Here’s to the unknown

I got up and made myself a piece of toast with garlic hummus, tomato and avocado at least three times this week. Who has time to do this in the morning, you may ask?

I do. I live 7 minutes away from work. I don’t have kids, just a part-time dog, and I recently left an 11-year relationship and called off the same engagement for the second time.

Yes, you read that correctly. The same engagement. Twice.

It may sound like bragging, but I’m definitely not. There’s a gaping portion of me that makes me feel like a complete failure and piece of shit who doesn’t deserve millennial toast. But I rise in the morning and nourish myself nonetheless.

Thank god for work flexibility and also that I’m an overachieving ferret who refuses to let her work quality plummet due to an unfortunate life circumstance. Because yesterday I walked into the office at 10:30 with wet hair streaming down my back and dampening my t-shirt and still somehow managed to get my shit done decently.

I won’t dwell too much on my relationship because I actually really loved the person I grew up with and almost married, who I was basically already married to. And I respect his privacy. He was the introvert, and I was the introverted big mouth who adored him openly but who also crossed a hell of a lot of lines.

Leaving a good person who loves you is a hard thing to do

And I don’t entirely recommend it unless it means that you’re being true to yourself. Leaving him doesn’t feel like I won some kind of battle. I wasn’t degraded, belittled or starved for attention. I carried out my own ambitions and activities a majority of the time. It’s just that as we grew older, we had less and less to talk about and connect over. The silences were uncomfortable, but they were filled with their own truths. And finally it occurred to me that we were on two separate journeys that I had been trying too hard to jam together.

In the end, this was the right thing to do, but I don’t feel self-righteous about it. I feel sad. And every morning that I’ve woken up this week I’ve asked myself the same question:

Why are you fucking do this to yourself?

Answer: Because I want to feel like myself again. And I want to connect to my purpose. I don’t want to openly say “God’s plan” at the risk of God’s people filling my life up with their own agenda of what they think God’s plan is for me. I am a spiritual person, but I’m very wary of sentimental, fact-denying groupies and people who overly project their spiritual endeavors onto me. There is a lot of that lately.

But yes, I am doing this in a big part for spiritual journey/personal growth reasons. To connect with the activities, people and groups I get excited about and who make me come alive. I’d like to share some of my juju when I am ready and a little past my current heart sickness. And to make whatever mediocre difference I can on this rapidly decaying planet.

It’s a very uncertain time in history that we’re currently in, and how do I experience it fully if I’m hiding away in something I don’t wholeheartedly believe in? I just want to embrace the bigness of my life. Even if right now that means taking small steps to the toaster. Or taking my part-time dog with me on long walks.

I have my part-time dog with me this week. She’s a two-year-old coonhound mix. One fellow trail walker once told me she looks like a beagle on stilts. And the description fits, so I use it.

Anyway, I’m going to cut this short because I think it’s about time I take my beagle on stilts for a walk. Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

The loudest way to survive

So you didn’t get the knobby
shoulders you needed.
That’s a lot of us,
and I sympathize with relativity.
But let me let you
lean in on my secret:

my big-mouthery is
my own, but it’s also
cavewoman survival.

I did what I could
with sticks and stones.
But tried my best not
to break any bones
because I recognized
their malnourishment.

Children who have been
pushed down rivers
in baskets please
cry, cry, cry
as loud as you can.

Your cries will give way
to words, which you will use
as an armor of testament,
of existence, of proclamation
that you belong here,
that we’ve not yet
occupied Mars.

Don’t press so much on
the bruises, which
are designed or not
designed, depending
on how you look at it,
to fascinate and distract
you from what tickles
your insides and makes
you sneeze at the flower
raised in front of your face.

And if you can see it
don’t pluck the petals
just yet. Love me nots
are not yet in your equation.

This is your cliche to own.
These are your metaphors
to mix and match.

So lasso love.

Sling what you
did not receive.

When you pull it
from the earth,
rock it back and forth.

Then put it back
in the river you
remember floating
down so clearly.

Feed what will cleanse you.

Early morning read

I set my clock early this morning so I could read. I slunk into my slippers, uncovered the bird and told her good morning. She squawked her annoyance, but then puffed up and settled into the warmth of her feathers.

I sat in Sean’s spot on the couch because it’s cozy and worn from his habitual video game play. My eyes still wore a foggy film of sleep residue, but I propped myself up and willed myself to be awake.

