Jun 24 2010


You can’t write about silence because it doesn’t exist. It pretends to exist, we talk about it, we yearn for it, we aspire to it, but life is never truly silent. There is always something making sound, your heart beating, your lungs breathing, there is always a whisper of life, somewhere.

My mind is never quiet. I have never been able to meditate, to completely clear my thoughts, there is always some phrase or idea that raises its hand and waves for my attention. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing, although sometimes I do wish that they would all just sit down and read for a while. Or take a little nap.

But mostly I like that my mind moves in circles, thoughts flowing in and out and around, and then back again, sometimes when I least expect them. I like that a line for a poem can just appear, on a page that my brain has already printed. I like that words are perpetual, always there, my constant companions.

Yes, peace and quiet sound really nice, I wish for both fairly often, but in truth I would probably get bored.

I like to stay up, alone, when everyone else is sleeping, I like the way the house sounds when my husband and son are here and asleep, it is a different sound than when I am home by myself. Even though I can’t really hear anything, I can sense their presence within the quiet. Perhaps it is the peace of their sleep that I feel, palpable evidence of their dreams.

Sound travels further at night, and our dreams entwine themselves around what we hear and tell us the story of that noise, this whisper. They (the proverbial they) say that dreams don’t really play out as stories, that they are just flashes in our brains, synapses, individual thoughts or images that our mind strings together later, and then adds meaning. I’m not sure I believe that.

I think dreams are stories that need to be told.

Poems are emotions that struggle to exist.

Words and images are the conduits.

Silence can exist, in a vacuum. But I am not there.

May 23 2010

the oh so bearable
lightness of being

Shadows that move, across the floor, up a wall, out the door. Creeping silently through life when they think no one is looking. Patterns that whisper, songs that recall, lines that pop in your head from a poem you learned at eleven.

I am stuck in a pattern of rinse and repeat. I walk in circles, accomplish nothing, bite my nails, pull my hair, open my mouth in a silent scream.

There is nothing there.

Of course, there is something there. But it is not what I want, not what I need, or not what I think it should be. No matter what it is,
it is none of these things. Nothing can assuage me. I look to the shadows, deeper, trying to discern what lies there, beneath the surface, this unrest, this revelation that refuses to reveal.

There is nothing there.

I run through a forest at night in my sleep and wish for someplace sunny. When the sun rises, I hide beneath the covers, wanting only the comfort of darkness. I am cold. I am hot. I am never just right. Not comfortable, not complacent, not appeased.

There is always something missing. The key is misplaced, stuck in a jar in the back of some cupboard long ago, owner gone but not forgotten, no longer here, no longer able to open this memory, that possibility. Perspective. A door that stays closed, sealed shut, forgotten in the shadows.

I think of a dream I had, years ago, now. After a friend ended his life. A dream I have never forgotten. He stood there, in this dream, at the top of the hill near the house I grew up in, the house my parents live in, still. His hair was long, wild, his clothes, dirty.
He smiled.

I am okay, he said. Just that.

I am okay.

It was a gift, that dream, a moment when the shadows receded to let a light shine through, a light that no one, no one was watching for.

When he did it, took that gun and said goodbye, we were shocked. Shocked, but not surprised. Of course, we said, he was not fit for this world. No, we said, this world was not fit for him. There was no place for him, here. No sanctuary. It made sense in the way that things that can never make sense, will.

I think of him, sometimes. When I see a shadow on a wall that lets the light shine through. A light that no one, no one is watching for.

And yes.

I am okay.