It turns out you can’t have an existential catharsis by trying to have one,

and that there is no real freedom, but just manifestations of it

we sometimes encounter while we traipse around our inner rooms

trying to make sure everything is set up just right.

It turns out all my talk of being a body living inside another body,

that all my study of my unique participant/observer consciousness,

is really about wanting to be free of this passion I have for studying

consciousness and the labyrinthian tunnels of the self.

It’s how I know there’ll be a time when, years from now,

if I manage to live long enough to have what they call a retirement,

I’ll be sitting in a chair by the window and watching the birds

in my one-room apartment, the way my grandfather did,

and I’ll realize I’m still not free of myself.

I’ll still be longing to be one with everything I’m not,

and nothing will have been intimate enough to stop me from

wanting to rearrange the room so that it both reflects everything I was,

and was not.

Author: Chris Russell

Chris Russell holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Concord, New Hampshire where he follows two paths: a calling as a poet, and an altruistic vocation as an education support professional.