peter (i want to be real)
I wrote this at the later end of the summer I turned thirty, and read it at my birthday show.
can’t you see? it’s me.
i’m peter. i’m the one they can’t reach.
i am always trying to hide inside someone else’s idea of neverland. hiding inside an IDEA.
the IDEA it always feels calming to me because it’s just an idea, it’s ephemeral, it can go either way.
anything i can knock on and feel, I DON’T WANT to be a part of, not even my own chest, i want to walk through walls, be forgiven, asked no questions, twist past every tick of the clock. no decisions- always. existing. between.
the IDEA is what lulls me to sleep at night, the IDEA is what i lay next to, not the flesh and blood.
the flesh and blood SCARES me, my own FLESH AND BLOOD SCARES me. if no one can touch me no one can get hurt and especially not me.
i am ALIVE inside my shadow. inside children’s daydreams. inside- the feeling of flinging those windows open- the pure, unadulterated night. i am standing at the threshold because i am the threshold.
i don’t want to be peter anymore.
i want to grow old. and learn. and die. and be real.
i don’t want to write anything that is unfamiliar. instead- from my own hand, my own blood. i want to leave footprints people can follow, not splintering startrails that hurt to look at, hurt even more to try to hold. to hold, in VAIN.
the miscommunication, the UN-clarity, the swiftness in me always wins but at what cost? i am everywhere but nowhere. everyone knows mere particles of me- i am searching for another bedtime story, lamplight to fly by, rooftop to crow from, dream to crack open and pick clean. they are all my wendy moira angela darlings. my fingers promised, worlds in thimble fulls, mere scraps un-wort keeping. i have grown- so tired. bones stretching out of sockets, roots reckless. what does it mean to be flesh and blood? what does it mean to truly live? GIVE?
give stars in the night one can still find a day later, not darting out of view into nothingness, nether-hood. there is a reason for the never never- never wanting to make a commitment, get hurt, die, bleed, let go, stand still. somehow, inherent in the never is the EVER, forever- the belief that you could, DESPITE the odds, despite misgivings, unbelievings, the true telling of tales that are true and truly true not just the bent up versions that fit inside my telescope to make clean star pictures and tight constellations, i mean the burning. the explosions.
every comet like a little girl wildly swinging sparklers on the fourth of july- she knows each one will burn out, she knows the sparks could hit her, she knows the flare has a beginning, a middle, an end, and just is. and just is. and just- is.
if i am spending so much time sewing my shadow on with SHOULD’s, how will i know where my light is really cast- where i really want to be?
i want to be loved not seen streaking across the frame and i am resistant. i want to taste salt and earth and rub ashes on my forehead and behind my ears and ache my ankles climbing mountains and break my childhood heart by realizing that learning how to fly doesn’t always mean running away.
it means floating with a purpose to a destination you can see because it is no destination but yours.
it is not a shadow made of should or a comforting light or a mermaid’s kiss or a crocodile’s tick.
it is a tangled string of cosmos that takes untangling with two hands and one heart and all teeth and brain fire phosphorescent in the night.
not imaginary. real work.
ideas are easy, ideas are easy to depend on, make love to, chase in circles, plant as obstacles in your trajectory, haze in your focused lens.
but i will not charge towards them with abandon- this time.
i will let them build in me, for me, by me- islands and starry skies and turrets and towers and bonfires and bridges and oceans and wilds so wild because they are being cultivated. not left to chance. dreamed into life. dreamed into being. with blood and lungs and CIR-CU-LATION. with windows flung open not on the great unknown but things i can actually see.
it hurts to be peter always- flying. away.
can i say a prayer for the child self?
the one who is jealous, unmovable.
heartbroken at the way life continues without her, no matter how much she cries or where she lays her head.
the road paved with sorrow- stolen bikes, infernal loneliness, starkly blaring hypocrisy like a full moon two days from summer, it doesn’t matter- life. mercilessly. proceeds.
can i say a prayer for the adult who still doesn’t believe in adulthood but is damn well trying and doesn’t want to live in old lovers’ homes and hearts anymore, only wants to feel like the bright burning spirals in van gogh’s paintings, doesn’t want another key for the key ring, is afraid no one will be there to leave the light on, doesn’t want to forget what you smell like, wants to be rescued but really just wants to be SEEN to be believed, is the convergence of the legend with reality. isn’t afraid of the dark or silence anymore. picks old wounds to make sure they were real. wants to hear you say you love her again and again and again- especially when she is afraid. especially when she thinks she might lose you. especially when she no longer loves you back.
can i say a prayer for the meeting of child self and adulthood in fearful but holiest matrimony? a realism unlike any that can be gifted except from yourself to yourself.
a prayer for the woman who will retain the wild but be able to appear when she says she will because words mean something and wonder means nothing when it all ends up a meaningless magic trick.
all magic has science in it, calculation. INTENTION is the marrow of the dream, like a knocking that comes from inside you that you’re no longer afraid to answer, it’s those windows flung open and for the first time you see your soul, fully formed and with a place to go, not shadows of shoulds or bracing fears- a sorcery unlike anything- but certainty. the kind that comes with age, the acceptance of age, the adoption of poetic shamanic feathers and furs, incantatory cloaks and skeletal tarot reading the PURPOSE in your movements, instead. growing- FORWARD- for the first time, NORTH in the direction of expression from the uppermost- the least regretful because wild in the highest means true power is actually surrender rather than control.
i am saying a prayer for myself because i am that prayer. i will not mourn what has gone past or fear what lies forward.
this astrological house will be of MY setting- my bed of flowers, my flickering lights, my letters, my ropes slipped from hands. whatever i choose to keep with me shall be for good, no visionless haze striping through tangled vein.
i will sleep. but to wake upon the greatest dream…