A Requiem for My Wanton Words

The Purpose of this Delenda: A Limbo Between Digression and Deletion

During my last college semester I studied under a brilliant professor; he taught me to quiet my inner censor and to just write as I wish--despite my post-traumatic-professor-disorder which paralyzes me with self-doubt, these the war-wounds worn by so many students after years of terrible teachers, each either entirely apathetic or deeply entrenched within the utterly rote—their lectures just jaded regurgitations in Power Point, those slides cycling while the students fitfully sleep in-seat.I began writing a memoir for his class and I have yet to finish it; my writing has not been as clear and precise as it was while under my professor’s mentorship and I have more than doubled my original page length, though very little has actually been said therein. I am increasingly lent to my own obsessive compulsive writing tendencies. My prose has of-late been lost in loops and tangles of meaningless tangents—self-indulgent insertions of the beautiful words I love to taste in text.This blog is a collection of passages deleted from my memoir—an attempt to preserve wasted words, which are intrinsically sacred in spite of me. May they have their heaven here; may this final resting place, this Delenda, be better than nothing at all—better than true deletion.

If this unjust medium--this blog--be not the cure for my wild-fire writing, then surely The New School will be.

I was recently accepted to The New School in New York City for their MFA Creative Nonfiction Writing program for Fall 2010. Being accepted into such an esteemed university, being awarded such a coveted spot in their writing MFA program -- it's like winning the academic lottery. I have never been happier than I am in my dreams of a true academic setting. I know this will be the solace I have sought since being under the mentorship of my undergraduate writing professor.

This is me...

This is me...

This is me as well...

This is me as well...
In Death Valley, the Sand Dunes and Solitude Suited me Well.

February 22, 2012

Ask Not For a Love Like That

  • This is a random musing, again. Another free-writing I did a few weeks back. It's done totally subconsciously, without regard for spelling, grammar, or even making sense. It's how I get all the pretty nonsense out of my system so I can write something somewhat coherent. I don't know where this subject matter came from, but -- like our nighttime dreams -- sometimes it's just random and seemingly unprovoked by any experience in real life. I'm sure a psychology buff would have a field day with it. I cleaned up the spelling and punctuation as much as possible, but left the rest exactly as I first wrote it. So if I skip around from thought to thought, or leave sentences hanging, or get lost in tangents and clumsy metaphors -- well, that's just the way my mind was working.

Ask Not For a Love Like That

When one fosters their love in earnest, it can strangely seem to inflict the greatest damage, cause the greatest distress, leave the heart with the greatest gaps, cavities and depressions where a space filled-to-brim was divided, restructured, re-organized, to accommodate the presence of someone new, and that room that the heart had made for love to move into, that space that was cleared out and made available for someone else, is – in the absence of that love, or that lover – oddly unable to be filled up again, the heart thus riddled with gaps and cavities from the space left in place of the previous occupant, like an apartment shared by two tenants, and the emptiness that’s left in ghost-squares on the walls where posters and framed pictures were taken down, the depressions in the carpet lingering where furniture once laid, and the sparse patches left on bookshelves where voids in the ashen dust evidence something once umbrellaed that space and caught the dust before it could fall.

A new vacancy: It’s obvious in the oblivion; the drawer in the bureau you once-upon-a-time had to clear of your own things to make room for someone else’s, and once that someone is gone, you cannot for the sake of sanction and sanity find anything to put in it again. This is a similar but opposite phenomenon to that strange and particular certainty – that phenomena of packing and repacking things for travel: when you pack a suitcase for your travels, it closes well when you depart, but upon repacking those same things in that same bag when you are preparing to return home, those things that once fit perfectly in your suitcase never seem to fit inside the second time around, and no matter how meticulously you fold your garments or how perfectly you replicate your original packing, the poor parcel inevitably ends up looking swollen and engorged, splitting at the seams, the zipper threatening to split down the middle like an incised Easter ham.

