Writer’s Block

Close-up Photo of Gray Typewriter

I want to write something beautiful. Something that speaks to yearning; something that speaks to the yawning cavern, aching to be filled.

I want to speak of the darkness of that cavern; of the infinite chamber that hangs silence like a curtain, waiting for the voice strong enough to pierce it – this veil that is not a veil; this veil that is “nothing” incarnate… but “something,” all the same.

I want to describe rivers of blood, pulsing with all the relentless and ferocious calm of the ocean, swelling to the unyielding call of the moon overhead.

Have you ever ventured deep inside great caverns? Do you know that there is always ice inside them, beautiful and glistening in the pale and eerie light; as cold as death itself?

I want to write something that speaks to the gentle violence that occurs, when crimson rivers start to lap at frost-strewn banks; when the diamond-studded tips of the grass bow low enough beneath the weight of their great jewels to dangle their fingers idly in these hot streams.

I want you to know that I saw the moon, reflected in dark waters, as cold and inexorable as the ice. And that one of these implacable masks had to surrender, had to yield to the other, and it was not the moon. It was never going to be the moon.

After that, I had no words; no ink with which to write. There was nothing I could say anymore, that had not already been said by better poets; better writers than myself.

What am I to do? I gave the darkness my voice; I flung it into the furthest reaches of the cave.

It echoed for a time, but now is lost.

Memento Mori

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Sometimes I think I would not mind, if this was it.
Have I not lived a long life already;
Have I not lived, and loved, as deeply as anyone hopes to?
I would have only one request, perhaps – if this was it –
And it might be, “Give me ten days, or all of them.”
Years of unknowing wear hard, even on me.

Still, I am grateful for these years.
Maybe I was not made to live too long;
Maybe I have already lived longer than anyone can know.
So if this is it – and I do not make it to 40 –
These years have granted me the grace to say,
“This decade will not be defined by my death,
But by the fact that I finally decided to live.”

And it has been a long life already,
And I am tired, though I seldom say it.
But now I am finally blessed with boundless energy, to do
Those things I always said I wanted to do.
And I am grateful, to have learned before I die,
That there is no such thing as “later,”
And there is no such thing as “time.”

There is no such thing as “time.” 

The Shadow of Truth

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When did my truth become my shadow?

When it became a shroud I laid on others like a blanket – “I know who you really are.”
When I could no longer see the person beneath that which I already “know” about them.

Religion colors truth. “God sends people like that to hell.”
Politics colors truth. “They shouldn’t have come to our country.”
Betrayal colors truth. “You have shown your true colors – be forever painted with them.”

I, myself, am an imperfect canvas, splashed with the colors of my day.
I, myself, am no doubt made an object by those whose knowledge of me consists solely of one moment.
One page in my story. One encounter.
One immovable experience or attribute, lodged in their minds and memory.

I believe I am incapable of committing atrocity. I believe this, and am sure it is true.
In the meantime, all atrocity has ever needed, is an unwillingness to be flexible.
Certainty, about who “the other” is.
Certainty, that my perspective is true.

The reduction of a human story to a single page, read once; perhaps never understood.
The reduction of a person to an object.
All begins first with the reduction of myself to an immovable object – “a perfect statue” – casting the shadow that I insist is “truth.”
Forgetting that I, too, am but a changing canvas.