This Is A Map of Something So Large It Looks Small

This is between the two of us: a rift. A raft, and a river. A ribbon of word, ear to ear, half to half, space to sky. 

This is between the two of me: a string. A sea that thinks or a light that sings. A city whose urban sprawl begins at one of me and ends at the other and touches every point in between so that the veins of streets and the color of sounds can tie up knots that make me one person. 

This is what is holding me together. Listen:

 

Categories and calculations call me introverted-intuitive-thoughtful-judgmental, eye-en-tee-jay. Blocks of space and personality say my heart is a computer and my head is heavy.

Like Spock, like Batman, like Sherlock, etc., builder of circuits, follower of rules. I am a robot in four letters, motherboard over mother love. I dream of electric sheep. Squeaks and pulses, never heartbeats: me. I travel straight lines and cut my hair with a ruler. I put my right shoe on first and keep my chin level.

 

A wheel of stars and sparks proclaims me cancer, moon-daughter, mother since birth. I have sleepy eyes and run nowhere but home. I cry over skinned knees and I don't understand machines because they don't age and I feel old already.

I fall hard, I fall fast, I can't stop falling. I love like a plastic bag over the head is loving. Suffocator, incubator. I cry over food and I cry over the moon and I cry over my home, my shell, until even a star is something alien.

 

And then there are the fractions within sections, the schisms within fractions. A grandfather becomes a fourth as he stands, swaying steward, on a Navy ship with his head still full of bamboo and carabou. A great-grandmother who lived for cabaret stages and late-night vaudeville becomes an eighth even though we can't read the signatures on her photographs anymore.

And then: they say that you're the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time around, and suddenly I am made of vinyl and eyeliner, and suddenly I am his scrunch-nose laugh and her white-ribbon soprano, and I am a city, and I am a museum, and I am home, and I am overloved and overwhelmed, so:

 

I write. I am writing, I have written, because this is a knot in a piece of string that connects pieces to make a whole. This is a hole in space and time that shouldn't exist, and this is the method by which an animal can be a machine, and this is the method by which I can sleep and go days without sleeping, and this is how I remember things that didn't happen to me, because time is a sea and I am a seive and I keep everything that is handed to me.

This is between us. This is why I am not a paradox. This is a map of something so large it looks small. This is how I am a collage, a mosaic. A machine that loves. A home that thinks. This is how I explain myself and understand you.

 

This is what is holding me together: listen.

Comments

jwiener

The imagery in this poem is beautiful! While I was reading I immediately thought of "paradox" since you were describing opposite ways of being, such as the logical, robotic senses an individual may hold and the extensive imagination and varied emotions one may possess at the same time. I was surprised that at the end of your poem, you clearly write "I am not a paradox" and I  started thinking about the idea of a paradox. By means of your poem I came to the conclusion that a paradox only exists if opposite things come together in a seemingly impossible manner, but a life is not actually a paradox as I had thought, because it is simply our ability to convey conflicting actions that make us human. I also really like the set up of your poem- how you describe differences in human nature and then conclude with the fact that writing poetry helps you to better understand these contradictions and in turn, better understand yourself and other individuals. My favorite lines are, "I dream of electric sheep. Squeaks and pulses, never heartbeats: me. I travel straight lines and cut my hair with a ruler. I put my right shoe on first and keep my chin level," because this section gives a possible insight into what would occur in the mind, or more likely, circuitry, of a machine and your next stanza takes the opposite approach. Each poet has their own specific reason for writing poetry, but I think you speak for all authors when you write that being a poet aids you in understanding why certain things function the way they do in the world, yet how there are always more questions to be answered. Have you ever written an idyll poem? I think you could write a great one, with your awesome imagery-creating skills! Check out how and more in the "Resources" section of the site.

lemontine

Eeek, thanks so much for your feedback!! :) I'll check out idyll poems; they sound pretty cool! Do you want me to give you feedback on your writing?

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