on past adventures and self-reading

The wifi connection in our Paris hotel inspires desolation. It comes and it goes. In my contemplation I started going though my old files and my Keep archive, where I found words I had forgotten.

Reading old poetry is like unearthing old artworks, love letters and diaries from the dust. It’s intensely personal, a bit mortifying, and, like in this case, also mystifying.

The poem I found was written last August. Not even a year yet, but I remember nothing of “unarticulated“. Did I post it here? On Facebook? Twitter? Or, like many other things, did I just leave it to the dust?

Here it is:

It took me upwards of three readings to figure out what the poem means. Each time I peel off another hidden layer of my current self. Reading old works, apparently, is also a bit like awkwardly meeting yourself as a stranger.

I can recognize the tone and the cadence of my own style, but the feeling and the metaphors bring no familiarity. What revelations was I so afraid of? What fear bought the courage of my heart? (Now I’m just being dramatic…). I feel both raw and embarassed just thinking about it now.

But a closer reading of the work brings me the ghost of a memory. And I think I was better off not remembering. The taste of longing is as bitter as ever.


How beautiful the day, how luxurious the night
I know not.
Neither the divinity of the stars,
nor the harmony of angels
holds delight.
Against this decadence;
No infinite point in this world
but the distance between our lips,
our eyes, withdrawn and declining to meet,
so to our hands unclasped.

There is no reality but this soft mutedness
of life,
where even my voice has staged its refusal
to break the silence
of this human affectation.
Hearts untold and unsatisfied,
unbroken, but well enough.

There are universes in my breast
clamoring to come out.
Yet no greater fears are in this earth
than the soul which breaks and bears
its own hope-tinged tears turned dust.
Well enough and better, indeed,
to endure the gentle tide of unending suspense,
than to shatter, endlessly,
by the harshness of the light.

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