Noisey Thoughts Ensnare Me, But the Silent Answer Lies In Him
by Jon Adler
Editor's note: the pieces in our Order and Chaos series were originally submitted to the Creative Writing competition as part of Interregnum XV at The King's College. The following piece won third place. It was submitted on behalf of the House of Lewis.
All of my thoughts are a constant buzz in my head
I want a muffler for my brain, I want them to cease
Shapes that fold into each other, messed up dates and places
A song I’ve heard before, but cannot place
The homeless lady on the train with a baby
That probably isn’t buying drugs
With the money I should have given her
What if everyone else in the gym
Is as ashamed of their bodies as I am
Maybe everyone else feels like they
Can’t find pants that fit either
What if we kissed, in the middle of the street?
I’m sorry I used to flinch when I saw people we knew
Out of the corner of my eye
To my own heart be true—
But what is this heart?
Why would I trust it over another?
Am I sufficient within myself?
I know right from wrong, I am the only home I have
How can God be my rock in the storm
When He’s not here
There’s just me
I am here, alone
I live with others, but I will die alone
My love, a curse in and of itself
How can I listen for what God is saying
When all my prayers trail off in the middle,
I see something shiny
Out the corner of my eye, and my mind darts to swallow it
My mouth is full of glistening rocks
That block the words that should come out of it
How can my words float to God above, when
Such dazzling things hold me captive,
My attachment to them pollutes my heart and soul
I forget more things every day than I remember in a year
I am constantly flooded by the small beauties of the City
I remember but a handful—
The snail at 96th Street
The manatee mosaics in the Houston Street station
The inexplicably ornate Canal Street post office
The beautiful Orthodox Church in Greenpoint
The green angels of Grand Army Plaza—
If I treasure them in my heart,
Will they protect me from ugliness to come?
It’s not unique to have a short attention span
I just have no excuse
I think about the things I consume
Without giving back
My dumb vampire lips
Sucking in sights and songs like so much blood
The people around me have their own swirling multitudes
I know I am not special
Yet here we are
Going to college
Working at coffee shops
Taking broken trains to internships and classes,
Neither of which guarantee us a thing
Everything is a boring, boring gamble,
We are homogenous
I am bored with my work
And so is everyone else
The Creator of the earth contains infinite multitudes
I wonder if His train made Him late this morning.
I wonder what he thinks about our complaints.
Wouldn’t it be nice if he just answered them?
So we could all be happy?
Jagged lines I doodle in class
I draw on my phone, on the train
I gave up phone games for Lent,
So I fill my times with drawings of shapes
That I’ll never use
For all I know, I’ll die tomorrow
In an unexpected collision on the 4 train
Between Barclays and Nevins
Will I be ready to meet my Maker?
I hope so
I should think about that tonight
When the aching voice that says to finish my commitments
Lets me off the hook for this one
Adulthood is just mindless repetitions
Of the same damn things
We’ve all been doing
Our entire mundane lives
We are all collectors of our own scraps,
Fighting over the garbage
That we think is valuable
Scraps of what we’ve learned
Scraps of filtered memories
Curating the museums of our memories
For the only people who will ever see them: ourselves.
Personal compost heaps
Festering under tarps
I cannot sit still in classes, I cannot sit still in church
The battery inside me keeps me in motion
Writhing, like I did in my bunk bed the other night
Hoping my crying didn’t wake my roommate
How can I make sense of anything I do
I don’t even like the tattoos I gave myself
To zoom out for one second
I squint my eyes, because I want to see
Why do I want to see
It would give me vertigo if I actually saw it
Moses glowed when he saw a sliver of God’s glory
Could I even say that I want that?
The lines of our lives, crossing and uncrossing -
I want this to be special
I want everything to be special
I want to freeze everything just how it is and just sit here
This is special, isn’t it?
I wonder if I’ll remember this when I’m
Old and cranky
What have I to gain from the cultivation of secrets
What a worthless, fruitless crop
There is nothing left to hide
What is left to hope for, but release
The things I have done in darkness are being brought to light
My opinion on the matter
Has no bearing on the decision
They will be made known, and I will be made free.
It’s time to face the multitude of fears.
Even the best roommates will get married and leave me
The girl back home just married someone else
Even the love of my life doesn’t love me anymore.
Yes I hate these things
Yes, they’re still true
And just like that,
There is still homework due on Sunday night.
Things that make sense are boring
But random things turn boring, too
I didn’t write this poem to be a prayer, but I think that’s what it is.
My parched soul crying out
Dried up from my own neglect
Who is truly brave?
He who tries the hardest
To look God in the face
Not to ask the question, but to steel himself for the answer
What is man, that He is mindful of us?
Our senseless anger like a broken kaleidoscope,
Shards of glass that make no pattern
I need the infinite glassmaker
To put me back together
Or to tell me how He intends for me
To clean up the mess myself
⬩ ⬩ ⬩ ⬩ ⬩ ⬩
Thumbnail image by Seth Trouwborst.