whom

Iridescence

The girl who fumbles with her keys and lives by music alone but gives her guitars away to strangers. Her skin reminds you of daffodils in the summer and her eyes remind you of prayers and you do not know where her sense of fright ends and her sense of loveliness begins. She cannot distinguish between a necklace and a rope. You have never met anyone with as much life as her but you think she will die sooner than anyone else.

Eloquence

The boy who forgets everything, his own name, but is terrified of being forgotten. You can ask him a question about anything and he will answer you, but behind his eyes he is not quite sure at all. He takes better care of you than he does himself. He is bursting with life and color and it worries you – someday he will explode, maybe already he is exploding. He creates masterpieces inside of his brain. Including you. You are his imagination.

Incognito

The girl who calls herself an open book but only ever shows you the cover page. Sometimes you aren’t sure if there are any more pages. She isn’t sure either. But sometimes at night she cracks open the book and remembers why she keeps it closed. You never think to ask what’s inside. She will live longer than the rest of us and she will live less than the rest of us combined.

Erstwhile

The boy who loves music, but only the music that reminds him of himself. You wonder if he loves you in the same way. People fall through his fingers like saltwater so he clenches his fists too tightly and squeezes the last drops out of his hands. He thinks he’s going to save the world but he will never try to save you or save himself. He might have a superhero cape or a gun strapped to his back. Or in his mouth. It’s the same thing.

Insouciance

The girl who wears flower patterns and sings songs from the musicals you watched as a kid and is always talking about her next lover, but her world is filled with none of the color that she is devoted to. Her mind moves and shifts like gears. She is adored by all but some say she never adores back, and you never know how to take that. She always seems to be wearing the exact same outfit she was wearing when you met her.

Vagabond

The boy who lives in the past and can never quite make it back to the present, but somehow he is the only one who keeps you grounded. You can depend on him and he cannot begin to depend on himself. He has forests in his hair and sun on his face and mountains in his heart, and all he ever wants to do is return to them, but all he will ever do is stay. If he talks fast enough you will forget that he is exhausted.

Vestigial

The girl who covers herself in lines and phrases and tiny flowers and always smells like ink and jumps a little when you touch her. She embellishes her skin with a pen, or sometimes something sharper. When she wakes up, she hears music in her head, and she likes to believe it isn’t her imagination. She may laugh or cry for the exact same thing, depending on her mood. You will never understand her taste in music and she will never mind.

Pastiche 

The boy who loves deeply but is never really loved in quite the way he wants. He will tell you everything about himself before you understand that you have no idea who he is. He isn’t sure either. He is a hastily glued idea board, an agglomeration of the ways that people have treated him, a collage of album covers and old magazines and casual words and the people who live in his head. He has the same eye color as you. You didn’t notice until now.

Somnambulist

The girl who laughs louder than the rest of them and you think it is because she is happy but then you learn it is only out of habit. Her lips long to speak about her hurt, but nobody ever asks her, so she paints them over with red and paints over her life with dresses and movies and hairstyles. She clings to old fantasies because nobody helped her to grow out of them. She wears stage makeup because nobody told her not to. She acts in plays and sometimes that’s easier for her.

Harbinger

The boy who never fit in, and it’s okay because he never never wanted to, but somehow you hurt for him anyway. He finishes your sentences for you but would never start one for himself. He’s an ending, never a beginning. You’ve never quite sure if he’s looking at you, or looking away, and even though he can tell you everything about yourself there’s always a chance he doesn’t know you exist. His presence is almost as painful as his absence.

Ti

You knew all of them. But maybe you never looked deeply enough.

a question

a dreamer's landscape

What is love?

I know I am not the first to ask this question, I shall certainly not be the last, yet I stretch forth my voice and ask it all the same. I cry to the cosmos and nothing returns but an echo.

Some would say it is physical intimacy. Yet this is ultimately unsatisfying, and temporary. It also places us no higher than animals. I refuse to accept this choice.

Love is a warm breeze, caressing your cheek as it passes on its journey. Love is the brush of two hands together, unintentional, yet laden with meaning. Love is caring more for another than you do for yourself.

Love is all of these things, yet none of them at all.

Love hurts. When you love, you open yourself unconditionally to another person, and they will often hurt you, despite their best efforts. And you will take it. There…

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entirety

I have been suspended in space

For longer than I care to remember,

My feet ripped from the breathing earth,

My head trapped and surrounded by purple nebulae and wheeling giants,

Reaching for some semblance of ground

As I drifted further into the dusk.

 

They claimed to be breathtaking,

Spinning and lost as they were.

Claimed to show me the galaxies and the planets,

And all the corners of the universe.

So I dove for them, further away from the dirt,

Plunged from security, into the deep of the night,

Reaching for stars that disappeared as I drew near.

Mirages, shadows,

Grasping at clouds,

Light that turned to darkness,

And crying at the sudden emptiness.

 

But then,

A boy put his arm around my back,

And helped me back to the grass and the wind and the quiet sound of rain.

And we lay in November leaves, and looked up.

His eyes, safe. Body, warm.

And finally,

I began to see the entirety

Of the universe.

moon

After all of this time,

I still believe that we met in a dream.

Like the dark side of the moon,

forever masked in the shadow of reality —

real, or not real —

you are my Schrödinger’s cat.

Perhaps underneath your skin,

you are trying to find me too.

Perhaps when we both reach,

we only draw further away.

I understand this:

you are the shadow,

and light only hides your face.

You are the other side of my soul,

and I am your ghost.

 

up & away

Blinds drawn in a room

that used to smell like summer.

You can’t always tell

if you’re underwater.

But you’re alone

beneath the atmosphere,

and hoping someone else

is drowning here.

Close your eyes,

and feel the thunderstorm.

It’s all around you

in your handmade downpour.

Before the lights turn on,

you’ll be swimming in the sky.

Up and away,

the rain will carry you through the night.

echolocation

It was only ever a very small step away.

Roll through the kinesthetics until you lose your balance, like you always do. It’s so hard to stand on two feet when the ground is fluid. Bunny trails and rabbit holes lead to roughly the same place and you’d do just about anything to fall all the way down. You find yourself, quite literally, in a world of your own making, and there isn’t a way out that you can see.

You keep on coming back to the way that things should be, like a dog with a tennis ball, but that wasn’t what this was ever about. Perhaps it would be easier if you could leave your skin and float in a different dimension, one where you were only aware of the way things sound. But you know that isn’t how life works, and you’re trapped in a visual reality. The way you see life becomes a mirror — one that is dark on the other side. Everything bounces off of the sounds, comes back to your brain, tells you what to see.

Strings rumble through your consciousness like thunder. Is this a dream?

Make a sound. Call out to the shadow of what may or may not be inspiration. What comes back to you? Can you hear it?

The Gospel and Northerness; or, Preaching to the Why

I don’t normally repost on here, but I could never express this idea in better words.

Travis Whitehead

C.S. Lewis called it “Northerness”. An overwhelming, bittersweet longing in your gut when confronted with the stark, harsh, beauty of the world. It rests heavy on a man’s heart and in his mind before bleeding into a sense of deep joy. Joy that I am very small and there is something very, very big of which I am a part.

I won’t try to improve on Lewis’s own description of northerness, found in Surprised by Joy:

Pure “Northernness” engulfed me: a vision of huge, clear spaces hanging above the Atlantic in the endless twilight of Northern summer, remoteness, severity… and almost at the same moment I knew that I had met this before, long, long ago. …And with that plunge back into my own past, there arose at once, almost like heartbreak, the memory of Joy itself, the knowledge that I had once had what I had now lacked for years, that…

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