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 – your inner cynic may vomit (that’s ok). Remember your first race, remember the finish line. Remember yourself at 5,6,7 – 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. Don’t stop swimming.

Brave explorer, I know you have climbed a hundred metaphorical mountains before breakfast – 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; it’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, β€œa bright red sloop in the harbour” the suicide poets dancing mid air, their words like seagulls declaring their truth – 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 – 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 – writing it down I imagine we meet on an autumn day, the first leaves scatter like old news – 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 – 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. β€œI am not ok” we say, β€œI don’t know if I ever will be” – 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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Standard
poetry

teach me to whisper

for Maggie Wojtarowicz

 

teach me to whisper
and weave slow scents into
the dark

there are voices i have not heard yet
fragile echoes are scattered
in the folds of your smile

teach me to whisper
talking won’t carry
a sliver of mystery or
a simple pause before words
grow out of our mouths

there’s a voice that needs to be heard
in between
our silences
before our conscious clocks
amble and trickle out softer songs

 

PhilosopherPoet

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poetry

the city that never sleeps

the city that never sleeps
in all of us
we have memories that
vibrate through a loom of synapses
there’s blood pumping with
a fury the conscious will never bury

the people that never dream
can they calm the voices of commotion
the throat of ocean
swirling inside their psyche

can you walk through a storm
and still listen to the rain?

 

PhilosopherPoet

Standard
poetry

clouds

i turn
the doorknob
walk up old stairs
bruised and worn down
knuckles of a fighter

“the cheapest hostel in Vancouver”
the advert said
i agreed out of ignorance
i pay for two nights
the man behind the counter
slaps down a key
hands me a pillowcase
and a brown sheet

he turns to leave but stops
“you need a blanket?”
i nod and receive
something a dog slept
in for days

i walk into the tv room
a cloud of marijuana
cloaks me like bad weather
five guys stare at the screen

one darts a look at me
then back to the screen
he sips his beer and shrugs

i wave briefly
only one of them notices
a young Chinese guy
lights up a bong

a thick cloud builds up
in the glass chamber
he inhales
empties out
the unconscious tunnel

he coughs and moans
his thick red hair
too limp to dance

he stands up
fondles his bankie
like an old photograph

he wanders
out the room
looking for food

 

PhilosopherPoet

Standard
poetry

hatch

a chaos hatches inside
our hearts
somber stutters
vacant murmurs
breed in the silence
we called decay

a chaos hatches inside
our laughs
saucy giggles
mouthfuls multiply
and our eyes eclipse
an inner demon

a chaos hatches inside
our masks
adjusted idioms
scamper through
the cage of our banter

a chaos hatches inside
my heart
a gentle ghost
dances in the shot glass

tonight he stares into
primordial patterns
and
cold corpuscles
vibrate through
an old chamber
where the conscious
lie buried

PhilosopherPoet

Standard
poetry

pump

he clasps the handle
a thin sliver of soupy fuel
surges

background murmurs plague
his consciousness like sharp tendrils
crying through the clear face
a fallen wine
glass once had

there are no veins in his head
a usual pulsing area
pallid grave
potent humor
pungent sweat
playing ditties into
the velvet dress of the atmosphere
arrives by chance in the ochre hue
she calls melody

he wishes for water
or even the simple allure of nectar
which might free the puerile spirits
stalking petroleum
vigor locked
clasped
engaged with the duty to point
his nozzle to another garrulous motor
sucking in the sunlight
perforated people
fuel injected five year olds
and a simple silver barrel
gleaming in his hands.

 

PhilosopherPoet

Standard