The prison door in front of me is as comforting as a TV screen, as long I’m behind it my mind is covered over by all-day streams of can you believe that? and what are things coming to? and no one is trustworthy anymore. The buzzing pessimism makes it easy to keep interactions with humans short: sure, yea, no problem, I’m busy. And most days I can keep Bukowski’s words in my ribcage as a mantra there’s a bluebird in my heart that/ wants to get out/ but I’m too tough for him/ I say, stay in there, I’m not going/ to let anybody see/ you. And sometimes the bluebird comes up for air and I catch myself examining a flower outside my window or noticing the warm sky on my walk to work.
It’s not safe to love the world. The world is cruel and angry. It’s not safe. But damn it I keep being tempted to—in all her springtime breezes and pine perfume and his strong hand on my back. I don’t want to give into this celebration. It’s a trick. Because you leave your house and walk in the woods with an Irish folk song whistling from your heart, the one your grandpa used to sing, and an earthquake happens, things die, people change, the world goes to war, your mother says she doesn’t love you with her eyes, the motion in your hope comes to a halt. I don’t want to love the world. It’s not safe. And the bluebird keeps coming back up to sing.
The assault keeps coming too with little kids dripping mint chip all over their knuckles as I walk to the market and the gentle way he looks at me when my heads been stuck in a book of poetry for 45 minutes. The sun is warm on my bare shoulders when I leave the AC and when I go to feed the wagging black-and-white dog the sun is just rising over blue mountains majesty. It takes work to stay boarded up this way. Hard work. But the work is worth doing. I don’t want to love the world. It’s not safe.
When you called to say you weren’t feeling well I stopped by because I’ve fallen in love with you despite my better judgment. I come in and you smell as you always do, of mountain air and earth and home. We take a walk outside in the foggy tide of evening and you tell me about the ways we’ve grown over the years together. When we get back to the driveway, I can feel him. The bluebird is making his way up my throat and a breathy I love you comes with a tear. The fight is hard and maybe I just give up. Maybe I let the earthquake shake me and the brokenness exist and I live in the abundance of the flowers anyway. The work is hard and the bluebird has gotten bigger. I don’t have much to say these days. I just let him sing.