As my eyes began to hunt the text, I realized I didn’t have to look for mistakes and inconsistencies. I could just read. I burrowed into my book. It was lovely.

I edit things all day, so I spend a lot less time reading for sheer enjoyment than I ever have. It’s funny that when you have a job and want to do it well, you almost take on the persona. I am an editor, but I’m so much more. This sounds like a common sense statement, but it’s important for me to say it, for me to come back and read it over.

Lately, I’m hyper aware of betraying myself, of squashing my artist, of forgetting where I come from, of becoming all ego — personally and professionally. I think most people, especially young people, have an issue with this balance — how to believe in yourself but not fly too high. Some people think there are no limits, and I have never been one to believe this. We are filled with limitations. And that’s okay. That’s the beautiful part, right?

I received a mug as a birthday gift that said: “I’m silently correcting your grammar right now.” It’s actually my favorite mug because it has the perfect weight, coffee distribution, and lip to drink from, but that’s  besides the point. The point is, I don’t necessarily identify with the words on the cup.

I have a secret for you: I don’t cringe at the sight of bad grammar or misspellings. But yes, I absolutely notice them, especially if I’m the one making them. I have high standards, but I try my best not to glower, not to make others feel small.

Anyway, there are worse things to have than bad grammar. Like a rotten heart or a closed mind.

The book I started reading this morning is called “Awakening the Buddha Within” by Lama Surya Das. A friend recommended it to me. I’m about 40 pages in, and I’m already digging the simple-Jewish-man-travels-across-the-world-to-study-Buddhism vibe to it.

This book is a challenge for me. Though I would call myself a spiritual person, I don’t tend to take pragmatic advice on the soul or choose to read the equivalent of a car manual on spirituality (contradiction, anyone?). This text is far from that. I find it inviting, so much that I set my alarm to read it this morning. I will have more thoughts to share and quotes to pull from it eventually (or not, maybe I will read for the sake of reading), but this is what I have so far.

I’m glad I woke up today.

My quest for porn that doesn’t make me feel like shit

12787369_10209329837627888_1586484444_o

I’m pretty selective when it comes to watching porn. First of all, the timing has to be just right. I usually wait until I can’t take it anymore, and I just want to get it over with — watch it and relieve myself, that is. The feeling usually swims inside me when I’m alone, and my femininity is pounding at the floodgates.

I guess I wait because masturbation is not at the top of my priorities. It was at one point, but then I started coming up with excuses not to enjoy my body, and instead wear it down with despair and worry. Plus, I have a boyfriend. (“Isn’t that, like, his job?” I’ll internally complain.)

Anyway, it’s always a light bulb reaction. Like watching porn is the smartest idea I’ve ever come up with. And I skip around my room, brimming with excitement. I check to see if the coast is clear, then open up the laptop and type “porn” into Google quickly and secretly, like it’s my social security number. I click on the first link that pops up, which I’m sure a good majority of people know is Pornhub. I scan the first page or two, check the percentages of enjoyment and hover my mouse over anything that especially catches my attention, which is usually nothing.

I go to my default category — gangbang or orgy — because I like a lot of people and parts in my porn. Or at least that’s what I thought I like.

I browse for a good 15 minutes. My eyes catch the featured video clip in the sidebar, some light speed fuck fest or something else. (Today, it was a giggly blonde woman wriggling out of a frilly thong.) I scroll through no more than two pages, trying to stay clear of things that say, “Dirty whore takes two cocks…” and instead looking for titles like “Two friends share…” as if the more gentle of wording makes a difference.

I can get nitpicky. I check to see if a woman is wearing any sort of oversized jewelry or distracting platform shoes. If she is sweating her eyeliner. If there’s a questionable looking mole or formation on a dude’s ball sack. If the faces are scrunched up too tightly, I’m gone. If the moaning is distracting, NEXT. If it looks like the woman is in any amount of physical pain, forget it. If the guy bellows dumb shit like “aw, yeah take it, you bitch,” consider me a ghost.

When I finally land on something, I skip to the penetration. I usually mow right through the oral sex. The choking sounds and gagging make me uncomfortable. I watch for a couple of minutes just to make sure that there’s a good amount of fucking going on. Because the worst thing of all is climaxing while they’re adjusting or swapping out ponies in the show.

