Plumage

Lyric Essay

What’s wrong with me, I’m so lazy,” my accomplished friend says one afternoon, and I know what he means is help me hate myself less, because for as long as we’ve known each other, there’s been an invisible mouth he’s trying to feed, a mythical beast with an unquenchable hankering for the impossible—a requirement that lives somewhere between hell and the stubble on his chin. I know by “lazy” he means that he has willingly climbed inside inaction as if a plush casket, and every moment without completing a task is another feather in the funeral pillow. To be worthy of this body—these days spent lengthening grocery lines and adding congestion to highways—my friend believes there should be perpetual evidence of his being here, preferably in the form of something a person can praise or spend. His moments in time collecting hair-like on the slender rachis of a quill, dipped into the marrow of existence to write again and again the line I am here. Because my friend has confused life with its doings, as if someday he will arrive on a mountaintop, where all the self-possessed seconds of his striving will coalesce into a beautiful pair of wings, capable of sending him soaring above the trees, free from the shadows of self-loathing. I say to my friend, “I’m sorry, I understand,” but what I mean to tell him is the basis of worth-ship is not accomplishment but worship, in rising each morning to stretch one’s empty hands upward and say thank you—a burden so light you might be forgiven for thinking it doesn’t weigh enough, for once again picking up the same old heaviness and continuing to fall.

 
Related Topics:  Peace

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