The song went, “Everything the world is doing to me.”
Part of you wanted to turn away. How could a world do anything?
Sometimes it feels as if the world is sharpening its knife, but
only humans can cut.
The wind turns snow into ice in flight & stings when it hits. God,
it hurts. I’d walk home early in March, red welts from weather
that sang Cheree, Cheree.
There was hurricane Jerry & Don & Sara & Kyle, etc.
The earth quakes. After Loma Prieta, my father took me out
to the beach.
As we drove, I swear I could hear the crowns of homes cracking–
people out in the street like 4th of July.
There was smoke, but no fire & the road to Bodega Bay, empty,
nothing broken out on the beach, no fallen, shattered glass.
The human world wrecked behind me & waves like an usher
pulling us in.
HOW I HAD TO BE
Traveling back to my hometown, everything looked the same,
save the trees–they got taller.
Water hadn’t fallen that year. The hills a sere, heavy ocher &
some of my friends were dying again.
This was when my smile disappeared & the car really sped up–
Like fireworks, we see them coming, the sound we know,
the flower-shape of each burst & without end
continue to amaze us.
There sailed the blue hair of cigarette smoke inside our vehicle.
Pain ends, begins–goes on like that.
Go slow I said. A field of cows on my left &
as always, I stuck my head out to moo–
I had to.
I’d been having a hard time of it, hard in that, I hadn’t been able
to function properly. This spiritual cramp, this problem of bemusement
went unseen like dark matter.
So, when I fell asleep that night those feelings must’ve stayed.
I went back to the year 2013 (at least it felt so), working at the hamburger place
& unfortunately, things felt the same then as they do now, so I wonder–
does this diagnosis hold?
I’d fallen to the ground like people do in the movies & went crying
in a wave. My wails rolled low & as they grew my frequency of pain grew, too.
Until I met a crescendo, then awake.
What I lost back then (or pined for) was something immeasurable & this,
in fact, has buried me.
The lightbulb above my bed hid in its fixture, unlit, & the insects
sounded like dying things being pushed into my room, surrounding me until
the water welled up inside & wouldn’t hold, breaking, as I broke too,
in the animated dark.
Ross John Farrar was born in San Francisco, California. on September 10th, 1984. He spent much of his young-adult life playing music in the band Ceremony. He received his BA at the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA in poetry at Syracuse University. His work appears in RHINO Poetry, The Chaffey Review, Canary, and RipRap Journal. He lives in Los Angeles, California.