I don't really remember what happened tonight. I know that it's dark
and I probably shouldn't be walking alone. And I know the image in my mind that won't go away, the one where I open up my great aunt's journal
after her funeral, upstairs, and see the word PAIN
scrawled across the pages for the last two weeks of her life. Every day labelled, carefully, in old lady handwriting before lapsing into a one-word whisper. Tiny wrinkled fingers bent around the pen. Lips
white and tight together. I don't know why this keeps surfacing in my mind. I don't know what this means.
I keep walking, staring past the giant stony reminders of my own smallness. The buildings may be imposing, but I could still pee on them and run away. Sometimes, this thought alone is enough to make me feel important.
In moonlight everything seems deeper. Even more so tonight, with the crickets squeaking out their rhythmic chanting, making it vaguely possible that something in my life is meant to arrive, in tune and on beat, restoring meaning when I most need it. I may be in for a long wait this time (head hung low and bent, slightly; hands in pockets). Heavy with expectation and the fear that it might not come, after all. The long wait for the angel, as Sylvia Plath would say. She found her angel in a kitchen oven while the kids were away. I hope to look elsewhere.
This is the place where we played xylophone that night, here on this dark grass, stoned out of our minds and sick of talking. It turned out well that time, didn't it. You were not my angel but the voices from the sidewalk mingled with our little chimes and I could almost see where a shimmering halo formed around us. That moment got me through a lot. It's not every day that things come together.
I'm hoping the sun won't rise for a while. A little light and the arbitrary casualty slaps you in the face; the halo is lost. The brilliant image is crushed (the one where I sit alone with a pen and no one understands, not at all). This is where I start to lose something. This is where I realize that these buildings could be rebuilt, that I'm not the only one who has thought of peeing on them, and that the moonlight strikes everyone. I always wanted to be something other than everyone. Sometimes I do things not to fit in, but to make sure that I never do. This is hard for me to admit.
Keep walking. The colliding of a tiny droplet against my skin, running down my neck. This could mean something. Then again, this could mean nothing at all.
I'm learning to find the balance, gradually, between loving the parts of myself that rise (sometimes I get so excited I throw poetry across the room) and knowing that I will sink with the rest of them - the dreamers, the wall-breakers, the quiet hearts. I love the quiet hearts. I love their silence. I love the fact that I might be hiding something too, but then again, we're all hiding something, aren't we?
I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical,
Yet politic; ignorant
Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I know only that a rook
Ordering its feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant
A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content
Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait's begun again,
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent.
-last four stanzas of "Black Rook in Rainy Weather" by Sylvia Plath