I write a lot about water lately, and my therapist thinks that means something, but sometimes I just want to work with a certain kind of clay. It’s already made. I want to exhaust it, to use every piece while it’s fresh in my hands.
Can you imagine how long it’ll take me to shoot every shotglass of ocean? To kiss every thimble of it? To lift every spoonful to the sky?
I tell her we should probably pay attention to the less obvious metaphors. Why puppies yesterday? Why space so irregularly?
She is amicable to this. Asks me, then, why puppies?
I tell her I woke up with pah-pah-pah sounds in my heart. Some days I wake up thinking of letters, which is a symptom of being a reader. I tell her how I have cataloged sleeps in my mind, a side effect of being a writer.
There is steady deep-breathed cat sleep. There is tangled, relieved giraffe sleep. There is lifeless forever sleep. There is the cuddled sleep of an unresting baby, the quick sleep on a bus stop bench, the alone sleep under it.
Lonely sleep, you mean?
I tell her about poet friend* who has a poem about how poets know that synonyms are not real. “House and home” he says with an eye roll, “bloom and grow”, he says with a laugh.
Close words are not even exchanges for each other. Language is a strange and complex stock market. Words have different weights, different values in gold. It changes hourly.
I listen so I can buy low. I write so I can sell high. I read because I’m addicted to this game even though I’m broke right now.
My brain rattled out of my arms like a purse this year. Letters fell everywhere. I hastily put some things back, but I’m still finding quarters in the billfold.
So why the metaphor of economic markets? she says.
I look into my brain for answers, but the safe is flooded and metaphors are everywhere, floating on the top like wet bills. They don’t stack anymore. I don’t know where to put them.
I reach into the water to grab the right words, and as is normal lately, bring up a fistful of something close.
Someone else might not notice, but I do. It doesn’t have the same value. If I use it and pretend it is right, it is counterfeit. That’s illegal, unless you have artistic license.
I could explain this but I’d probably start with a reference to water.
I decide to be frugal.
I say nothing.
* Brendon Constantine, poet behind this beautiful work: https://youtu.be/KO6527S5JOU