The sleepiness of today is marked by my affinity to stare placidly at nothing in particular—including but not limited to the computer screen, my soft black boots, the whited walls of my inferiority, and the hopeless wonder of my future. Life becomes a series of musts and nevers—a pendulum of yes and no. The ticking of my clock sways with each heaving sigh. A spatula in the road forked by life’s quizzical infinities—it’s never as simple as the compass pointing due north toward the shredded wheat that we are told never to eat. So, my eyes look to the sun marring the horizon line of my heart. The glow of its wonder leaves my mind to turn over your words again and again—in a Ferris wheel of possibilities—life’s sweet stomach-churning, butterflied mess that I never want to tidy up. Instead, I let it clutter the surfaces of my heart and mind, which arguably are one in the same. The mind, the center of a man or woman, is the lodging of both logic and love; there is time and space enough for each to make its residencies permanent. So, I let the slicing pendulum slow its whetted pace to a dull passing. The austere dichotomies of monochromatic love engender the maladies of my conundrum’d heart. Black. White. Tis not so simple, for I “doth protest too much” as Gertrude insists is annoying, and I tend to agree with the good woman. But still…as Hamlet reassures his mother, “she’ll keep her word.” And so, I do—I keep my word locked away in life’s endless timepiece where there is plenty of space. There is room enough for variants of grey in the black and white world of my sleepy youth. There is room enough for a clock that no longer ticks or tocks. There is room enough for reason and passion. There is room enough—
Yesterday was blue, like smoke.
We walked through the cloud
Of the unknown, the unseen:
Matters of hope and hopelessness,
Joy and sorrow, laughter and tears;
In order to find our true purpose.
From there, we awoke
To the dawning of the sublime;
Where stars shine like beacons,
Glittering the path where we break the yoke
To our past, to our struggle, to our unending night.
We are beckoned to the blaze, to stoke
The flame of red and orange and blue.
And the smoke fills this place and our lungs
With hope. Now we long for the day
When we will say: Today is this,
And tomorrow will be that.
This is what is true, this is what is spoke.
Background: The line “[y]esterday was blue, like smoke”comes from the absurd yet existential play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. This line is found at the end of Act 2 when Guildenstern and Rosencrantz discuss the change in season from summer to autumn. Rosencrantz remains on the surface with this conversation by only concerning himself with the fears of being cold in the fall and winter; whereas, Guildenstern immediately jumps to a deeper level by discussing the “browness at the edges of the day” and how “[b]rown is creeping up on [them]” as if he is completely aware that they are nearing the finality of their existence in the play (their proverbial winter). Meanwhile in the same scene, Hamlet converses with the soldier from Norway as the three schoolmates make their way to see the King of England with an official letter from the Danish King (which originally calls for the death of Hamlet; however, along their journey, Hamlet rewrites the letter to the King of England, which then calls for the immediate death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern).
Throughout the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern vainly attempt to cope with the predetermined fate (via Shakespeare’s Hamlet) of their impending death. To universalize this notion, we can consider ourselves as characters in the play of life, and like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, we are all aware of the inevitability of our own demise. Yet, we soldier on through life and act as if it (death, our necessary end) weren’t completely true or applicable to us. We attempt to find meaning in this beautiful and tragic play of life.