who caught and sang the sun in flight

the poetry and photography of casimir adiantum

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this is my personal blog, and you can see my art here.

“last week i told my mother that there are more kinds of beetles on earth than anything else, and she said that there are only more that we know of; that they are all we know with names.
the world is filled with clicking legs and rasping wings, shiny shells of soldiers in every underbrush, but that is not all it is filled with.
there is terror inside of me that has not been discovered: it is the creatures that stir in the deep where scientists dare not tread for fear they will be tested; for fear they will return to the surface and find that they have changed; for fear they will open their eyes in the dark places and see god in the absence of sight.
there never wandered any exhibitions from out the hidden jungles of the soul: those who venture there do not return, and those who dream of trying never rest.
(and i should know: i am an explorer.)
deep within the catacombs of us there are wonders we must not seek, and beasts that guard them whose names our tongues cannot strain to speak.
things are better left to beetles, to let us all become crimes without criminals, unsolved and undiscovered.
i could have left that beast to sleep unnamed, with every stone in me to rest unturned; i could have left it all to beetles, never swam down deep below the surface of my skin; never glimpsed the awful answers to all those lovely questions that i wished would never leave my lips.
were i not myself, i could have left that beast to sleep, never found him in my darkness, never stumbled on him, curled and cold and seemed so lonelylonelylonely in my darkness, and yet;
i am an explorer.
(and if my lips turn blue and broken, and my eyes grow cold and weary; if my voice dries to the rustling beetle wings of whispers: press your fingers soft against my skin: you will feel it pulse and tremble, and you will know i am not empty,
and i could not have left that beast to sleep.)”

what the beast said to its reflection | c.r. adiantum

“in the fading light of summer,
when the blackberry stains turn to bruises on your lips,
on the first day that you walk faster
when you see a familiar face in the crowd,
when your heart racing in your chest
begins to hammer out the beat to that song that makes you sick,
and all the slivers of your reflection
that you find scattered in the silver glass of the rain on the street
start to seem like puzzle pieces that form a picture of a stranger
with eyes too much like your mother’s,
in the dying light of summer,
in the old, retreating light of summer,
on the first day that you pray more fervently
because you are sure that god does not exist,
i know that you will be reborn.


may you grow fierce and holy through the pavement,
in the world that has created you,
that may yet be created by your will,
may your roots grow strong in your foundations,
and your leaves and all your flowers,
for all to see, grow swiftly, and grow stronger still.
turn skyward, little flower,
and cry out when no one sees you there.
you must know:
you will be unbent, unbroken, unscarred, unsullied, unscorned,
unafraid, unabused, unlimited, and uninhibited:
you will be all that beauty is.
beyond any speech and any sonnet,
words will fail you, but you must say them anyway:
beg the rains come and wash us clean,
call the sun come and shine us new,
sing our anger out on every new tide,
and spell out our hopes among the sparkling stars.
in that last, pale light of summer,
may your words build us a new world without fear;
may our eyes be only ever looking upward,
or on each other,
or within,
and never again with anything but infinite love.
on the day the world ends,
may it be with neither a bang, nor with a whimper:
let it be with a sigh.
(and we will all say: amen.)

kaddish for the death of the hero’s innocence | c.r. adiantum

things to do when you’re alone:

• listen to other people’s words, but don’t really hear them. hear them only if they come with music. mostly hear the music. hear it loudest the second you turn it off. let the silence win. try not to fill it with the memory of things you said a year ago. try not to think about how you can’t quite remember what her voice sounds like anymore. let the silence win.

• bite your nails down to the quick, but don’t let up even if you bleed. care more about the mess you’ve made of your black nail polish than the one you’ve made of your skin. file down the rough edges of the mess you’ve made. bite your nails again ten minutes later, and make them jagged again. don’t let up even if you bleed. try to convince yourself that your fingers are too torn up to type with. try to convince yourself not to text her anyway. don’t let up even if you bleed.

• lay awake and stare at your ceiling, but don’t think about how long it’s been the same. trace the sponge-paint clouds with your eyes like you’ve never seen them before. pretend you’re somewhere else. pretend there’s something else above you. try not to imagine her laying next to you. try not to remember her laying next to you. pretend you’re somewhere else.

• turn the pages of her favourite book, but don’t read the words. close your eyes if you have to. resist the urge to tear out pages. know it won’t rewrite your story if you cross out part of this one. try not to imagine her reading aloud. try not to think about how you can’t quite remember what her voice sounds like anymore. close your eyes if you have to.

• fold every shirt you own twice, but don’t put them away. spend twice as long unfolding them again. never get it right. throw your shirts on your floor. don’t pick them up. try not to imagine that jacket she used to wear mixed into the heap. try to forget the way it felt when you fell asleep with it wrapped around you. never get it right.