A new vacancy: It’s evident in the absence; the recent deficiency of that which you hadn’t the space to properly accommodate to begin with, and in the end, you’re left with room begrudgingly to spare; the closet you had to clear to make room for someone else’s garments, and when they go gentle into someone else’s good night, the lack of them haunts the closets, the tangible gaps in the walk-in space looming almost tangibly, phantom attire, the memory of sweaters and the gamut of button-down shirts leavings wakes and depressions in space, and the phantom attire – the presence of that absence – weighs heavily upon the clothes-hangers left behind on skeletal rods. Empty clothes hangers can sing a tacit chorus of as the world’s loss, their existence giving definition to emptiness rather than decreasing it, as though their occurrence in the closet actually creates some vacuum into which all matter is inwardly pulled and the world upon its precipice is the event horizon where somethingness evacuates infinitely into some Heideggerian devoid, some Nothingness and Nothing besides.

A closet has been emptied of someone else’s clothes; and it becomes increasingly devoid. Clothes hangers that are left behind in the abysmal vacuum hollowed out of the bedroom wall – and though they take up closet space they seem to exaggerate emptiness as an resounding echo exaggerates the depth and distance between canyons – yes, clothes-hangers left in a closet can echo emptiness – those triangular plastic things like bones on slivered hooks, now naked and swaying haplessly, and there is a despair to the darkness they occupy, shuttering and quivering though the air is still. What profound devoid there is, in the space made for new occupancy, once that occupant has gathered his clothing and departed.

It is truly disquieting: the haunting way even the things that are long since gone continue to consume the space in the monstrosities hulk of their absence – empty space once filled being a thing more suffocating, stifling, crowding and cluttered than was the space when occupied by the items and articles now gone; the missing things, the deficiencies, the emptiness, the half-hearted way of things, both as they are, and more so, as they once were, being a presence in its own right, and the nothingness left in the wake of someone else’s somethings being of a far greater mass and bulk than the things themselves could have ever been. Mass removed is an absence of that mass. The absence of that mass is of a greater mass than was the mass that had been taken away. The vacancy, the sudden absence, of any once-present thing is a far greater presence – a far greater thing – than the physical, tangible presence of those things had ever been, and far greater thing even still than all the things that had been present in the space before it. Emptiness, sudden space, deviod….this loss is the hardest thing to make room for, in the end.

An apartment that seemed fully furnished until space had to be found – room had to be made – for a move-in lover, a new flatmate or a long-staying visitor, and while that task of making room in a seemingly full space is laborious and daunting no-doubt, it will be paradoxically apparent that the apartment had never been fully-furnished or completely-decorated before that begrudged accommodation was made, begging the constant, unanswerable question:

‘If truly these rooms, cabinets, closets and drawers were occupied with my personal belongings, and all of these closets, cabinets, dressers and drawers were brim-filled and fully-utilized before the arrival of someone new, the arrival therewith of all their things, and if they were truly so full and so complete and set just-so before the need for making space and room for more items had to be made, then why is it so impossible to put the pieces back together as they were, why can I no longer see these closets and cabinets and rooms and drawers as anything less than half-empty, half-vacated, half-furnished, half half-full? How did it ever seem as anything other than half before?’

 It will always seem half-gone, half-broken, half-removed, and the only thing these ghost remains lend one to remember isn’t how things were when only one person’s things were accommodated, nor how they later had to be adjusted to accommodated and house the belongings of two; they remind us not of how things were or even how they are, but merely they remind of things as they are no longer, and as they shall never quite-right be again. In that new presence-of-absence, there is a great bulk of devoid that cannot be filled, a great clutter of nothingness that cannot be removed. A weightless heaviness that is as unobtrusive as a wall of dew-spun morning fog, and at the same time, suffocating us as though we in submerged in stone, a crushing heft upon the heart, like the long-fabled night-mare, that demon steed who comes to sit upon our chests, preying upon the vulnerable hours we spend locked in a senseless slumber.

