If John Steinbeck had been a poet, I would have loved him

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The trees in the far field are generous with their smiles
and laughter. I want to be like them, but they are not a part of
my personality; they are not my type anymore. I have been
too hurt by life. Exhausted by waking, by reconciling faith to
progress. The light takes a hold of me, as if we are cousins, or
something. The leaves shake and tremble with some force.
The dark becomes more accurate as the sun disappears into
the mountain, into the echo, into the cave, into the vibration.
Into the sea, into the shallows, into the sin it keeps washing
away. I have a certain knowledge of madness that no one else
speaks of, a certain kind of madness that comes alive at midnight.
In order to be loved, I must endure and curate everything. Even
the birds’ plumage, their wings are pinned to the midnight sun.
Same as desire. Here, everything glows. Even the grass is neon-
lit. Here it comes. Here they come. Beating, beating, beating
the air into a thrill with a manic pulse and a high-high rush. Moth
blur, these dumb and fascinating social climbers. Nothing like me.
From Maine to Iceland, from remote island to unpeopled coast,
the earth becomes like a clay animal. It is soft when dug into with
a finger. Birds make ornaments out of everything. Peckish, hunted
songbirds, carnival-adorable, they make a festival out of their
arrival. On land, they court, they woo; they go to land and nest
there. Flying solitarily, feeding solitarily, floating in the air. Feathers
everywhere. I think of small fish increasing in the shallows of a
river. I think of worm country, and therapy in springtime. How
I improve. How I become a success. How I am loved for doing
the impossible. And the impossible is simply this. Being alive.
There’s genius in everything in life. What we master, and what we
don’t. I think of the harvest of education when you’re young.
How I took everything for granted. How I don’t. Not anymore.

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