics, rappers, goths, fat kids. From the list of cliches you’ll notice that one thing is evident (when it comes to categorizing ourselves), every label is there as a result of it’s OWN group of labels. Factors such as IQ, EQ, clothing, physique, music, and hobbies give birth to the cliches the kids turn into. These labels aren’t chosen, but brought about by their desire to ‘be’.

NOTE: I say ‘be’, because being has as many (or even more) facets as a single personality may have.

The child’s desire/yearning/will to ‘be’:

– loved

– nurtured

– challenged

– wounded

– observed by a master of their craft

– accepted

– forgiven

– understood

– heard

– touched (physically or emotionally)

– broken

– lost

I spoke about pain in a few of the words above. I once told my father that “Love isn’t blind, it just doesn’t wear the right glasses”. To expand on that I think we sometimes go through life trying on different pairs of glasses until we find ones that are right for us. If the first few pairs aren’t the right fit, we will experience and have to face our pain through those lenses. Maybe our eyes will change after a year or two and we’ll trundle along in search of a more adequate pair. In time we’ll come to find comfortable ones with a better fit. A pair that goes far enough around the ears, and is clear enough to watch your lovers hair skip over her nose. Then, perhaps, it’s time to put down your book and drift off into a dream.

 

PhilosopherPoet

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