How can the lack of something be so much more than the something-lost ever was? The emptiness of something you once begrudgingly made room for, finding places to store the possessions of someone else, finding places for things in a space already thought to be filled, and once those new things are accommodated they become inextricable from their dwelling-space, a permanent fixture in the home – permanent in their presence, and ever-more-so in the looming weight of their absence. The space left in the shadow of their absence is obtrusive; the missing objects and articles of clothing, the ugly furniture you never wanted, the drawers you needed for yourself, the toothbrush holder no longer cradling a pair, the shelves showing outlines of books and coin-jars and plant stands that were never yours, and it all amounts to an emptiness that doubles after the accommodation for these objects is no longer required.

Paradoxically, the lack – the aching absence – of love having-left, come-and-gone, moved away, that lack of it – the gap, the cavity, the empty space it leaves behind where the stuff of loving had once been – that absence, all its items absent, rescinded, annulled – all that nothingness takes up so much more room than the somethingness once had; the memory of the stuff of love coupled with its absence, its vacancy, its void, is a lot of negative space, which somehow takes up so much more space, takes up infinitely more room in the heart-space left behind, than all the stuff of loving ever did.

An apartment more full and crowded and cluttered after half of everything in it is removed: Because the space that remains is a wicked, cumbersome thing, heavy and suffocating in its ever-awful echo, always ringing of what was, so that a cavity is a cavity…never again just space, never again to be thought of as ‘extra room to move’. It is forever more empty than empty. It is empty from absence. Empty from something once present. Once present and removed. The greatest kind of emptiness in all the infinite space there is.

And that’s what the best of love does to you. That’s what the truest of tryst will leave you with. All things ending, that’s what the purest love portends, come thus the inevitable end. And thus come, always shall, this eventual end.

So, wish not for love, save for the weakest and worst of love.

Wish not for true love, you world of wretched fools. Wish only for the most depraved adoration's, you world of wretched fools. Wish for the love of harlots and charlatans and thieves, of invalids and evangelist….you world of wretched fools…do your soul a service and wish only the lesser love marriages arranged and relationships estranged…wish not for a love any greater than the most menial you can manage, you world of wretch fools, wish only for the almost-love of two lives living in individual parallel, afford yourself only the most meager rations of affection, for in love you accommodate the presence of things which, come their inevitable absence, leaves behind a phantom copse, a heart deforested, the cavities in canopy crowded by the clearings from a most copious fell, and rather you see the trees or through them, the forest, you still find your gaze falling upon some recession of soul, some encroaching of void, some limbo of the two, something made of too much nothing, a castoff of was-once, a sea flotsam-strewn with memory, space so full of empty-space, like a shell in the after-years of an oyster removed, a shell that forgets it ever harbored a something, a shell that knows only the residual emptiness from the missing something it has forgotten, and this is how we know a shell to be. A shell remains; a shell of me. A restituteless shell, a space that is no longer a space at all, and is now known by what it has lost – defined by it, filled with it, essential and necessary to it, in some profound phenomenological way, and this place left as but a shell is some craven child of loss, some bastard perversity of life left-behind, and thus can justly, only, and most aptly be described as some near a-thing to hell. So wish only for the least of love. The love of circumstance…of poverty and hardship, of unattractive or undesired souls settling for they equal, of small towns and antiquated sects, of countries old-world or third-world, of the marital arrangements begotten of social constraint, of pragmatic merger…for the loss of these lesser loves is a loss less inevitable, and in any case, it is a lesser-love to being with, thereby its loss is a loss less vicious. Thus, let your love be as adulterate and surface as that between the royal, or the deeply religious.

