the ice is so delicate
shot through with spider web fracture
though the danger lies not in crashing through
but in the bursting forth
i read once in an old book of Chinese tales
of a pompous ass of an official
who refused to heed the old monk’s warnings
and broke into the sacred vault where the demon lay waiting
to be fulfilled
it’s just like that
the melting cries of an infant
drowning in the fire of it’s own tears
the whine and shriek of the shrapnel torn air
all the lights dimmed and flickering
muttered excuses so flimsy they are transparent
in the face of the frozen moment
seventy years of catastrophe
vexed to nightmare
no rough beast
only a slouch
he signs his name with a magic marker
held in a childlike fist
his friends watch
from the sidelines of the playground
“we mean business”
when everyone knows
we mean nothing
Nothing will come of Nothing.
It is hot in this room and it will most likely get much hotter before the afternoon is out. Just beyond the double paned glass windows of this classroom, the late spring sun is vibrant against the apple green leaves of the trees and the purple hollows and rills of the hills ringing this small city deep in the river valley, but I don’t see any of that as I’ve closed the blinds to allow my students to chill out and watch a movie. It doesn’t really matter what movie I’ve chosen because none of the students in this darkened classroom are watching the light being projected up on the screen. They are, instead, slouched about the room in some of the most striking examples of really bad posture imaginable. Curled up against the backs of the chairs or leaning over like human question marks doubled into themselves and the glowing screens of their cel phones. There is no actual social interaction in this room for the entire day. By lunchtime I feel so lonely I want to collapse onto the floor beneath my desk and go into a comatose sleep. But instead, I’m sitting here typing this to you, whoever you might be, wherever you might be.
I think to myself every once in a while I should get up and leave the room. Walk out into the open air, get in my car, and drive and just keep on driving until I run out of road. I have, however, no idea where to go or what to do once I get there. And then I realize that I have maybe already run out of road, sitting here in this airless space, trying to realize a vision that has been made obsolescent by the sleek glassed panes of a pocket toy that responds to it’s viewer’s most shallow desire.
One thing is clear, that I am not, and have never really been welcome here. In this room or in this system. But I manage to hang on through my guitar and my scribbling, and my anecdotal reveries.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a pessimistic rant about the state of the world. It’s just my current observations of the moment at hand. And the really great thing about this particular existence is that it is most certainly going to change, and from my experience, that change will take the most unexpected of forms.
From “Writing About Rituals and Rituals That Help Us Write” by Jessica Mesman Griffith (Creative Nonfiction Magazine, Issue 65):
“. . . the first step is to dutifully record. Ask yourself the following questions when writing about ritual:
What is in front of you?
Look all around you and notice the specifics of the space you are in.
Why are you there?
Who else is there?
Who is leaving?
Who is paying attention and who is not?
Who is crying?
Is this a familiar or unfamiliar place or event?
Do you feel welcome or unwelcome?
Do you feel like you belong?”
Memoir magazine has extended the deadline for this contest until May 15, 2018. Great opportunity to speak out about an issue of vital concern. . .