I wake at six and am immediately proud. It's a college day and I have the time to go for a run today. I lace on my shoes like this fresh morning enthusiasm and it begins.
I feel like youth; like that soft green shooting out of that old tree bark with its springtime crayon leaves, I replay the day before yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that perhaps subconsciously but my sucky bowling skills propel my feet forward, The pavement feels inviting. I'm breathing the same air I'm walking on and I'm not even out of breath when I circle back to the start again.
Some strange fruit or squirrel poop— I can't tell— drops like light rain from my starting point tree. Hearts with elongated tips stretch out from a sunrise-green plant to cheer me on (for running? for living? I cannot tell. Perhaps both.) And I think how just until a few weeks ago, I would've thought this impossible: I have not had the time to be alone and laugh at dumb jokes with 'casual friends'— When I stop for water it is more out of sheer habit than necessity.
Perhaps this soul is not built for happiness. Perhaps introspection is my fatal flaw, for I cannot conceive of a world where joy lasts. When did I fall in love with melancholy so much that momentary absences of it feel like some strange fruit or squirrel poop— I cannot tell— and banter feels like dragonfruit on my tongue I do not know what to make of it: it's bland but looks so pretty and feels so exotic and being cool or hilarious or fun seems like the kind of neck contortion in sleep you're so comfortable with then but have stiff aching muscles after.
I find you cannot run with a heavy head. The pavement around the park seems endless and my steps too short or too slow and a line from someone else's poem echoes with the pound of my feet— 'God mason, heart heavier than all the bricks'— and I do not believe in god I am out of breath I still keep running and oh god I'm tired and it's a college day and—
I restart after another recharge of water but also something else. I try to concentrate on the air I was walking on. Everywhere I look I see guilt— guilt growing out of tree barks guilt waving from branches guilt gilded in the sky guilt in the microscopic mole-holes of my sneakers— I am not jogging properly I am refusing to revel in youth I am not writing or reading or thinking or doing, I am gaslighting myself. I am gatekeeping enjoyment from my mind lest I get too attached. I do not want to be habituated to happiness, not yet, because I know it will go away and I will be heartbroken again. I am protecting, but not without destroying and I am to be blamed for the waterboarding of my bones.
Last round, I try to do it best as I can. Running feels like my fugitive of a brain and I wonder whether being happy and being an artist are mutually exclusive choices. How narcissistic of me to think myself an artist, when I can't write a single word now to save my life— Yet isn't it what I've been doing (or had been) since the time I learnt how to hold a pen? Saving my life? Now that pen might just write diary entries instead of poems and the occasional mediocre verse it leaks tastes like medicine in cranberry juice; Fools and parades, Fools and poets, Fools, or are we.
1st April/ (1/30)/ A bad start to NaPoWriMo.