Wish for these lesser loves. Wish for love tempered with depravity, covettry, lust and lewdity, apathy, avarice, sycophants and fickle-fancy. Ask for these adulterated likenesses of love or ask for none at all. Because the best of love will ruin the heart and leave little left of the soul. The star-crossed kind of love, the truest and purest of love, will ruin the heart once happy with all the extra room left behind when it fades, fails or is taken away. A single-occupant space we all have in the dawn of heart, is space we first see as but room for one to stretch their legs, all the emptiness not yet known to be emptiness, but merely some extra room to move around. Never having is never knowing that something hasn’t been had, but having and losing is never knowing how we ever thought we ever once had…how we could have could have ever thought there was a fullness to the empty spaces to start with, those spaces now full of the emptiness never-before obvious, never knowing again what it was like to feel complete in a space so devoid, but remembering the vague, vacant notion that it was, indeed, a thought we’d once had.

Above all things ask not for that.

You, oh world of depravity, deplorable and immoral fiends, lovers and brothers and villains and thieves, of vengeance and vigilantes, of loss and absence and the profoundly empty. The space left in the wake of love is a burdenous thing, like a shadow heavier than that from which it is cast, following at our coattails always, and without the reprieve noon-time lapse, and if there is not a love that lasts, ask not for the best of love, which in its recesses leaves the best of gaps.

Ask not for the best of love because – with both the best of love and the less – love is like the lunar-tethered tide, eventually doomed to recess…and if this be true of both the lesser likes of love and, of that, also the best, then hope only for the less. The greatness of love is equal to the greatness of its recess. So ask not for a love that is life-changing, world-stopping, heart-racing, soul-completing, ask not for love at its apex, ask not for its best, for that is a love, ourselves from which, we must strive to protect. The perfect love is the love we must reject. Because love lost – love’s aftermath – is not more favorable than some love never had. It is as ludicrous to make this claim as it would be to say it is better to have fallen to your death after a free-base jump from a bridge than to have never made the reckless and ridiculous decision to jump, to begin with.

Because the lack of love at its best is a presence we haven’t room for, a force without arrest; it is an obtrusion one can never remove, diminish or retract. So ask not for a love like that. It is an agony of memory, a cavity, a gap. And the lack of it becomes more consuming than stuff of it ever had. Do not be a fool, wishing for the best of love, for even the best of love cannot last. And in the wake it shall leave only the best of gaps.

Ask not for love that leaves more behind than ever it brought. Ask not for a love that gives in finite, but infinitesimally retracts.

Be not the mortal of fool of mid-summers. Ask not for anymore than you can space in double to give back. Ask not for the best of love. Oh, lest your soul be left in shells, as not for more than you can someday survive in-lack. So ask not for true love. mortal can recover for the loss of love unbridled…I beseech you, take this on fact.

Ask not for true love, the best of love, the most of love, because you will not survive its lack.

Thus, you must refuse it always, and never wish it upon your fellow, even your worst of enemies. Wish not for oneself or others a love from which you cannot recover. Wish not for the best of love, it shall not last. Only its absence will follow you, and it will be an albatross to follow you always, an apparition upon the heart, a heft, a weight, a whittled space, ever grim and ghast. 

So ask not for true love…Alas, do not ask.

Ask not for a love like that.

Heed wisely the love you take upon yourself as your heart’s repast. Do not take a portion greater than you can return two-fold, the debt that we all shall owe, once and whence that love has been annulled. Do not take on a presence in-heart greater than you can afford to detract, greater than the degree of loss you can survive when the presence becomes an absence, someday…as it will be a taxing subtraction…leaving behind an absence greater than ever was the love, the amount of love by measure, by volume, weight, and mass…and in equivalency to the love partaken, twice-so shall be the space left vacant….the lapse of love twice the weight of love itself….the loss ever more vast, always an absence twice in-mass. If love shall not last, do not wish upon yourself the worst degree of its lapse.

And alas, first you’d be wise to wish for the world’s eternal focus of anger and hate than to seek out your true soul mate. Ask not for the most powerful of love, perfect and innate. Ask first for war and famine and hate before you damn yourself to a soul-mate. Ask not for any more than the least of love. Ask not, at least, for it’s best. Ask not for a great love – if not love lasts. Ask not for the truest of love, the love of soul-mates, of media de mi naranjas, of besherits, of fate. Ask not for that one, true love, that tender trist…that havoc state of soul-mate, an attachment so infinite and unsurpassed.

