they say that saturn completes an orbit every twenty seven years.
for twenty seven years it travels its usual course only to find by the time
it reaches the end of its journey that it is in the same place it began.
funny, isn’t it? we work so hard to disillusion ourselves that the things
we struggle with are not part of who we are. we stack layer after layer
of armor on frail bodies and we tell ourselves we’re protected when
the truth is we are really now just unable to move.
this is me shedding off each and every layer that i ever put on.
i’m the new kid in my fifth grade class and all the girls have a crush
on me. i can barely break through my shy to raise my hand let alone
acknowledge the notes slid beneath palms and the smiles across
flat wooden desks. here i am now twenty seven and single. some days
i see myself as a singular experimental vessel thrown into this sociological
experiment called humanity in the twenty first century. other days i vomit
letters just to remind myself that i can still do anything with this giant
pile of unstamped love letters i’ve acccumulated in the pit of my stomach.
i begin middle school and i draw on the white board a graph demonstrating
the decline of grades over time. running parallel is a second line showing
the correlation between grades and the ego i built as a young kid around
them. halfway through this graph the lack of focus kicks in and i’m thinking
about the career test i took that told me i’m a good fit for retail management.
i push through high school and i find myself attending metro state seeking
a degree in depression and appropriate places to take a nap. each day i wake
up, brush my teeth, get ready, take the car to the light rail, take the light rail
to school just to push myself further from the door of my missed class. music
is there for me, but after enough time it’s less like a blanket and more like
a burlap sack wherein i beat myself with sticks for the person i was the day
before and the day before that.
i’m writing eight hundred poems a day about nothing and i’m calling out of
my job that i hate. i’m smoking weed but less in a cool this helps me to relax
kind of way and more in a wow it’s really easy to refuse any accountability for
my own life kind of way. i blink and i’m sitting in my boss’ office and he’s
asking me if i even care about my job.
it’s in this moment that i realize it’s not that i failed.
it’s in this moment that i realize that i just have never attempted not to.
the next day i plant a seed. i water that seed and provide sunshine and
nutrients. i sit patiently and sober with myself and wait until through the
ground grows a tree. i cut down the tree and i build myself a home. i fill
that home with freedom and beauty, and with truth and love. i open the
windows and i let the light in. the light is bright at first. it burns my eyes
and i find myself dropping salty tears warping the wood below my feet.
i leave the door open. i let in the ghosts of my past and they help me to
arrange the furniture of my existence. i paint the walls in the shades of
my emotions. i give the extra paint to my neighbor. i create a neighborhood.
i create a community. i realize that i am not alone and that i’ve never
been alone. my house is warm from the warmth of the people that fill it. slowly
i strip every layer that i ever put on until i stand naked at the center of my
everything. and there in that moment i wait for applause but there is no
applause to be had. the ghosts all have disappeared. my friends and family all
trudged through the rain to their own houses. i find myself alone again but
i am not afraid. it’s so quiet that i hear my heart beat for the first time in
my life. i can feel each persistent push of chaos through my veins delivering
meaning to my lungs, my mind, the tips of my fingers.
i walk out into the cold rain. it stings but each droplet is like an old friend
tapping me on the shoulder. i turn around to them and there behind me is
every moment of pain that preceded a shining moment of ecstasy. i find
myself in observatory park and there in the center of all the trees is an
observatory. i enter in and it feels like a church. i peer through the telescope
and after searching the sky for twenty seven years i see it there before me. saturn.
returned from its dance across the cosmos. saturn speaks to me. she tells me
all the things i’m not. she asks me what i want to be and i say to her that i
don’t want to be anything. but there are so many things that are already alive
inside of me. so many love letters i’ve yet to write. she kisses me with her
i have so many love letters left to write, but this one is to myself.
COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2016