Imagine me, 20 years old.
Almost 20 years ago.

Look at all the poems
that have come from that pain.

Look at all the scars that I can relive
on each page. Every scribbled inch of ink
must have been for something.

Cause those full moon evenings,
that slow, lethargic,
manic writhing, legs twitching,
hands shaking,
mind not stopping to take a break.
Only medicine to put me to sleep,
pills to make me feel awake.
The eventual break that comes after
each descending dip.
Each morning after, nights without sleep.
That quick thinking, non-linear rotation. Synapses firing,
Calm the baby with medication.
Slow the poet down with something
to make the pen stop.
And sit down, calm down,
rest for now, watch the clock.
That was for something, right?

I’m a writer.
And it’s so exciting to be living.
Not every day is perfect, baby, far from it.
But it’s a staircase that I am climbing
to my own personal island
Maybe there’s fight inside me.
Left to spring loose like baby teeth, maybe.
Maybe I will just bleed ink if you cut me.
Maybe I will bleed out in rhythm,
the blood of a poet, a writer,
a loose-leaf writer.

And today we talk of hope.
Right? Everyone talks
the word down, like a science.
Like we just know what it is.
Like Brandi said, its ingrained in us.

Hope got me out of that medicinal pharm.
Hope came and woke me up,
folded my clothes,
put them in a hospital bag,
with a wrist tag,
signed me out.
You want to talk hope,
knowing that you will one day get out.
That’s hope.
Knowing a life, where maybe you’ll see ghosts
of the poems you wrote,
in book stores.
That’s hope.
Finding a reason for the goddamn thinking,
knowing you have to wake up only to begin again.
That’s hope.
Cause there has to be some reason.
It’s not all for nothing, right?
Maybe I do have hope.
I have hope for
the ones I’ve lost, who left me lost in thought.
To come back into my life.
Say it’s alright, you can come back, say Hi.
I made it, I am doing fine.
Let’s get coffee and you can show me pictures of your family life.
you were.
They were.
We were.
They were.
My, no, Your Everything.
Cause we aren’t all alone in this longing.

They were your shining light,
in the darkest night.
Maybe they left you ’cause the train of thought
got too dark deep in the clouds.
Maybe they mistook your thoughts for proud,
maybe those thoughts got so loud.
They started speaking tongues to calm you down.
And that was then, but now is now.
Hey if that’s you, then you are
just like me.
And I still take the medicine,
just a different prescription.
You just never knew me back then.
Who knows, we might have been friends.

But my pen is glistening
with another hundred thousand
words just like this one.
Each poem written on loose leaf,
scratched pencil marks.
Could have been scars.
Could have been holes in my lungs.
Could have been broken bones.
Could have been.
Just became
Poems and pens.
That’s all life is.
Poems and pens,
brushes, and palettes,
film and lens,
strings and musician.
The heartbeat is a drum beat.
It’s all repetition.
Mathematics really,
if you want to get deep about it.
It’s all math, and statistics.
And heartbreak, and morticians.
And birthdays, and weddings.

Just black stars in the bright night.
That’s all we are.
That’s all that life is.

If you want to get deep about it.


Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.