Vacuum

God, love, Henry and 20XX

Roman Newell
The Interstitial

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Photo by Shashank Hudkar on Unsplash.

Deaderman Prison in the middle of the desert. Left by French legionnaires. Where they keep God and Henry. The center of the spore, center of the City with a zipup road that zig-zags to the rock’s neck. It isn’t always desert. Sometimes it’s roads and granite and skyscrapers but today it’s. Desert. That’s the way of transformation. Creation bleeds when cut. The world’s a mural.

I left prison but feel the same cut-flower-pointlessness. A duck retreats to its pond. A squirrel climbs a tree. They tell me the point of living is loving, but loving feels like a pill dissolving, bitter, on my tongue. Love feels like arbitration. Obligation. Schedule and routine. People talk of love with reverence. For me it has been an empty aquarium.

Here is love to me:
solitude
the world on mute
no asking
no needing
no requiring
no requesting
leaving me alone
letting me feel what I feel in silence and not asking me about it.

These things have felt more loving than love:
a book in my prison bunk
a well-written stanza
a campfire in Iraq
a beer in Kyrgyzstan
war
physical exhaustion
leaving another relationship
moving to a new state…

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Roman Newell
The Interstitial

Busy working on my novel, 20XX. I also talk about the writing journey on Substack. romannewell.substack.com.