25 September 2014

song of self

It is like this: sometimes I sit up in bed in the middle of the night, suddenly awake. And I twist my body to face the nightstand, flip on the lamp. Yielding the pen, I jot down the words that have popped into my head while sleeping:

rawboned -- reedy -- slipshod -- putted -- cavernous -- coppery -- featherweight -- fitfully -- fife -- 

are a few.

They are usually rather ordinary words, rather very ordinary words. But they will prove themselves useful to me in some small blocked-up, word-searching moment. I know this. Words have yet to dissatisfy me.

And, there are displaced lines. These are scrawled sloppily on note cards, then strewn as if lifted by some small, insular hurricane in the heart of my home. One would find them under the bed, in every drawer, beneath the cushions...

Palms drop their heavy arms -- this is how animals grieve -- light white linens in a heap -- the sound of things receding -- out upon the little towns, the dancing light clusters -- I say to him, tell me about the farm where your father grew up-- He says they grew apples in the orchard out back --

I look at people and I wonder about them. I especially used to do this sitting in mass as a child, would glance over the neat row of other second-graders in green plaid skirts and khaki pants, would try to put myself inside their brains, to see the pulpit from their exact angle. I wonder about people's brains and how they work, and what it sounds like in there. (I imagine knocking on their heads like a door, wonder about the texture of the echo, the weight of reverberations...is it thin and coppery in there, or more like a church bell's low bellow?) I especially wonder about the people who can think a single thought at once, straight-lined, onward -- beginning, middle, conclusion, next. 

I ask Robbie about this. He says,
I think about whatever I'm doing, and then I'm done. 

But you have the symphony of an anxious mind. Every sound and thought and feeling compete in this, your very own chaotic orchestra. And it can be very dissonant indeed...

oh, but when they all align come together in that sweet, mellifluous upward swelling -- it is transcendent. It is heavenly. It is harmony, and empathy, and understanding, and it is song of self.  It is the swelling sound that pulls you up like strong hands in the middle of the night, propels you to the table, puts the pen in your hands -- and says, 

now, write.