I’ve been drinking more than I usually do.
I grew up with an alcoholic grandmother who ended up dying from what the doctors said was a perforated ulcer. And so as you can imagine; although I do enjoy a glass of wine, each glass that I bring to my lips is accompanied by what I know is an irrational guilt and paranoia. My fear is that I will also end up being an alcoholic and that I will eventually die from it. The real pulp of the problem though, I realised, was that I allowed myself to be bogged down by all the negative press I was reading daily. Good news does not sell. You have to go looking for it. Sometimes I wonder if human beings want it at all. Even though we suffer from it, we somehow still find excitement and a thrill from reading about disaster. Well, there’s plenty of it out there and if you’re not careful you can end up being blind to the beautiful things in the world. Last night after my boyfriend and I had beers in a pub close to our apartment, we took the bus home and I was in a nihilistic mood. I found no point in the existence of not only this planet, but also the entire fucking universe. And then before I fell asleep someone sent me this poem.
Sorrow Is Not My Name
By Ross Gay
—after Gwendolyn Brooks
No matter the pull toward brink. No
matter the florid, deep sleep awaits.
There is a time for everything. Look,
just this morning a vulture
nodded his red, grizzled head at me,
and I looked at him, admiring
the sickle of his beak.
Then the wind kicked up, and,
after arranging that good suit of feathers
he up and took off.
Just like that. And to boot,
there are, on this planet alone, something like two
million naturally occurring sweet things,
some with names so generous as to kick
the steel from my knees: agave, persimmon,
stick ball, the purple okra I bought for two bucks
at the market. Think of that. The long night,
the skeleton in the mirror, the man behind me
on the bus taking notes, yeah, yeah.
But look; my niece is running through a field
calling my name. My neighbor sings like an angel
and at the end of my block is a basketball court.
I remember. My color’s green. I’m spring.
—for Walter Aikens