• drink the champagne without her, but don’t open the bottle yet. stop saving it for a special occasion. stop believing that you’re the kind of person who gets special occasions. tell yourself you’ll open it tomorrow. tell yourself you won’t wait longer. try to convince yourself that you won’t wait ten years if that’s how long it takes her. try to convince yourself you’re more of an alcoholic than you are still in love with her. tell yourself you won’t wait longer.

• take pills to make yourself sleep, but don’t stay in bed. keep your eyes open. watch the walls bend. listen to them hum. drown out your memories. black out before 10pm. try not to imagine her laying next to you. try not to think about how you can’t quite remember what her voice sounds like anymore, but you can’t forget the way her hands felt like on your skin. black out before 10pm.

• (dream about her anyway.)

– things to do when you’re alone - casimir adiantum
seventy percent of each of us is made up of water: there are oceans in your eyes, and rivers running through you; 
there is a wellspring in your mouth, rainclouds in the back of your mind, and your skin is sticky with salt; 
when the moon draws the tides, we are drawn along with them, a vital current in the echoing waves of everything that has ever been. 

you have less blood than i do, but no less heart, and somewhere in our thirty percent remainder, we are creatures of other things as well, of earth, and air, and fire, and other elements that have escaped being bound by name. we are perfect imperfections, cracked vessels of stardust and smoke and red clay, baked in the scorching sun, and we hold such brilliant light inside us that comes streaming out through our faultlines and our open mouths in the form of whispers and screams and songs and kisses and prayers, and sometimes as all of them at once. 

your skin, as mine, is stained with bruises that are not known to the untrained eye. there is a bruise on my heart from a girl with soft lips and beautiful eyelids, a doomed yet lasting love affair, like the last song on a scratched cd, skipping over and over again, the sound of her every silent confessional. i have many other bruises: bruises on my hands, on my throat, and on my chest; bruises on my lungs, my feet, on my lips, and on the insides of my eyes: i am more bruise than boy, and yet i have found that this is what i means to grow up in a world which has been worn rough and jagged on the edges rather than being worn smooth. 

i can see your bruises blossom like flowers no gardener would seek to sow as you tell me things from your yesterday, sewn in alongside stories from so long ago that only the vaguest details remain: there is a bruise on your hand where a notebook was once torn from it with raised voices and angry hands; a ring of bruises encircles your arms where you have been held captive by the hands of a living room tyrant who swears that these bruises are what is best for you; and there are so many others. 

where you should have been a child, an open field filled with sweet grass and daisies, you were a battleground, growing up believing that all such fields, that all such children, were only grown to be trampled in the pursuit of some twisted manifest destiny by the feet of men who would make better puppeteers than parents; men who march on peaceful landscapes and declare a war of what they call liberation, shooting down the birds for daring to get too close to the danger of the foreign stars, for daring to sing the song without the words. and on the other side of childhood, you are filled with blood-stained feathers and unfinished songs: these are your bruises too. 

like me, i know you must face the mirror each day with weary eyes, 
wondering how anyone could find room on your body for another bruise, and knowing that soon enough, someone will. 
like me, i can see you have tried everything to cover them, to keep your bruises hidden, from no one more than yourself, 
and like me, i hope that you will one day face your reflection with no fear in your brave, bruised eyes. 

i would have you see yourself as i see you now: not as damaged goods, not as something that should be bidden to heal only so that no one will see that there was an injury in the first place, but as a soldier, decorated with medals, for bravery, for loyalty, for strength; as a canvas that has been painted by clumsy hands into an unwitting masterpiece that will never be completed, but will always be beautiful; as a sword forged in a hotter fire than most, a stronger steel that endured where many would have melted away in the embers, and is emerging now razor-edged and doubly-strong. 

you are not a sad song, or a dead-end street, an unfinished poem, nor an undelivered letter. you are not a lost cause. 
if you have been blown away, it is as a spark on the wind which will someday settle on a blade of dry grass, and become a wildfire. 

i hope the people who have hurt you have trouble sleeping at night. i hope they are haunted by the sound of your confident and trembling voice when it will say goodbye, and i hope they will never forget the iron tears in your eyes on the last time they will see them before you leave. i hope you come to wear your bruises with honour, to see yourself as a human tapestry who no longer recognizes the ability of anyone left in the entire world to alter or defile you. 

