(Paul Gauguin, "In the Waves" or "Ondine")
I can't write horror.
I can't write resistance.
I can't write our way out of this, I'm sorry. I'm useless.
The world, overnight, betrayed our trust, becoming nakedly monstrous (without turning serious). Artists raged, felt the pull toward truth, spitting nails from their mouths, tasting blood at the roots. Minds were distorted, preconceptions split up. And I know, I know. We ought to fight evil with all the words in the arsenal. Every writer worth her salt should be screaming, "Look out!" and "Fire!" Remember your history? The hellscapes of Bosch, the Germany of Weimar? What power! (Drop your illusions, Sarah: be a truth-teller, finally.)
But I can't do it.
I am petrified wood in the face of this fire.
I need beauty.
I crave it.
Turn my back so to save it.
Giddiness! Upsweep! Poetic indulgence. Oh, I seek awe in the marriage of molecule and light.
I will have it.
So spring—do your thing. Swamp my soul like Ophelia's.
I want his eyes synched to mine, heart foolishly reeling.
Oh God but I'm tired of caring so much.
Shrug off that burden.
Sit with me. Stretch. Watch the mayflies grow older.
A tulip. A daisy. The arc of the heron.
All I'm asking for—please—is the grace of a moment.
And I will make of it a monastery.
At the top of the waves.