Ask not for true love, deep love, everlasting love, love that lasts...

Ask not for that.

If you must ask for love,

Above all, ask not for a love like that.

--Erin Wheeler--

Child Bride, Betrothed by Tacit Shameful Tithes

  • This is a short musing I wrote during this last Winter Solstice, during the Lunar Eclipse. It was free-writing, meaning I didn't stop to worry about sentence structure, grammar, or even making sense. It creates a much more raw, innate appeal in my writing when I do it that way. It's rough but it's interesting. It was just something I did to get all those pesky words out of my head. It skips around, hitting on more topics than just the solstice and the lunar eclipse; it goes into string theory and quantum mechanics here and there, because I was studying M-theory at the time, and it was all rattling around inside my mind. And I'm sure some of it is just pretty nonsense.
 Child Bride Betrothed by Tacit Shameful Tithes

Oh What Tacit Shameful Tithes Shall Betroth our Infant ivory orb with this Ill-Season?
The quarks and strings have forgotten to pluck the fruit from the limbs of trees so slacken with the bloated sugar-pulp of the ripest fruit in clustered galaxy or threads and sparks in shivering frenzy smaller than eye can see, and only in just such a way until some one's watching, and then it'll be every way but where some bare witness to the quantum fray. But the fruit bears a bite far too young in this night of betrothal in our fair equinox.
Like a feral child without sustenance for days, the solstice comes like a Bedouin's laggard mare trembling beneath the weight of sand always slacken in desert dune land and a charge atop thinking himself fit to wed the moon, ensorcelling the last of sweet light from her laudious rouge, and bequeath himself as her untimely bridegroom.

A tender, timid Luna, would some way be made know to me, some way to bemuse the eccentricities of orbit and polar tilt on our own axis and then you might be cherub sweet in the days that follow, our virgin-white frost-light saucer betwixt and enrapturing us in the lunar pull of ocean swell and swoon.

But the bachelor so debased who has refused to wait a few years pace will come to wed his babe-moon in the shadows silence of solstice tonight.

Far from gentle, patient farmers, and lent to seem the ravenous, rabid wills of fetid forest creature who has but a meager meal of chestnut and holly upon which to survive the unforgiving white-fall of tundra-thickets from lying afoot the disgrace of a night both darker and longer than it has been measure to be for some great craven-sum of many, many centuries.

How have the gods and great worlds become such poor farmers?

They eat the fruit of sapling tree and grind at the sopping gristle, the budding crescent of infant-fruit, jaundiced where the air singes the crevices and cavities left by the noxious salvation and nosh-chomps of fair-fruit plucked too soon in season to be bled for nectar and shucked for saccharine flesh.

Let the babes be bitter, chalky bulbs blesses to be upon mother bow until they ripen fully, until they are throbbing with shiny-rind, like a woman late with child will sometimes find her belly skin.

The luxen glean of buddlings engorged til they burst with sun-glut suppleness, swimming beneath pulled-to-shine rinds the sugars-swill of a man rewarded for patience and shrewdness of will.

He let the blossoms bloom to buddlings, and the buddlings grow to orbs, and the orbs became a bloated and bulbous harvest of sun-drunk citrus, branches buckling beneath the heavy globe of summer-courted strawberries and June-seduced blooms crowning the brow of apples and plums and peaches and all that which is ripe and ready when left alone until properly-sunned.

What season is this that the moon is sought for betrothal when yet since last the solstice came it was not long enough, and a bitter buddling is still our infant moon in the eon of time since then.

She ages on a pace much more bedrazed and withdrawn than do the smoke-cloud lives of human should ever hope to achieve, just a trickle of smoke upon the breathe of a Bedouin in the lonely Negev, upon an ass that tremors under the wait of his charge, the chivalrous cad.