i hope you remember the birdsongs that you once knew, that the thing with the feathers never relinquishes its perch within you. i hope you gather your rivers of blood, and your tidal eyes and you flood the whole world with them; you told me i was your hero, but i don’t want to save you. certainly, i would gladly come for you, would gladly pry the fingers of your birthplace away from your thin, strong arms, would gladly take your battered hand in my own, would gladly resolve with you to never look back to the horrors in our wake, but i do not want to save you: i would rather see you find the secrets of your own kryptonite and become your own hero. 

you are not only a broken thing, and you are not insignificant: 
you are the child for which every bedtime story was written, 
and it is for you that the sun has risen above the horizon again this morning;


i hope the people who have hurt you have trouble sleeping at night. 

seventy percent of each of us is made up of water: there are oceans in your eyes, and rivers running through you; 

there is a wellspring in your mouth, rainclouds in the back of your mind, and your skin is sticky with salt; 

when the moon draws the tides, we are drawn along with them, a vital current in the echoing waves of everything that has ever been. 

you have less blood than i do, but no less heart, and somewhere in our thirty percent remainder, we are creatures of other things as well, of earth, and air, and fire, and other elements that have escaped being bound by name. we are perfect imperfections, cracked vessels of stardust and smoke and red clay, baked in the scorching sun, and we hold such brilliant light inside us that comes streaming out through our faultlines and our open mouths in the form of whispers and screams and songs and kisses and prayers, and sometimes as all of them at once. 

your skin, as mine, is stained with bruises that are not known to the untrained eye. there is a bruise on my heart from a girl with soft lips and beautiful eyelids, a doomed yet lasting love affair, like the last song on a scratched cd, skipping over and over again, the sound of her every silent confessional. i have many other bruises: bruises on my hands, on my throat, and on my chest; bruises on my lungs, my feet, on my lips, and on the insides of my eyes: i am more bruise than boy, and yet i have found that this is what i means to grow up in a world which has been worn rough and jagged on the edges rather than being worn smooth. 

i can see your bruises blossom like flowers no gardener would seek to sow as you tell me things from your yesterday, sewn in alongside stories from so long ago that only the vaguest details remain: there is a bruise on your hand where a notebook was once torn from it with raised voices and angry hands; a ring of bruises encircles your arms where you have been held captive by the hands of a living room tyrant who swears that these bruises are what is best for you; and there are so many others. 

where you should have been a child, an open field filled with sweet grass and daisies, you were a battleground, growing up believing that all such fields, that all such children, were only grown to be trampled in the pursuit of some twisted manifest destiny by the feet of men who would make better puppeteers than parents; men who march on peaceful landscapes and declare a war of what they call liberation, shooting down the birds for daring to get too close to the danger of the foreign stars, for daring to sing the song without the words. and on the other side of childhood, you are filled with blood-stained feathers and unfinished songs: these are your bruises too. 

like me, i know you must face the mirror each day with weary eyes, 

wondering how anyone could find room on your body for another bruise, and knowing that soon enough, someone will. 

like me, i can see you have tried everything to cover them, to keep your bruises hidden, from no one more than yourself, 

and like me, i hope that you will one day face your reflection with no fear in your brave, bruised eyes. 

i would have you see yourself as i see you now: not as damaged goods, not as something that should be bidden to heal only so that no one will see that there was an injury in the first place, but as a soldier, decorated with medals, for bravery, for loyalty, for strength; as a canvas that has been painted by clumsy hands into an unwitting masterpiece that will never be completed, but will always be beautiful; as a sword forged in a hotter fire than most, a stronger steel that endured where many would have melted away in the embers, and is emerging now razor-edged and doubly-strong. 

you are not a sad song, or a dead-end street, an unfinished poem, nor an undelivered letter. you are not a lost cause. 

if you have been blown away, it is as a spark on the wind which will someday settle on a blade of dry grass, and become a wildfire. 

i hope the people who have hurt you have trouble sleeping at night. i hope they are haunted by the sound of your confident and trembling voice when it will say goodbye, and i hope they will never forget the iron tears in your eyes on the last time they will see them before you leave. i hope you come to wear your bruises with honour, to see yourself as a human tapestry who no longer recognizes the ability of anyone left in the entire world to alter or defile you. 

i hope you remember the birdsongs that you once knew, that the thing with the feathers never relinquishes its perch within you. i hope you gather your rivers of blood, and your tidal eyes and you flood the whole world with them; you told me i was your hero, but i don’t want to save you. certainly, i would gladly come for you, would gladly pry the fingers of your birthplace away from your thin, strong arms, would gladly take your battered hand in my own, would gladly resolve with you to never look back to the horrors in our wake, but i do not want to save you: i would rather see you find the secrets of your own kryptonite and become your own hero. 

you are not only a broken thing, and you are not insignificant: 

you are the child for which every bedtime story was written, 

and it is for you that the sun has risen above the horizon again this morning;

i hope the people who have hurt you have trouble sleeping at night. 

up close with some guitars at the musical instrument museum in phoenix, arizona

up close with the produce at the farmer’s market in eugene, oregon a couple of weeks ago

my favourite part of photography has always been the ability to focus in on details that usually get lost in the blur of how big everything is and how busy everyone is. i love taking scenes and subjects that are always around us and just pointing out the art in the everyday. 

