If I spent a year trapped in meditation, I would go crazy. They would put me in a cell by myself and the staff would be afraid to get close to me. I would claw myself until something ripped open and dance until my blood spattered the walls; then I’d examine the blotches for hidden meanings, the Rorschach of the heart. I would kiss and lick the spots that suggested genitalia, human or otherwise. Love and hate would be my best friends, and we would all hold hands and scream together. When I cry out, I feel interactive, like a musical instrument, an Aeolian harp fingered by invisible winds. My art materials may be crude, but through these stained walls I teach myself to feel the limits of space. How big it is. At each corner, another planet begins again, just over the line. I am bringing the outdoors in; this is a conservatory of the macrocosmic: potted jungles, hope sprouting like a cutting stabbed into a trench, an aquarium of salt-water longing with a shark staring through the glass wishing and wishing it could trade places with you.

©2002 F.J. Bergmann

"Solitude" appeared on 21 Stars Review #4

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