Once I come, I don’t want anything to do with what I’m watching. I can’t stomach to think about watching any of this stuff without being remotely turned on. I slam the computer shut and pretend that it never happened.

If you can tell by now, I don’t like to really like the porn I watch, or the tacky, poorly scripted, not-true-to life fucking the Internet calls real sex. I just read David Foster Wallace’s “Big Red Son” for the first time, which is a true account of the adult film industry, and it’s pretty spot-on how put-on everything is. The essay pokes fun at the grubbiness of it all, the money it generates, and its denigration of real life sex. It is one of the funniest and most heavily researched essays I’ve ever read. If you haven’t gotten the chance to read it, please do.

I bring up Wallace’s essay because it confirms the shiver I get every time I watch porn on the Internet, or on rare occasions, splurge and purchase one on Comcast. And it points  to the need for real time sex and love and hunger and humanity and all that inside the relationship and beyond. Because let’s face it, humans like to watch each other have sex. And I’m not above that.

I guess I’m just complaining that there’s no real artistic version of porn. Or at least I haven’t been brave enough to go looking for it. Until today.

So let’s talk about today. I go through the motions. Shut the blinds. Hit up Pornhub. Scroll and scroll. And then I stop. I backtrack. I type into Google: “porn for women.”

The first thing that pops up is a Refinery29 article, “Porn that’s Good for Women,” and I roll my eyes because I’m not interested in reading. Where da porn at, I think. But I read through the article. It gives a shout out to progressive adult filmmaker Erika Lust and her take on adult entertainment for women.

I read on. Lust has made 10 films so far. Her ultimate goal is to create porn that illustrates “all the intimacy, beauty, and joy of sex,” featuring people who “truly enjoy themselves.” Lust goes on in the article to say that the enjoyment will not be “at the expense of women.”

Lust captures some of the same thoughts and modes of shame I’ve had about porn since I started watching it when I was 13. “Part of me was like, ‘Yeah, it’s somewhat of a turn-on,’ but another side of me thought, ‘What the hell is this sexist bullshit?’” says Lust in the Refinery29 article.

Needless to say, I’m more than a little intrigued looking into Lust’s films. The one I choose to watch is “Female Fantasy,” which looks and feels like an Indie flick.

It’s about a woman masturbating to her own fantasy. The first thing I think about doing is skipping to the part with all the dicks. But I don’t because no part like that exists in the film.

The film starts out with a man at a bus stop. He’s sitting alone and smoking a cigarette. He has an angular jaw and a pair of icicle blues. He musses his shaggy hair. A woman walks by. She sits down next to the man. She smiles, but not directly at him. Their legs touch for a couple of seconds. Before she gets on the bus, she squeezes his bare leg.

On the bus, the woman begins touching herself over her clothes. She puts her leg up on her seat to conceal what she’s doing. She looks around.

This woman arrives home and slinks into her bed. Her hair is tangled, and she’s braless. She rolls off her socks and peels off her skirt, throwing them to the floor. She begins pleasuring herself. She’s wearing gray underwear, and her pubic hair leaks from the sides. She has a small bruise on her left thigh and a gap between her teeth. The filming is different from anything I’ve ever seen. Instead of focusing on solely the vagina and breasts, it captures other things. Like the woman’s throat. You can visibly see the rotations, the pulsating knots of pleasure moving around in her throat. And you can hear her. She’s breathing in uneven breaths.

It switches to her fantasy. The woman is straddling the man on the bus stop bench. She grabs his hips and lifts his shorts. They kiss each other deeply.

And this is how it continues, toggling between the fantasizer and the fantasy. And the fantasy escalates. The man licks the woman over her underwear, which forms a dark spot from his saliva. He doesn’t go underneath with his tongue. He’s gentle and focused. She runs her hands through his hair. The couple begins to fuck at the bus stop in broad daylight — faded passersby in the background. The sounds are amazing. There’s no talking. You can hear the slapping of skin, the wetness. Faint, airy strings play. The sound of a heartbeat fades in and out. And then they come. No screams. No contrived moans. Only quick breathing, anticipant and then resolved.

I’ve never watched any porn the whole way through before this. At the end, the girl is alone at the bus stop. She is panting, and she has this look on her face like she can’t fucking believe what just happened. She smiles. Then she looks directly into the camera with a smoldering stare. Pure contentment.

