it is almost as if
i have no magic left inside of me.
i don’t mean to insinuate there was once a lot of magic here.
i mean i do, but that was fifteen years ago,
when everyone was a young wizard.
it seems self-righteous to just openly admit
"hey guys, i used to be pretty magical."
it seems pretty awful to use the word “admit” in that context,
like, hey, i have a burgeoning confession about
how amazing it once felt to be me,
i was once so magical that i would pour cereal into a bowl
and just spin the bowl around for additional glee.
yes it was a special bowl for spinning.
yes i walked through the woods and saw a bumble bee
the size of a football although i can’t explain that now,
to me or to you.
some of these memories are so outrageous that they
have to be true.
there were ghosts in our house,
and that was the general consensus before
the bank took the house to give the ghosts a new family that could afford their company.
i’ve always wanted to write to the family.
"how are the ghosts?"
"how are the silverfish teeming from the skylights in
the most beautiful bedroom in the world, the one that i dream about every night?”
"how is the smell of the ocean through the window holding up?"
"how does it feel to live in a house another family was forced from?"
it is time to be over these things.
it is time to have no need to send this letter.
i feel certain that it is bad that the need is intact.
i feel certain that this need is my shortcoming.
i feel certain that it is accurate that nostalgia is lame,
that the quality of the nostalgia that burns through me
is to blame for all this need to reclaim my home.
i feel certain that it is true that “home is a feeling, not a place.”
i feel bad that that feeling is very much embedded
in such a specific place that is unavailable to me.
are you following me?
it is so terrible to have such a heightened awareness of
all the ways to be terrible, and to believe that this awareness
to only feel certain of when you are bad or failing to be well-adjusted.
this concrete idea of what it means to be well-adjusted is murdering me slowly.
the idea builds itself around everything i am not.
it could be possible that i am still quite magical
but that my belief that i am no longer magical is a
self-fulfilling prophecy. i believe that the magic is here
but it is taking a very long nap,
a bear that forgets to wake in the spring.
it is very inconvenient, the length of the nap.
it would be possible still for me to spin in circles a bowl that
holds my cereal, although who knows if the glee would show up.
i think to myself, “stop writing about your own experiences.”
"find ways to obscure yourself in your writing. be distant and more beautiful,
like a mountain but less predictable. people will think you’re self-absorbed.
are you self-absorbed? do you feel disingenuous trying to absorb
other things with enthusiasm?” mostly, yes.
not to brag but i used to throw my body into the waves unironically for days at a time. i would swallow gulps of salt water and come back up
and get pummelled back down and i would wash my hair with the cold water
from the garden hose on the side of the haunted house. the doctor said
the kidney disease could be from something in the ocean
and i still don’t care.
let the ocean kill me.
let the doctor accuse the ocean.
let the doctor accuse me of loving the ocean to death.
let the ocean kill the doctor.
let the ocean murder the fear from every heart that floats in it.
something has lifted and death is no different from this, all this living.
it is seamless except for the one seam of knowing it.
i have been so obsessed with the actual moment of death
for so long, imagining in vivid detail that moment when i am
dead to the ocean, dead to my lost home.
what i haven’t understood is that this moment
delivers into something necessarily amazing, even if it is nothing.
perhaps i will become a ghost, finally eligible to be returned to my lost home.
what i haven’t understood is that the real fear
is going alone. as if it might be possible to have a loved one
piggyback into your death with you, two consciousnesses fused into one,
throttling towards the void, but at least they are in an embrace.
being held is the closest thing. but even the most vast loneliness
can be achieved in the arms of someone you love.
you need to love the vastness.
you need to allow yourself to be seduced by a blackness roughly the size of everything.
you can sit for a long time and feel nothing but fear.
you can sit for a whole lifetime.
i’m not dead yet, but i have a hunch.
you can wake each morning into the maw of the thing that devours you,
or you can fall hard for the predictability of it.
this is what it means to believe in god:
to paint a mural of all your angels on the inside of the maw,
of your homes, transfer there every unbearable love clutched in your heart,
every sweet object of your attachment,
withering at some point to nothing,
your own slipping away the only thing
left to comply with you.
let it go.
as all the options dwindle
and i intuit that all the condescending advice
about love and transcendence and being one with everything
are actually all deeply true,
maybe the only truth out there,
i am forced to confront that i have cloaked them in
because it is too painful
to fail to transcend.
it is too painful to admit that the side-eye through which
i have viewed the world is actually a blind eye.
it is almost as if someone put a vacuum to my heart
and it closed in on itself
a thin red balloon
with no patience for itself.
if i believe that the magic will sleep forever, i am dead today.
the first step is knowing it was once here,
and that it is asleep under too many blankets.
the second step is knowing that it is not exclusive to childhood.
the third step is to gradually exhume
the giant bumble bee, the wonder, the awe, the ocean.
to stop feeling so eaten alive, to stop romanticizing being so eaten alive
by the bottomless appetites of your own illusions
to raise the ocean from its grave and put your body into it
until you fall into yours
to become the dead child behind your eyes