Maybe I’ll find you again someday in the static
And for a brief moment of endless significance
We’ll pop up next to one another
Two pixels with finite lifespans
And the warm privilege of fleeting adjacency
Looking at the ones he calls family and friends
People within a circle he’s constructed for himself
To keep him from feeling the true magnitude of suffering in the world
From seeing the connection shared and lost, 8 billion strong.
And now his spirit scratches at that body
Begging to be let back in
To believe what he thought he knew.
But once the framework is exposed
And those synthetic divisions come to light
He will never be the same:
When love can take hold,
Scour the depths of his soul.
Limited only by the organs and muscle he wears
And the pollution he’s told to respire
To avoid suffocation:
I finally woke up when I realized I could hold my breath.
Let’s call it progress
So we don’t have to see it for what it is
And we won’t have to dwell on the sick irony
Of bundling up the past and re-gifting it
As a present to the present
Or maybe we’ll call it light
So we don’t have to look at the far-reaching shadows
Cast by every edifice
Built with stolen blocks
Teetering atop a tenuous foundation
And when the scales tip
For the weight of its absurdity
Maybe we’ll call it change, a puzzle in the rubble
A new arrangement
When we stop forcing pieces together
The whispers and cries of the brass
Vibrant and lucid and quivering with lives of their own
Touching everyone they can with the moments they’re given
Before fading into the atmosphere and beyond:
Why would God grieve us when it’s time
If we don’t grieve the notes we blow life into
If there’s no green
Or a sweet, long hush
Of an endless cosmic melody
That we somehow get to be a part of
But never get to hear
Until the day we stop making noise.
When the fiber of stable existence rips open
And yields something they call psychosis
I call it being awake, seeing the pins that hold everything together
The undulating grid we inhabit.
I wish sometimes that I could believe in the Wizard
But I’ve been staring at the man behind the curtain for too long
And can no longer return to the pleasant fantasy
I try, I beg to be understood
But not as the easily-relatable façade with which I enter a realm that belongs to the others
No, understood from within:
Somebody who won’t think I’m crazy when I try to explain something that words cannot access
Who will be willing to bear the tremendous weight
Of a reality not tailored to the human experience,
To feel a profound truth that irreversibly rips the rug out from beneath you.
Breaking your platform so I can build you a new one we’ll share.
Then and only then, we’ll stop drifting and start dancing
Dancing through the visual snow together, in an embrace so tight it leaves no room for uncertainty.
We shit ourselves when we are born, when we die, and at least a few times in between.
A line within a point, each life a bracketed timeline
Capped by sweet and sweaty relief.
For those of us who still feel like rays —
Pointing forward indefinitely, blissfully unaware that every line has its end
Perhaps grief, immense and unspeakable, when my time inevitably comes
To meet point B.
But as this body decays in a box, I remain
Flanked by the moment that preceded, back when I still was
And the moment when I finally stopped.
I lie here, suspended in time or lack thereof
Befriending the countless fractions into which one might divide a second.
A point occupies no space, but is no less real than the line
No mass, no length, no trajectory
Just a dot on an infinite grid
Liberated from meaning
Call out to my lack of a name
Shout . it in the absence of sound
Just as loud at zero decibels
Echoed through empty stairwells and corridors
And when you think of me . inhale
I will hear you in your CO2
Repeating it over and over without the burden
Of the syllables it once demanded.
I listen from the space . between two breaths:
How could I be gone
When the rise and fall of your chest persists?
Joe Chafkin is a student and writer from Santa Barbara. His work blurs the boundaries between seemingly unrelated considerations, attempting to underscore the inescapable interconnectedness of life’s synthetically compartmentalized aspects, whose sum equals the human experience. Taking a particular interest in the figurative quest of finding a “purpose” for art and life, Joe seeks to interrogate the collective loss of perceived meaning in the post-postmodern age, thereby striving to reconstruct it: not with a veneer of objectivity, nor out of the divisions and presumptions of the past, but from the vital, atemporal connectivity of a shared cosmic origin.