A question to answer your question: when the plane goes down or the heart goes out, do you kick the doors down or do you let everything occur as it should—a smile on the face before it twists into a chipped toothed mess, a resignation that what is happening is happening without you: hearts work independently of bodies, hearts blink first, hearts jump off the train tracks early without seeing headlights coming the opposite way. We build only to tear things down: construct fortresses of pillows and couch cushions, our stuffed animals safe in their beds as we are—tucked in under pillowcases, their soft heads peeking out from under fabric. We crash into these structures like we are giants, like we are larger than any building that has ever been constructed: we are the unexpected reckoning, we have no time for anything delicate. And then, it is over: our lungs too tired to build again, our work in a heap on the floor. There is no time for any of this, though we believe it to be endless: our hearts in the right place for once—chest-centered and majestic, a spilling out of leaves from under the soup tureen, all things set out for us like a dinner we will never attend. Here, we live in a space between heartbeats, in a world where we try to determine what is rightfully right and wrongfully wrong with no luck: no four-leaf clover, no fingers crossed behind our backs. When we see you, you spin away from us: your back to the camera as you talk to nothing: colorful walls that you cannot see—eyes focused on the blankness of being.
You promise us that you live this: that every footstep you take, every trip to the grocery store to buy bananas for your family, every moment that you turn on a car engine, you are him: ready to destroy everything in your path, ready for warfare, your code existing on a plane that we cannot possibly comprehend, us soft of skin, us who choose to spend our days in bed counting the spirals on the ceiling. Us, destroyer of buildings. Us, who do not sing loud enough to give you the power to shake ropes, to press men larger than we can imagine above our heads, to paint our face the color of something not found in nature—to become larger than life, to become larger than our mothers, our fathers.
These arms are tired. These arms are pressed for time. Dispose of them. Assume the controls of a body that does not have the need for carrying. I will forget all wounds until it is time to drag you home by your teeth. A question to answer your question: to die like you did, not behind the wheel of a car, but in a house that was built by someone who could still lift sheetrock above their heads like I did as a child—before sycamores and straight spines—to die after ceremonies, to die after you were pronounced dead—gone with no semblance of spark, no glorious send off, but a chance to do it over: to be alive when the world is shocked you are still breathing is no easy task and so when the plane goes down and the doors are kicked out do you believe that you are the one chosen, plucked from on high, the neon paint a sharp contrast to the grays of cockpits.
My blood is not yours: it does not run thick, it runs silently while I sleep. I do not act on instinct. I do not throw myself face first into the void, I do not ask for forgiveness before I ask for permission. I am quiet, yet my body is failing. I cannot obliterate because I cannot love: I was never taught these things—you never spoke of love, of wishing to die for a cause until it was too late. Some nights, I drink too much. Some nights, the sky is clearer than coffee, some nights, I do not miss any of this. I show up on my own accord: the truth is inexhaustible. Don’t worry about any of these things: they are minute in their crafting, they will be wiped away with the simplicity of a head-first charge from parts unknown into the only thing I know—to be strong enough to leave everything behind except everything I stood for, to keep my name in my heart and on my sleeve like shreds of fabric. This blood does not bleed deep: no one will think I am alive when I am not. I will tell my stories. I will sing them at any cost. I will keep the spirit close. None of this will become legend.
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