The note that I didn't leave behind | Casimir Adiantum
i have always loved words,and none more than last ones -those heaviest syllables that hangon lips that open, tremble, and close, and do not open again.
but i am so tired, and all the words i have ever known are only scattered letters,lost to the wind, like the rest of me,so mine will be brief -the insomnia of a life half lived,and half dreamed,catches up with you eventually.
i am sorry about the mess -the clothes on the floor,the college debt,the phone calls i never made to my father,the loose ends i never tied up -but i hate cleaning almost as much as goodbyes,and i cannot bear to do both now.
do not mourn me, please,i know you will anyway, but i must ask,to cleanse the last tremorsof my trembling conscience; 
i will find my great perhaps,and so, i know, will you.
the future will be better,and i hope you will take me with you there,my memory, at least,where you can be free,and i can finally sleep.
i am in no place to make requests,but i have one more anyway:live, please,as i could not bear to,to the fullest.laugh for me, drink for me,and yes, cry for me if you must, for not all tears are an evil.
we will all discover our own truths in time.
ps: i know it will hurt them, but my last will must be for this testament to be shared.tell them all, tell them all that i love them,and the blame is on none of them,no, not even on me -
death haunts some of us closer than others.
The note that I didn't leave behind | Casimir Adiantum

i have always loved words,
and none more than last ones -
those heaviest syllables that hang
on lips that open, tremble, and close, 
and do not open again.

but i am so tired, 
and all the words i have ever known 
are only scattered letters,
lost to the wind, like the rest of me,
so mine will be brief -
the insomnia of a life half lived,
and half dreamed,
catches up with you eventually.

i am sorry about the mess -
the clothes on the floor,
the college debt,
the phone calls i never made to my father,
the loose ends i never tied up -
but i hate cleaning almost as much as goodbyes,
and i cannot bear to do both now.

do not mourn me, please,
i know you will anyway, but i must ask,
to cleanse the last tremors
of my trembling conscience; 

i will find my great perhaps,
and so, i know, will you.

the future will be better,
and i hope you will take me with you there,
my memory, at least,
where you can be free,
and i can finally sleep.

i am in no place to make requests,
but i have one more anyway:
live, please,
as i could not bear to,
to the fullest.
laugh for me, drink for me,
and yes, cry for me if you must, 
for not all tears are an evil.

we will all discover our own truths in time.

ps: i know it will hurt them, 
but my last will must be for this testament to be shared.
tell them all, tell them all that i love them,
and the blame is on none of them,
no, not even on me -

death haunts some of us closer than others.

