matt pond PA

April 14, 2019

I Was Supposed to be Someone Else.

(I was running across a baseball field, allowing myself to be comically afraid of an angel dog chasing me. The undiluted scent of snowless dirt. When time freezes between telephone poles.)

I bathetically want words that last and matter. I want my search to come up empty, coughing and laughing by the side of a swimming pool.

I want to start an army of people who say stupid shit. The oath is an eternal apology. We plan our picnics in the rain. We swear to always be in love.

This probably won’t work out. I once had to stay after school to control the chaos of my coloring. The heavy strokes exploded between the lines. So I was specifically coached to keep my crayon moving softly and in the same direction. The new, perfectly parallel green treetops blew my mind. I remember knowing I was too old to be coloring. But I liked how it felt. Both explosive and as an idiot master. It was who I am and you will always want somebody else.

I’m trying to tell you, I was supposed to be someone else. While we were in the wardrobe womb, someone took my captain’s hat and handed me a guitar. The stage was set, the cutlery placed with love. And now in the spotlight, a cheap microphone feeds back over dining hall silence.

I want my ship back. A fair trade — a ship for a zither.

Doubt, doubt. It’s doubletime for disbelief. Gray mornings, indifferent guitars. I fear telling you the truth because it isn’t part of the new way of thinking. The new way of thinking is sequential, a means to a means. Calculable, quantifiable, irresistible. The fiction and commodity of a curated intimacy. That’s that.

(I was running through the woods naked with a knife. I accepted the dare and made good on my word. Because when the apocalypse arrives, we’ve got to be ready for anything.)

From the soil, I want a chance to survive, a sweet patch abutting your sweet patch. From the sea, I want sand in my hair when I’m falling asleep. From the sky, I want an explanation or excuse for everything I feel. Something official that will withstand the scrutiny of a Massachusetts highway cop.

This probably won’t work out. You aren’t even looking. When I spastically wave, you see me even less.

In real life, I’m a used car salesman, asleep on the edge of a field in Indiana. One half of the sky is blue-black with flashes of lightning, while the other stays clear, cicadas crescendo and decrescendo, overachieving conductors of the afternoon.

The backseat of a red 1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible, dual overhead cam engine, white top, white leather interior, intolerable midwestern humidity. Skin stuck to the seat, mouth agape, the blistering fever dreams of someone else.

(The creation of ourselves is really the recreation of ourselves.)