At home

I’ve been writing more than ever these past six months. A lot of these latest pieces have gone unpublished—shuffled into folders on my desktop or languishing in magazine editors’ inboxes. And that’s fine. Maybe I’ll roll out a few stray essays from the winter while we’re all quarantined.

But even with all of that, I’m compelled to write more. I’m at home all day, working and writing and talking with my fiancee about the present and the future. What’s next? What unknowable hardship is lurking around tomorrow’s corner? We can’t seem to turn around anymore with running headlong into some gasp-breathing cluster, upending either our lives or our friends’ lives or far-off strangers’ lives. It’s a shattering sort of feeling, far from numbness. It’s an acute pain that redounds to throbbing, hour by hour.

There’s joy, too. Each day is a new chance to create something. Yes, we’re caught up rescheduling a wedding, trying to buy a house, putting out fires at work, but isn’t that all part of the resplendent present, even in chaos? And apart from all that less exciting stuff, the whole point I’m trying to make is that there’s a lot of time each day to write new stories, record some music, create little pieces of magic for your future.

Anyway. Here’s a poem I wrote a few weeks ago. There’s really nowhere else to run with this thing. It’s called “Safe Passage.”

there was then, and then there’s now
and it’s hard to get over
never looking back
if that’s the space
you’re facing
and acting out
reacting route
(play-acting doubt)
and acting out again

sure, it’s hard to get over
never getting over it
and getting stuck in the past
at the bottom of the stack
of photos neatly packed
away for good

if you’re still wondering
what was so good about it, anyway?
any day
might come around
any day now
(was so good, you say?)
if you’re all hung up on
days spent spaced
without the frame
of now
no return to form

without return and form
and seeking/mourning
safe passage
in a stormy sea
to the mind’s muddled
lack of clarity
and memory

is all you are
if you want it

leave the rest outside the door
by the shoes
and doldrum sets
we’ve got plenty more
to go around
if you want it

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