In Tolmisonlia

They offer a special consolation: it comes in every flavor, dripping from the kitchen faucet to the bottom of the ocean floor; it is the only one of its kind, kindly intended, a kind of death, yet no death at all. In words in a field in an arena in a court in concert in mourning in morning in a moment without warning, they understand so much they double over the understanding I understand, as if a reminder of this far off place is only four words away. They tell me it is better than the end because it is better off better off than dead. In the slur of a span of four words, it’s only a denial of a song unremembered, a play-date under rain, a ticket incinerated, a pear rotting slowly, a joker slouching unsmiling on a couch at the end of only a matter of time before one more thing is only one more thing. It is the only thing I do not want to hear, and it is not the gold paving stones against my ears, or especially the ones beneath my aching feet; it’s only a never-ending story until it’s only an always-ending hurt. Where? I ask. Where, over and over, it’s only a reference point I need to make sense of what they told me is me or, at the very least, a semblance of my life. They told me this more than they could say, those drunken seers, who I tend to believe in spurts of eternity.  They told me how, until I howled where! They told me: it’s only a game, between pools of play and tears; it’s only a toy, plastic forever but not in my mind; it’s only a dog between my banal love and antique hairballs; it’s only a mistake I could only make like anyone else; it’s only an infatuation with a mentally-mutated idea passing as a would-be lover; it’s only a shirt under it’s only a glass of a wine; it’s only a sprain; it’s only a dream; it’s only a nightmare; it’s only a name; it is only sex; it’s only a book; it’s only a scrape; it’s only a scratch; it’s only a two-hour drive; it’s only in my head; it’s only a child’s pain; it’s only one night; it’s only a disease; it’s only the dentist’s; it’s only a cough; it’s only a bug; it’s only a joke; it’s only a matter of time, not one at a time. In the mirror, where they softly told me it’s only how to live on, they told me simultaneously it will all be okay. They told me this because it is the truth, eternal as a vampire, with no reflection, nowhere in a mirror world. In that they told me it’s only one way, I cannot help but believe. It’s only that sometimes I cannot steel myself with unyielding ephemerality; ephemerality instead steals me away like all these only things. I am lost in all this losing, a poorer man than any, a vagrant soul who knows it’s only a life like any other, frilled or fraying. They told me it’s only a change. I will get used to it; I will live, because it is only a life.


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