Shorter works

My Moment on a Plank

I walk a peculiar gangplank. There are shelves on either side, suspended by invisible threads. I must balance pots on these planks, which obey their own laws of nature. And my happiness depends on these pots staying in place, balanced, suspended, not falling to the floor of that great lake of melancholy which stirs beneath my feet.

Today the pots are balanced and I am light; I am floating; nothing can touch me; but then I might overfill one pot which might bring the whole collection down, tumbling into the lake, for me to begin again with nothing; I am left to sit here amid my empty swaying shelves, my feet sunk in melancholy, my heart weighed down with failure, with this notion of emptiness, of empty shelves around me on this peculiar gangplank.

I leave the plank and sink beneath the lake; I roll within its tortuous comfort; and it somehow cleanses me. I feel this lake swimming inside me, like a vast formless mass moving from side to side of this empty container that is me, and then it is gone; it has washed me; I have seen all the images of my distorted self, my “pretending to be me”, my “pretending to take part”, my “pretending to be a person”, until there is nothing left to wash clean; I no longer see it as a charade, this “being a person”, for people no longer exist; there is just this cleansed space between these perimeters, and into it I can again begin to put myself.

I climb back up onto this curious plank and take another pot and place it, just there, in the most perfect spot on the most perfect of my shelves. Its perfection makes me smile. I sigh and forget about the lake.

Monday 21 September 2009