That is the man who comes to ask the hand of our fair moon, and alas, her dowry is only a bit of iron ore at her molten core, and I am sure in this ill-fated season of axial tilt and polar precession at the perigee of perennial posturings, and foul is this brute we'll come to know as the bastard son who takes our Luna in the swift of night under the shadow of our back-turned cloak plume and a disgrace is he who turns cold and knowing and pallid all that is blushing and foolish and naive, for let her have -- before her summer comes to claim her -- let her know the bows of ancient arbors in the nursery of her orchard garden, to sup on sun and sweet soil, to grow in the lands for length where the roots beseech to river for water and the daytime for yellow bleary-bright sunlight, and let the buds want for not as they grow sweet with the late turn of summer season, only then robbing the bejeweled trees of ripe-limbed orchards, who have farmers decent enough to know that the sun and soil are the life of the plucked buddling.
And they will be so little a thing one can eat that if they are plucked indeed too soon out of impatience or deviance or a heart hungry and therein cruel, the flesh will be like the pulp of wet paper before it is sheeted and pressed to page-mesh, and the anxious man who weds the world too soon will be applaud upon his first night as groom when he betakes upon some new limb the fruit that withers in the waning night from the dusk-hour she was betrothed to her benefactor who chews the wax pulp of the bitter babe-fruit as though upon its cradle limb it had already plumped with some viscous decadence, as though the bulb of tender bloom had some delectable resolve upon the pallet, the mouth and teeth at resolve to take their bride come worst what may, and so they chew and chew the baby fruit the way vacuous livestock chew hay, the husband of fair moon will taste the bitterness of what he plucked too soon, doubt be not at that facet I think, but that he will falter when the greenness and unreardness of the flavor betray their pretense of indulgence and they will wish the soil had yet nursed this sapling a season's more.

They will wish the plow plundered fodder had fed the wife more befit to be a daughter until summers-age she had reached and peached.

But the moon is no nectarine, and the celestial canopy is not the bow that bears its weight.

It plumps upon the flaxen seams of gravity and entropy and relativity, and thus it is not something that can so soon be a centuries fair maid, but needs the adolescence of a hundred years more, before the eclipsing aperture of a closing door or heavy eyelids or paling daylight, come to shepherd luminous Luna into the dilation of time til the night is sworn endless till dawn breaks in slothful slow and grave restrained, and with the terrible elongation of the emptiness of vacuous nocturnal-solstice then reminded of the malice are again by the child of whom a mother tree once thought she would be privy to see the babe's long year-near bloom on branch-and-bow of her one plume and when she was plucked, a matron-orb she thought she'd nurse her to be, but a child-bride buddling wed and to a man plucking babes to suit his belly, well, disillusion grips the trip and sours the ciders when the fruit is taken from cradle canopy instead of waiting til they riped steady upon a limb in only gentle breeze may they be flustered in the worlds rhythmic tantivy.

Solstice summons us this night. Will the man too hungry to wait to wed in summer-come be so famished he can't stop at just one, but eats the arbor's bounty in the virgin days of bitter-wax buddling fruit when no sweet juice has come to fragrance the pulp, and will they just keep chewing their cud, like a Bedouin's meager mule, or a lot of cows who twice satiate pallet as they go about gnawing the bitter bulb of sap and their gut and rumens there-lower will curse the fruit and blight from it's sour but they shall chew until even the twiddled core has nothing left to plant for seed and thus, all that shall be of the winter bride-fruit is in the belly of those who from the dwindle-thin limbs did still without blanching at the sin prematurely drew the bud-fruit from limb and alas, as it is gnawed upon in utter repulsivity as though it holds some fruit, I can only but seethe and rue that alas all that shall be fostered of that child-bride is now not what seeds but what already last-yule grew.

Nothing from the tooth-whittled core can be salvaged, and nothing from the maize of mush in the mouth that chew will ever don the infant bud hue that was robed from the world on this night of petulant perigee.

