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  • The apparition of these faces in the crowd;

    Petals on a wet, black bough.

    - Ezra Pound , “In a Station of The Metro”

    Quiet loneliness starts as a seep of resolve, a slow drain, a drip, a dribble of your courage. It leaves behind a cavernous nothing. We are unable to name it because the naming of it would give it some sort of meaning. It is meaningless.

    The void, as we have carefully observed, predominately originates in your chest, draining your power into your stomach, churning slowly and eventually drizzling into your legs, into the bare carpet of a new apartment, down into the foundation and bedrock of a new metropolis. It breaks into the water table and seeps into the supply of the new place, but your tap doesn’t seem to know the source. You drink alien water. You constantly compare it to the past pool that you did not dwell on, not ever, not until now.

    When you lose your resolve you berate yourself for its release. You forgot that there were strong supports wedged into deep foundations leaning thick and piney against the floodgates of your chest. But isn’t this the repercussion of having a full chest? Kingdoms grow fat when they have strong walls. You are no longer the lean, wily challenger with enough room to have millions of scars like you were the last time. Your scars are the walled weapons of a once great warrior, but they are too old. You’ve forgotten what it took to earn them.

    Books and intelligent people told you that your age and experience would allow for less of this feeling, of loneliness. The smaller kingdoms tell the larger what they want to hear. But is it silly to think that they are completely wrong? And they aren’t wrong. Not completely. You still seem to manage things. You can make check marks. You can see progress. You will not feel it, however. When the early hours of evening creep into the day and those around you hurry home to an actuality, you are forced to look ahead until sleep, cursing the minutes between you and the next day, and this, perhaps is where the wizened are wrong. Here in front of you, the end of the day of the reason you moved here looms like the tallest tower. It is mottled with vines and brack and brill. Mortar between the large, once-white stones has eroded into deep linear shadows between the rocks, and you must climb this monstrosity, knowing it will sap you of your strength.

    You change the mood. You decide to battle upwards and you begin to make agendas and you keep tallies and you sign up, and at the end of the day your gut is a rotten cantaloupe that you wish would be a hollowed out gourd so that you could feel the wind blow through it, at least, something. Everyone here, everyone around you knows that you are different, and you begin to resent the obvious uniform challenges to what you were, where you come from. You dial home. You call friends, but you don’t want them to think that you are this weak. This was the dream! And it still is, you tell them.

    You have one ally.


    For some reason your brain was born without the sensual ability to acknowledge time, that truth your mind could write hundreds of pages on. You depend on what you tell yourself, and you just might win. Your body mimics the earth’s blissfully illogical logic, but your mind knows better. When you allow for your mind to speak out through your mouth, it tells you that this has happened before, and it is not fooling you, it is older than you. You should listen to it. And you do.

    But little by little is a phrase. It’s a borderline cliché: "things that are good take a while," but to revive your body, to fill your belly and your chest with a beautiful golden, fountain, to know happiness, well, all you need is a lightning bolt. And you will have it, if you continue to check off marks. It will be a sudden outstretched hand, an opportunity, and then you will rebuild the supports and grow fat again, and you will forget the scars upon scars. You are human, so it will probably happen again, and then again, until it ceases to bother you because your mind is tired of telling you what to do, and it leaves you. The lucky will have their bodies go first, and then they will laugh in their beds.

    They will smile.

    They will think:

    If only everyone knew everything about each other, no one would ever be alone.

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