Warnings, regarding a Manic Pixie Dream Girl | Casimir Adiantum
They warned you about her eyes: you will be lost in them, yes, and they will capture you, they are the windows to the soul, and souls are like vines, and they grow on the columns of even the most upright man, and hers will grow onto you if you let it. 
They warned you about her shoulders: they slope like hill country and paradise and rolling waves, and you will put your hands on them when you are not sure if her smile will let you put them on her hips without cracking in two and falling apart. They are the beginning of her curves, the ones that will keep you up at night, the ones you want only to be the derivative of, the ones she stares at in the mirror and admires sometimes, and stares at in the mirror and despises just as often. 
They warned you about her hair, always changing colours, like a chameleon of hearbreak, and about the smell of her, and the way that her lips would draw you in even when you knew it was not the right moment, and the way it would all overwhelm you in fireworks and ice and breathlessness that was almost fear, the way men of faith might fear their God, and in fearing, love, as loving cannot be described save for in colours. 
They warned you that her smile could cut you like a knife, and that her nails might leave marks on your skin like her heart would leave marks on your heart, yes, this you were warned about. 
You were warned about her sharp edges, and about the broken thing that you met at the party you met her, ten minutes before, he was the one in the bathroom, hugging the toilet, the broken thing that had been shattered on contact with her, yes you were warned, but you followed her anyway, and you would follow her anywhere, to hell, to heaven, to a lifetime that ends in neither, just oblivion, just oblivion and the two of you, just the way they warned you.
Yes, you were warned about all of that.
Yet, still, you were never, could never be, prepared:
You were never warned about the way she sounds like honey when she whispers in your ear at the movies, about how you would love it even though you hate when people talk in the theatre, or about how fireworks give off as much light as heat, and how it all lingers; they never told you about the way none of her is perfect before 9AM, and how she is almost more beautiful this way, and they never warned you about how she would cry when you told her that they had warned you about her, just the same as she had cried when she thought you were just another one of those people who seeks to warn people about girls like her.
You were never warned that you would have to hold her together at dawn so many mornings, just so she wouldn’t shake apart right there on your carpet, or that there would be days when she was so soft you forgot anything in the world had harsh edges at all, and they never prepared you for the delicate way she presses her lips to your throat and kisses so carefully, lips like the hands of a surgeon, like gentle reminders that she could use her teeth if she only wanted to, that it would be the end of you both, the way people warned you she would be, the way she never was. 
You were never warned that she might be human after all, under the hair dye and the perfect smile and list of her other ex-boyfriends who treated her the way people treat girls who boys like you get warned about, or that she might resent being called a heartbreaker, or that she whistles back when sleazy guys cat call her on the street, just to confuse them, or that she was never a hurricane at all - just a monsoon season in a world of people with too many strong umbrellas, living too far from the thirsty crops. 
You were never warned that she would make flowers grow in the darkest parts of you, in the parts of you that you were warned she would fill up with blood, when you know now, your lips on her cheek, kissing away tears that neither of you know why she’s crying, that she has never had any blood to spare, and that you will never heed another warning again. 
You were never warned about how she would lay on your sofa the first night she came home with you, how she would sleep there and not touch you, but not because she didn’t want to touch you, but because she knew you would be gentle, and she had forgotten how to feel gentle things. 
You were warned that she was beautiful, but they said it with a cutting edge, and you know that they never knew how right that one warning was. She was never harsh: they made her harsh, like an abandoned house that had once been lived in by happy people, now boarded up at the windows, filled only with rumours of ghosts. 
You will make happy people come back to her doors, and take down the plywood, and pull out the nails, and kiss the scars in her siding.
You will warn people about her now too, about the other warnings, and about any warning they ever hear about a beautiful girl, about how warnings are wrapped around them like cellophane, clear at first, but then cloudy, and about how no one can breathe under all that plastic.
You will be her last warning. 
Warnings, regarding a Manic Pixie Dream Girl | Casimir Adiantum

They warned you about her eyes: you will be lost in them, yes, and they will capture you, they are the windows to the soul, and souls are like vines, and they grow on the columns of even the most upright man, and hers will grow onto you if you let it. 

They warned you about her shoulders: they slope like hill country and paradise and rolling waves, and you will put your hands on them when you are not sure if her smile will let you put them on her hips without cracking in two and falling apart. They are the beginning of her curves, the ones that will keep you up at night, the ones you want only to be the derivative of, the ones she stares at in the mirror and admires sometimes, and stares at in the mirror and despises just as often. 

They warned you about her hair, always changing colours, like a chameleon of hearbreak, and about the smell of her, and the way that her lips would draw you in even when you knew it was not the right moment, and the way it would all overwhelm you in fireworks and ice and breathlessness that was almost fear, the way men of faith might fear their God, and in fearing, love, as loving cannot be described save for in colours. 

They warned you that her smile could cut you like a knife, and that her nails might leave marks on your skin like her heart would leave marks on your heart, yes, this you were warned about. 

You were warned about her sharp edges, and about the broken thing that you met at the party you met her, ten minutes before, he was the one in the bathroom, hugging the toilet, the broken thing that had been shattered on contact with her, yes you were warned, but you followed her anyway, and you would follow her anywhere, to hell, to heaven, to a lifetime that ends in neither, just oblivion, just oblivion and the two of you, just the way they warned you.

Yes, you were warned about all of that.

Yet, still, you were never, could never be, prepared:

You were never warned about the way she sounds like honey when she whispers in your ear at the movies, about how you would love it even though you hate when people talk in the theatre, or about how fireworks give off as much light as heat, and how it all lingers; they never told you about the way none of her is perfect before 9AM, and how she is almost more beautiful this way, and they never warned you about how she would cry when you told her that they had warned you about her, just the same as she had cried when she thought you were just another one of those people who seeks to warn people about girls like her.

You were never warned that you would have to hold her together at dawn so many mornings, just so she wouldn’t shake apart right there on your carpet, or that there would be days when she was so soft you forgot anything in the world had harsh edges at all, and they never prepared you for the delicate way she presses her lips to your throat and kisses so carefully, lips like the hands of a surgeon, like gentle reminders that she could use her teeth if she only wanted to, that it would be the end of you both, the way people warned you she would be, the way she never was. 

