When I was much younger than I am today, someone accused me of feeling far too much.
They took me to the courts and the judge gave me the most severe sentence available for such egregious empathy.
He called that sentence ‘The Naming of Things’.
The judge demanded a written account of all things which have touched my life.
A fierce litany of many names and places and the only requirement for my release (though he referred to my freedom as ‘catharsis’.)
He demanded I hollow myself out piece by piece and insisted on using only the comeliest of shapes found inside in my dedications.
He didn’t teach me thrift or economy or how to survive with pieces of myself displayed for even the most dull eyes to see.
That was how the tributes began; clumsily removed chunks of my liver pinned to cardboard regardless of rhythm, synecdoche and assonance.
I found myself exhausted all the time by my penance; the great emptying of all things.
Anyone could see the blood I’d lost, it was left to pool and harden haphazardly on my early works, forming perjuries upon reflection.
I learned quickly that there was nothing to be had from the reckless testifying I’d performed.
I embraced the stasis of reflection and learned the methods behind form and body.
I learned to strip only the hardiest arteries and veins; ones with which I could retain my ties, in my pursuit of freedom
Quickly I found myself surrounded, the elaborate tangle of strings closed me in and carried my blood out of my chest and into my bodily homages.
The nature of this penance became clear as I lay in the middle of my towering depictions of a great many things.
There was a choice to be made.
I can’t be free from this feeling until I’ve mutilated my insides beyond recovery, until I’m laid out end to end with every part of me named.
Naked and bloody and human as they come.