i think i know i think i know
i saw it, i think i really saw it.
i never told you, i always told them everything.
never punctuate - i fly, i have wings but you can't see them.
don't come in two's but by the thousands
and they are not kept on our
they are somewhere else, they're all over. no, don't look.
it's clear now that i am not a person exactly but a place. some place you come to, you come to sit and lay, you stay and talk here, like a confessional in a catholic church, just a really different kind of holy.
growing up i would always lie during the sacrament of penance. i was never honest inside those tiny confessionals. not because i was scared or very guilty of something but because i didn't know why not to or how. why true? what did god want with my sins?
fuck it, i kept them wrapped around my tiny fingers. i couldn't remember, let alone fathom not sinning. ten years old, i couldn't even process what it was exactly, sure, they'd try and try to teach me, i just didn't understand. just what wasn't a sin? it seemed like not much. seemed like not anything at all. but this i didn't mind. everything there happened too quickly to make any sense, anyway.
i remember choosing between the heavy cloth and a grid-like screen to separate the priest and i. this decision seemed important. i usually chose the screen, like maybe i was braver if i chose the screen. it validated all of my made up sins somehow, i was still able to see the priests green or purple robes through the very small holes and still smell his holy churchy aftershave. we were all subtly urged to whisper.
the compartments, like wooden photo booths, lined the walls along the sides of our church near marble statues that i liked to touch when no one was looking. i had trouble with how hard the things here groped for beauty. you can't do it this way, with their stained glass windows and elevated alter. the priests all delicately robed and holding up books and bread, whispering words to them. this isn't how it works and i knew it. things were dirty and things were evil, skin always beats marble and it always beats glass. but there were still songs we sang in church that made me cry, songs that sounded exactly like reaching like mad for something bigger, my eyes would fill up and drip for the people that sang with their eyes closed and for the sound. i still memorized the prayers and said them right and closed my eyes and folded my hands and tried to find the god we were told to get on our knees for. i was just gone, is all, learning things they didn't care to know. so in the end, it just seemed best to lie.
even through the screen the priest usually knew it was me. he knew me by name and he knew my life. this made it worse. things would just plop automatically out of my mouth without warning. yes, i had been bad, yes, i had pushed my little brother -- hard. and okay i stole bubblegum from a bodega, or ten dollars from my mother, i kicked a kid in my class just for the fuck of it. i fudged a lot of facts and a lot of numbers. this was much safer.
i wasn't like the other kids i knew or the teachers or the priests.
i watched water
& made gravel move with my eyes. i did this for minutes and hours and days and years.
i watched people that were there for me only, they would languidly visit my little existence. they never asked me my sins and i never asked them theirs. sometimes they'd touch all the wings. they'd tell me about the lines we draw between real good and real evil. i wondered things like just what did crows do exactly to warrant their dark symbolisms besides eat the dead? we'd all walk and talk alone, together. i'd pick up used stubby cigarettes off the ground and smoke them absently. i'd think about sickness and death and how to share human grittiness, the things people ran from with their eyes closed. i reached always, for everything. just not the things everyone else was reaching for. i learned things about places inside people that they had never traveled to, i touched finally the edges of all the meanings of sin and what it was to be human but more importantly how many of them would do anything to deny all the facts.
at the end of confession the priest would make the sign of the cross over me with his hand, sideways, palm out, and only then was i absolved. absolution. but no different.
maybe i should have chosen the cloth instead or told the truth, whatever that was, i should have hid my wings better or stayed on the ground. i saw it, i know i saw it. i see it still.