I shut my computer. I lift up my shirt and pull off my pants. I grab for my vibrator, my purple best friend. Outside my window, the wind sputters and the sun pours into my room, warming my face. I smile at the sunshine, and feel myself loosen. I begin to create this scene in my head about being alone and naked underneath the willows outside my house.

 

 

 

 

A series of mini epiphanies (and other unintended resolutions)

I’m having a conscious overload today.

I’ve tried to convey my feelings aloud about it, but the feeling was not always mutual. You can see that you’ve lost your listener’s attention in two glazed donut holes for eyes.

I think in stories. Sometimes this bogs down or blurs human interaction for me. So when I talk about things, experiences, and especially people, I want the moment to be felt, the people to be heard and understood.

But somewhere along the line a listener gets lost in her own spider web of connections, her own learning. And this is completely valid. Every person has his own history, his own backlog of fatty life details to bring to a story or scenario that someone else creates. This is why no two stories are completely the same or entirely original – that kind of frustrating paradox.

Paradoxes are frustrating because there’s no real way around them. Should there be? I’m asking, and not rhetorically.

I can’t fight the New Year mentality no matter how hard I try. I realize my body is following through on resolutions I did not openly make. I refused a cigarette today. I didn’t even want to smell it. I left the room. I didn’t know where that came from.

This damn unconscious pull of the culturized new year never truly leaves you. It’s just as fake, but-too-late it’s-internalized as that clock that’s always ticking on some wall behind your head.
You say things like
“Meet me at 3:00 sharp,”
“In bed by 8,” and
“Shh, there’s someone coming. 12:00. No don’t look just yet.”
You use time to indicate direction.

Denying myself resolutions has left me in a smorgasbord of perceptions. They are covered in mud. The tracks are on my carpet.

So I’m calling my conscious overload a series of mini epiphanies. “Mini” because how pertinent can several realizations at once each be on their own?

I barrel through realizations like a bear swatting a fish.

Mini Epiphanies

Vow of silence

I don’t think I can ever take a vow of silence. My best friend says I would die after 6 hours. She asked, “what would you do with yourself, if you had to just stand at the cash register and nod politely at the cashier?”

It’s true. She knows me. I don’t mix well with silence.
But sometimes I wish I said more on paper than I do in person.

Dig a hole. Bury the old versus young mentality.

Speaking of cashiers, there was this woman the other day who was pressing herself against a counter. Not the cashier; it was a customer who was cutting her sharp hip into the half wall behind the register, the part where customers shouldn’t go.

She was a customer ignoring the unwritten rules of grocery store lines. We know these people. They’re everywhere. Sometimes we’re these customers.

She had already paid and left but turned around once she realized something was wrong. She pivoted and cut off the cashier in mid-sentence who was asking me if Old-Fashioned Donut was a good flavor of coffee. I never got to tell her that, yes, it’s scrumptious, and it can compete with actual, live donuts.

The customer insisted her transaction was flawed. The grave(yard) error was on the store’s end. Their fault. Always. Right. Of course.

It’s the customer who asks me my age as the cashier scans my ID for the wine on the belt in front of me. The cashier is an Indian woman with a delicate name that I feel like an ignorant asshole for not remembering. The customer waves her receipt in front of the cashier’s face impatiently, so the cashier stops the belt.

“How old are you?” The customer asks me, her eyes narrowing. She has a pale, sunken in face.

I can’t remember what she was wearing, but I’m picturing her in a bathrobe. I remember she looked tired like we all do, but her bags dug deeper.

I tell her I’m 24 because I already forget I turned 25 two days ago.

“Are you sure you’re 24? You look 20 to me.”

And I want to ask who the fuck cares. But I tell her uhh thank you instead.

“You look young. You’re good.”

And I want to tell her that I’ve been smoking cigarettes since I was in the womb. I want to tell her I love and am afraid of grown men who encourage me. I want to tell her I need other people to hear my stories because they’re about me. I need to fill their ears and eyes with me. And then maybe they’ll break me off a little piece of them.

I get so close to core of people. Sometimes I get too close and wear my body down. I catch colds. I sneeze my brains out.

But I have a feeling this woman means well. If not for me, for herself. Some older people think that all young people are okay. They need them to be okay. They need to believe that there was once a time when they themselves were okay. This is the mutiny of some parenthood. But the folk don’t realize that it robs young people of real doubts, fears, and insecurities that they need to admit are there before transitioning effectively into various stages of adulthood.