You were never warned that she might be human after all, under the hair dye and the perfect smile and list of her other ex-boyfriends who treated her the way people treat girls who boys like you get warned about, or that she might resent being called a heartbreaker, or that she whistles back when sleazy guys cat call her on the street, just to confuse them, or that she was never a hurricane at all - just a monsoon season in a world of people with too many strong umbrellas, living too far from the thirsty crops. 

You were never warned that she would make flowers grow in the darkest parts of you, in the parts of you that you were warned she would fill up with blood, when you know now, your lips on her cheek, kissing away tears that neither of you know why she’s crying, that she has never had any blood to spare, and that you will never heed another warning again. 

You were never warned about how she would lay on your sofa the first night she came home with you, how she would sleep there and not touch you, but not because she didn’t want to touch you, but because she knew you would be gentle, and she had forgotten how to feel gentle things. 

You were warned that she was beautiful, but they said it with a cutting edge, and you know that they never knew how right that one warning was. She was never harsh: they made her harsh, like an abandoned house that had once been lived in by happy people, now boarded up at the windows, filled only with rumours of ghosts. 

You will make happy people come back to her doors, and take down the plywood, and pull out the nails, and kiss the scars in her siding.

You will warn people about her now too, about the other warnings, and about any warning they ever hear about a beautiful girl, about how warnings are wrapped around them like cellophane, clear at first, but then cloudy, and about how no one can breathe under all that plastic.

You will be her last warning. 

The Gentle Hum of Growing Up | Casimir Adiantum

          You lay on your bed in the dark, late at night, and you listen, and at first you don’t hear anything, but then you hear a sound that you can’t quite place, something beautiful that grates on your nerves and strains on your senses, something ugly that sings in your heart and keeps you up all night, something that sounds like nothing and like everything, and yet may also be silence. You think you have heard it somewhere before, but you can’t say where, though you know you have heard it everywhere.
          1It’s the sound of the dial tone when you pick up your phone, and you mean to call your father, but you can’t do it, so you just stare at the number and think about how your father loves his dog more than he loves himself, and about how you might too, but your building doesn’t allow pets, so you keep nothing, and you don’t make the call, and when you go to bed, you dream his voice on the other end of the line.
          2It’s the sound of that lifeguard you wanted to kiss last summer, gasping as he breaks the surface of the water, twice as strained now he’s swimming for two, a little boy under his arm who might have died, and all you can think is you wish he were touching you instead.
          3It’s the sound of cars in the distance, of wheels on asphalt whispering as people you love and people you’ll never meet take turns that might lead them to collide, or might just lead them to their destination, and how you can never know if the sound of a far-off collision will keep ringing in your ears until the morning after it first hits.
         4It’s the sound of whispers in the back of the classroom in ninth grade, when you weren’t sure about love yet, but there were already people your age, just a few seats behind you talking about the sex they had already had, their voices hushed with the suppression of danger, secretly wanting to get caught, and how you know now that they weren’t any more sure than you were, and no less scared either.
          5It’s the sound of your mother crying downstairs after you got in that fight last week, and how you can’t remember what you were arguing about, just the terrible thunder of the barely audible whimpering and whispering of a woman who sees too many people hurting to let herself hurt, but there she was, crying, and there you were, knowing it was your fault, so you didn’t let yourself cry along, not because you didn’t want to (the tears were stinging in your eyes like acid and fire), but because it felt like you didn’t deserve to.
          6It’s the sound of the silence in that lecture hall on campus where you took your SAT, the silence that wasn’t really silence at all, but seemed to be, despite all the tapping of pens and hushed conversations and shoes scuffing on the dirty linoleum, because you were hearing it through the filter of a hundred strangers who you had gone to school with your whole life, all of them holding their breath at once, and it was a miracle you didn’t hear their anxious heartbeats.
          7It’s the sound of the madman on the bus you used to ride home every day, talking too loudly to people who didn’t want to listen, railing against the government, and using words you didn’t understand back then, but now they all make sense, and you think about how you sat down on the bus the other day, that same bus, and you started using those same words in a conversation you were having, with a stranger who didn’t want to hear it, and now you just wonder when you became the madman, or if maybe he was never mad to begin with.
          8It’s the sound of the first time you ever broke a glass while you were washing dishes, and it seemed deafening, so you hid the broken shards in the bottom of the trash, and hoped no one noticed, and you hid it so well that no one ever did, and it stayed at the bottom of the bag until the bag got changed, but a few weeks later, when your mother asked where her favourite glass had gone, you could almost feel every single piece of that glass inside of you when you said you didn’t now (and you still can).
          9It’s the sound of nervous laughter and short intakes of breath, the first time you kissed that boy you were so in love with, even after he wasn’t a boy anymore, and even after you weren’t in love with him, but you were still in love with the idea of him, even then, you could still remember that sound, and it was the sound you were in love with, so you kept kissing him, or you kept kissing the person who lived in his body then, and you kept hoping he was in there, but he wasn’t, so the kisses tasted like the last pages of a book you can’t quite bare to finish yet.
          10It’s the sound of everything in the world being muted after the sound of a splash when you jumped into the pool over and over again as a child, and how you always opened your eyes when you were under the water, even though the chlorine stung them; even though you knew it would make them burn, because you loved to see the world distorted, and you loved to listen to people talking from above the surface, so you could hear just the voices, and none of the words.
          11It’s the sound of your cat scratching at the door, when you’re too tired to get off the couch and let him in, and even though it’s raining outside, and even though you know you will feel better if you stand up, and even though you want to feel his fur under your fingers, and smooth away the water, and smooth away all the thoughts that you just can’t stop having, you still don’t get up, because you can’t use your legs, and they feel broken, and you feel broken, so you don’t get up, and you just listen to him scratching, and listen to the the rain falling, and you think about how you don’t deserve him, or the rain, at all.
          12It’s the sound of every girlfriend you’ve ever had saying whatever she said that meant she wasn’t your girlfriend anymore, and how “i think we should just be friends” is the biggest lie you think you know, because only once did you lose love and not lose friendship, and you don’t think there’s anything ‘just’ about being friends to begin with, but you kissed her, and then you didn’t, and now you’re nothing to her at all, and you wish you had stayed just friends to begin with, but your heart is too hungry to resist the tantalizing temptation of change.
          13It’s the sound of lost children, crying for their mothers in a crowd, and of dogs who don’t get taken on enough walks, barking at you when you pass the fences that hold them in, and the first few seconds of that commercial your sister hates playing before she finds the mute button, and it’s the sound of waves whispering on a shoreline that seem to be begging you to drown, and of whispers waving you into a corner in the library to catch secrets between classes, and it’s the sound of pills rattling in a plastic bottle, and bottles clinking together in the bottom of your backpack, and drawers closing, and doors slamming, and people calling you names that never should have belonged to you your whole life, and it’s the sound of your alarm clock waking you up from a good dream to live the nightmare of being awake, and it’s the sound of your resume being slid into a file that you know it will never be slid out of again, and it’s the sound of your upstairs neighbours yelling at each other every single night, and how you just wish you had someone to yell at for once, because the silence is oppressive, and the loneliness is too, but at least you have an apartment at all, and at least you can hear other people living the life you’re not, at least you can hear it, even if it hurts your ears, at least you can hear it.
          You lay on your bed in the dark, late at night, and you listen, and at first you don’t hear anything, but then you hear a sound that you can’t quite place, something beautiful that grates on your nerves and strains on your senses, something ugly that sings in your heart and keeps you up all night, something that sounds like nothing and like everything, and yet may also be silence. You think you have heard it somewhere before, but you can’t say where, though you know you have heard it everywhere.
The Gentle Hum of Growing Up | Casimir Adiantum

