Tag Archives: obsession

the legal scholar

How many times have we ascended this hill
Noting the position of swans, the level of the pond’s lap
on wet grass, the straw hats of tourists like slow revolving UFOs.
Bags crammed with paper, we seek some kind of knowledge,
or just direction or companionship or whatever,
I don’t know. This is the first paradox.

This is the canon of the judges. Hammer by hammer,
each fact weighed, developing rules, rules,
we try to peel them back, to see what light existed
in the minds of the ages – treat your neighbour as yourself,
use your land so as not to harm another’s, and do not
deceive those who are rely on you. It is despicable.

Truths: People believe in property because
they need to feel they belong. They make promises
because of fear and rely on people who say pretty things
because nothing hurts like hunger in the heart.
Here is a pen, a paper, make your prayer.
Do you need a lawyer?

In the yellow glow of books, I study the day’s facts,
Extract the rules of being me. A dog knows it’s a dog.
A cat must feel like a cat. But I have no conception of myself.
I sieve the day’s words into the effective and the not.
Was I brief, concise, thoughtful and clear?
I just want to know for sure that I can be heard.

Across the script of my books, I trace circles
waiting desperately to see if the ends will meet
so that there will be no ending, only completeness.
These catchments are little worlds – yours, mine, his, hers.
I want to make them integrate but no matter what I do
The words are only fragments, they cannot form wholes

Lost in thought

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Summer came a few days ago, with me not quite knowing what to feel about it or want from it. I had been trapped inside myself for so long that I only knew how to be numb and confused.

Pawing through my own insides for the feelings I was supposed to have only created more questions and made me nervous, so I decided I would simply live as the moment dictated.

In between lunch and dinner dates I wander around on my own, trying to let every thought and perception touch my mind as lightly as possible. I reflect on the months that have passed, trying to reconcile myself to what has happened.

It’s possible to strive so much for control that you simply lose control. Perhaps that is what obsession means.

Everything happened so suddenly this year. It started with an inexplicable feeling of inner unsettledness, a feeling of something always running in the background of my mind, and I remember just feeling very tired all the time.

And then there came the empty weeks, lengths of free time in which I sunk into torrents of endless thought, letting the hours turn into days and weeks while I sat panicking and unable to get anything done. The more I thought, the more I felt confused, and the harder I fought to regain a sense of balance and coherence. In the end I completely lost both, along with my sense of place and my sense of self. And in the end, I was no longer sure what I had been trying to protect in the first place. I had become a shell of myself, barely human. And still, like an overturned bicycle with wheels still whirring, I couldn’t stop.

I wandered around aimlessly, sometimes anxious, other times weighed down by a blanket of emptiness that was about as close as I got to comfort. Other people seemed to me to be shining, while I felt my own presence dim and shrivel inside.

***

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It’s warm and breezy outdoors. Everywhere on the streets and in shops windows are the colours of summer– fuchsia and turquoise, orange and yellow. I remember looking at a colourful display a few nights before and suddenly feeling like I wanted to put lots of flowers in my hair. It was one of the first times I remember myself wanting to do something for summer, and it made me shake a little inside.

Sometimes in my head I write letters, conveying these little thoughts or little victories to people far away, or not so far away. In reality, the value of these little moments is not easy to convey. But I carry an envelope with some letter paper in my backpack anyway, in case I suddenly feel like trying.

These days I’m feeling the waters recede. Almost, almost, I’m breaking the surface. I’m learning to breathe again, finding that I can. On the way home, the sound of the train soothes me as I lean by the coach doors, and I feel the warm six o’clock light wash over me from the window.

As I walk home everything smells green and warm. Birds chirp and fly from tree to rooftop. I feel like I can almost sink into the golden light behind the clouds. Almost there.

***

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Sometimes at home I find little pieces of paper lying around. On them, scrawled in my own handwriting, are words like “Focus. Just breathe. Everything is alright”. I remember writing these things, and scratching them out, and re-writing them again, and again. Calming myself down didn’t work if I did it in words, because I could never get the words right. The words were always wrong. Even the simplest things had to be tweaked and rewritten over and over again. Why were the words always wrong?

I tear up these little papers and throw them away when I find them. It’s unfortunate. I know the words tried hard for me. I just couldn’t let them be enough.

It’s never enough.

Sitting by the fountain today, watching the light glint on the silvery surfaces of surrounding buildings, it occurred to me that our strengths can never be separated from our weaknesses. They are actually but one and the same.

***

“Hello, tiny star
Can you hear me call?
I’m so blind as everything at birth

If I could flow against these nights
Straighter than the string of light
I would lay these hands on time”