Of being

c62At twenty

when most young people

have such inner light they need

no tanning

I stood in the Pre-Raphaelite section

of the foreign museum

where prisms of light gathered

in tepees over head

born with an exaggerated self-consciousness

it felt as if all the disinterested

milling around staring at art

with their mouths open and crumbs from croissants

smearing their lapels

were disapproving

it wasn’t self aggrandized

I knew then as I know now

I am just one of a million million

but the glare of the crowd

was like a purse being pulled inward

gathering her fret

I’d been inspected too closely, too frequently

as a child prone to blunder and freedom

reined by yoke of adults disapprobation and neglect

now it felt like every stare

was a leach on my skin

sucking for marrow

I wondered

at the girls who posed for masters

in cold bathtubs of water

approximating Ophelia’s death throes

or imagined when they

lay quiet in their grave

mouths still stained with laudanum

life plucked by the need for art

art approximating life and not

artifice struck me then

unable like the fawn colored girl beside me

to walk with certitude

she was only a few inches taller

though her neck was more a swan than cat

she held little more potential

yet held the world by its umbilical

whilst I sought out back doors

to any exhibit of youth

it didn’t sit well on my angular shoulders to

flaunt or even preen unaware

I had never known how to un-know

the unbearable lightness of being

(last line and title from Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí by Milan Kundera)

With the beauty of her temperature

15319260_10202291446205021_9072796197672683666_nConversely, paradoxically it has come to

envying the mania

a relief from sorrow

where creation can once more grow

unimpeded by sloth of emotion

covering us like autumn leaves bury unaware

I suffocate every time the heavy hand comes around

and when it is gone I come up for air

but the passage between light and dark is not extreme

not like the mercurial soul who soars high above themselves

I watch them fly so far

I can never muster that much

my energy is a stone well without water

during the darkness hibernation

and when the light shines it only

lightly pierces

like a ray not even sufficient for hope

will wake the sleeping from their nightmare

long enough to know

yes there is another world out there

but you with your rubber gloves around your head

cannot plug yourself in

you are restrained by the amount of light

weak and far ahead

where angels fear to tread

and mania dances hedonistically

with the beauty of her temperature