Magma

I have spent the last six days choked by the magma of my lungs surfacing and blocking the air I needed.  There have been days with sore throats, days where I feared every cough because of the pain in my chest wall, days when I woke up gasping for air, days when sleep would not come, days when my sickness caused me to slip, taking away reactions so I hurt myself and the car, having to rebuild fractured lights and hope they looked legal.

The magma rises, and it changes everything.  It started when my big hope was denied again, and continued through being uable to shovel more than two feet of snow, more than that the plow plugged in the drive way, through long and difficult tech support handholding with my father, my air shutting down as I had to be the one who paitently rebooked hotels or diagnosed internet connections, as he didn’t listen so well, and was frustrated by my inability to be more fluent.  He didn’t want to know about my sickness, just to get to the farthest south point they will visit, having things work, and then head home.

I did the work, but “A Crack In The Edge Of The Earth” by Simon Winchester has set the geological metaphor for my own personal seismic event, a vision of sliding plates colliding, of faults and boiling rock, all hidden under pretty landscapes people want to see as banal & safe.

The pain and rage that bubbles beneath, the frustration and fumes that underlie everything, well, they are right there during events like this.  The normal ouches I would be able to subsume turn to rents, and those rents into rants, where the prayer of getting out of this fucking game comes immediately to mind and lips.

My breath is still full of whispers and sighs, emerging not from my vocal cords but from the hole, the back of my throat, where what gurgles inside bubbles up and tries to escape, choking me, especially when I have the obligation to hold it back, to drive or to be nice on the phone, say.

A quote from a different read:

He is incapable of making “Fuck You” his first response, or even his first thought. Being black has taught him how to allow white people their innocence.  For black people, being around white people is sometimes like being around babies you don’t like, babies who throw up on you again and again, but whom you cannot punish because they are babies.  Eventually you direct that anger at yourself.  It has nowhere else to go.

 Hilton Als, “A Pryor Love,” The New Yorker (1999) 

All the magma in the world is connected.  All the magma in me is connected.

And now, it comes forth to remind me it has nowhere else to go.

Here, the poem I have been working on, after the jump.


If only
you had been
more compartmentalized
you could have been great.

If only
you had been
slower and more thoughtful
you could have done amazing things.

If only
you had been
courageous & brave
you would have left your fears behind.

If only
you had been
less sensitive
all the little cuts wouldn’t have stopped you.

If only
you had been
more of a joiner
you could have had a community to support you.

If only
you had been
funnier
the jokes could have been at your expense.

If only
you had been
smarter
you could have found a way to triumph.

If only
you had been
less lazy
your work would have paid off in spades.

If only
you had been
more of a leader
you could have served the people.

If only
you had been
happier
people wouldn’t have been so put off.

If only
you had been
more silent
people wouldn’t have felt so challenged.

If only
you had been
prettier
you could have built something attractive.

If only
you had been
willing to take the chemicals
you could have been as anti-depressed as I.

If only
you had been
less full of doubt
you could have believed in yourself.

If only
you had been
less habituated to failure
you could have committed to winning.

If only
you had been
less fascinated by “why?”
you could have been fascinated by creation.

If only
you had been
less interested in connections
you could hhave claimed possibilities.

If only
you had been
more defensive of your dreams
you could have made some of them come true.

If only
you had been
able to shed history rather than carry it
you could have moved beyond it.

If only
you had been
committed to action
you could have gotten out of the hole.

If only
you had been
less sensitive to your family
you could have become your own person.

If only
you had been
desirous of something normal
you could have been induced by what we offered.

If only
you had been
a bit more normative
you would have fit in more.

If only
you had been
ambitious
you could have had what you grabbed.

If only
you had been
willing to see yourself as sick
you could have accepted the cures we offered.

If only
you had been
less visionary
maybe we could have gotten closer.

If only
you had been
able to trust others
maybe you wouldn’t have hurt so much.

If only
you had been
less iconoclastic
maybe you would have let us in.

If only
you had been different
you would have been someone else
and that would have been better
for everyone.

Oh, well.
Too bad.

One thought on “Magma”

  1. If I knew the healing word, I would say it to you.
    If I had the labyrinth thread, I would give it you.
    If I find the willow’s secret, I will tell it to you.

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