The Ten Thousand Meanings of The Written Form
There’s an uncomfortable truth
all would-be artists should remember:
art is as useless as it is magnificent,
ugly and real and hurting like a white flame
- two faces of the same god
one that talks in riddles and lives blindfolded.
You can’t have one and the other
the way you can’t plunge twice in the same water
or gaze at stars in the sunlight
- but you can love them with single-minded devotion.
The path to both is open
- narrow and dimly lit, forked at its end -
if you’re ruthless enough to pursue it
and find it lies at the doors of deception
without ever crossing over,
burning your soft hands on the altar of ten thousand meanings.
For the ones who recoil, an elusive ego awaits
in the dark alley they avoid visiting,
the rest ennui or failure.
Wearing all masks humans can paint on their faces
swinging between pretended feelings and outspoken lies
faint-hearted artists present the same empty stare
to lovers in flesh and amis de plume
to the beholders’ admiring eyes
to the high powers they play jester for
- quivering lips trembling with fear
incapable to bear the truth they should uphold.
I am the pencil sharpened by angry tears
I am the ivory scroll left unopened
the verses you haven’t written
the performance you have missed
the song your voice couldn’t sing
the reality that scared you blind.
You’ll meet me again and again
stumbling over a pathway of nails and stones
in the long journey called deliverance.
Russell Hemmell is a statistician and social scientist from Scotland, passionate about astrophysics and speculative fiction. Find her recent & forthcoming work in Aurealis, The Grievous Angel, New Myths, and others. Finalist in The Canopus 100 Year Starship Awards 2016-2017. Find her online at earthianhivemind.net and on Twitter @SPBianchini