Whatever the outcome


Thursday night I lost my voice. I spent the next couple of days pretty nicely medicated. And silent. I could not even talk to myself. This happens about once a year. When I started to feel the very beginning of being sick on Wednesday, I planned and shopped for a big get un-sick cleanse for the weekend: cayenne kombucha, gut shot (beet and ginger juice blend), seaweed, beef jerky (okay those last two I just wanted). I sprouted enough mung beans to make a hundred smoothies. But when I woke up on Friday with a pounding head and completely unable to make a sound, I wanted none of it. My best best best friend brought me a big box of croissants and cough drops and flowers and a goofy card before going to work. Ever heard of a croissant cleanse? It’s not a thing.

So all weekend I ate croissants and looked at these beautiful flowers and reveled in glorious self pity and read books and watched all the episodes of the fruitcake lady I could, shaking silently with laughter. I also stayed on the carefully medicated balance of Theraflu and NyQuil which meant I felt well enough to take quick trips out. I couldn’t answer any phone calls, obviously, or engage in much small talk. As inconvenient as it was, there was also something really nice about not always having to respond to every little thing, about not engaging with everything. About having to choose how and where to spend my words. Maybe we take that into these next couple weeks.

Here’s my number one hero, the amazing Jimmy Santiago Baca.

Who Understands Me but Me

BY JIMMY SANTIAGO BACA

They turn the water off, so I live without water,
they build walls higher, so I live without treetops,
they paint the windows black, so I live without sunshine,
they lock my cage, so I live without going anywhere,
they take each last tear I have, I live without tears,
they take my heart and rip it open, I live without heart,
they take my life and crush it, so I live without a future,
they say I am beastly and fiendish, so I have no friends,
they stop up each hope, so I have no passage out of hell
they give me pain, so I live with pain,
they give me hate, so I live with my hate,
they have changed me, and I am not the same man,
they give me no shower, so I live with my smell,
they separate me from my brothers, so I live without brothers,
who understands me when I say this is beautiful?
who understands me when I say I have found other freedoms?

I cannot fly or make something appear in my hand,
I cannot make the heavens open or the earth tremble,
I can live with myself, and I am amazed at myself, my love,
my beauty,
I am taken by my failures, astounded by my fears,
I am stubborn and childish,
in the midst of this wreckage of life they incurred,
I practice being myself,
and I have found parts of myself never dreamed of by me,
they were goaded out from under rocks in my heart
when the walls were built higher,
when the water was turned off and the windows painted black.
I followed these signs
like an old tracker and followed the tracks deep into myself,
followed the blood-spotted path,
deeper into dangerous regions, and found so many parts of myself,
who taught me water is not everything,
and gave me new eyes to see through walls,
and when they spoke, sunlight came out of their mouths,
and I was laughing at me with them,
we laughed like children and made pacts to always be loyal,
who understands me when I say this is beautiful?

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