Until morrow brings some more gradient of a week ahead in time that will come to pass and bring with slug-quest pace the return of the moons full efface and the correctness of the hour's length and nightfall's incandescent pallor will return again I know, once healed from the vows to her betrothed, and until this nocturnal destitution of wet and frozen wastelands passes over some blood never painted upon our earth's door, until the solstice sires our nightlight moon for his be-wed maiden who he shall kiss upon the alter of all the starry night in the heavens still a season's shy of harvest
for we are still stuck on the grand unification of everything but we're quelling it with quantum mechanics.

And either way it goes, governing god or a galaxy of unfeeling flux and probability, it is still the chapel of the night, our sky, which we cast our face up towards in dismal hope we shall find some meager reward, and we wish our tender worries upon the first star we see shivering brilliantly right back, and I don't particularly have anything I need and lack, so if I had only the blushen aura of the moon and the frenzy-swift ebbing of the hour to carry me through the solstice nuptials then I'm certain I'd have nothing with which to feel so encumbered, and yet I feel oppressed by this utter black and extra hour, and the time and vexing void of midnight in a truth I never knew it, has shamed me for what fears I may have harbored before it, for nothing is more wicked than the bridegroom of winter pillaged and lunacy be-wed to the frozen-defender, the foul and wicked groom who fondled the fair fruit before her bloom.

In the solstice tiding comes wakes of blackness so devoid it almost becomes a world its own...a world of what may have been by isn't, what should have been but will never be, what will surely become of us if linger, what will become of light in such blackness it leeches the world like the blight blessed-light and from this leprosy upon the day's delight the celestial sphere quivers in gradient of blanch, stark, all enrapturing dark, and when dawn and day's reclusive sun seem at last to be of no more, to have been never at all, to have been a mistake of mind, a wish of heart to star-fleck in tar-pitch of night like a ghost of the splendorous luster hey once hadn't trembled or blanched to muster, but meager is the light of far-off photons so old the shine those penlights show somber is but a ghost reflection of stars and planetary bodies that are likely no longer, just the ghost of photons traveling light years between stars that were in their youth and.

By the time we see those child stars with our eager eyes, the light carried to us has likely arrived when the star from which it came has long since imploded or simply faded away.
The starlight we see speaks of youth in the heavens above, but the light we receive from young stars aloft is now, in truth, ghost light from a-now old, old celestial body, waiting to die.
We see the star's golden years when they have, in reality, long since lost the good fight of nuclear fusion.
We see the stellar bodies in the heaven aloft as alive and well, though many have already turned cold and dead and small and dense, like a coal scattered far from kindled flame.

Even our sunlight is 8 minutes old. 186,000 miles per second squared is fast enough that everything else old; everything going slow enough to be matter rather energy -- particle rather than wave -- is an ancient specter of its previous self by the time our eyes are made privy to it.

Even Proxima Centauri -- only 4.2 light years away -- is 4.2 years older than it appears. It might even be gone already, and we'd have years yet to see it go.

But the winter solstice is more honest than any other night, as it is the darkest and the longest of the year.

And the darkness -- unlike light -- is new and real and now.

Hard and metallic and embers flickering dim in failing fission. when night is so long and ensnaring that the siren song of nothingness harks that light and day and the blessed sun were not of truth but were the pitiful tales of drunkards pipe dreams and the fears of night-washed world turned their back on science, without light to see, to observe, to test, to repeat.

The quarks won't let you get a good look anyway, so the final frontier was a bust in light or lapse, but we tried to be good sports about it and let them flux in phase and in ways thought impossible in the light of day and reason, we tried to catch them as they mad their move about the maps, like a child who hopes to catch her doll becoming animated and alive as soon as she leaves the room or falls asleep...a common wonder for a child, but when night befalls day for all time all adulthood is lost.

