frederic levesque /START LOOKING UP

Image by Richard Selesnick and Nicholas Kahn.

Start Looking Up

It doesn’t exactly start. It comes on.

Life filters itself to look far and sacred

We all connect and fit if we want, we all turn into gold and burn up

And maybe you could reach through computer screens to touch the world out there

Throwing their beauty in your face, empathetic beyond repair

Driving in circles the sky is telling you to pull yourself together

And that’s sweet, lighten up, relax, let it out, call your mother, make wishes over birthday cakes

But when the waitress asks you why you are crying alone in a Chinese restaurant for lunch you tell her someone died

Someone somewhere always dies for you

Your words make them drop and the weight lifts like a seesaw

Tell Deborah her hair looks good today, tell her you’re just out of it, plucked out unconditional, and saved for last

Smile directly at your boss and wish for a hug, wish for a monument, wish for sirens and peaceful sleep and roads leading to secret villages

At night when the significant other is sleeping scribble lists and lists of things you were blessed with

Turn to stone in that in-between morning light and tell yourself all the world is on stage acting insane

Do busy work, make your hands busy, let them fold onto themselves like paper birds

Bend down slowly, get on the floor and hug your dog until it squeezes out of you

Paint your feelings, eat your feelings, share your feelings, collage your feelings, make them up at parties and pass them around

Whisper in a handheld mirror “You are one of the good guys”

You get an invisible mask, secret weapons, booming laughter, a hero in the crowd, the cheerleaders kiss you on the mouth after it all

Take off your arms and legs in silent rooms, give meaning to flickering lights, A/C units, suitcases, paper-thin walls

No matter where you go you’re in a tunnel, you’re in echo, you’re a version of somebody brilliant trying to make it show

I wish I could reach the latch, my batteries seem swollen and fat, leaking acid in the tank

I think I should remind someone about the best day of their life, their joys, their dreams before things sank

Dear Significant Other, I barely shudder now, I eat my vegetables, I make a dent in the tin metal of the universe

I will stay up here in the 3 rd floor walkup close to the fog and branches of city trees

I will build a fortress with your father’s old coats, baseball bats, and the things you should have given to other suffering beings

Make up subservient villages that are made of chicken bones and blueberries we bought at the organic market when it made sense to get clean food

Make yourself a fortress, there’s a helpless princess in my brain trying to figure out everything by the light of the moon

My arms will be towers

I will make them point straight up, tall skinny guards in backlight,

Hold your breath when the strange bugs attack your insides

And make sure not to talk when they capture you

Frederic Levesque is originally from Montreal, Canada but now lives in Atlanta, GA, god-knows-not-why. He’s been published in Stillpoint, Spork Press, Mandala Journal, The Stray Dog Almanac, and Deer Bear Wolf. He doesn’t like writing about himself (in the third person, that is).