The hidden spin of the ball. The lasting memory of a note. Wind floating along a cheekbone.
The hum of the electrical wires, connecting towns with cities with nature.
I’m looking for inspiration, a part of existence so unlike anything else. A feeling, but more than that. A directive to action. A call to arms and hands and fingers holding pens. A call for eyes to be drawn, and drawing.
Oh how I long to be on that childhood ocean of my waking dreams, able to feel the movement of the waves whenever I close my eyes. Having a ‘place’ to ‘go to’.
I have devolved, I feel. Have devolved into a consumer, looking for a new entertainment-fix. Too rarely closing my eyes to find the inspiration I have picked up. I have no doubt that I pick up more inspiration these days, but I fail to do anything with it.
I neglect my writing.
I neglect my thinking as I pace through weeks and months.
I promise myself ‘tomorrow will be different’. But I know tomorrow doesn’t come for another week. Two weeks.
Summer will once again toast my cheeks, will once again inspire me to go out and feel the sting of the grass, listen to the rattling of the leaves, taste the sweet fruits growing beneath the Golden Sun.
Once again taste lips, because what else is there for lips to taste but other lips tasting back. A most egoistical sharing where survival is equal to collision. Where orbits are broken and new galaxies form. Where matter becomes energy, heard half a world away in the hum of electrical wires.
We can be known unnamed.
I look around and I see nothing. My eyes have forgotten their old friendship with the night, and its darkness has become impenetrable to sight. I wonder if that’s how you’ve disarmed me. Unable to see what lies hidden in your darkness, I can only read you from your best sides, always shining in the morning sun. So I shut my critical eye and believe even your impossible face to be real. And I shut my critical mind and believe even broken hearts can heal. And I feel. I close my eyes and feel the night lift me and envelop me in its hidden hands until I’m once more just a part of it all, and I don’t have to see you to know that you’re here. I just have to feel. I just have to believe in make-believe.
My body is a big ball of unrest and not even the trees can calm me. I try to imagine them with their long fingers stretching up into the air, reaching for empty space. But my imagination cuts them off before they reach anything other than the feeling of longing. My imagination is always too concerned with reality, when I wish for the unreal possibilities that lie beyond these acres. I draw mystical eyes because I feel as if you’re seeing through my fair skin and straight into my dark soul, as if every blink from your eyes is a shot with a loaded gun, tearing through my respectable appearance to drain my sinful blood. And I would hide behind the trees, but they have been cut down by now. And I would hide on different islands, but all my bridges have been burnt. And I would scream. And I would rage. And I would run like the wind and my footsteps would spread like wildfire. But there’s no sound. There’s no emotion. There’s no wind and there’s no oxygen here. There’s just your eye on me, and me suffocating in my own web of lies.
I don’t blame you for getting lost, even when you left me stranded here with nothing on but three ounces of courage, the ever-growing weight on my shoulders and a splash of tears accentuating my cheekbones. I know it’s hard to find your way through these lands, and the neon signs glow much too bright at night when they try to corrupt your soul. Drink this. Watch this. FEEL this. So I don’t blame you, ’cause when you look at them, they drag you in and spit you out, and when you manage to look away, you wander hopelessly in the dark.
Sometimes I get lost as well. Sometimes I’m a good kid, following the path laid out and eating all my meals. Sometimes I’m a decent man, taking care of the people around me and walking around the puddles in my way. But sometimes I’m just a boy spending his time buying records instead of reading. And sometimes I’m just a boy staying in bed when the sun is out. And sometimes I’m just a boy only looking out for my own corrupted interests. And sometimes the neon signs get me. And sometimes I want them to.
And I don’t blame you. For dreaming of other planets. For singing lullabies to the stars. For letting go when the going gets tough. For escaping life. I don’t blame you.
But sometimes I wish I did.
You told me they had found a New Earth. A planet with rocks and rivers and a sun to keep the plants warm. You said it with an air of optimism, as if you could envision yourself on the New Earth, taking strolls on a different wing of our galaxy, and looking back on Old Earth through a telescope, waving, even, for whoever had been left behind. But the light travels forty years to get from New Earth to Old Earth, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I would ever catch you waving before it was too late. If maybe my time ran out before the light could go the distance. Or if perhaps you saw me there next to you on New Earth, working around the problem by bringing me with you, just as I would bring you anywhere.
But I said none of those things aloud. It didn’t seem right as we were lying on the floor, glancing up into the ceiling and talking about the open space on the other side of it. How very unconnected would I seem to ask such self-centered questions when we were considering galaxy plateaus and light years. I turned my head to look at your ocean eyes, feeling myself drown as I realized half a life too late that half a life is halfway dead, and I had already spent seven-thousand days without you. It was then and there I decided to appreciate the elasticity of time and make sure every minute of us would count as an hour, and every hour would count as a lifetime. There were no rules until we made them. There was no distance between us as long as we held on.
There’s pain in those eyes. The kind of pain that comes from too much experience, too much knowledge. The unshakable burden of having seen too much. The twitch in the left eye, regularly irregular in its sudden shifts. Flinching from the danger that will strike in half a second twenty years ago. Eyes like these make you realise that a map is just a map, when the same event is as present here as it was there, at the very far end of the map. We never have trouble leaving these places, but sometimes the places have trouble leaving us. They become part of us, always right under the surface, as a second home, an unchosen home, that we know like we know our own heartbeat: completely and not at all. These places are the lands of closed eyelids, and we can never close our eyes to them. What use is running when the thing we’re fleeing lives inside? What dreams do painful eyes like those have? What happens in the deep of night?
I’ve been called heartbreaker
for doing justice to my own
(Julie Byrne: “Follow My Voice”) Posters on the walls, movie stills from fictive fictions from across the great blue; palms and persons; a clock, a disturbance. Books in the windowsills. Candlelights in the windowsills. A view the only thing missing from the windowsills. There are numerous spices, used and unused, on the racks in the kitchen. That’s a metaphor, by the way. And the sweet taste of music in the evening. Music is a mineral, like salt, used to enhance the flavors of life. Things become more present by falling into a haze of half-closed eyelids and wide-open ears. Tones melt, memories are distorted, waves break.
There is no use
falling for me
(Julie Byrne: “I Live Now As A Singer”) A scene is rarely seen from above. This one is no exception. “Keep your feet on the ground,” and I do. I do.