My neck hurts. My friends. Nothing I did. Exact opposite, actually. Slept wrong. Which is a pretty mind blowing concept. That you can lie for hours in a posture that’s causing you pain, but in a sleep state, you’re paralyzed. The princess didn’t feel the pea for her sensitivity, but because some thought kept her awake. I think about sleep often, when I have to give something good up in order to have something good longer. It makes me feel sort of like a battery. And I’m always digging into the constant, mini-cycles to uncover clues about the flighty, macro ones. My neck hurts, like I’m wearing a heavy chain around it, with a clock that reads one forty you’re going to die one day. That dying will pay for something forward. A healthy bit of dying carried you to who you are today. We invented words relative to experience. Death. Dying.
They’re big and awful. All that. Back up. It’s breathing.
Respiration. Good air we’ve come to expect, and death. Letting go. My neck hurts. I’m no longer young with bread crumbs to follow. I am tired. In the resolute way. Tired like an automobile. I’m tired, and it’s about time. My mind has been running nonstop. Anticipation. One step forward two train stops and three blocks back. Own worst enemy much? Welcome to modern life. Why don’t they come out right and tell you if they’re a villain or not. Why do so many villains trudge off swearing they were heroes. Redundant. You’re just breathing. Not any one particular thing. Whatever it is filling in the environment around you, you’re breathing, you’ve got no off button or setting and no capability of waiting. We’re not a perfect piece of equipment.
Evolution has all of us chasing this one word.
Even your blood tries to leave you.
Whether reddening the heel of a sock
or that pinprick of a little red dot
or pouring out wholesale
staining whatever it touches.
A fine line of skin and fat-wrapped veins
hold back the plaque banks
of the river running through us.
Peeking through our cuts
raining purple where it should be clean water.
But this blood is brackish,
thick and salted.
Let it go when it wants to go.
Because try as you may,
you’ll die before you stop it.
Ever been tempted to speak out loud a phrase like,
I don’t know how much more I can take before I break?
When in truth, it is just getting started.
The here, and where when and how we found it now.
The sound and feeling of the breeze that makes an unbearable day better,
pushing, just like us, being pushed by changes in changing weather.
And whether or not you think you can,
there will always be another mountain.
And even if you decide to sit, quit, and die,
there is a mountain waiting in death too.
And this climb comes to you.
by the time such a phrase has been spoken,
it does not matter how much you take before you break.
You are already broken.
You come to terms with dying because you intend to live.
It doesn’t mean you won’t fight to keep alive,
it just recognizes the reality that there will come a circumstance when you don’t.
Enlightenment is like that moment during an amazing dinner,
something you didn’t plan on, a meal set out most likely by a stranger,
when you feel called to ask how you can pay for it.
The moment you create a bill for yourself,
even though none was ever handed to you.
Foolish to everyone except the wise. The enlightened.
Who came to terms with dying.
Just to get on with life.
I have a soft yellow heart like a hard-boiled egg.
I have arrived at terms with death. It is only pain
still testing the cracks in my shell,
finding me in the safe places I dwell,
and itching me there. Tangling my hair,
stubbing stumpy toes and talking with a tone
I would not hand out to a child. All the while
the wild laughs at my labor, which was not an intentional joke.
Life’s rapid, aggressive, responsive regrowth,
strikes me more like revenge. Not passionate,
desperate, hurt and hurtful, blood for hungry vengeance,
but a more quiet, natural, insinuated, obligatory sort.
The sort a parent strikes out on their progeny in old age.
Cage for cage. Trapped in prisons built like guilt, and responsibility.
There is no joy in plants to witness the worker pant,
tear flesh encircling wrists, planting the seed of that awful itch,
right through calcium walls, the smooth soft almost not
quite off white jiggly unbroken membrane,
into my fertile, flakey, as close to orange as a color can go
and still remain yellow, heart.
Like the buried center of a hard-boiled egg.
Art has led me to establish acceptable terms with death.
But pain. Slipping fingernails beneath broken skin
peeling me hungrily to pieces. I’m still working
on a rapport with pain. With a sensitive blood-mover
like mine, I am sure to suffer in life. Just not in vain.