Flight aversion

I used to think definitions have a tendency to limit.
That words are a step closer to betrayal.
What you are and what you’re not, that implies finite cages,
maybe for molding, or for trapping our otherwise abstract potential.

And so I tried veering away from the verbose.
Master brevity, Strunk said.
Thought that that’s where I could start.
Words are more potent the fewer are said.
And that made sense.
At least, at the time it did.

So I began to tread a path,
endeavored to get messages across
in the briefest shortest way possible.

But the context was almost always lost.
And I am a creature of the descriptive.

An aesthetic lies beneath the careful staging of cues.
These sentences, my curlicues,
embellishments that convey my own artistry,
in all its lexical grandeur.

This was before acknowledging the nature of growth, and change.
Safe to say that with definitions, we get a step closer
to identifying ourselves, the intentions we hide, morals ingrained,
the sins we keep coming back to.

For all we know, we could be grains of sand,
or tufts of air, raindrops pitter-pattering on asphalt years.
We could even be the sky; dark one moment, blinding the next.

From dirt to castles, nourishment to deluge,
overcast to warmth, we are, each of us, bendable infinities.
Our senses, the discoveries, perspectives,
sensations, the breadth of which are limitless.
We have the gift of will. And our lifetimes, short as they are,
are best spent in search of something, anything to live by.

I chose sadness because it keeps me grounded.
Sure, I miss the feel of flying, but for the longest time,
I’ve been failing at landing in one piece.
It’s tragic how I crash and burn.
A so-called friend even used my most recent spiral against me.
So unless I learn how to, and until I find a worthy reason, again,
I will stay rooted.

But one thing’s for sure.
Some time in my future, I will set out for a pilgrimage.
Explore the vias of Italy. Find the duomos,
the tracks that will lead me to Gare de l’Est.
I will feel daylight in all its might,
taste the atrocious sunsets for what they are.
Take on San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne.
Discover the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona,
and drink the warmth of the New York 4 o’clock light.
I will search for the jewel that is the beach at Donostia.
Know what a Dublin tone is like.

I will somehow find Moloch, the incomprehensible prison,
if I haven’t by now. Maybe find Whitman in a supermarket
in California. Ask him about peaches and penumbras.
I could be sand setting foot on sand,
whether dirt or castle, my footprints,
a touch on each grain, each valid morsel of truth.

Some time in my future, I will take flight.
And as I look down on aerial Manila,
I will see a battleground: forts conquered,
lost places I felt found at, found settings I felt lost in,
graveyards I once stood, broken.

And as I watch the map shrink and fade to the clouds,
I will bid farewell to the wreckage.
Unlearn the warfare of it all.
By then, I won’t have any use for cadets,
no need for target practice.

Because I have won. And no one,
No hurt can define me.
Not even sadness can cripple me.
There will be no line, bullet, or storm to stop me.
I will be eternal.

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