The hot medium of flames smacks
upward, whacks sheer eyes
with a stencil of blue and green.
There is a foreigner
on this shore.
From foreign lands, with
Knocking at my door.
4 pm sunlight carves golden frames on cream walls
a city, blue glass and white birds,
Have you seen the lions on the library ceiling? They’re pawing at the edges of ontology, where flowers bow like gentlemen with Sinatra-style fedora hats. Everyone is lithe, lither than pigeons bopping on the curb and squirrels scrambling at a crumb of bread, and yet the lions lie in stubborn stone. Nothing to do but dance.
Toward the end of a several-day hiatus from writing, I visited a bookstore for the sole purpose of perusing. I was shocked to see that “self-help” had become a section of its own, donning a few eight-foot high columns. Authors promoted anything from traditional Buddhist concepts to successful wall-street financial maneuvers to better the reader’s everyday life. I picked up and flipped through The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, whom I was already somewhat familiar with, when it dawned on me. I just need to write this piece. I don’t need to actually give a “F*ck”. Motivated by a Nike-esque “just do it” mentality, I embraced the ethos of the self-help genre.
On my sixteenth birthday, I ask my mother if I can get a tattoo like hers on my wrist. Raising an eyebrow at me, she responds back, like she’s done, a thousand times before,
It’s not a tattoo, she says.