You Can’t Judge Flowers

This morning I woke after dreaming that I was dying of some strange disease. There were spots over my skin and they didn’t know when I was going to die. Before the dream, I was lying in the bath, looking at my arms. I thought,

I’ve lost a lot of weight

And didn’t feel a particular way toward it. I tried to read a book about Spinoza, but fell asleep in the bath. The book fell in and I awoke thinking I was in a pond where goldfish brushed against my legs–but they were actually the pages of the book, enjoying a swim. I thought

Spinoza’s been in the library too long. It was about time he took a bath.

I laughed and it echoed.

I then thought about loneliness.

Before bed, I tried to write. I recorded a poem. But I thought it was a bad poem, so I recorded it simply because I was afraid to. I thought

I shouldn’t be afraid of words

And then I realized I am afraid. So I pushed through. I listened to my voice. I made myself do it. I thought,

Pretend it’s someone else’s voice.

That made it easier. I remembered Muriel Rukeyser saying that you should always question, “do I believe what I am saying?”

I secretly believed what I was saying, what I was hearing in my own voice, but there was a part of me saying “no good, no good.” That was wrong, though. I thought

You can’t judge flowers.

So, then I went to sleep, though frustrated that I “couldn’t” write.

And I dreamed I was dying, though a man I once loved showed up in a movie theater and hurt me all over again, said horrible things about me in secret to show his strength.

You smoke? I asked

He said, yeah. Of course I do

Which I took as a sign that he lies, because for some reason, he never smoked in my previous dreams.

And then I woke, it was this morning.

I read Psalm 30. And then Psalm 29, which I liked better for the image of God’s voice twisting oaks and breaking cedar to pieces. I thought I wanted to twist oak, as well. But even if I couldn’t, I’d like to watch someone else do it.

So I had this feeling build in my stomach, a rolling and rolling until I thought it would grow and sing out of my lips like anger but in cherry-wood blood sap.

It didn’t.

I cried. I cried because I didn’t want to get out of bed. I wondered why I was so unthrilled for the day. But I knew to get up and find small pebbles to pick up and kiss. I knew it had to be hidden in the fact that I could feel.

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