I met something this morning. I walked into something maybe I was ready to walk into. Or maybe I wasn’t, I’m not sure yet. All I can say is I feel a little shaky, a little out of breath, starving now like I’ve run a marathon for days and haven’t eaten. I feel my spines are up. I feel on edge.

Months ago when I started these new poems, I created a folder on my desktop called “edges.” And in this folder, i was going to place these new creations, give them a home. I named the folder after I showed the first “new” poem to a friend and told her – this is different. This has more edges than before. I suppose ever since then I’ve been burrowing into something different, deeper, darker and flat out scary to me. But I’ve been plugging away in the dark, in the mornings, at night, whenever it seems to strike. I’ve been back and forth. Pat asked me once at the beginning to come back to him when it appeared I was lingering too long in the undergrowth.

I was a little offended at first when he said that. “I feel like you’re asking me to choose.” But ever since then I’ve kept his words to heart. I’ve kept a light on at the end of the hallway so I can find a way out if I need to. Perhaps these things are not particularly scary to some, perhaps I’ve just been reading too much Plath, perhaps my imagination is slightly out of control.

This morning I stumbled upon something in my journal I wrote only a couple of days ago. I was sitting at work, I remember the circumstances, I was wearing a jacket from the salvation army that I should have washed, but that would require me going to the Laundromat which requires too much effort and I figured all was well. It’s gross, I should have washed it, yes I know. The circumstances were right, my skin was thin, i was bored out of my mind and frustrated at having to sit there at my desk and I could smell this other woman on me, someone I didn’t know and perhaps some of that woman I didn’t know was me, but whatever it was I dove head first into someone, something else. I created a bloody alter self – I created or I unearthed it.

I was rereading what I wrote this morning those few days ago and felt something flicker, something push my hand to the paper, felt in my body a warm terror that I knew I needed to capture. I feel this morning that I met an alter self, a dark self, a self in the shadows and we shook hands, we sniffed each other, we felt each other’s hair, we glowed in the dark. And when the time came for me to leave, when I had placed her now in that hallway, now on that piece of paper, when she had finished running her fingernails down my arm – I was able to find a way back. I turned on Pandora and I let a beautiful beat of music bring me back. And I showered and I cried and even now feel greatly unsure of what I’m doing and why. But I feel comfort, strangely, comfort in knowing that I can come back to light.

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4 Responses to Edges

  1. Even if this was metaphor, which it not how it feels, what a remarkable, non-ordinary experience and what a gift to a poet, a writer, a soul seeking expression. We contain such conflicting, contradictory parts, all of them authentic and worthy of attention. And I believe the need to know what we’re doing or why is not as necessary as they would have us think.

    • rachvb says:

      Non-ordinary, indeed. Flat out strange for me who likes to think of herself as a person who finds beauty in most things. But I suppose there was a strange beauty in what I met that day. It’s still left me a little shaken. I can’t help but think, “what does this new poetry say about the state I am in these days? What does it say about me?” And looking at that frightens me a bit. But I am reminded that all scary and frightening things (at least in writing, I’m not sure about ‘real’ life yet) mean we are on a good path.
      Thank you.

  2. It’s easy to see why you might me frightened, rachvb. You’ve met something, someone, you never dreamt existed before and to have her/another you so palpably present could terrify you out of your wits. I think Marylinn is right, we are more full of parts or souls than we know. As Whitman famously wrote, “I contain multitudes!”

    Try to think of it as a gift to your poetry, to your new ‘edges’–your edges in what you know, and your edges in the poems you are now writing and about to write. It seems like a good thing.

    • rachvb says:

      Thank you. I love the Whitman quote. It fits all to well, doesn’t it? I must say that to get to a truer self, I’m thinking more and more that we have to meet all the different parts of ourselves. Perhaps she is the part I’ve been needing to tap in to? I feel as if I’ve felt her before, but never have I had a vision of her. And now that we have met, I am curious where we may take each other. I feel now, maybe we won’t be so frightened of each other.
      Thank you for the kind visit. I’ve “seen” you around blogland and have always loved your name: Vespersparrow. I’m always partial to sparrows. they remind me of home. I grew up on a “Sparrow Ct.” and they always seemed to be happily hopping around.

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