Can you come a little closer?
No, I was mistaken—it wasn’t you, it was just a fleeting shadow.
Would you like to join your old friend for a coffee?
No, never mind—you’ll only end up feeling like a perfect stranger.
You’ll feel better when you get home and lay down next to the one you have always dreamed of, won’t you?
No, you’re right—it will only make the reality seem like a nightmare.
You can always count on that plastic smile to get you through, can’t you?
No, everyone will know you’re faking it—a smile like that can’t be recycled.
What are you trying to say, that you’re tired of living and loving?
No, I don’t buy it, it’s just that you aren’t ballsy enough to leave.
I don’t understand, if you are not here and not there, where the fuck are you?
No-where, that’s where your wandering is wondering.
That’s right, pick up that eternal suitcase of darkness, destined as it is to keep on going around and around on the baggage carousel
You think belong but you know it won’t be long before you don’t, don’t you?
No? You just stand there then, alone—and wait; it will all end in the end.
“While I was fearing it, it came, but came with less of fear, because that fearing it so long had almost made it dear.”
#47, “The inevitable”
The books sound musty and try not to cough. Clickety-clack tap fingers stick on keyboards, suspended in motion. Muffled feet cover their mouths on carpeted floors and whisper quietly between the stacks. A burgundy lounge sighs and presents itself on the lower ground during lunch break. I sit down alone, deliberately—I do not really want company; I am already one in a crowd. The same old people, the same old format, the same old discussions—the same old boredom. The con of the same-same, old and older con-ference con-versations. “Hello darling! Blah, blah. Are you giving a paper? Blah, blah. I enjoyed it so much! Blah, blah. Let’s do coffee!” They walk away, I grow heavy, and the lounge swallows me. My eyes turn to close and light upon cheek bones aching. My heart reaches forwards to wipe away tears but moves too close to the edge and falls further than it ever wanted to go. My body expands in vain rescue becoming too much and the attempt is too late for a heavy cloak myself. Together we just stand there, alone—and wait; it will all end in the end.
Is how you felt walking into that room, wanting to be not seen and not heard, and yet there you were.
Sweet, silence Lizzie.
Is where you would rather be; just you, yourself and I with no need to speak because together you three are your own company.
Is your regretful self reprimanding your naivete, your honesty and for being ever, ever, so twee.
Silence Lizzie, sweet—
Is the space between the first and the last bursting with expectation.
Sweet Lizzie, silence—
Is the grey-haired stranger in bright clothes and clogs who walks in late and stands at the back, come with their bristles to brush you away.
Sweet silence, Lizzie—
Is stolen as soon you speak and screams, “How dare you betray me!” as she is shackled and dragged out of sight.
Silence, sweet Lizzie—
Is the lullaby of the musty books beckoning, the muffled footsteps hushing, the burgundy lounge sighing now it is done
Lizzi—silence now my sweet.
Is the furthermost word, the final appearance, the fleeting shadow which cradles you back into the mirror to slumber.
Sweet silence Lizzie.
No need to fear, no to do anything so dear; except stand there, alone—and wait; it will all end in the end.
Diary entry, 23 November 2008.
Diary entry, 21 May, 2022.
Dickinson, E. (1994). The selected poems of Emily Dickinson (with an introduction by E. Hartnoll. Wordsworth Editions.
Photo 1 amd Photo 2, author’s own.