I’m fighting

I’m fighting. I’m fighting at my table, recording fragments of light for the darkness. It seems easy: I’m overtired beyond my capacity to feel it but it’s the same rushing rapids, and me, trying to get all the water in a cup. God Almighty, please. And then. It’s really strange to stop, go sit in the corner, and pretend I’m still fighting where I was so I can see myself doing it. I feel a reluctance to continue. I want to get away. I’ll take a walk. I put on my coat, invent an excuse for anyone who might notice my absence. I go out the door and shut it. Turning around, I— I didn’t know it was raining. What do do. I stand and watch the water for a while. I go back in and see myself fighting again at my table. I sit in the corner of my bed, Indian style, and conjure up a world of emotions. I have plenty. I see one in the little landscape I painted last summer. It’s a hole in my wall! I’m looking through it at real trees and mountains, at yellow grass, green bushes, and blue sky. I am amazed and am thinking, wow! That simple realization opens up a sensitivity, inside of which are emotions long hidden, unwanted. Growing is part accepting them again, becoming able to accept them. Startled! My brother Terry enters the room. I move easily into acting I’m fighting, I put away some books. I escape, leave the bedroom for the bathroom. In, I shut the door, sit down, and then, turn off the light. I’m sitting in a dark room, but I see only the dark. I’m crouched over my elbows on my knees, recovering while all the little muscles sigh. I keep closing my eyes, not knowing how they open. I see the same wherever they look, wherever they don’t look. I see no corners. Everything has one side: darkness. Resting my forehead on my knee, now, I feel my leg with my hand. Then, curious, down my leg to my toes. “My leg stops there,” I (laughed) thought. I feel the corners of the room, the seat of the toilet, pressing. I feel alone and trying to give the darkness the emotion that reveals what I am, where I stop. If I were to stand and beat my chest stretched six foot three, no one would see. It wouldn’t make any difference. I stand and stretch, and a feeling of strength falls through my body. That knowledge resounds with each beat of my heart. I write my poem in the dark, and something happens. Light becomes on the things I feel. I notice the luminous hands on my watch are bright green glows. I look in the mirror and feel a different glow, not seen. When I left the bathroom, the hall outside blinded me. I wondered whether I could see, with so much darkness, bright.

January 1971