Infinitely intricate countless caused reactions so simple the slight movements that build up and diffuse. A pause of recognition: familiar eyes find a familiar face. Falling, stepping, taken aback: out of focus, out of place. A found meeting with a loved one – once a loved one – long ago. A curiosity of happenstance: time stutters as it slows. The thought behind each spoke word: interpreted sounds hit ears in waves. The clues are in the subtext asking: how did you get here, is it fate? The understanding and response: a cornered smile’s blinked-back tear. Future footprints fade forgotten: plans rewritten, starts renewed. Remembering where I’m coming from I find out where we’re going, and four legs take off two by two: so easily sidewinding.
I journeyed to the center of the Earth
just to see what I’d find there,
so I found what I was looking for,
and turned around without a care.
I want I want I want so much more for myself but I can’t I won’t take it because I want what’s just not quite out of reach. I want I want I want: words spoken by children, where priorities are ranked according to scored selfishness. Minimize the page: a glance looks over a shoulder. Hide the terms you’re searching for: a way out, an escape. Planning, planning, planning in the present for a future: maybe failure maybe fiction maybe folly maybe fame. I have one life: I’m living it. I do alright: I’m moving forward. But regrets are looming asking: why not try for more? Burning bridges. Closing doors. Patience. Pause. Just wait it out: there’s going to be more.
I try I try I’m trying to keep the current a priority, but the current is a small part drifting through open sea. Options appear like exit ramps that are unclearly marked. Take a chance, make a bet, keep eyes open, in the dark. I worry about failure if I make a change turned not for better.
But I can’t fail: I won’t. I have one life’s one path in hindsight’s 20/20. So I can’t fail, but can change directions: by force of circumstance or self-driven whim. I can’t fail, but I can trip, and when I trip, I may fall, but I will stand back up with the knowledge that I simply can’t be broken: I play a part too small. I have one life and things will happen, by choice or simple happenstance. So towards the end, while looking back, I’ve written one long life comprised of only of crossed off What Ifs.
One billion lives asynchronous,
acting towards uncommon cause.
Broke arms, broke legs, forgotten wings:
daydreams siphoned for products to be dissolved
in too hot turned too cold undrunk tea.
The queen wears her crown:
holding onto hierarchy’s working order.
The ants come marching one by one:
alone too small to seek a change profound.
It has been almost one full year since I left the structured-by-semester schedule of higher education behind, although my estimate would have been quite uncertain if I hadn’t just checked my calendar. The days blur – the ones into the many – out of repetition, monotony, and a lack of notable milestones. I have been accomplishing tasks day-to-day, and I may have accomplished some set goals. But looking to the future, I fail to see a point of demarcation signally the end of this time period, and the start of another.
I am working now. I may work for the next forty years more or less, and they may look very similar to this last year, if I choose not to stray from my current path. I am working now. It seems endless. It is endless. Not the individual days, but the days in aggregate. I am working now. It is what I have to do. I enjoy it at times, but it is what I have to do more than what I want to do, and it is what I will continue to do, for as far as I can see.
I chose my own adventure, and I chose to sit at a desk for many hours every week in order to earn a salary. I chose my own adventure as a high school senior, who believed there was one direct highway to success and it was paved with hard work and degrees. I chose the future I wanted. I wanted success. I defined success based on what I was told success is. I chose a future I wanted, and I wanted to be successful in a field, and I wanted the benefits associated with being a success in a field.
What are the benefits? Health, vision, denial. What are the benefits? A few weeks of pained vacation. The weekends to acquire. A plan for retirement. A plan for retirement. A plan for when I have worked for long enough that I have saved enough currency to rot for the rest of my days in comfort. Comfort. The benefit of work: comfort. The goal of life: comfort. The definition of success: comfort. The opposite of desire: comfort.
I chose my own adventure, and I chose to be comfortable, not for one day, but for many. I chose my own adventure, and I chose to be successful in a field: I chose a life of boring comfort. As many have done before me and as many are working tirelessly to do while I am still here. Still here. Still here. Still working. Working. Always working. Type, type, typing at a desk. Exhausted from being so motionless.
I chose my own adventurelessness. I chose to be a monotonous miniature success. I made my very own bed and now I’m lying restless tossing turning in it. Screaming silenced into pillows. Fighting swinging punching: mattress-cushioned softened blows. Waking dreams for living nightmares: searching for a sensible end. An end. An end. A place where the next part starts. A point of demarcation signaling a change. A chapter heading: A Once Stagnant Life Turned Oh So Strange.
I won’t get there sitting here, but here is a run-on sentence: lasting so long it stops making sense. But today I chose comfort, and tomorrow (place your bets): I probably will too.
Thoughts are words dissolved on tongues: chewed, swallowed, and digested in tiny little pieces. Internalized and singular: an understanding reached by one. Dialogue breaks barriers: building empathy brick by brick. Expanding points of views (when willingness allows). But language is limited: an attempt to find common currency. Always losing value due to flawed rates of exchange. Repetition is key: with synonyms shining differently-angled light. To get across unambiguous subtlety of some fundamental meaning. Forgetting is a tragedy. A lesson unlearned. A heart rebreaking. A thought dissolved on the tip of a tongue, that never got the chance to be unleashed.
You tell me you are blank. You are the absence of thought. You are a vessel potentially purpose-serving, but tucked away for future use. I’ve been there – I am there – a lot of the time – too much? I’ve been there, or I’ve been somewhere that, at least (I think), is similar. What remains is the anxiety of not having much to be anxious about. What remains is the fear of doing too little; of falling behind; of responsibilities sliding unintentionally by. Tomorrow’s problems are tomorrow’s, although we could handle them right now (ambition is a creeping constant – always readying its sails). Tomorrow’s problems are tomorrow’s, but they’re disguised as the worries of today, because today is simple – it’s easy – although it’s never fancy-free. I’ve been there, I’ve been now – resenting repressing an itch for unwanted unneeded responsibilities. But today is simple – it’s easy – take a second hour day: enjoy its full duration. Just remember (and remind me) to breathe.