It’s time to get something on paper. Noise and lint and beleaguered soul be damned. Inexplicably I think of kids’ games. Tug-of-war, see-saw, anything where there’s an opposing force, pushing and pulling; or a weight suddenly lifted, tossing me…off. I just want off. Off my butt. Off my brain. Then I see the artist in the morning cold, easel propped on a hillside overlooking the sea’s tumult, sitting with brush in hand, painting with his eyes. Without reserve or embellishment.
I fix the image in my head as I set to write. I consider showing up in the same way as the painter. Where it’s enough to give testament, to not make a thing up and start from scratch, but to simply witness and draw the lines. Carefully commit the sea spray to its perpetuity in a frame, the grays, the blues a beauty; even if it’s a mess of concrete edges and yelping seagulls. Not removing the discord, oh no; just letting it be.
But if I’m not the painter, then I’m — what? A woman tired and burned, holding the match to her face and not blowing it out. Hands spread like autumn branches, beckoning words and muses. A girl in a car with wind-tossed hair and desert eyes. A head on a pillow at 3AM, the furrow between the brow, a black hole, a bleeding sore, a glass tear in a bell jar, flattened grass, a tiger, the tiger’s cub.
And above all and through it, I don’t know what to write.
Or maybe I do and that’s the problem.
Or maybe I don’t and that’s it.
The artist, the waves, the lines, the car, the tiger, the tear, the pillow, the blood.