I named a star after you,
But I didn’t tell NASA
So now it’s actually called PLQ-794
I tried driving into the sunset,
But I never could quite catch it.
It’s like trying to look directly into a floater
It’s always just out of reach,
Always slipping off to the sides
You were in my dream last night.
Slipping off to the sides.
It didn’t look like you, but it was you.
We were in a field,
There were mice as large as mountains,
I was tied to the oak tree we used to sit under
And you were dancing in a summer rain.
I tried to join you,
Tried to save you from the lightning
But these ropes held my hands
Like if they were to fail,
Atlas’s hold on the earth would slip.
Like you used to.
Like if you let go, it’d all be over
Like if I woke up from this dream
I knew I wouldn’t remember it.
Like it was about so much more than these ropes
Or this dream,
Or even staying still.
Like it all depended upon
The white chickens that hid from the rain.
There you were. As soft as air.
Fresher than cotton.
The sun arose out of your eyes.
A cool wind came off your back
I sat frozen in time and in space
You were warm and beautiful
I am a stone.
I am flat and smooth.
I fit in your hand.
You pick me up
To skip me on a sea of glass
You hold me for a moment
Contemplating things I do not yet understand
I do not understand you.
But I am ok with that,
I am a rock I do not understand much of this world
You release me,
And I fly through the air,
Skim gracefully across that sea of glass
The water is warmer than I expected.
Fortunately I don’t need oxygen
But I hold my breath anyway
Sinking into that dark nothingness
That holds me, like those pictures
Hold who we used to be.
I awake from my dream.
I go to the kitchen.
Pour myself a glass of water,
And just like that...
I wrote this poem a couple of years ago when I was studying English Lit in college.
I had to write a 15 page paper on a poem and what the author was "actually" trying to say.
Truthfully, it bugged the heck out of me. Because what if the author was actually just saying what he was saying. What if a red wheel barrow really was just a red wheel barrow and a bunch of stuff depended upon that.
Now I'm not saying that poems don't have deeper meaning, they can, they do, and actually the example above, I fully believe does, but we were getting so caught up in the process of analysing, that something about the simple beauty of the words were lost and the feeling it conjured up in the reader was gone.
I think that's what initially makes people fall in love with poetry. How without fully understanding, you can see, for a brief moment into another person's struggle, into their heart, you can feel with them, and so often it feels like someone is joining you in your struggle and what you're feeling.
And all of that comes before ever figuring out what the "yellow smoke" means or why "the woman come and go talking of Michelangelo." I think there's a beauty in the depth of what poetry has to offer, but I think so often we miss it, we miss what it's really about.
So I wrote this poem, Reality, for class, and I sat back as the class torn apart each line and figured out what I was "actually" saying. And in the end I stood up and shared what it really meant.
Absolutely nothing. The imagery, the words, the idea, the plot, it all meant and means nothing. I wrote this poem to show how we can so often make things so much more complex than they are. We're humans, we're complex, we read into things, we're constantly trying to figure things out. But that's just it. Sometimes we need to stop trying to figure it all out and just be held in the tension of not knowing. Be held between that feeling of uneasiness that accompanies not knowing. We're so afraid of not knowing. We're so afraid of making mistakes that it drives us to inaction.
How many opportunities have I let slip past me because I couldn't see 10 steps ahead. Because I didn't have it all planned out.
Let this be the year of mistakes made with such audacity and boldness that others look upon you and think.
"Wow, he screws up good."
I want to step out with boldness, and if I fail and if I miss it, then at least I tried.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade wins in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- H. jackson Brown's Mother (not Mark Twain)