          You lay on your bed in the dark, late at night, and you listen, and at first you don’t hear anything, but then you hear a sound that you can’t quite place, something beautiful that grates on your nerves and strains on your senses, something ugly that sings in your heart and keeps you up all night, something that sounds like nothing and like everything, and yet may also be silence. You think you have heard it somewhere before, but you can’t say where, though you know you have heard it everywhere.

          1
It’s the sound of the dial tone when you pick up your phone, and you mean to call your father, but you can’t do it, so you just stare at the number and think about how your father loves his dog more than he loves himself, and about how you might too, but your building doesn’t allow pets, so you keep nothing, and you don’t make the call, and when you go to bed, you dream his voice on the other end of the line.

          2
It’s the sound of that lifeguard you wanted to kiss last summer, gasping as he breaks the surface of the water, twice as strained now he’s swimming for two, a little boy under his arm who might have died, and all you can think is you wish he were touching you instead.

          3
It’s the sound of cars in the distance, of wheels on asphalt whispering as people you love and people you’ll never meet take turns that might lead them to collide, or might just lead them to their destination, and how you can never know if the sound of a far-off collision will keep ringing in your ears until the morning after it first hits.

         4
It’s the sound of whispers in the back of the classroom in ninth grade, when you weren’t sure about love yet, but there were already people your age, just a few seats behind you talking about the sex they had already had, their voices hushed with the suppression of danger, secretly wanting to get caught, and how you know now that they weren’t any more sure than you were, and no less scared either.

