The Sign Says, “Keep Out”; It’s Posted Just Inside the Gate.

Congratulations, hapless wanderer of the void, for making your way to my lonely corner of the Internet. You’ve undoubtedly discovered this page through the digital pages of The Rag Lit Mag or its blog, where my poem Inside the Aimless was published in July of 2012. As you can see, I haven’t had much to say to the Internet since then. Other than the 73,300 spam comments that have accumulated in my inbox since I last logged in, the Internet hasn’t had much to say to me, either.

There has been one exception to the stillness at the other end of my line, and for that exception I would certainly cast my thoughts into the ether again. It had never been my intention to reach out, but nevertheless a boy about my age from a few states over contacted me through this page after reading my poem. We started emailing back and forth, sharing our writing, thoughts, and experiences. I realized sooner than he did that the experiences that had shaped both of our writing were eerily similar; I knew I had locked those memories in a poem that was available to the world, and that it was possible for someone to hold the key, but I never considered it possible for someone to just let himself in like Matt did.

I’m grateful that he was so bold and confident in his interpretation of the poem. I’m not sure I could ever have unraveled the meaning of Inside the Aimless as a prerequisite for conversation, even if the person asking already understood in their own terms. I couldn’t even unravel the meaning in my own head, which is probably why I wrote the poem in the first place. I certainly couldn’t do it for Matt, but that didn’t stop us from connecting over the strange little moments that, until we met each other, we thought life had given uniquely to each of us.

For anyone that happens to be passing through, I will show you the same uncommon courtesy that Matt showed to me when he barged into my psyche without knocking or thinking twice: Believe it or not, you are a part of my life. It’s okay if you saw yourself or the world reflected in my poem, because it’s about all of us. If you didn’t, that’s okay too, because I see you whenever I am there. Whether you are shuffling in to smear mud on the walls, gritting your teeth next to me in the pews, or are stuck with the unfortunate souls in the rafters of this proverbial cathedral, I invite you to stay.

Love,
Sam

Inside the Aimless

Echoes we hope were once attached
to a voice continue to bounce
off the walls and pillars of this cathedral.
We found it underground, dormant in the earth,
hidden within the marble slabs, waiting
for man to warp it around God’s shadow.

In the pews the sayers hunch forward
with gritted teeth and elbows on knees,
eyes locked on an empty pulpit
while muted by the pulse of chaos—
whispered by daisies, its refrain is thrumming
from the outside against the painted glass,
and the doers shuffle in to smear mud on the walls
as if in tribute to some prehistoric verse.

And perched in the rafters, hearts pumping in rhythm
with the molten core of an undiscovered sun,
the watchmakers de-feather the carcasses
of wayward birds while contemplating the
apparent blessing of endless job security.

 

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