Friday, September 29, 2017


A friend of mine asked me the other day, how do I let go of something?

I told her I envision letting go of things as falling from a great height onto an upright sword until it pierces through me completely: a calm exhale, a psychic surrender, a sentiment of finality, a feeling of serenity. It’s never so simple, but eventually this vision can be experienced with conviction.

We spoke about involvement and ownership, about maxims of survival and how best to uphold them. I wanted to show her the version of herself that I saw, that I knew, and although I knew this was easier said than done, the simple kindness in her soul made this worthwhile to me. But I kept thinking about her question; it got me thinking maybe I’ve become too comfortable letting things, letting people go. It shouldn’t come so naturally, be so practised—I shouldn’t have such a ready symbolism prepared for this conversation.

And so I think about all the letting go I’ve had to do for so many reasons. The symbol I chose, the symbol I use, is a vista of death, an act of obsequy, I’ve put many to rest—given them their last rites: a kiss on the brow, a bouquet atop their tomb, a moment of inspiration, exhalation, a prayer of peace lighting the lips, and a quiet resolve to leave good enough alone—to leave what is unholy to the dogs.

My first few commemorations went poorly. I hadn’t practised, didn’t possess the savoir-faire I do now. Some really forced my hand—made me bitterly spit their ashes out after scattering them into a prevailing wind. Some wouldn’t take to rest, and needed a second, third, hundredth attempt. And some just took years of repeatedly throwing myself onto pointed objects just to be able to blunt the pain of the successive farewells. Some were, quite contrarily, quick, pleasant, and painless. And some just had the cold allure and magnetism of stainless steel calling our name, a swan song sung of its own free will, its own involuntary and disembodied accord—art imitating life, life following suit.

I want to tell my friend that not being able to let go is a beautiful thing, and that all it means is she hasn’t been forced to become good at it in the first place. But I also know everyone has to practice this before long, and sooner or later, one appears in the midst of obsequy. And what then?

The desperate beating of pinions against glass, wings against water, screaming in penultimate surrender, and finding nowhere to turn to but the blade waiting beneath. See the sword—your body and soul will follow. A wave of cold ice ruptures the breast. Heat leaks, spills into the atmosphere.