I am I am I am


United States
41° 43' 45.714" N, 86° 14' 46.8024" W

I feel in a chapel the same way
I feel in a bathtub
Old with iron feet and spindle faucets,
Or in a treehouse made of pirates and magic
And simpler days.
I look up at the speckled ceiling
Or painted chapel
Or fairweather sky
And I can taste a spirit
Like fresh fruit for breakfast, pure and sustaining.
This is where I go to escape from the blankness,
The glass bell jar I sit in, suffocating by my own sour air
That follows me where I go
Like a black balloon, stinking of vinegar.
I look up at the ceiling,
The painted chapel,
The fair sky.
My hearbeat booms like a dull motor in my ears
Like a secret voice speaking straight out of my own bones
I am I am I am.

I am a bird in the wind,
A fish in the sea,
A voice in a choir.
And in those moments, nothing else exists,
Just me and the spirit.
Nothing else.
Not the flock
Not the school
Not the altos or sopranos.
Just that clear, bittersweet solitude
As refreshing and as biting as snow,
Like a cold swim on a hot summer day.
Clarity that makes you wonder
How? Why?
(The voice in my bones answers
I am I am I am)

But as I lay in my snow, my icy bath,
My thoughts floating from me like feathers,
Or wishes, in the wind,
I wonder if the bell jar is real. If I haven’t put it there myself
To protect me from the world. No—
To protect me from myself, the cowardly lion roaring in my chest.
I am a coward, I roar at myself alone
And shrink in fear, deep deep into my own head,
Curl up in fear and die,
The air of my bell jar wadding around me
So I can’t stir.
I am an improbable paradox. I would rather something be wrong with my body
Than with my head, yet I sabotage myself time again
Sometimes with a wince, sometimes with a shrug,
Breathing in hot, sticky air,
Savoring the tiny hurt I feel. Or rather, do not feel.
(All the while my motor goes on dully,
My lion roars, panicked
I am I am I am)


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