Monday, April 03, 2006


Year by year, they take a little away. I wake up every morning with a little slice less. Look at me tomorrow, and you can't tell the difference from today. Track me over years, and you'll see. I saw the mountaintop. I could see the summit; I was so close I could smell it. I slipped a little to begin with, but I powered through, determining not to fall with willpower alone. It worked for a little while; I got closer to where I wanted to be. When I fell, I barely noticed. It's a slow fall; gravity outpaces me. I can flail and strain, but the base of the mountain approaches. The acceleration isn't measured in meters per second per second, it's measured in all things I thought I deserved before the first little slip lost per year per year.

Cezanne's onions grew sprouts. He tried to fix his still life paintings day by day. He didn't even realize that as soon as something out of place grows comfortable in anyone's artistic vision, it takes away from the original purposes of that vision. I wrote and I wrote; I wrote for ten years. The first seven were to explain myself. The next three years of writing tried to explain flaws in the first seven.

It's the slow fall that gets me. I'm furiously painting over onions that hide the rest of the canvas more every time I pick up a brush. I've done it for ten years as I fall with my back to the ground. I don't see the ground approaching; I can only see the sky I've lost in the process. On my way down, I meet you, greet you, and then you say goodbye. After all, who would want to fall with me?

The end of any fall is the ground. In my fall, my back will hit first: I won't see the ground coming. The rest of you will see and count the days until it happens with a litany of empty pill bottles, but I'll stay ignorant of the exact time I hit. Right up until the very end, I'll probably be painting with my poems. Most people will walk by my deathbed, my funeral, and my tombstone completely unaware of what went into my work. The informed few will pass me by and say "It's a shame, the circumstances of his death; he was a fine onion painter. A fine onion painter." The worst part is the knowledge that if a pretty girl asks me to paint an onion for her, too, I would do so happily. I would do anything for understanding, anything for hope, and anything for love, even if that means painting black and yellow onions sprouting stalks shaped like happiness. I don't mind the time, and I'm eager to explain the onions. After all, I want to smile as much as you want to see me smile. I would paint all of Atlas' burden with happily shaped onions for understanding, hope, and love; none of which is forthcoming for whatever reason you give me during every moment I wonder. So'll I paint onions with my pen in still life like this blog until I hit the ground, with a lifetime of sky between where I was headed and where I stopped; I'll be so far away that no one will believe how close I actually came to being the best.

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