atlas and i

helplessness is the feeling i get when you don’t reply with more than one word answers for an hour. when your eyes don’t shine, when you won’t even look at me eyes cast down and brows creased. helplessness is like when i want to teleport from my bed into yours because it’s midnight and you feel as far away as the moon in the fucking sky and i can’t do anything about it. from my bed i stare at my screen in the darkness and i hope, fuck, i hope you’re not hyperventilating i hope you aren’t trying to isolate yourself. disconnect plays like a broken recorder in my head. god can you not, can we not, i’m right here i love you. i can’t help you though, not unless you allow me, and even then it’s still mostly on you. how i wish it weren’t

 

helplessness is feeling like a fish in a fishbowl like you can’t even swim you might drown but you’re a fish so you live on. as a human you need air but you have too much as you hyperventilate and fuck no don’t cry. don’t try to make yourself feel better though, no, don’t count to 5 don’t feel 4 things, don’t smell 3, don’t hear 2, don’t. or do, you’ll still be miserable.

 

helplessness is the feeling i get when i feel like shit but i want to feel better. helplessness feeds on boredom and my headache. it’s letting everyone down because you hate it, i can’t fix it when i feel like shit, and everyone else expects more of me. helplessness is when i know i’m not letting myself feel better, when all my worries and all his worries play in my mind like a black and white movie. helplessness is knowing i can feel better but not knowing when i’ll get the energy to finally do it. it’s knowing i’ve spent all this energy feeling like shit. where’s a fucking wall i can smash my hand against when i need one?

helplessness is knowing he cares and it makes you feel guilty but that is so wrong, you know how fucked up it is. but you still cry and you still wish to be shot out into the sky because you don’t deserve this — but yes you do. worse he doesn’t deserve this but he couldn’t care less because it’s not about that — of course it’s not.

 

and helplessness is when you want to crawl in bed, but what good would that do because the thoughts are still in your head and your headache is so strong you’re far past just needing sleep. you also don’t want to be alone, but being with others especially some takes so much fucking effort you might as well give me a paper cut in the worst spot.

helplessness is after an entire day you’ve stirred those thoughts in your head and you just want them dead, you don’t even care if they end up in heaven or hell as long as they’re gone. and long as you can smile and you try to feel something other than tired, and, oh so fucking helpless. as long as when we talk i don’t feel like crying, i don’t feel like teleporting into your bed, i don’t feel like i’m living the same thing over and over and over again and i can’t stop it, or worse i can’t bring myself to stop it.

 

sometimes i try to prevent helplessness. i know it’ll happen soon and so i put my foot down and i make some plans. i build a fort and get some armour and i’m ready. but as soon as the adversary comes, i’m crashing, burning the bridge to hell with all my thoughts. my armour was just leather not diamond. you never believed you could fix it but, god did i want to; maybe i built that bridge just so i could feel like i did something, as if i’d prepared myself. but you prepared yourself for disappointment even though you didn’t mean to. it made you want to punch a wall and you didn’t want to fix it, didn’t know how not to set yourself up for more disappointment. it’s not inevitable unless you make it.

instead build bridges so that together we can fix it and even though it’s still mainly on me that little bit of support might make the world fall off atlas’s shoulder. instead of being atlas, you carry me and the world and i am the one who makes it weightless as we work together.

 

helplessness is when you know you’ll need someone’s help but you don’t seek it because it’s on you. but that phrase has been playing like a broken telephone in your mind so now it means you’re all alone. you don’t remember it meant you can do this but you need to work on yourself before i can help you. how could you remember, how could you forget. you see his face and you know you’re not alone, but god, do you want to because then he couldn’t see you like this, because then he wouldn’t be so frustrated by your misery and by the fact that you let it be.

let it be is how i’m supposed to let misery be, but he means let it be like a chair you fix when it’s broken — let it be a problem you can fix. something you try to change and you have confidence, you know that he knows that you know that it’ll be helpful. not like a balloon you blow till it pops and fuck here come the burning bridge. i’m not helpful to myself even though i want to be. i let it be till he’s the one pulling me to a mirror – look at you, acting like atlas. you don’t need to, you can fix that broken recorder.

 

a couple days pass and rain comes and you feel the way others feel when the sun is out. you’re not seeing the burning bridge and you don’t feel like atlas anymore – instead you see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s beautiful like his face as he drives you home in the dim lighting of the streets. you see clear as if your glasses hadn’t been scratched and the colours reflecting his face in the streets are distinctly alluring.

it reminds you of the stars as you two sit in a field together and feel the wind. suddenly the stars seem farway because you feel like your feet are set down and you can move steadily. there’s no repetition in your mind, no need to count 5 down, no need to feel guilty. let it be.

rorschach

a window to the mind, a keyhole for the locked terrors. there is no key much like in life there is no path. perhaps since life has many paths this key hole has many keys. one for my future house, one for my mind, one for his, one for everything like a master key. in the depths of the school those keys fly around, their flapping wings loud and menacing.

 

which will you choose?

that which leads to owning a cat? that which leads to interest in science and spacecraft?

 

we define things by shape and size but on paper a cat, an old key hole, and a spaceship all have the same size. it’s all about angle. much like perspective and opinion changes us, it changes how we see things. someone else may not see the keys and you may tell them, chose anyway but if they don’t like that one they can drop it down the sewer and get a new one.

instead of a cat, maybe a dog. instead of space, maybe the sea.

 

it’s not me who chooses what others do like a higher deity

or two or three.

or even one for each season and

concept like samhain and his fellows.

