Charlotte E. Wilde

Identities constructed on the linguistic champ de bataille | Words, like little foot soldiers, march out in the armies of my poetic failures

Tag: thoughts

Armies of Dreamers | trudge on, trudge on

We are a generation characterized by our glorification of wanderlust, a word so overused and over-though that it has been stripped of its beauty, emptied, exposed. A word degraded, perhaps, much as a view is rendered moot through the repetitive action of opening. It waits, arms flung wide and again, receiving the flocks of would-be dreamers, hopes pinned on avoiding the inevitable: themselves.

Yes, this is the church of our modern malaise. We, tentacles of roaming millennials, reaching for something we know surely must be there but can’t quite find or grasp, slippery. And so photos are taken, splayed like calling cards, their function at best a surrogate memory, at worst, mere proof of passage. We have loved the world for its value as a prop,  selfie-stick sublimations, the breadcrumbs of our decent left for next years crop of seekers, hearts still idly pinned to the hope that happiness is only a voyage away.

But let’s take a step back. It’s true, of course, that people have always travelled. Yet, I can’t help but feel that this is somehow new– the sleepy-eyed and un-documented voyages of yesteryear have been re-written, replaced by the roaving quests of the over-educated and under-inspired. The maladie of the errant — this is new. And perhaps we all feel it to some extent, that building, billowing pressure sneaking further into the conscious reaches of our lives the longer we remain in one place, a chant that grows louder in the dark: the longer you stay, the longer you will stay. Stuck. Stagnent. It stands on the scaffolding we’ve built for it along the way, the scaries of another looming Monday morning, the fear of meditation, our inability sit still and just be alone with ourselves.

And so the question becomes, where did it come from? Perhaps it’s the idea of home that has become untenable, replaced by itchy soles or souls. The perfection of a white linen bedspread, princess and the pea, this your mind speaking from under the layers you’ve laid down to cover it up. Two choices: Roll over, or run.

Perhaps the only “home” we can appreciate anymore is the one seen from across an ocean, a continent, as if down a long highway shimmering with the mirage of a perfection afforded only by this far-off vantage point, lost when standing too close.  Home has become a construct of distance. For this generation of vagrants, the footsore roamers, perhaps the proverbial “heart” once associate with such a notion is, and can only be, wherever they are not.

So we all trudge on, warm hearts and cold feet, disenchanted yet somehow hopeful, souls wide-shut, still clinging to the belief in an answer lying just around the bend. We, army of dreamers, eyes closed to the inexorable truth underlying our grid-lined lives, the underdeveloped, the overexposed. We, lost in this rambling game of find-and-seek passed off as wanderlust– a slight of hand, or of heart, which, instead of giving value to our voyage, has served only to render the word as impotent as the act.

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Metaphor is madness (you’ve been here before)

I always feel strange in the fall, disconnected, like a glass panel separates me from the world and I’m looking in– a tourist drunk on cheap souvenirs meant to commemorate that which is already slipping away.  I’ve reduced this feeling to a happy-hour cocktail that you didn’t want but ordered it anyway, a mixture of being and nothingness with a cock-eyed umbrella but ice so clear you could see your reflection. You could but you don’t.  You’re too busy starring in a re-run drama of intimate geometry– legs crossed and uncrossed, leaves slip with rot and you find that you’re Vāta, dry, cold, light, minute, and movement– but you’re fading fast. A lêche vitrine queen with weeks to live and an impossibly long list of things to ruin before the inevitable.

Paper Cuts, the dangers of a loose leaf

I folded the page and then I folded it again. Something about all that blank space felt daunting, impossible. You’ll work up to it, I thought, one day you’ll stare at that expanse of  paper and all you’ll see is possibility.

Today isn’t that day, but who knows how I’ll feel about tomorrow. Today I need something manageable, a tighter frame for my mistakes.

I folded the page one more time for good measure, licked the crease and cut my mind down to size.

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Cashing in my mental phantom load

I’ve been thinking about the phantom load of a memory, the lagging feeling of a thought you can’t shake. I get snagged on these mental preoccupations that exist like a song I can’t get out of my head. And I can’t help but wonder : where does this wasted energy go?

At night it’s phantom loads that keep me up. That sound I hear– feet trudging through snow, blood pounding in my temples, or electricity pulsing through my mind from connections I forgot to un-plug?

Today I’m thinking about human connection. And sometimes I get sea-sick when I swim in the immensity of the thought of the quantity of people with whom we could have fallen in love, with whom we still might.

Love is like a job, perhaps.  We’re all just biding our time until something better falls into our lap. As we get older, we’re perhaps less willing to take the risk of dropping what we’ve got for an unknown, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t jump at the chance if the right opportunity came along, the right benefits. Does this mean we should always hedge our heart’s bets? Keep our options open? What is “love” in any form but mere convenience? Don’t give up the ship, but how can a realization like this coexist with the romantic ideal we’ve held for so long?

Have you considered that the cultural used-car salesman who sold us this idea of love was actually just trying to make a quick buck?

I wonder about phantom loads, I wonder if I’ll get the bill soon for the things I’ve been thinking about in the night. I wonder if you have them too, and if you’ve been keeping back burners on just in case this pot is slow boil.

The Daily Grind (Is Grinding Us Down to Nothing)

The desolation of boredom is a perilous place to lose one’s self. I’ve always lived this life in wild stages of passion and abandon thrown into various venues or people, but I can’t say I ever found what I was looking for. The finitude of these emotions always wins the day. Flashes of brilliance fade– the perfect word, the perfect phrase, the perfect patch of sun under which to raise the perfect glass of wine to the perfect melancholy– these are but shots of reckless happiness injected in an otherwise deadened arm.

I just want to feel something.

I sat at a café today staring into a black-eyed coffee listening to the kid next to me screech. His mother was endlessly apologetic. I nodded my forgiveness and what she probably took as insincerity was actually milk-frothed jealousy. Haven’t we all just wanted to wail like that instead of simmering in our discontent? Time, and life, and jobs and aspirations’ temptation teach us to cap these emotions until each zombified person we meet becomes a prayer:  Liberate me. Eat me alive. Make me scream.

Agony, terror, ecstasy… I don’t care anymore.

I just want to feel something.