I have been told to sing a song of myself.
What type of song?
The average song is three minutes and thirty seconds long. There is a chorus and a verse and a bridge. There are instrumental sections and lyrics and a harmony and a melody
and my life seems to not quite fit that mold
but I am all for trying.
I have asked myself about that thing that is in my head, and I said to let it be.
“Let it be, it’s surely nothing more than a scrap of a dream,” I say, and I agree.
Today, I saw two deer. One so brutally real, alive, that I can still feel the sandpaper-tongue on my wrist, the casual flick of an ear as I brush it with my gloved hand, the inquisitive nature in which it noses at my pockets for a morsel that I didn’t think to save at the time, and suddenly wish I had just to reward it for being so clever. Its pelt, dusty brown and flecked with white, was coarser than expected. It reminded me of grass in the late summer, when the stalks are going into the last seed of the season, and they take on a golden-dun hue. I took a moment to remove my glove. I yearned to feel the field on her back, to turn over each piece of grass and see the hidden silvery roots. This presence, though (probably) not possessing the mind to know what it meant to me at the time, came nearer to me than I would have dared go towards it. It came nearer to me than you would; people have stopped meeting my eye but this creature which had every reason to fear and hate me was touching me. For those few minutes, I just felt that deer. That curiosity- one part tentatively measuring every detail and one part bolder than anyone would have expected- brought my mind to its knees. Every note of myself was suddenly resonating with one tune.
But the moment passed, and she bounded away. All too quickly, another image from the morning leapt to my mind. Roadkill. A doe, caught in throes of agony. The body bloated with festering gases, the eyes glassy and bulging. Her legs were splayed and bent at unnatural angles. Broken on impact. Neck thrown back in her own dying scream, the ground beneath her mouth was stained with a splatter of blood and bile. The same pelt, a silvery brown, was smeared with blood and covered in lesions. More ghastly was the crow perched on a rib, thrusting his glossy black head within and coming out sated and covered in gore. A feast to one, a funeral for another. The creature had been dead for a few days at the most, but it didn't matter; the scene was eternal. Commonplace, almost. I saw two more on the same road. The corpse lay discarded, wasting, akin to those shredded tires that litter the freeways of Las Vegas, and to any other pair of eyes, it would have been a grotesque nuisance. Unfortunate, but unavoidable. No empathy for the dead- only sympathy.
the world is
too big for me
because even though im tall
my temper is short
i follow the thunder call
take me past the edge
all i’ve ever wanted is to see more
and know that somewhere
i’ll be different than before
I do not want to stop poetry, though it is a poisoned cup. I know that it is never going to be substantial in my life, beyond a hobby; I know poets are fifty-percent more likely to take their time; I know it just seems like wasted words I keep locked deep inside me. I build a shield of stanzas, a river of rhymes, a legion of letters to keep my errant soul in place. It wanders and wanes like the moon, and I crush it deep within me with my muttered musings. It can never flow free, except when I allow. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. It will obey or be removed. I will be what I need to be. I will do what I need to do. I will take whatever measures I need to. Who cares if I want to feel so much it makes me hollow?
I stare into the setting ochre sun every so often, and I can hear the twang of a subtle guitar deep behind my eyes, and I can't even sigh. I should not feel so much. I should not feel so much of this feeling. I have given it a name: the get-goings. It rips through me like a thunderstorm. It slides across my fingers like the rolling tide, and it rings in my ears like a prayer. Get going, get going, get going, get going, getgoinggetgoinggetgoing, if I don't do something I'm going to shatter. I need to move. I feel it crackling in my bones like a surging shockwave. It flits down my spine and, with a touch as soft as a whisper, it tentatively- almost ponderously- shoves an icicle between my ribs. I look out late across the valley and lock eyes with the summer sun. It calls to me, that serene temptress, and it tells me to leave. “Get going,” it chides. “You should have left it all behind a lifetime ago.” But I never do. I think I’m still waiting for someone else. It would be wrong to leave without him.
There is a persistent itch fluttering in my throat, and I have been seeking its name.
They tell me that hope is the thing with feathers, but
are flutters and feathers truly the same?
The sky looks down with watery eyes,
and shivering winds that pass for deep sighs,
and all the world is soaked in her tears
as she mourns the passing of thousands of years.
How can something so severe show up so suddenly?
How did I invite this illicit inspiration?
To take my time would make me terrible, tantamount to treason
And would amount to almost any outcome but the desired answer.
This year I will hear
the sleepy lullaby of rain-
And miss everything in between today and my clear days.
These are not the songs of myself.
I do not sing for myself.
I sing what is within me; I sing the songs I know need to be sung. I sound my own yawp; I sound it in my own way, be it silent or screaming. I seek not to fill my mouth with the words of others. I have faced my agonies in my own way, and it sufficeth me to share them sparingly.
This is not a song of myself.
This is a song by myself, a song for others to hear and reflect on, a song from my soul-
messy and shoved together and vaguely familiar in a way that reminds you of the drumming rain.
This is the song that I have been trying and failing to sing for so long.
Initially for a school project. Based on Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself', though that one is 52ish pages long.