I start digging, using my hands like the front paws of a dog until they become the front paws of a dog. Brown earth rolls in clumps around me, soft wet brown, darkening the deeper I go to bring it up.

I heave the earth out of itself again and again; sometimes in the dark my paws hit something other than earth, something hard like bone, sometimes round and indeterminate, sometimes soft, pulsating and shot through with veins, like the flesh of a worm, but without the wriggle.

When I hit such things, I pull at them until the earth lets go, and I throw them blindly behind me, away from me.

They are things I do not need, do not want to need, and there are handfuls of them.

My claws rip them from the earth, I cannot help it. They come up, but I cannot deal with them now.

I need to see them disappear, and I keep digging as they fly over my shoulders, trailing a heavy veil of earth into the dark behind me.

Rip them out. Rip out the parts that want my attention, that glisten with seductive gloss, splaying the flesh that needs more from the world than the tired earth can give.

I dig and my paws are numb with earth; with what the earth does to them.

You, past person person past, lie expectant in my wet black earth, your traits mummified and meaningful in a way they never really were. I dig into you, through you, send you flying: I know that if I look too closely at you I will slow myself down, slow my digging, and I will think that everything I dig out is something I need.

What I need is to keep digging, to dig for the part of me worth saving, worth uprooting and moving into different soil. The part of me that will agree to live and grow in different soil.



The Maggie Nelson worship continues.

Simply put, in the meantime, I had become a brokenheart. As winter moved into spring, then into summer, I found myself losing the man I loved. I was falling, or had fallen, out of a story, the story of a love I wanted very much. Too much, probably. And the pain of the loss had deranged me.

Falling out of a story hurts. But it’s nothing compared to the loss of an actual person, the loss of all the bright details that make up that person. All the flashing, radiant fragments that constitute an affair, or a love. If there has been a betrayal, you may find yourself holding each of these fragments up to a new light and rotating them there, watching each one grow an unwanted shadow. I found myself there.

Maggie Nelson, The Red Parts. Autobiography of a Trial. p. 82


The other thing that happens when I procrastinate is (a kind of) poetry.

For George

(to whose dismay this doesn’t yet have a title)