i wish i could love you better, world:
i try so hard to learn from you, hear you, see you, really touch you,
to connect with you, all-life-on-Earth
more fully, to be present with you,
to stop my head from keeping me apart from you,
from referring to you in the second person,
from keeping me
afraid to really know your suffering,
afraid to care too much,
afraid of your cold, your complexity, your darkness, your dangers,
afraid to just be, to be a part of you.
i wish i could love you better, people:
struggling, wretched, foolish, wounded human species
of which i also am a part.
but you exhaust me, infuriate me, demand so much of me.
it’s hard enough just tending my own grief, my own damage,
my own agony in this hellish, reckless soul-devouring culture
we have built, with the best of intentions.
how can you be so blind, so unchallenging of what you’re told,
how can you be otherwise?
i need to be free of you, miserable, sickly, narcissistic, arrogant bipeds.
i’m sorry i am so intolerant, so undisciplined, so unengaged,
so indifferent to your terrible knowledge, your tragedy,
so impatient, so relentlessly pessimistic,
i wish i could love you better,
you, the lovely complicity of cells standing here in my arms,
you whose simple presence evokes in me such joy, provokes
this flush of chemicals that addict me and drown me
in the sense of happiness and peace and passion and invulnerability
and the mad illusion that my life has meaning,
that i really know you, and
that we are, if not one mind, at least one body.
but i cannot be what (i think) you want,
and in the end i know i am and must be alone,
that i love most of all solitude and stillness
and the impossible beauty of my imagination,
the safety of my own, solitary cells.
i am a child and can only be not-me so long
before i return to being nothing,
for what i do not know.
i am sorry for the pain i’ve caused
and for wasting your time, and mine
and for not being who i’m not.
(photo of the author by cheryl long, esperance, australia, march 2011)