We are all these creatures, so traumatized, terrified, quivering, quixotic, dramatic, superstitious and ridiculous, we are all these children of ridiculous phobias that grip us and taunt us in the blackest, longest nights, and will not forsake our trembling enthrall until the day-shine bleats out the unreasoned, elucidates the absurdity of religion.
It exposes the shadows in childhood bedrooms that haunt us at nighttime -- shadows without furniture or object seeming to cause or cast them, creeping eerily and untethered along the wall.
These things are vanquished by day and sequestered by the solstice nights.
But I have lived with them all my life, even summer days tasted of some flavor I knew as fright.And when on winter long and withdrawn the world is lost to darkness, reverent of the old hymns and fable and folklore, then true as black be the absence or absorption of all visible light, believe this for certain, when the night takes the scientist and draws from him some child's tale or dogma's lore, know that it is certain and sure, the solstice and perigee of our depravity --of mind and method-- the lore is the wedding's maiden of honor, and she will be elegant and beautiful and don't think that proof -- the lore is the opiate of the niches, the scholars, the bards and dons and deans, the pedagogues and provosts and prodigies, and when this becomes a home for lore, the solstice frozen-night has won his child bride, and wed her as his whore.
The quantum flux is bemind to such things, so long as no one's measuring much. So we won't count the apples that fell from the tree, just the ones that become cider, and surely that's the closest thing we have mustered to being an outsider to our own trivial corporeal reprieve, which is but a breathe of air and upon the world's exhale, you become the smoke that bleeds from the pallet and tongue as thick as burdock's blightless in the sun until it hits the infinity coaxing it in all directions and becomes a diminutive fleeting echo of a ghost-gray pleated gust of satin smoke like ivy growing own along the invisible trellis arching from the foaming murky fodder of the human mouth.

A life is long so long as is an inhale of noxious sweet cigarette.

And long though you loan it in your lungs you must exhale before CO2 builds up, and thus, the smoke diffuses to attempt to fill the void in which our canopy of dense tropospheric gases cradle us as though we are always the infant to the ancient sages of celandine spheres in their Sisyphean revolve, as though always were it the days of blessed spring, and every Jovian globe and barren frozen ball alight in the universe is not only twirling in some jubilant parade but also the spin upon themselves, lackadaisically and unsteady, like toddlers around a ribbon-spun maypole.

Like children we are indeed until the day the world bestows the death-reprieve, but more so behave the celestial this season than do we mortals make name for ourselves as belligerent fawns or fledglings.

We would never deprave our sweet Luna, who's face shall never turn away.

A firm-rind and bitter waxen plush tells the haste-rioted orchard worker that the fruit he nurses upon has been weened from bow and branch too soon, and the ashen tuft they chew threw in the infantile fruit is all the natural proof one should need.

The night grows taciturn but the moon beams tandem on, despite her sweet disquiet.

The luxen-flushed Luna, the child bride betrothed to apses and orbit and gravity (the weak force, they call him, and thus he already feels vindicated in his vendetta, and alas there is little to be done, save for the vacuum of worlds where feathers from a robins breast falls in line and time with a dense red brick.

There's no real trick, but always there is a tug-of-war so wicked that if the poor moon should be seduced by the celestial moorlands far beyond her ellipse, she should eventually fall and slip, and well -- while not really a fall -- it would definitely be a slip, and soon she'd loose the tether of her repugnant husband planet. The winter solstice ushers in our ashen moon, and she sulks beneath the saturnine gown she dons to wed her groom. But soon she will cower in the sway of season, giving herself in disdain; she pales at the site of her bridegroom, and in a fevered trembling submission she is seized....

For lunacy drives the principality of royal December, who claims for himself a celestial
kingdom. He enjoys the spoils of war; his frost black fingers eclipsing the innocent ivory orb.

Fair Luna, so frail is she; to his servitude she is lent, listlessly.

The sickly shivering solstice-moon yields to tyrant gloom, and swiftly she is taken.

Tender, tainted moon; she who was married to ice and night too soon.
--Erin Wheeler--