Do not tell the man who is carrying you that he stinks.
The way you speak
Sounds so giddily happy
And so carelessly serene
The way you smile
Is so tenderly mild
And like that of a young child
The way your eyes shine
Is so beautifully shimmering
Like a sea of tranquillity
The way you love
Is so perfect for me
Because I’ve always needed
Someone like you
- nail-in-the-wall (I originally wrote this about ebbs a couple of months ago. Now, I can see it relates to me too. This is a poem that captures how much friends can change you for the better and make you feel reborn, renewed, and revived just by treating you right.)
From Richard Powers’s Orfeo
“If you’re going to build something new then you need to build it while everyone is asleep,” the witch tells me. She picks her frozen daiquiri up off the floor and brings the straw to her face. She misses her mouth and hits herself in the cheek with the straw and then aims it back towards her mouth. She sucks back on her frozen strawberry booze, pulling in her cheeks as she stares down at the Tarot card spread she’s laid out for me. I smile. Her boozy heart is warming me up.
“Why do they all have to be asleep?” I ask her.
“Because you don’t have anyone around you who truly believes in you, at least not where you’re living currently,” she says. “If you build it while they’re awake, they’re all going to try and convince you that you can’t do it. Keep your gifts to yourself. There’s no need to splash them out into the public every chance that you get. There are people who don’t want you to succeed because they’re intimated by your candor. Lay your bricks when nobody is looking. Don’t give any away. Don’t let anyone borrow any of them. And don’t let anyone steal from you. Create what you need by building what you want, and don’t let anyone see it until it’s finished. It’s nobody’s business but your own.”
“I heard that,” I say. “Fuck everyone.”
The witch reaches across the table and lightly slaps my face.
“Stop that!” She shouts/slurs. “Your heart is heavy enough as it is. Don’t weigh it down with anymore of that negativity,” she says, pointing her finger at me. I smile again. “How long have you been coming here?” she asks. “I know I’ve seen you here before. I remember your energy. It’s always been so heavy.”
“I’ve been coming here since I was 19 or so,” I say. “I got my first Tarot deck here. You picked it out for me.”
“Was it a Rider Waite deck?”
“It was, but I don’t have it anymore. I left it down by the river one day.”
“Why’d you do that?” she says around the straw in her mouth. She chews the end of it a bit as she stares at me and then sucks back on her blood-red daiquiri.
“Because I was tired of always trying to know everything. I was so afraid all the time of what was coming, and I couldn’t accept the fact that there was no way of knowing anything for sure.”
“So you’re telling me that you didn’t like what the cards had to tell you?”
“Right. I was tired of trying to achieve approval from a deck of cards. And The Rider Waite deck is so heavy. The imagery is too gruesome, too morbid.”
“The imagery is honest,” she says. “Each card is a tangible window into the root of every feeling, and it’s conveyed in a way that people don’t always like to see because they’re afraid of their emotions. The Three of Swords, for example: It’s a picture of heart being stabbed three ways from Sunday, bleeding and pumping its own blood onto the floor. But isn’t that exactly what being betrayed feels like? When you have your heart broken, doesn’t it feel like your chest is full of knives? People don’t like to confront their emotions; they don’t want to accept their story when it involves someone that they love plunging not one, but three knives into their hearts. The cards are all very subjective, as you already know, but the surface level meaning of that card is heartache, and I don’t care who you are, everyone’s had their heart chained up and dragged through the dirt at some point—but the point of that card is, even though your heart may have been drawn and quartered and splattered and stabbed and stomped on—
—The witch has become very emphatic as she speaks about the heart, and slaps her hand on the table when she says the words “splattered”, “stabbed”, and “stomped”—
“somehow, the heart still manages to beat. Honestly, I find it cathartic to see it portrayed in such a gruesome way, because that’s how I feel when my heart is broken. And when you accept the way something feels, and accept the fact that nothing can be done about it, that’s when you learn how to move on and and gain the strength that it takes to progress through the Wheel of Life. The cards are brutal in their depictions so you understand the honesty of your situation—and to help you find the nerve to confront things head on so you can find the will to carry on with your life when everything falls apart.”
She leans back in her chair and dramatically crosses one leg over the other, brings the straw of her daiquiri to her lips and takes a giant slurp.
“But I understand why you gave them away,” she says. “Sometimes you have to spend some time being still and accept the fact that you know nothing in order for the right thing to happen.”
Stillness is a dream I’ve always had for myself; having the water of my mind be smooth and placid for once in my life, even if it doesn’t last forever. I smile at the witch. I’m very fond of her. I’ve been fond of her for all eight years that Ive been coming to her shop, always dropping in from time to time when I feel like I need someone to tell me what to do.
“Can I tell you something?” I say.