I’m writing. Who’s listening?

What if I just write for me? Is the answer that I could be lost on deaf ears?

What the hell is an audience? Some people say it’s one ideal person, and I guess I can see what they mean because I have one. A real one. She exists.

But then there’s the other question: do people even read?

I once had a manager who told me to write everything in 50 words or less. I panicked. I gave him more than he ever asked for. He looked bored when I handed him my articles and popped in a wad of gum, chewing anxiously.

Everything I write is like a long sigh or a game of poorly played ping-pong where the players have to keep fetching the ball that flies over the table.

Home is where the heart of the mess is.

I had a friend help me clean my kitchen about a month ago. God bless her soul. She insisted when she saw the mold on my sink. She crawled on top of the counters and helped me rearrange the content clawing its way out of my cabinets. She told me where everything was now and encouraged me to keep it that way. We lamented the inconvenient way my cramped kitchen was built. Some drawers don’t open. Some give the illusion that they’re bigger and more functional than they actually are.

Everything in my apartment belongs to a designated pile. It’s all there in a pile somewhere near you.

My co-worker made me feel a little better when he quoted Erma Bombeck. I’m claiming the quote like peed-on territory. “House work when done right will kill you.”

I like kids, but not because I want my own.

I like kids for the same reason everyone likes kids. Kids make us feel like kids. It’s just that simple. And I’m fascinated by childhood. Even the beautiful-but-broken-in-two-places ones.

I started tutoring in the city. Once a week I help one kid muddle through Hop on Pop. Every week he reads faster. I can tell his teacher is taking her time on him. It makes me appreciate elementary school teachers more than I ever have before. His first language is Spanish. He tells me that Spanish makes him feel stupid, and he’s been trying to forget it.

He also tells me he wishes he was rich so he can buy all the legos in the world. And also all the food in the world.

I can’t tell if I like to watch him read more or play with legos more. It’s a tough call.

He’s the kind of kid who is big for his age. He has a haircut like Sonic the Hedgehog. It just grows that way. His ferrety friend Frankie put it best, “You look like one of those big, dumb bullies that are in movies. But you’re actually not a bully or dumb, you’re really nice, and you’re my friend.”

Kids are masters of disjointed compliments.

Despite my best intentions, I like kids for more selfish reasons than unselfish reasons right now. I’m looking for holes, which makes me feel less genuine and a little fucked up.

My childhood is a hot topic right now. It burns when I touch it. I find my mother on beaches. I find my father in storage lockers. I listen to the words in my brother’s scream. I find a way back to the bunk bed I slept on with my sister underneath me for years. I remember I was afraid the top bunk would crush her, but I never offered to switch beds. I worry that 25 is too old to be coming to grips with my past. But I have a feeling reconciliation is the only way to go.

On losing my mind

I’m learning that the older I get the more I see the distinction between feeling crazy and being crazy. But then the harder I think about the concept, the more the two blur into one. I have a fear that I will be crazy.

We all are crazy to some degree and especially at certain points of our lives, but most people isolate themselves in their own crazy, enhancing it. Sometimes I sit at my desk at work and feel like I’m going to collapse, like I’m going to forget my name.

I do understand distinguishing the madness and hypocrisy of the day-to-day versus deeply rooted insanity that we drag with us from our past versus clinical disorders.

I worry about transitioning, crossing over and getting stuck in the most convoluted version of myself.

Will I float away?

I’m realizing I don’t have answers for most things. I feel as wayward as a kite in the sky, but when I look closer, it turns out I never made it off the ground.

“Even the experts don’t have all the answers,” assures my best friend.

I wish she was in my pocket most days, except for the days I have no pockets. And I wonder if I should try putting things in my bra. At one point, when my boobs were larger I lost quarters down my shirts and found engravings of past presidents on my nipples. Maybe I should stop talking about the prospect of shoving my best friend into my bra and potentially be stamped against my nipple.

Psh, a vow of silence. Me? Not I? What about all-about-myself-and-how-much-of-the-world-I-need-to-fill-up-with-me?

More unintended New Year pursuits…

The rest of these are screws and buttons I found on the ground and shoved into my purse for safe keeping. I want to come back to them. I just don’t know what they’re for, or what they fit into just yet.

