follow me to the ends of paradise

bright tree encircled by desert
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Pexels.com

Drink until you are full, until you are glutted. Eat all the fruits from the trees, beside the pools so deep.

Welcome to my paradise, strangers, take all the water you need; in the orchards and shade you may feed.

Are you happy now? Will you follow me to the ends of the earth, since I have fed you? No?

One paradise dry, I’ll try to go build up another, alone, invite new strangers who might follow me.

Listen, worshippers: I’m jealous of the famous folk.

How strange must the feeling be, awestruck by outpourings of fans you’ll never even see. 

But I’m not jealous for their fame, their name,

I’m jealous they have the option of hating their fame,

Sabotaging themselves in their fame,

Making public screw-ups of themselves.

What reckless abandon of knowing everybody hates you.

Little worshippers, I know a great deal about coming to the well you dug for yourself and drinking until it is dry.

I know about listening, remembering other people’s names, but I know if I don’t scream nobody will take notice of me.

I know if I scream for my people, they will fight me, not take care of me.

Their words never broke my bones but they hacked apart my heart, they tore up my roots until I assumed all words were for cutting, all people secretly hated me behind their pleasant smiles.

What reckless freedom, if I knew for sure everybody hated me.

I linger at a dry well, because I remember the taste of the fruits here akin to light, sweetness.

I still crave that healing flavor, praying for its return.

The well’s bucket, once dripping water pure and clear, is now dirtied with dust as dry as my tongue.

I beg it for two more drops.

If I leave, under the moonlight, and never return to this home, this desert of love, will I find the oasis to save me, where the fruits heal me with their light? But if I do, will I not simply devour it dry? Eat all the fruits, absorb all the water, leave the ground hot and dead?

Like a parasite, I write, demanding your time and wealth. Get me famous, prop me on your shoulders and carry me to a higher spring of water, listening to my mad stories in lieu of food.

Like a parasite, I write, I dig my own wells, I spend up the safe spaces, sometimes by myself, sometimes by the strangers I invited to supper.

Like a parasite, I’m jealous of the famous folk, those strangler figs hugging the highest trees. “Hey you,” I say, “I’m stuck down here, I want to see the sunlight too.” Oh, I hate how they can see the sunlight, and get to despise the sunlight none of us have seen. Call themselves humble, the rich.

If I vanish, under the night, will anybody care? I could walk until sunrise, fend for myself at least until the heat wrings me dry. Then I’d know I did it all on my own.

At least if nobody missed me I’d know I didn’t need their aid to walk.

At least if all the strangers secretly do despise me, I could smile at the yawning sky and demand it eat somebody who loves themselves.

Get away from all the trauma, the rat race for money, the souls sick for the sun. Leave the people angry when you scream.

But oh, where would you go, with all that baggage, without the money; you’d come crawling right back home.

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