Poem

Sitting with my eyes closed, breathing into the feeling, pen in hand. A first few lines scratch onto the paper. Over-long thumbnail digs into fingertip, in the pen’s clench.

Casting around for “What is this?”

Incoherent.

Then the words, “Not knowing your fate hurts” arise. I’m not crying, but my eyes smart, and chest heaves, with a sigh. Is that cliché, or just the perfect description – “chest heaves”? It always seems to be “heaves”.

I’m reaching in to catch hold of whatever that elusive thing is – of loss, tenderness, preciousness. Something that makes this whole long life feel meaningful – beneath all the noise, the interminable activity.

In that moment, Enya begins a call to the bank, on speaker phone. The automated voice says “Please enter your four digit PIN number, then press the hash key.”

Is that it? I’m forgetting my access code? Let me try tapping some random numbers on my soul.

The satin down duvet wraps me warmly in my throne, and the radiator hums.

@iHEARTPOETS

And no, I don’t know who you are, distant person who “is now following” me. Your words appear on the screen, striving for love, to matter, to be heard.

14.2K followers.

It’s a big world, and it’s an almost infinite history. So many heart poets, each of us in our fragility, our insignificance, and seeking significant other.

I really only matter deeply to less than a handful of folk. That’s the simple truth. Perhaps it’s everyone’s truth – give or take a factor or two.

So, what? Live with it? Celebrate it? Cherish, really see, savour, each moment in the presence of the ones who care?

It would be so easy to look at this infinity of tweets – this enormous electronic nest of hungry young mouths, clamouring to be fed with attention and love – and to judge, to despise. But no – that’s life, that’s the manifestation of longing, that’s what each of us (perhaps?) honestly, basically, feels. It’s just a little hard to admit:

I WANT TO MATTER.
I WANT PEOPLE TO CARE ABOUT ME.
I WANT, WHEN IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, MANY CARDS FROM LOVING FRIENDS.
I WANT IT TO MEAN SOMETHING.

I can dress myself up in sophistication, and could despise or mock the others, and I could feel silently overwhelmed by the infinity of other souls who diminish me to a pointless dot with “You are here!” like in the Douglas Adams vision.

But no.

Let’s just accept it. Each tweet, each click, each screen swipe, each browser refresh – it’s just looking for love.

Desk

A sneezy light layer of dust, coffee rings, assorted colours of Post-Its with barely legible scrawls. The big, black-framed window on tilt and swivel. Dodgy draught-proofing letting in the freezing air, and the office barely hitting 20 by lunchtime.

I sit too long here on my shabby blue chair, backside numb and fretting with fear of piles. Doggedly wrestling the wares of an information professional.

There’s a story which may well be true. In the other suite, an anomalous desk has extra boarding bodged on, forming a barrier all the way to the floor. Story goes, too many dropped their keys next to Amira’s desk … Or perhaps just one butter-fingered individual. Whoever inherited that one has the solace of well-guarded genitals.

No longer young. Will this daily sitting, year on year, degrade me into some ailing shadow? The magazine copy and countless blog articles promote the stand-up desk, the treadmill desk, and direly warn that sitting all day is just as injurious as smoking.

But the voice inside just says:

Sail away, sail away, sail away
Sail away, sail away, sail away
Sail away, sail away, sail away
Sail away, sail away, sail away

Like the Enya song.

My problem is not sitting on a chair. My problem is a life passing without meaning, of most waking hours chained to a project that that’s tired and tiring.