 

black cats have green eyes that reflect us like this ink reflects me.

or is it just that i see what the cat sees which is me

as i crowd his face and coo soft kitty.

 

some fear black cats and tall ladders and mirrors but without the cat you won’t feel love and without the ladder you won’t find the key and without the mirror you cannot see.

 

even if you didn’t want to see, the key still tells you you have to

because then you’ll climb the ladder and

find a key or two or three. you’ll pick and choose

or want to use all three.

but that’s not how it works on earth or in space or in the sea.

the key is a hierarchy of living and dying

 

in the sea, there are fishes that are bigger than humans but on earth we and our machines are bigger – much bigger than cats.

 

in space it’s like under water; there are new rules and you can only breathe sometimes. with caution you live and you choose the key that says you need to adapt to this non-earthly environment. you’ll need a suit and a team.

they each have their own key

but we don’t have the same door

even if we have the same space ship because

they might own a snake or a guinea pig

instead of a soft black cat.

 

and on the day of samhain

they might pretend they aren’t home

even though you’re out in the cold rain

giving each child their own key

in the form of candy.    

 

perhaps the higher deity or your fifty

will seize the key

just as you seize the day and buy an orange cat instead.

 

i’ll then say “go buy a ladder and get a new key,”

and he may say “sit in a field and look up at the stars”

and your key hole will change into that one that allows you to go to space.

 

all key holes can change, with the help of who or what you ask?

whether a ladder, a mirror,

a thought or a high deity,

 

i don’t know. the point is, the key will let you know.

 

or maybe it won’t because the idea of knowing is appalling and you don’t want to, in which case you should sit at home with a tea and your orange cat.

the keyhole will take you where you need to be and the will in your choice of key will take you farther.

Someone in my Head

on this night we are on the bridge with woof woof les chiens with their owners. paws are loud in the darkness. and we look up into the sky and it makes me dizzy i’m petite and Maman points and Tristan nods and i feel far away kind of like les etoiles. there are never shooting stars but Apo hopes. peut-etre, “maybe we’ll go see them in august,” Maman says as if i know what that means. i glance at Apo and le coté du bridge entre the cold bars that look sharp with red dust that Tristan says is danger and i know we’ll be here a while. ow mon coup hurts with the curve of it as i look up at the constellation i should find – it is my name after all.

Papa sees me after work as he puts away his velo and i’m in the yard with Apo, my twin always together never apart even in the night. our room is high up. one bed in a little chambre avec des jouets and books i don’t like but Tristan does. our yard is full of framboise that have péppins and hurt with needles that aren’t visible so i step cautiously around them and avoid les guêpes qui piquent Tristan. and later pendant the summer Maman will turn the framboises into jam that we will eat on petit pain for breakfast with Maman because she doesn’t work like Papa does. but sometimes she comes to school and les élèves call her Madame and i help with the kids de la maternelle because i’m 6 so it’s okay. Madame Bernadette gets it.

on our birthday on fête la fête with Nonna and everyone else and we have 2 cakes. une pour vous and one for Nonna whose birthday is actually next week. i want my own cake because we aren’t one but toujours ensembles vous vous avez les filles, Maman always reminds me i nod. Apo says nothing too. i think that means we did right because la fête continues. we pick gifts from the one bag given to us, and when Apo sees mine she says c’est le mien i keep it. non c’est a moi.

on the beach it is summer and we are here after driving and je pense i did sleep. well Apo did. “on mange des crepes demain,” tomorrow’s breakfast will be sweet and i can roll them on my own now. Maman still thinks les couteaux are dangerous. but Philip and Dacia use them. they also put nutella and that’s degeu and sucré. yes, more than sucre brun. Tristan likes them with limon et sucre, because il manage bien Maman says.

on the way to the hospital Papa says “you can sit in front” and i look back at my seat… if he says it’s okay i’ll be okay i guess. Papa leads me everywhere because you can’t know these things, places and names and things you can’t see or read. like common names. but the signs on the long road where Papa drives quickly and there are other cars and i can’t even hear the music. i wonder if it’s coldplay. the signs repeat their words Rue Allen Road. pourquoi. i didn’t need to be told twice it was pavement that cars zoom and bikes pedal and people walk with their chiens.

on some nuit when it’s late and we’re supposed to be au lit, Tristan and Apo are up parce que Papa cris. i can’t hear very much until they get to les escaliers and i hear banging and le plancher creaks crack crack crack bang like a heartbeat or mine as it goes boom boom boom booom loudly in my ears. Papa often talks about money, and he yells at Maman and tries not to show it, mais tu es jeune. when you’re older you’ll know Maman has spending problems and Tristan will defend her and you will be just as afraid with the same image of someone qui monte les escaliers and – no stop it there is no heartbeat you’re okay. it’s okay. calm down. because at the end of the night when you’re in bed with Apo always and forever you’ll be told bonne nuit by one or both and Maman will say “je t’aime a la folie” and Papa will say “i love you” and you will not know how to answer but to parrot back, sometimes.

and in bed always and forever at night in the same room as Apo and sometimes Tristan sometimes you are one and you hold hands but sometimes it’s warm. tu veux être seule all alone but i can’t because Tristan sleeps above with stars, i sleep under in the darkness beside her. so on se chicane and one of us bleeds because of our nails sometimes by accident. oh. je m’excuse, je t’aime. ca va? or va t’en, tu m’enerve. il fait chaud et tu ronfle! zzz zzz zzz groggy and loud beside me. STOP IT.