what would be meaningful?


“Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.” –Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières

Writing a letter I questioned what exactly would be meaningful, in response to a friend’s lament that she cannot get used to being alone. Sometimes being alone is the same as being with someone… but so much more easily controllable. When communication breaks down, imperceptibly, when we take for granted those with whom we are meant to feel closest and safest, and most like ourselves, are we not drifting further from meaning? When we have felt more understood than we have ever felt before, does this not erode when we get lost in our daily lives, become fearful and start tiptoeing around openness? And in the casual and slow ‘closing up’, we end up alone again even when we aren’t. Which is better? Can we guard against that feeling of being alone when we’re not?

In that inability to ever let go of mistrust or to trust in another completely, do we then turn to something else to find meaning? Do we try to discover the gentlest way to live in the world – to leave the lightest footprint?

split rock


The Split Rock Prays to Whatever Broke It
Jacqui Germain
Rage is not to be avoided, diminished, belittled. Rage is God. Better believe my rage is seeped in love.” -Shira Erlichman

Let my anger be warm and ripe with love.
Let it reek of car crashes that we have all survived.
Let it breathe. Let it dance in my fists.
Let it collapse drunk and merry
across my knees, my bedspread.
Let my anger be a thick, bubbling bath
and the cool towel by the windowsill.
Let my anger stretch into a generous wingspan.
Let it be a split rock, a steady hammer,
a plank of wood that still remembers the whole tree.
Let it sweeten the milk, turn the mug steaming
hot against the freezing chatter in my teeth.
Let it be thick thick as a St. Louis summer.
Let it be thick and just as full of memory
and just as full of arched backs stretching the tired
out of their spines, and just as full of black,
and just as full of blues.
Let my anger be the city of St. Louis, fresh-faced,
looking in the mirror at all its pimples and stretch marks,
looking at all its hard beauty that belongs to itself only,
calling up Detroit, calling up Philly and all those cities saying,
Baby, let’s all go dancing. Let’s roll our windows down and sing.
Bring all your busted windows and overgrown lawns
and new coffee shops we can’t afford and the schools
closing or not and the baked empty lots and cellulite sidewalks
and bring all your dead musicians and we’ll make a night of it.
Let my anger be the celebration we were never
supposed to have because we were never
supposed to know we had anything
worth celebrating.

Photo by Adam Sherez on Unsplash