Thursday, April 19, 2012


i look for them as if they are lost, or as if they have simply vanished, or have been misplaced like a set of keys or a pair of gloves or eyeglasses. i know i just saw them. they were right here and suddenly i have forgotten where i put them. weren't they on the table a minute ago?

(i tell myself relax. i raise my arms above my head and imagine them being pulled skyward. deep breaths.)

i continue my search, try to figure it out. i need to find them, suss them out. i close my eyes and struggle to visualize their form; i encourage them to take shape in the dark space under my eyelids. here they come. finally. i observe them round and ready as they float like shiny bubbles blown from the red plastic circle of a child's toy wand and rise up toward a heavenly blue where there's a woman's face hiding in a puff of cotton candy cloud.

i reach out my hand and grab them before they get away from me.

if i'm lucky, and the day is going well, they may fall into place easily, as if i'm following a drawing of simple assembly instructions—bolts and washers A, B, C, D fit here, tighten with allen wrench E—where they'll end up constructed like measured and cut wooden boards perfectly bolted together to create a solid structure—secure, sturdy, sound, whole.

they often have a distinctive flavor like fine food, small pieces i can nibble and turn over and over in my mouth, saturating them with my saliva to find out if they're satisfying. i slowly lick their residue on my lips and allow myself to marvel at the sweet confection they leave behind.

or they can be frighteningly bland with an awful aftertaste of disconcerting insouciance or—new sheet of paper, please—i may be engulfed with a sense of helplessness when i taste the bitter dregs of their sadness or injustice, when they force me to feel the lonely sting of tears. but i know they are good for me, they need me to spell them out, to shine a light on this existence. so i resist the urge to throw down my pen and crumple up the paper because i know, in the end, they always leave me feeling so alive.

others may come along that annoy me. i become vexed by the obnoxious bits that distract me and try to get my attention like nagging poppy seeds that get stuck between my teeth—trivial, time-wasting, resisting my efforts to remove them.

flip the page.

eventually i glance at the clock and realize i need to finish. i will make another quick revision and be done for today. the good ones i've searched for long and hard will stay, the others will be tossed. after all, they are only words, and words are so easily discarded by pressing DELETE.

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