This is a response to an article sent to my class: Graduate School Can Have Terrible Effects on People’s Mental Health
It is December already. There is no time to thinkingly daydream, in these early-to-nightfall-darken-the-doorstep days. Instead, to dispel the darkness that thickens the blood like a Canadian plague, I will hang here a series of lines to ‘light/en’ the load on my half-beaten back and the worn-to-roots path before me. So they will hang in the fog like a buzzing Tim Horton’s sign (that ubiquitous beacon in this north) deep on the horizon after a long drive through a midnight forest.
Here is love. (At least, here it is while I write. Dec. 7, 2018, from 3:32pm-4:45pm)
In all the known things. The creamy cloud atop my bone-dry cappuccino. Meeting a stranger eye-to-eye and smile-to-smile while passing on the sidewalk as swiftly as metro trains on opposite tracks. The delicate wisp of feather-smoke from a stone chimney against the grey/blue sky pulled tight as a rocky shoreline. A sharpened pencil. A smooth, coin-sized piece of amethyst.
Even if that’s a daydream.
The soft crunch of the salt-muddied snow as the ground slips away and I slap another bruise on my already purpled hip.
That’s it. And that leads onward to:
The memory of lilacs in the early spring that blossom for a fortnight before withering into brown spots of decay that smell of rot.
Ah, in memoriam. But what’s here?
The Montreal driver that slows to a crawl and happily waves me on to cross before laying on the horn just as I pass the unwashed hood ornament and my startled jump nearly spills my bag of half-read articles, lidless pens, crushed granola bars, and crumpled tissues across the intersection like a crime.
Better still, the strings of coloured lights wound around balconies and strung up in windows that halo in the cold air and bleed like watercolour stars painted (on papers set on the kitchen floor) with dampened, fat brushes long rubbed against puddled tablets that look like pastel candies found, stale and powdery, wrapped in a silk handkerchief, at the bottom of yesteryear’s purse.
Still another paper due. Another article to read. Another book to get from the library. Another meeting to attend. Another conference. Another. Another. Another.
A. Not. Her.
These thoughts tangle the hooks that fish in waters fed by dead streams.
It’s all here, a tightly balled tissue pulpy with tears. And muted laughter.
The frayed edge of anger.
Even if it’s here–
yes, it is here—
at the bottom of a paper cup drained under the neon light that cuts a narrow hole in the darkness after a long drive through a midnight forest.
Please, if you are feeling in any way overwhelmed, reach out to someone. You can also make an appointment with McGill Services.
Banner picture by FreeChristmasWallpapers.net