Doubt

I have had years end in pleasure, years end in pain, years end in soft-focus sorrow and sharp-edged rancor. I’ve had years end in bitterness, years end in a kind of victory, years end flat and years end unmarked.

But a year ending in doubt? This is a new one.

I started dating someone one year on New Year’s Eve: it was a surprise to both of us. I spent two years ago New Year’s Eve in the hospital: it was a surprise to three of my ribs, one of my lungs and several liters of my blood and humours spilling out of a chest tube.

At least Allen had the good sense, will and manner to die in the summer, far enough away from the previous holiday season and far enough away from the coming one to avoid connection with either. That was the year of soft-focus sorrow, a year of desperate up’s and too-frequent downs. Down, down, down into an unknowable hereafter. Which left me here, after.

Not after: After.

No one ever said that a calendar flipping over and separating time into last and next couldn’t be a macabre thing.

I’m timid, walking up to the rim of a terrible funnel, peeking almost over and into it, but not quite. Fear of falling, thus and such. On the surface it’s the counterpoint of fear of flying, but at the end of the day, end of the tether, end of the perilous fall, aren’t they the same thing just lit from a different angle?

The overlap judders the mind, working loose the studs and brads that keep it all together, keep it focused, keep it sane and rational. The overlap joggles judgment, a distraction that may remove choice and throw you down anyway. Dumb luck is abundant, especially the dumb part. Thank god [of biscuits].

Adventitious elements figure more into things than one might think. Good news, right? A cushion upon which to land, a broken fall instead of a broken foot? But that just leads to more doubt: what was my doing and what was death by a thousand tiny deus ex machina devices?<?p>

It’s not an all or nothing thing. It never is. The givens are taken away but are there for the taking. The floor drops, but gravity’s on holiday. Money lends no purchase. Love is for the true of heart and mind and all directions means no direction, no truth.

So are you flying or do you lack sure footing? Two sides of the same coin, but a coin you can’t flip because nothing lands in this no-man’s-land.

Doubt.

I don’t know where I belong. I don’t know anything.

But I’m not even sure about that.

Were One of Us

I am visible only when people are not looking. I am never heard if someone is paying attention. Such is the life of an outsider.

I was thrown over a wall, that much I remember. And I have this sneaking suspicion that on that other side is where Normality is.

I know there. I know there’s a time and place for things. I know there’s a path a life should take. I know I should laugh aloud only when appropriate. I know these things because I know I’m also supposed to mind my elders and remember always where I am. All that coerced remembering has me remembering each of those things that I am, those things that the polite, normal people wanted to forget.

Yet I am not a shadow. Nor am I a shade or spirit or even demon! How lovely that would be. Am I here? Is anyone? I know there is a here because I remember there was a there. Not much to hold on to, but the choices are limited and gravity causes the earth to rise up to me violently. And I know that that can hurt.

Was I discarded? Certainly dis-regarded, an odd and extra puzzle piece not belonging to the set, not completing any picture’s selfsameness. The life of a bunbury is not easy, but it is simple.

Yet I am among you. A wall is a trifle, a taradiddle for those who believe in borders, as if the belief that has arisen from repeating a thing enough times has turned around and produced a belief that artifices of separation are more artifact than artifiction.

Here I am set apart from everyone, the distance not measured along x- or y-axis, but rather up. Or down. My distance has been set on the z-axis, you see. There’s a sort of right-handed rule to it. Physics and philosophy do indeed overlap. Never forget that.

Now I sound like one of them: “remember this”, “forget that”. “Don’t.” “Don’t.” “Can’t.” “Won’t.” “Should.

What an ugly word, should. A violence word when directed outward. Always, always. And when directed inward is can be many things: a response to guilt; a response to the rote of instruction of the normals up and over; a choice to follow one’s own ethics; a course of creating one’s own morals.

Put another way, outward shoulding , from one to another of them is an act of violence against free will, a thief in the night who steals good will. Inward shoulding is an exercise in free will and, relative to the context of it is also an act of creation, of addition of good will.

To add a something where there never was a something. Exquisite and miraculous. But rare. Seems they go hand in hand, an inverse relationship of preternatural and the frequency thereof. Beats me why, because I never saw a reason that such wonders could not be frequent and lengthy visitors to the world.

Am I the Trickster who forces together two separate conditions for the sake of benefitting from the fallout or am I one or the other starting conditions. Am I both? Or am I simply the outcome?

Or am I that fellow or lady up there in the nose-bleed seats that no one sees or pays attention to, a third-party observer of the folding of antipodal realms across and against each other?

But then again, in other places I am a trinkle or bauble or, if you must be so severe and dire, a graven image who but lives in place in households elsewhere. Lares and Penates, collecting dust, killing imagination. Still other places, I am contained and pigeonholed into a pleasing shape in a pleasing cage, a concentrated and living totem and golem both. An excuse for extraordinary behavior and a promise of absolute forgiveness, a prisoner of the Unknown, Creator of Sycophants and Myrmidons.

If I could tell you who I am, I’d tell you. I’d never been so cruel. Then again, the crueler deed may be in the telling. Self-reflection takes the mickey out of self-esteem sometimes, don’t you know.

I’ll tell you this: the wall that keeps me out also keeps them in: the knot unties itself and can bound two infinitudes at once.

Or maybe it’s just all I can do to say: I am who am.