Shadow Boxer

It’s barely noon and I shouldn’t want the drink but I pour it anyway.

I pace the patio and think about the way my body encases me like a tomb or a Venus flytrap snapped shut around my own beating heart just waiting in quiet desperation for the end. Money and sex and power and the endlessness of days and nights spent searching for an unnamed thing which calls for attention especially when you wish it wouldn’t.

Tinctures and sedatives for the girl who has everything.

I sit and let the sunlight fall along my collar bone, thin and white as a ghost held hostage in between the walls of this one small life. People come and people go, and just like the sweetness of a love gone by, I remember some fondly and others not at all.

I was sketching out some notes just yesterday, trying to get my act together and work towards a more accomplished existence but very quickly I exhaust myself and dial back the ambition. It is possible they are right to tell me I over shoot the mark and when I do so I end up undercutting my own best intentions. How often we go toe to toe with our own shadows and let the shadows win.

But if you do not live with an anxious sort of base current you won’t understand that the gnawing isn’t something which can be shut off so quickly, and never for good. You have to do something with it or you will go entirely mad. Write it, sing it, dance it, fuck it, drink it, suck it, smoke it, paint it, whatever. There is a sick kind of energy you need to wrangle with in order to be able to do the normal things which come perhaps more easily to others, like small talk or organizing laundry from start to finish all in the same day.

I swallow the last of my rye and pull up the notes on my phone for inspiration. Spent a good portion of time yesterday combing through excerpts from the journals of Patricia Highsmith. So fucking fascinating:

“Please try to notice if every artist isn’t ruthless in some way. Even the sweetest of characters have done something, generally because of their creative life, that to the rest of the world is inhuman.”

And that’s the bit right there. It’s the ruthlessness that gives life to the art but shreds the artist into pieces. It’s tough to reach for something you were taught your whole life to keep away from. You have to be willing to question even your own instincts, compulsions, fixations. And choose the perverse even though the world may dismiss you for it.

Highsmith writes at one point about the eerie loneliness of afternoons spent alone. She scans her eyes over the crumpled bed and considers lying down to masturbate but ultimately condemns the idea and herself for entertaining it. I slide my hands along the length of my neck. I type a few words to get my juices flowing and let my thoughts run wild. Writer as monster, artist as animal. Body as prison, mind as trap.

28 Replies to “Shadow Boxer”

  1. Omg! I think this is my most fav poem that you have written that I’ve had the privilege of reading. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. JAZZ Poetry! IN IT’S FINEST FORM

    Liked by 1 person

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