I read this in a spoken word show and started laughing a few lines into it because I saw the friend I referenced in the front row. Moral of story: don’t look at the audience.
I’m here tonight to speak to you about isotopes,
Like the H2 in H20
and in the H-bomb
like vinegar and honey mixed in one jar
life is like the tragedy we can’t stop watching,
not despite but for its bitterness like hearts
whose isotopes can’t fit one definition
what is always there
becomes, like teardrops crystallized, varied.
The other day I walked down wayland square and mourned someone from winter, the east coast year’s first isotope.
Next time I pass through there I’ll think of thoughts of being with him
And then I’ll think of thoughts of my petty thoughts
And how thinking gets lost in thought
And thoughts get lost in space.
Memories have many isotopes.
Fresh out of eyes, they’re sad,
But soon solidify into frozen time capsules.
My friend discovered real blood looks quite similar to real blood when fresh.
Poking her finger with a pin she watched it spurt
Beside its sugar-based counterpart, glowing brightly
Like frsh harpoons that mark a good day’s hunt
And then it darkened and solidified
Bodies carry blood because they need to
Not because it’s sugary or bright.
Its yicky makeup makes us live stronger.
We know which one is fake because it stays pretty
And nature’s not concerned with prettiness.
It won’t discriminate between isotopes.
And if life was made with love, and love spawns life, everything lifelike must be loveable.
So before you rush for the band aids,
that beauty’s not just pain, pain is beauty
that clouds are tinted, not just lined, silver.
“so, here’s the good news,” friends and relatives will say. “there are so any fishes in the sea. They will console you and replace what you have lost. “
forget this search for waves lined silver and filled with isotopes of a prince panacea
you see the clouds through every drop of Earth’s lifelike
and sour rain? It takes some work to learn seeing
in silver when the screen will say it’s gray.
Clichés are wrong, and who needs fish anyway?
The bitter water’s salty but enough swimming
can take you to your destined land. Besides, salty
things aren’t all that bad. Potato chips
are isotopes of salty, and we all recall Warheads.
We loved the pain that twisted younger tongues into
grotesque expressions, sad and sour and damn funny.
Not all the routes we take will be uphill,
nor should they be. We hike the Grand Canyon,
not despite– but for–its downward steps winding
toward knowledge deep and through the bitter air. Movies
Present a certain teleology:
The proper stories end atop mountains
and on the way, abruptly, the perplexed traveler
is overcome by revelations, can’t fathom
just how she failed to realize earlier
conveniently, she loves her hot best friend!
Perhaps if we lived under human gods
They’d write a comedy
an outcome was convenient would affect fact, but
actual experience finds tragic heroes written into plot after plot,
driven by tragic flaws.
It’s the thrill of the downfall that keeps us grounded
And takes us somewhere new.
Just when I think I’ll see a fairy tale ending
the screen goes blank and white noise drowns the scene: princess,
the prince who cannot save her, and the epiphany
that he’s an isotope of addiction.
And then my heart is bitter on a night ensconced in a negativly-charged electric cloud, and kept stable by the balance of neutrons.
Bitter like dark chocolate, which I
devoured with friends last Wednesday as we shared poetry
and spoke of spring.
I loved it not despite
but for its bitterness: the way hearts taste.