Said the Greeks, Prometheus kneaded humans out of clay and
so we are mere mortal beings.
And there are some rains that can wash clay down to mud,
we hide beneath trees and propped up wood but it does not help.
There are chinks in our armor and indents in our skin.
If pressed too hard
Breathe, they say, take big breaths of air and fill your lungs and then you know
you are alive.
But to the boy who exhaled oxygen into another boy’s lungs,
air is nothing but particles to inflate a chest whether it’s breathing
One day a seventeen year old boy fell and never got back up.
The doctors said his heart didn’t contract so the air in his lungs
never traveled down his body, fingers, arms, legs, toes.
What is there to do when clay bodies are built with errors in the
Bake us in a kiln at the temperature of the sun and shield us with
glazed pottery paint.
We are tiny small warriors just trying to swim in a flood that will kill us,
melt in a fire trying to burn us.
But said the Greeks, Prometheus kneaded humans out of clay, and nothing else.
We are fallible beings that will always get stuck under rain that
melts clay into mud,
And they are fallible Gods that misread a blueprint.
What an inconvenient, fallible world we live in.
Falling in love with you was drowning in warm water. Tomorrow I’m bloated and blue and I tell you to cut my arms open and look when I bleed water, and more water. And salt. The clearest of things can be poison if you let it, and if you don’t believe me ask the goldfish thrown head first into the Pacific. Because I can count the nights I’ve cried myself to sleep from the number of tear stains left on the sleeves of your striped orange shirt. Coincidentally, the goldfish in the pacific swims in cold water while I swim in your lungs gasping to breathe the air that you breathe because I live off of you. There are many things the goldfish thinks as it swims unable to breathe: if this is water why am dying…? And when I am sleeping in the ribcage of your chest I breathe the carbon dioxide you exhale. And when I am curled inside myself alone on the blue expanse of my bed, I think of how I love you and how you love me and why the spaces between my bones can catch goldfish from the ocean and keep it breathing. Perhaps things in misery can live together and perhaps the salt in oceans reminds us of why we are alive. Because you are only as fragile as your heart and when I kiss you I suffer millisecond heart attacks. And when a goldfish is thrown headfirst into the ocean it swims until it dies, buried in the water it needs to survive and falling in love with you was drowning in warm water. I’m bobbing at the surface unable to sink, kept just barely afloat by the pull of your heart strings.
Your personality is not set in stone. You may think a morning coffee is the most enjoyable thing in the world, but it’s really just a habit. Thirty days without it, and you would be fine. You think you have a soul mate, but in fact you could have had any number of spouses. You would have evolved differently, but been just as happy.
You can change what you want about yourself at any time. You see yourself as someone who can’t write or play an instrument, who gives in to temptation or makes bad decisions, but that’s really not you. It’s not ingrained. It’s not your personality. Your personality is something else, something deeper than just preferences, and these details on the surface, you can change anytime you like.
If it is useful to do so, you must abandon your identity and start again. Sometimes, it’s the only way.
Set fire to your old self. It’s not needed here. It’s too busy shopping, gossiping about others, and watching days go by and asking why you haven’t gotten as far as you’d like. This old self will die and be forgotten by all but family, and replaced by someone who makes a difference.
Your new self is not like that. Your new self is the Great Chicago Fire—overwhelming, overpowering, and destroying everything that isn’t necessary.
And so he wrote a
unknowingly; left his heart
out for me to
cut and peel
cold fingertips to this fiery
drum, bloody and filled with
butterflies and a time
I’ll always love you
I don’t know how you can still think I’ll stop
My heart is completely yours
I can’t do anything about it.
And I’m age four again, wide
eyed and tears
because there’s something in my hands
I don’t trust myself to take care