          5
It’s the sound of your mother crying downstairs after you got in that fight last week, and how you can’t remember what you were arguing about, just the terrible thunder of the barely audible whimpering and whispering of a woman who sees too many people hurting to let herself hurt, but there she was, crying, and there you were, knowing it was your fault, so you didn’t let yourself cry along, not because you didn’t want to (the tears were stinging in your eyes like acid and fire), but because it felt like you didn’t deserve to.

          6
It’s the sound of the silence in that lecture hall on campus where you took your SAT, the silence that wasn’t really silence at all, but seemed to be, despite all the tapping of pens and hushed conversations and shoes scuffing on the dirty linoleum, because you were hearing it through the filter of a hundred strangers who you had gone to school with your whole life, all of them holding their breath at once, and it was a miracle you didn’t hear their anxious heartbeats.

          7
It’s the sound of the madman on the bus you used to ride home every day, talking too loudly to people who didn’t want to listen, railing against the government, and using words you didn’t understand back then, but now they all make sense, and you think about how you sat down on the bus the other day, that same bus, and you started using those same words in a conversation you were having, with a stranger who didn’t want to hear it, and now you just wonder when you became the madman, or if maybe he was never mad to begin with.

          8
It’s the sound of the first time you ever broke a glass while you were washing dishes, and it seemed deafening, so you hid the broken shards in the bottom of the trash, and hoped no one noticed, and you hid it so well that no one ever did, and it stayed at the bottom of the bag until the bag got changed, but a few weeks later, when your mother asked where her favourite glass had gone, you could almost feel every single piece of that glass inside of you when you said you didn’t now (and you still can).

          9
It’s the sound of nervous laughter and short intakes of breath, the first time you kissed that boy you were so in love with, even after he wasn’t a boy anymore, and even after you weren’t in love with him, but you were still in love with the idea of him, even then, you could still remember that sound, and it was the sound you were in love with, so you kept kissing him, or you kept kissing the person who lived in his body then, and you kept hoping he was in there, but he wasn’t, so the kisses tasted like the last pages of a book you can’t quite bare to finish yet.

          10
It’s the sound of everything in the world being muted after the sound of a splash when you jumped into the pool over and over again as a child, and how you always opened your eyes when you were under the water, even though the chlorine stung them; even though you knew it would make them burn, because you loved to see the world distorted, and you loved to listen to people talking from above the surface, so you could hear just the voices, and none of the words.

          11
It’s the sound of your cat scratching at the door, when you’re too tired to get off the couch and let him in, and even though it’s raining outside, and even though you know you will feel better if you stand up, and even though you want to feel his fur under your fingers, and smooth away the water, and smooth away all the thoughts that you just can’t stop having, you still don’t get up, because you can’t use your legs, and they feel broken, and you feel broken, so you don’t get up, and you just listen to him scratching, and listen to the the rain falling, and you think about how you don’t deserve him, or the rain, at all.

          12
It’s the sound of every girlfriend you’ve ever had saying whatever she said that meant she wasn’t your girlfriend anymore, and how “i think we should just be friends” is the biggest lie you think you know, because only once did you lose love and not lose friendship, and you don’t think there’s anything ‘just’ about being friends to begin with, but you kissed her, and then you didn’t, and now you’re nothing to her at all, and you wish you had stayed just friends to begin with, but your heart is too hungry to resist the tantalizing temptation of change.

          13
It’s the sound of lost children, crying for their mothers in a crowd, and of dogs who don’t get taken on enough walks, barking at you when you pass the fences that hold them in, and the first few seconds of that commercial your sister hates playing before she finds the mute button, and it’s the sound of waves whispering on a shoreline that seem to be begging you to drown, and of whispers waving you into a corner in the library to catch secrets between classes, and it’s the sound of pills rattling in a plastic bottle, and bottles clinking together in the bottom of your backpack, and drawers closing, and doors slamming, and people calling you names that never should have belonged to you your whole life, and it’s the sound of your alarm clock waking you up from a good dream to live the nightmare of being awake, and it’s the sound of your resume being slid into a file that you know it will never be slid out of again, and it’s the sound of your upstairs neighbours yelling at each other every single night, and how you just wish you had someone to yell at for once, because the silence is oppressive, and the loneliness is too, but at least you have an apartment at all, and at least you can hear other people living the life you’re not, at least you can hear it, even if it hurts your ears, at least you can hear it.

          You lay on your bed in the dark, late at night, and you listen, and at first you don’t hear anything, but then you hear a sound that you can’t quite place, something beautiful that grates on your nerves and strains on your senses, something ugly that sings in your heart and keeps you up all night, something that sounds like nothing and like everything, and yet may also be silence. You think you have heard it somewhere before, but you can’t say where, though you know you have heard it everywhere.