The human machine: displaced, misplaced, replaced. Placed.

The disk was not ejected properly. Please make sure the disk is ejected before removal to avoid damage to the disk.

Our electronics are fragile. The computer. The harddrive. Wired for obsolescence. One false move: gone. Don’t click the triangle before you unplug it. Before you yank (hard) on the cord, before you remove its source of power, energy (lifeblood) and irrevocable damage could result.

It might never be the same again.

We humans, we people, we complex, we living, we breathing organisms with our sturdy flesh, our running blood are supposed to be made of stronger stuff. We are supposed to be malleable, adaptable. Babies are not ejected before removal.

There is no transition process.

These past two weeks, I was Away. The first week, I spent at residency at Goddard College where I am undertaking the fourth and (if all goes well, if all goes as planned, if those are the same thing) final semester of my MFA. As always, Goddard was a pressure cooker of creativity, a glitter-filled cauldron of human creatures who spent the week percolating together. Thinking, speaking, writing (not always in that order) making more of themselves and each other than they had before and taking away so many things none of us expected. I wrote pages and pages. Torn pages, coffee-stained pages, pages I will never show another soul, pages that were ejected (there’s that word again) into the ether before I had a chance to think otherwise. Into ears from which I can’t retrieve them. If I wanted to. If I knew to. So many words and thoughts I haven’t unpacked yet.

There isn’t a laundry machine for those. They’ll wash themselves, in time. Hang me out to dry.

The second week, I spent in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine. My family rented a cottage in Bar Harbor, a lovely seaside thing with ocean spray at our faces and mountains at our backs. We made much of the place. Every day, I threw my body to the rocks, the sand, the sea and let my mind fly above and around me, from the tiniest stones beneath my sturdy-booted feet to the endless, azure sky where peregrine falcons soared and called to the creatures below, “we mean no harm to you” (snakes and mice excepted, but we are none of those except from a certain altitude). We hiked miles every day that we didn’t ride bikes or sail through the harbor and drank cocktails on the porch before seafood dinners every evening. My mind, my soul was washed with sea surf, salt and air so clean it stung my lungs, the blisters on my unaccustomed ankles. Bar Harbor is such a place: I breathe in and something loosens between my collarbones that I didn’t know was tightened. Something releases and I am cleansed.

And now, with only the yellow highway lines to guide me back to the place I came from, the place I was from and will be from no matter how hard I struggle away, I came.

My first soliloquy on a stage not surrounded by scholastic walls was an excerpt from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. I burned it on my brain, every word. One line comes to mind, now:

You should not rest between the elements of air and earth, but you should pity me.

Please eject before removal to avoid damage to the disk.

 

To avoid damage. Eject. Unless you are a human machine. Take no such precaution. We are fleshy and thus invincible, unless we’re not.

Unless we’re not.

(But you should pity me).

What rest I found between the elements, within the elements so loosely sewn beneath my skin, inhaled into my lungs and burred there, I hold onto with the insides of my hands.

 

To avoid damage to the disk.

 

Please eject properly. 

 

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