Valley floor.

April 9, 2021

“There’s nothing left to write,” I write.

It seems I cannot find a series of words to loop together, nothing smart or wise to form eloquent ideas to change anything for anyone, or change something even for myself. It seems I’ve lost my way with words.

I try to make something pretty, a poem or lyrical wish, something artistic and apt, but I falter.

Here, have a poem:

I viewed the County website

Where the statistical arcs of COVID live

On the screen – a graph, a land

A scape of hills climbing and reaching skyward

And disease soars overhead

(Hills became pointed mountains and the valley of death stood in their shadow)

See? Trash. No meter, no rhyme. Nothing in it that elevates or paints, just the cool hint of despair, and let’s face it, that’s already in good supply everywhere.

We don’t need artists like me (“artists!”) – those who skip even the low-hanging fruit in favor of the dregs, the rotting soft berries lying on the valley floor. We want the inspirers, the ones who can use the page as their unmarred canvas and make something fresh, something that makes us feel enthused, gives us a glimpse of better days.

I’m only one person, I think. (This, my way out of trying to make a real difference.) What can one person achieve? I don’t mean the Spectaculars – people who alone made such inroads and who lit the flares of change by themselves. See, they are notable because there are only a handful each generation. I live in the masses, down in the tedium, in a place where there are flashes of greatness. But flashes give way to the cold and they flick out.

Except.

(No genius, no award-winning poetry prize

No honorable mention for my silly dies, buys, lies, cries, dries, French Fries?)

Except, we need artists like me – those who talk out loud about the self-doubt, the forging on in the face of mediocre talent. We need the ones who will try to make a difference, even alone as one person, who hold themselves to account for sentimental musings about how they are not enough of a lit candle to illuminate much. I look beyond the Spectaculars, to you, who inspire me by simply living with goodness, even in the tedium.  Down here, in this valley, we can gather and stand in the shadow of hope where our simple lives mean, collectively, something like poetry.

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