Eaten Alive

Choked with a particular kind of nausea brought on by accidentally reading very bad poetry on Instagram, I shut my laptop cursing myself for having fallen into a ridiculous rabbit hole on the interwebs once again. It all began innocently enough while reading some article about these women who write poetry together in a cabin in the woods somewhere in Iceland. Their names were exotic and I couldn’t pronounce a single one if I tried, but I admire their commitment to writing books of poems against what they call impostor syndrome and marvel at their ability and willingness to do so as a group. Would not be me, this is for certain. I write alone. I read and think alone. Other people crowd me even when they are across the room. Even as I sit here typing by myself I am crowded by the ones I’ve read and revere, the ones I’ve read and despise, those who have told me I’m good and those who tell me I’m not good enough by a long shot. They never say that kind of thing outright of course, they say it in their slanted eyes angled toward the floor as they smile too wide and shuffle their feet. These people will never understand and should be ignored and avoided at all costs. The best you can do is carve into yourself. Like those little bugs which bore into wood, you eat and eat and drill and drill into your tenderest places. Tiny holes. Thin focused nibbling but determined and relentless until you are all the way inside. There is a warmth within you which is the firelight of all the things you love and treasure and have made your own. Kept in secret from even the ones you love the most because there are intimacies which are yours and yours alone. The average person is terrified of such things, as well perhaps they should be. Intimacy with yourself is crushing and deadly, you walk a fine line between fascination and annihilation. As I watch these people who dare to call themselves poets trashing cyber space with their heartless, soulless, plastic drivel I feel a palpable mix of dread, fury, and desperation. We are pathetic creatures. We degrade and smear beautiful things with our own filth. We barely scratch the surface and yet declare ourselves experts, lovers, gods. There is a peculiar kind of sadness spreading its bluegray fingers throughout the world around us. It is pulling us under while we try to pretend it is raising us up. Peeling myself away from the laptop, I watch my reflection in the bedroom mirror as I brush my hair, remove my necklaces, and crawl under the covers. There are those of us who believe in something beyond this physical reality we call life. There are those who believe in God and those who believe in poetry, and I used to be someone who believed they were the same thing but now everything is up for grabs and the only thing for certain is I’m no good at writing in groups. So I shut the door, and shut it and shut it and shut it. For every one of us who upholds the truth there are those of us who debase and defile it at every turn. There is a voice which is many voices which is the terror of burrowing inside ourselves for fear of what we will find waiting for us there. And so, fake poets. And so, fake lives. And so, fake feelings. Fake distance and fake together. And so, another drink until you can finally fly away from this sinking ghost ship. We hate what we have become but can’t imagine any other way.

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