“Sure, kid,” she says. “Shoot.”
“I think I’m coming up on a time in my life where I’m going to be challenged in a way that I may not be able to survive.”
“What makes you say that,” she says, smiling flirtatiously. And her smile horrifies me, because I know what her smile is telling me. She may as well have looked me dead in the eyes and told me that I was right.
I stare at her nervously, and she continues to sit there with that smile, holding her daiquiri up by her shoulder with her legs still crossed. She looks beautiful, poised and elegant. I don’t say anything.
“When life comes for us,” she says, “it comes for us because it needs us to respond, because it expects more from us. What people seem to forget is that survival is an option, and that you always have a say in your own survival. The cards are about survival, triumph, love—how we find our way to those things even when we’re pulled into the darkness. They’re here to guide you to the road that will lead you back home when you lose your way.”
She reaches across the table and takes my hand.
“Do you feel like you’ve lost your way, my love,” she says.
I look down at her hand that’s resting on top of mine. I pull my hand out from under hers and lay it on top.
“I’m beginning to,” I say. “And I know that I’m going to, and I know that that’s unavoidable for me.”
“Along the way,” she says, “just remember what I said. Don’t let anyone steal from you. If you lose yourself, hold on to the things that make you who you are. If you do that, then you’ll never be all the way lost. Your identity is what will put you back on the road to achieving your destiny, and sometimes we have to feel like we’ve lost ourselves in order to find out who we were always meant to be.”
She leans back in her chair again and takes a slurp.
“But what make you so goddamn sure that you’re going to fuck it all up,” she says, trying to be funny, but her eyes soften in that moment, and for a split second I can tell that she wishes that she could save me from what’s coming. I look down at the spread.
“I just know,” I say.
I have completed my living cycle for today.
I am ready to journey over to the dream world now.
- Sumbal Sabah
I wish I was only as cruel as
the first time I noticed
I was cruel, waving my tiny
shadow over a pond to scare
the copper minnows.
Kaveh Akbar, Forfeiting My Mystique
Sometimes we have a hard time finding the power in ourselves to go for things. So from now on, anytime you want to do something but you don’t feel like it, think about the kid you used to be. When you were in elementary school you had so much more hope, so many dreams, but you didn’t have the power to get them. Everything you do, do it for them. Maybe as a kid you wanted to play guitar, or be an artist, and that kid deserved for their dreams to come true more than you deserve to be lazy or give up. You are the only person in the world with the power to make that kids dreams come true. Do not take that from them, because that kid still exists somewhere and so do their hopes and dreams. Give them the future they’ve dreamed of.
“Call me cold , again”
Every time I thought I’d figured it out, I remembered a time before that, and then a time before that. Eventually I came to the conclusion that ever since we’ve met, you’ve been happening all around me. Happening to me. It’s absurd to think a shell won’t get wet if you drop it in the ocean. You’re my ocean.
Cas to Dean in Professional Couple Only
when i was a kid
i remember bouncing around from couch to chair
on pillows and blankets
avoiding the floor that i was certain was lava
now that i’m adult
i still play the same game;
the world surrounding me is a blazing inferno
and i’m just trying to get from here to there
without getting burnt
Bagaimana seseorang yang tidak pernah punya keberanian besar untuk memulai bisa membuat puluhan sajak tentang jatuh hati? Bisa tampak indah dengan ornamen-ornamen kejujuran yang lebih sering disamarkan lewat ekspresi datar yang tampak akrab.
apa kau akan percaya apa-apa yang dituliskannya jika dia terlalu sibuk berangan tentang apa-apa yang tidak pernah berani diwujudkan?
Rindunya disimpan, Kepeduliannya ditahan, apalagi pengakuannya yang tak pernah diizinkan tampak barang sekilas. Bagaimana kau percaya pada orang yang seperti itu?
Bagaimana seseorang yang tidak pernah cukup berbesar hati membagi ruang untuk dijamah orang lain, tanpa merasa ingin lari membuat puluhan sajak tentang ekspektasi yang patah? bisa tampak rapuh dengan tambahan-tambahan keluh-kesah yang mengundang iba, tak repot-repot ditutupi supaya bisa disadari oleh siapapun.
apa kau akan percaya apa-apa yang dikatakannya jika tatap matanya bahkan tak pernah berani jatuh pada manik matamu yang menunggu?
Jujurnya tak tahu di mana, apalagi keberadaanmu di hatinya. Bisa jadi memang ada tapi tak sesuai perkiraanmu, bisa jadi memang ada di sana tapi tak pernah menarik buatnya.
apakah kau akan percaya pada apa-apa tentangnya?
apa tidak apa-apa jika nanti kau harus patah?
words can carry you places your feet can not