Symmetry of Venom

January 22, 2008
By Marissa Miller, Montreal, ZZ

Her thoughts traveled in labyrinths, in synchrony with the wind that carried her back home. It seemed as if the streets lay lifeless, as if their sole function was to cover the skeleton that lay beneath the concrete.

Steaming black tea glided down, and peeled the membrane off her throat.
Someone once told her rhyming was dead, so she opted to begin writing liberally. Unstructured, unrefined, and perhaps the unthinkable - her dreams. Dreams were of no meaning her and nothing to anyone else, either. They merely served to start a conversation, or to venomously terminate it. This ongoing ambivalent relationship she had with poetry failed to provide her with any stability whatsoever. With this newfound inability to stably conduct herself, she remarked an apparent pattern of objects that lay inanimate, in the way of everything, scattered across her bedroom. Every time an unbalanced force caused her room to sway like the waves of a seesaw, she couldn’t bear to acknowledge the uncanny resemblance to her Self. She had 20 by 20 feet of free space to stow away trivial trinkets and souvenirs, on this tiled floor weighed down by burdens, and filled to the brim with electronic nuisances. She stripped her room until a pile of books, makeup and clothes created a fortress in her backyard lawn. Walls bear, windows naked, door unhinged, she could finally go to sleep.

What connotes a true writer? The ability to fall in love with words, discover they’re c***, destroy the evidence, and start all over. She never had the motivation for that last part. Tiny detail, she thought.

If Freud thinks dreams are wishes, maybe I could come up with something of valor, she pondered to herself, as the hissing of the wind whispered eulogies to her windowpanes that lay shattered, tears of glass scattered, all in the name of Symmetry on the ground. She longed to be eternally remembered for her theories, to be quoted in essays, discussed at classy cocktail parties and spoken of with high acclaim. She dreamed big, in proportion to the lack of means she had of attaining them. Every syllable, every letter, and every composition in her portfolio she wrote, she believed, was in preparation for her Nobel Prize speech.

As these juvenile thoughts filled her cluttered mind, little did she know she awaited her demise.

“Occupation?” they asked her.
“I paint with words. I speak in colour, and I write in fire.”

Her personal living space had now been purified, rid of all infection and disease. Feeling this new tingly balance and self-awareness, her legs no longer teetered with every step, and her brain ceased to swivel like a rotating planet with every delicate thought. Her throat now took in more oxygen than it was accustomed to. She felt each disk of her vertebrae extend their warmth to her limbs when she danced. Purity, balance, symmetry.

The “outside world,” as the “outsiders” called it, disgusted her. She thus opted to conceal her bland, white walls with her own paintings; still life of Apples and Pineapples, gym shorts, rusty, gray cars. She previously didn’t believe she genuinely created art, but garbage; a miscellany of random colours that essentially composed nothingness. Peering out her empty windowsill, tears poured like rain in a tropical forest and moistened her destroyed paintings on the ground. A revelation overcame her with intensity; she felt a burning compulsion to salvage those paintings. They were the asset to her sanity. Art, as she finally grasped, is the manifestation of the extra-ordinary functions of ordinary objects. On her flight out the window, she contemplated the weight those paintings bore, yet grew shocked at their silence when they collided with the asphalt. She stuck by the “Apple a Day” rule religiously, yet extremely reflexively, never actually appreciating the magnitude of their contributions to the world. She wore cotton blue shorts to absorb perspiration while she used her body for all it was worth, yet never gave credit to that thin sheet of material that acted as a fence from the public eye to her private parts. She hopped in an ordinary car every day that took her from Point A to Point B, mechanically, as if her own body operated on a gas tank as well. With this new sense of clarity, she began to theorize. Apples are noticed when their sweetness fills a hungry stomach or their horridness exudes rotting smells, a cue of which to dispose them. Gym shorts, as she realized, do not grow in harmonization with the human body; they are inert and unresponsive to weight fluctuation. Slightly run-down automobiles will finally come into the spotlight when their horn sends critical warnings to other drivers, or their engines fail on someone in a hurry to get to work. Artistic flair is the ability to reveal overlooked roles that luxurious-items-turned-basic-necessities perform. She felt relieved to hear a trustworthy friend reassure her that all her efforts were not to be disregarded. She thanked her own mind for those uplifting words.

She could write thousands of words about a pair of shoes with holes at their soles, describing their life story in chapters, their struggles, their triumphs and journeys. The eccentricities that differentiated her between the average person, drenched her body with an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. Knowing that she was able to see a sparkle in a rock covered in dust, gave her the incentive to leave all but her paintings outside. Hopefully that’s what it takes to win the prize. Until then, she’ll dream.

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