remember to breathe

I woke up this morning
Slowly
Reluctantly
And this familiar heaviness settled into my being
The weight of all things
For which I hold responsibility
And even those for which I am not
Responsible
But insist on claiming as weight
As mine to carry
Out of some
Misplaced sense
Of duty or obligation
Or the eternal notion
Of what it is to be good.

And so the heavy was there,
And I noticed it
Simply observing
Not happy about it
But working not to judge it either
“Okay self
You are heavy today”

But then I noticed
That something felt missing
Absent
A spark
Of something
I have never been able to name
Other than to call
her muse

All I know is that
It is the thing that
Delivers the words
And for the last week
That spark
That muse
That energy
It has been pulsing through me
From waking to sleep
And even in my dreams
Making my pen fly across the page
So quickly
And even then unable to
Keep up with the flood of words
Wanting to be written.

So this spark
It has been
Bringing me to life
And bringing words to world.

Oh, the stories I have told this week,
Of feathers and wine
Of lion tamers and love
Of a week of unfolding
And even more than the ones
I’ve told you
There others
More fantastical
And also more true
That are just between
Me and the page
Or me and the mystery
Because writing doesn’t only happen
when words are recorded,
you see.
When the spark of muse is
Living in me
I am always writing
Even when I am not.

So that on weeks like this
It is not as if I am writing
exactly
But more as if I am being written
Into life
Or at least fully into the living

And so today
On waking
And naming the heavy
And recognizing the absence of this thing
This thing that delivers
The words
Which are – you see
My breath
The source of my aliveness
I felt panic
Immediately
And then grief

Because I had been living in a desert
In a drought
Or maybe on the moon – to mix metaphors
Because I told you it was air
And to live without
The words is to be
Without oxygen
To be cut off
From life giving
Inhale
And exhale
To be floating in an aimless space

Yes – there is a certain
Amount of
Melodrama
That tends to come
With being an artist
Or maybe just a certain
Amount of melodrama that comes from
Being me

And I am
Me
For all my flaws and failings
For all the stumblings
For all the times i confuse selfless with selfish
(and vice versa)
And get it all fucking wrong
I’m me
Kind and patient they say
Good and loving, also.
Perhaps a little prone to martyrdom
With a side of victimhood
And perpetually in chaos
But it’s okay
I’m willing to take the good
With the bad
In order to write a story
That is real.

And the me that I am.
Needs words like air
Needs the ocean in the desert
And when the words have been gone for a long time
And then they return
It is like breathing deeply
Or maybe even like breathing under water
(to bring back in the ocean metaphor)
Because I once was a mermaid,
You know
-Or at least that is what the
Dreams told me-
And I would come up to the shore every
Time the moon was full
And sing my songs
To the sailors
Who would turn them into stories
And tell them to the scholars
Who wrote them into books
That sold by the thousands
And thus made me famous
In a way
Though nobody ever knew
The stories
Were mine.

But I digress
Because this isn’t a poem
About mermaids
It is a poem just about this morning
In my little apartment
And waking up heavy
And thinking I had lost the words
And speaking the panic and grief of that

But you see what has happened here
Don’t you
I sat down to tell you how the words
were gone
And in the telling of that
It seems
That they returned
That they are
Perhaps always waiting
That there is air on the moon
Or maybe even an ocean under the hard
Packed earth
Of this desert.

Not all poems
Teach lessons
Some are just there
To be beautiful
But this one apparently
Had wisdom I needed to remember

The words will return
They always do
All I have to do
Is to sit down
At the page
and remember
To
Breathe

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