For Maria. Thank you for the title. The final line of this poem was inspired by the line “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt” from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. The found poetry elements of this visual art piece were created from pages torn out of Amber Smith’s The Way I Used to Be.
Full view of visual art piece How to Get Utterly Lost.
How to Get Utterly Lost
1. LOG IN TO FACEBOOK
Find yourself bombarded by invitations
to trivia nights, walk-a-thons, morning yoga
classes at breweries you will ‘like’ but not attend,
and selfies taken at places on your bucket list
by people who can fly international while
you’re budgeting grocery runs and rent payments.
It’s like my entire world revolves around
worrying how many
likes until I’m
2. SCROLL THROUGH YOUR NEWSFEED
Witness friends ignite comment crusades
in the name of politics, latch onto flaws in typed
arguments the way felines on Scythian daggers
latch onto the jugulars of ungulates.
- - -
Watch these same friends share profound joys:
zoomed-in photos of engagement rings
on hairy knuckles, of fetuses reclining in wombs.
(Do not be offended if you aren’t invited to celebrate
these milestones. Remember, real friends don’t bother
with formalities; they point out blueberry seeds
wedged between your teeth.)
3. AVOID ALL RESPONSIBILITY
*See steps 1 and 2
Rip out the page
of communication these days
• Leave dishes soaking and laundry unfolded to read
articles like “18 Things Only Professional Nappers Will Understand.”
(a title crafted to make you believe it was written just for you)
• Salivate over Tasty videos on how to make
anything with unnecessary amounts of cheese
• Cry over before and after photos of dogs nursed back to health,
over footage of troops who surprised their families back home.
4. POST A STATUS
that hints at your loneliness, begs to be addressed:
What are the saddest words you’ve ever been told?
You can’t sing…so, don’t.
You were a chore to be with.
I don't cry. Not anymore.
how cyberspace can foster vulnerability,
yet shield against human interaction.
I don’t mean just sex.
I’m not saying your tongue needs to meet
the wildness in another person’s body.
There is more than flesh against flesh.
I don’t have the words for it right now,
but when you find them, mail them
to me at P.O. Box 032293 so I can read
them before bed, imagine he’s up there
whispering them to me.
So please, please
one more time
probably more than you even know.
Have you ever felt alone in a crowded room?
Think of those who sit in waiting room corners
with phone screens shedding dull light on their faces.
Think of those who stand in packed elevators
where the only sound is the ding of the bell
as they ascend, echoing that we are all so lonely,
clinging to our loneliness in purple-blue darkness
the way we yearn to be held by one another.
Loneliness is not a mood, it's a wound.
A letter, dated the 28th of May (the year I realized H.O.P.E. was an acronym):
If you’ve made it this far, you are
as Oscar Wilde once said, Utterly, irrevocably, lost.
Think Eurydice’s eyes when Orpheus turned
and met her gaze over his lyre/ and their hands
slipped/ and their voices broke/ and their bodies
were cursed/ catapulted to opposite realms
like magnets of the same polarity.
Yes, Reader. Lost like that.
So here’s your last chance to take it all back:
6. BURN THIS NOTE, AND ALL THE OTHERS.
When the elevator doors open to the sound of the last bell,
take off your shoes. Follow the dirt and stained glass
path until your heels crack. Until your soles bleed.
Until you meet me underneath the willow tree in that place
where Vonnegut says everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.