I want to treat myself better, believe that I’m a good person who makes human mistakes. It sounds so simple like blowing out the candles on a cake after it’s just been iced and lit on fire.

But deep down I know I try. I know my attachments to other people, my ability to trust people after being given so many reasons not to, may just as well be my saving grace in the end.

I can’t help but love people. They give me so much reason to live. Their stories dull the tediousness of it all.

Somewhere inside me there’s a drain that has teeth to destroy everything that gets dropped down the sink. Even money. Even though money, the idea of it really, is hard to destroy. How can you not think about it? Now I’m really asking.

If you have the answer to anything please provide me with one. It doesn’t have to be a perfect answer, but one that takes into account a few shades of gray. Hell, I’ll accept shades of orange.

I’m realizing that I’m going to have to go ovaries deep into my writing if I want to become the woman I want to become.

You see, this is a bowl of soup filled to the brim with frothy questions. I’m getting sweaty. At what point do I stop? At what point do I start making solid judgment calls?

Success in solitude

Thoughts+Expression = Success

I’m beginning to think that maybe solitude is the success.

I don’t want money. Growing up, I was welfare poor. That’s right. I said it. Now, even though I’m inching up in life, I’d rather be welfare poor than rich without morality and concern for other people who are hurting below me. I get the concept of work. Sometimes. But I never really understood money.

I don’t want to be the smartest person alive, though, that’s tempting. To be that person who can rattle off knowledge or pull it from her pocket. People need to know more things than other people. Though I’m far from immune to this tendency, I know deep down that I don’t need to collect facts, stockpile knowledge to make others feel ignorant, stupid, LESS than me.

I don’t want a big house or to discover the American dream life, the “home is where the heart is” bullshit they feed you for breakfast. I never belonged in any home anyway. AND THAT’S OKAY, I’m beginning to realize.

THIS. This is what I want. Mommy, daddy! Buy me this for Christmas! Put this in a box and wrap it up, eh?

The following passage is from Pablo Neruda’s collection of writing found in Passions and Impressions (1984). It was originally posted in La Nación in 1924. It’s an introduction of some sort to how he saw a collection of his poems (his life, really) all together, which he admits is impossible. “Tying them together, interweaving them, never finding what will endure—because it does not exist.”

I had to type it up word for word because this doesn’t exist on the internet apparently. I guess this is what happens when you say fuck the internet to go sifting through the library instead. You find gems.

This piece is about self-expression, creation, and finding yourself in solitude. It seems to say you can set yourself free when you can pinpoint your expression. You don’t have to define yourself, confine yourself to anything, but if you have something that pulls passion from you, and you know it, it’s worth muddling through yourself. Obviously, muddling through and translating it into a piece of something you can see, touch, hear, get others to relate to etc. takes time and pain. A lot of QUIET time. Quiet time is especially hard because of how noisy everything is. How many interjections there are rolling around the internet, the 9-5 life, and in so many other places. The pain comes from isolation, from being absent from other people’s lives. This is hard for me. Maybe it’s hard for you too.

Take a read. I have put in bold italics the things that I think are worth re-reading again. Re-reading sentences over and over again lets things sink in more for me. Enjoy!

“Exegesis and solitude”

“I have undertaken the greatest act of self-expression: creation, hoping to illuminate words. Ten years at a solitary task, ten years that make up exactly half my life, have generated in my writing diverse rhythms, opposing currents. Tying them together, interweaving them, never finding what will endure—because it does not exist—I offer her my Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desesperada. As scattered through in its elusive variations, joyful and bitter, I have fashioned them, and I have suffered no little in doing so. I have simply sung of my life and my love for certain women, as one would by shouting greetings to the parts of the world closest to him. I sought increasingly to link my expression with my thought, and I achieved some small victory; sincerely, and consciously, I put something of myself in everything I wrote. From afar, honorable people, people I didn’t even know—not clerks and pedagogues, who personally detest me—unhesitatingly demonstrated their friendliness. I didn’t respond, but concentrated all my strength on damming the tides, my only concern to pour intensity into my work. I have not tired of any discipline, because I followed none: the hand-me-down clothes that fitted others were either too small for me or too large; I acknowledged them, without looking. Always a meditative man, I have given lodging, as I have lived, to too many anxieties for them to vanish because of what I write. Facing in no particular direction, freely, irrepressibly, my poems have been set free.