you and i

You and I are caged birds. And all these people surrounding us, every one. Our tragedy is that more than half the cage was built before we were born, and we cannot dismantle it. Worse still, though, is that the rest of it we build ourselves and even the awareness that we are collaborating does not stop us from strengthening the walls of our prisons.

Look at you. You live with a constant, sometimes faint, sometimes painfully strong sense of disappointment. You get what you want, and discover in the process of getting it that it is not what you thought it was, and thus not what you wanted. You lose the people who mean the most to you because you do not mean as much to them as they to you. You continue to be dogged by the idea that wherever you are is not where you ought to be, or where you want to be. It is not the warmth-generating, heart-center of things. You stand outside looking in at a world that perhaps only exists in your imagination, but means more to you than the real one.

In thinking this way you finish the walls and floor of your unfinished prison, and yet how are you to stop? The idea that life is forbidden you sits deep at the center of your being.

Look at me. I do not wish to write melancholy decipherings of the bourgeois mentality. I do not wish to write sensitive, delicate descriptions of emptiness. I am well aware that the opportunity to feel most strongly about what is not present in space and time is a luxury you and I do not share with most of our fellow human beings.

If we cannot be at the center then we must create a center where we are, but we cannot forgive or forget the utopian world that does not exist. You mourn, I presume the right to rage at the idiocy and injustice and waste and cold-hearted malice of the world that is.

Oh– but we still see the cracked beauty that shines from a filthy street under its streetlamp moon, or the promise in a dark, silent, vista: unbroken ranks of trees, the mist swirling off them, standing beyond a butchered forest. We still feel the warmth and life of other souls stirring under the layers of rank mud heaped on our psychic lives. It is not just rage and sadness, but joy too that we feel, as our hearts beat wildly against the bars of their prison, the only life they know.

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