by Megan Wildhood
Let there be a city that is growing faster than any other city in the United States, as much people now as rainfall. Let there be jobs or rumors of jobs to call people here. Let the fault lines between humans, mimicking those that twitch beneath, remain concealed for just a bit longer. Let appear, as it was in 2007, 2008, luxurious stacks of condos that reach far into the sky so that even more people who don’t talk to each other can fit into this destination. Let these condos be in place of housing units once upon a time the masses could access. Let there be a hidden sense of home, which only reveals itself if you leave, that existed long before the waves of conversion began. Let all the people who matter, many probably won’t stay long, gobble and gobble and say amen – let the rest eat cake!
Let there be a tent under the overpass closest to the downtown of the lonely, unaffordable city. I-5 isn’t so loud anymore with everyone new clogging it up. And let there be an embarrassment of riches of people encamped there who could show me how they learned to sleep through cold and ungiving ground, how to keep walking after your ass is finally kicked to the curb by the one you always knew deserved better. I also always knew that that kind of thinking was exactly why he deserved better.
Let there be familiarity with services – mostly overrun, it turns out, and emergency rooms – and a need for familiarity of the kind I have. I am a native Seattleite and the freeze is not what you think. Neither is alcoholism. Neither is the rain.
Let alcoholism not be what you or I think. If you’re me, let marriage not be what you think. Let there be light, amen.
Let there be people who pass me without looking while I hold out my cup. I need help but I don’t want to be seen, which is another way I am like God.
Let there be services that are overrun like green on city, then. Let there be emergency rooms with no room like homes in city. People who want you to come to them are taking the easy way out. Let there be fewer services than demand for services. Let there be a way I could save others so that, when I die – freeze to death in the rare snow that is very pretty and fun and gives everyone the breaks they have been needing, most likely – something will have gotten better. Let it not take a breaking for any further humans to take a break. Let the bottles stay in one piece. Let them stay on the shelves.
If not, let the corrosion I cannot feel anymore be good for something more than a penance. A symbol of how the hurt I put in my family’s heart will go away. A model for the plan to give that beautiful band of human beings a hope and a future, amen?
But maybe let there not be a future. For me. Let there not be any more time for me to fill with deceit and rum and failure and rum and misery and rum. Let this quest for power – the freedom from feelings and consequences – come to a clean end.
Let it be that you never taste this sweet, fiery freedom.
Let there be more for me, amen. Because then there is relief. Deceit? So be it if there is finally rest, finally warmth, finally safety. The philosophers say you only reach your full potential outside your comfort zone. Let them shut up. Let only people who have lost everything as a victim of themselves make the philosophy. Let there not be philosophy. Let there be only living. And then let there be the sweet, fiery mercy of ending where all the people say
About the photographer: Decades ago, autodidact & bloody-minded optimist kerry rawlinson gravitated from sunny Zambian skies to solid Canadian soil. Fast-forward: she follows Literature & Art’s Muses around the Okanagan, barefoot, her patient husband ensuring she’s fed. She’s won contests, e.g. Geist, CAGO; and her work has appeared in EllipsisZine, Yes Poetry, Dual Coast, Painted Bride, Connecticut River Review, Pedestal, Prelude, RiddledwArrows, ArcPoetry, among others. Find her on Tumblr and at Twitter @kerryrawli.