Sunday, February 23, 2014

ponytail weathervane

We are far too preoccupied with hangnails--
those moments of discomfort that matter so very little,
that distract you from the substance of the moment.
That take you out of the daylight
that block your ears with the noise of your own heartbeat.
Spellbound by the fragmented, broken skin.


To be a writer you need an island all alone.
A moment in time devoid of delusions.
Somewhere where the rawness of reality can strike you.
You need to find a space where you do not have the sweet pleasure of the distraction of other people; a place where you are necessarily confronted with the world itself. Confronted by its grittiness, its silliness, its frustrations, its joys, its sweet pleasures, and its small annoying discomforts.
You have to leave behind your friends in order to notice the small bent old man walking by in his green wool green coat and wool hat, or the small dog sniffing every cobblestone, or the glamorous forty-year-old woman, wearing a deep black fur coat and her cat-eyed glasses.
You need to be away from the sweet pleasure of conversation with intimates to hear the tattooed young men saying "fiego, fiego!" or the old gentlemen talking about the new pope over cappuccinos, or the sound of sirens and cars going by the rickety wickered metal chairs.

I was there in that chapel, because Christ had taken my water bottle, which was kind of rude of him, I felt. In my utter scatter-brainedness, I had left my water bottle in His home, and instead of returning it, like a normal host would, it had disappeared. I guess that’s what happened when you let guests into your home who are unpredictable. Untamed.

Roma had been very rainy that week.

As I looked at my Macbook weather forecast for Roma, I saw that there was a full week of rain predicted. Ahh, I thought. Okay, rain, NBD, because I'm in London, and isn't this the rainiest of cities? People always joke about how there's always rain here. I can defs handle this.

As I left Termini metro station, in the heart of Rome, I began to grow worried in spite of myself, because the clouds above were dark and menacing, promising that rain was soon to follow.
Anxiously, I prayed that I would be able to make it to Piazza Navona to find my friends before the downpour came.
Thankfully, I found them just as the sky broke open, and the wind carried with it torrents of water, piercing through every piece of cloth, waterproof suitcase lining, and raincoat lining. Later, we stood in St. Peter's square, waiting for the smoke to come, the rain was pouring down on our heads.

Anger and jealousy are corrosive emotions.

As I sat in Mass, stewing over hurt on hurt on hurt, ignoring the homily, words finally broke through to me, like a shaft of sunlight through the storm clouds.
Corrosive.
What a word.
What the priest mean then was that when you foster that jealousy and nurse that anger, your heart, your core is being corroded.
Done away with, destroyed.
Something is wearing away the meat around your heart, leaving a bony skeleton in its place.
You are self-destructing the very thing that is giving you your humanity. You are dehumanizing yourself, turning your heart into something smaller, weaker, more brittle, less real than what it ought to be. Anger and jealousy destroy you from the inside out.
Wow. I thought. Okay then.
And, not in an instant, but slowly, like snow melting in the cold spring sun, I felt the anger finally melt away. I felt the sun begin to break from behind the clouds.
You have to encourage sun, sometimes.
It likes to play hard-to-get, especially in climates where we constantly clamor for shade.
You have to offer patient, slow words of encouragement.

Salt can only be rubbed in our wounds so many times until we decide to snap, because we can absolutely take no more.
The only thing that hurts more than the initial shock of pain, are all the chafes and gibes we endure, that remind us of the original hurt.
The off-hand comment that causes us to bite our tongue, in order to abort our cry of pain mid-gasp; the poorly-timed joke that make our stomach drop uneasily; the innocent question which we would rather cut off our left hand (gotta keep the right one for writing, you know) than answer.
One can only endure pain and heartbreak for so long until one will snap, explode, or break.
And then it is finished.

And then the cock crows.

Sometimes we do not realize even the story that we are living in until we move beyond.
We learn to love with each step, and until we're several steps ahead of our past selves, we may not be able to read the story we're already writing.

I am was sitting there, under the Italian sun, with my favorite color scheme all around me: green trees, creamy-yellowy-orangey-red-red buildings and roofs with bright blue sky and puffy white clouds.
I bit into my favorite pastry and knew why they call it a capezzoli di Venere.
It tastes so good, it feels quite naughty to eat.


I realized there is more poetry in each day than I will ever be able to find words for--I listened to the old men sing in Italian, I listened to the little child laughing. 
How seldom we listen in silence to those simple sounds.

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