A Song for Unraveling

I feel like I weigh 400 pounds today. Heart heavy with things left undone as I ponder the 90 minute car ride, the meeting that should have been an email, the slow march towards death that an office implies. Outside the lunchroom window, raindrops flutter past, synthesized from thousands of miles away to share this moment, born out of lush rivers and frigid snowfalls. I often wish for that kind of rebirth. The transparent purpose of evaporation and nourishment that every droplet knows at its start. Transience etched into their very essence.


On rebellious days, I find myself battering my brain against big metaphors like money and time, trying to uncover the cracks so that I can slip silently through their grubby clasp. A tree is not a vending machine. An ocean is not a soda fountain. I tap my fingers against my forehead as I stare at another picture of Yosemite, illuminated by my monitor screen. The things that will outlive us appear to hold more gravity than any pale façade of purpose one could glean from things like marketing strategy or managerial promotions. I am not your beautiful wife, your suit and tie, your limp French fry of small talk. I rest my head against the soft foam of the mouse pad, skimming my subconscious for answers…

The trick seems to be minimalism. Find your bottom line and work a job you can stand to help support it. Reduce your hours. Fuck your girlfriend. Create more art. This hierarchy will not save you. You are a human, not a machine. Just because some arbitrary aristocrats in the middle of an industrial revolution decided that you will work from 9am-6pm, 5 days a week does not mean that your body or your mind were designed to do so. We are social primates who need affection, touch, and space for self-care. We need the opportunity to throw ourselves into “work worth doing,” and we need a system self aware enough to organize itself into a shape based on these scientifically proven facts. A machine should bend to its human operators, rather than contorting their soft bodies into a hardened guise of leadership that dangles endurance and judgment like carrots.

The slow animal of my bones sinks deeper into the desk chair as I sleepily blow bagel crumbs off the particleboard of my keyboard shelf. I try to laugh at the banality of the day-to-day, because, really, what else is there? So, I daydream in landscape. I conjure up romantic adventures that would make Kipling jealous. I hurl my heart into the cereal aisle at the supermarket and send telepathic Eskimo kisses to strangers on the subway. I convince myself that these things matter, because they have to.

It is but an instant that we are even here, a subtle breath on the windowpane of Earth’s crust that will dissolve just as quickly as it came. The calm reminder that all things must end. The ephemeral tattoo of life. These structures we created cannot contain us, but perhaps the things that came before can heal. Because of all this, I drag my ragged body through the hills, dusk after dusk, laughing like an old gypsy woman, my bones a mandala pointing skyward.


4 thoughts on “A Song for Unraveling

  1. Gregg F says:

    To do it all over again….I think that I would “take the road less traveled” and enjoy life a little bit more. 😊
    Well said, Emily

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