The Prophet

I’ve always been able to tell the future.

I could tell you your stories. It’s all in your hands, but also in the way you tilt your head and how you look a little off to one direction when you listen.

Every moment of your future is written all over you for me to read, and that fills me with a strange melancholy; to know the epics of your heart before they begin, to know your thoughts before your fingers lift; to understand the focus of your gaze before its object walks into the room.

So much useless, completely useless knowledge.

When you talk, there are a hundred voices, and they all speak in a timbre I can hear.

I can name them individually, and I do, trailing devastated fingers through the ideas you reject throughout the day.

I try to keep them in my pocket.

Have you ever been looked after this way? I’m here to tell you that you have.

Its not just the people I’ve known. The future comes at me all the time, sometimes with the force of a boulder. Shards of it on the subway; poking another stiff hole in my mind. The way someone’s fingers intertwine will hit me like a dagger and all the thoughts I was keeping leak out, while that future rushes in, filling the space.

It hurts a little but I keep looking, because I have to see how it will end.

subway.jpg

But I don’t see the two of us playing out, try though I might. Craning to catch a glimpse, I only see the walls of my heart, reflecting back my warped desires like a fun house mirror.

There aren’t even pieces to arrange. Other people’s futures obscure my memory to such a degree that I have no past to approach you with. It’s scary.

Some people simply trust their feelings.

But trust is a novel exercise for someone who sees the future. Faith is what you introduced me to accidentally, something I didn’t choose so much as grasp like a lifeline in the face of zero alternatives.

What happens tomorrow? Where is this headed? How does it end?

Today, I practice these inquiries, staring at the ceiling, lips form the familiar shape of the words; but my brain makes no room to receive the answer. I have stopped looking beyond what my eyeballs can scan, even while that scope narrows.

This is the deal I’ve made with the broad span of silence: Leave off this interrogation of the future in exchange for today; this moment, right now. Remember the joke? Only Zen buddhists and recovering alcoholics embrace the ‘now’ with so much enthusiasm.

But it’s not true. There are others: Every lady who has held something gently in her hand she couldn’t keep. I’ve seen all their stories play out, if my heart will only remember.

….I can’t remember. butterfly.jpeg

And that’s how it has to be. A prophet must be blind to walk the lantern path; love is the black night, the absence of foresight. I can only hold up my light to see the next footfall, and the next. Offer my bare shoulders to the naked dark; offer my heart to its predators, its accidents, the million things that can go wrong.

When your touch guides me, the darkness welcomes.

But underneath, I’m terribly afraid of the vast world that’s waiting obscured in shadow. There is finally so much to lose, and I am walking next to it blinded.

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5 thoughts on “The Prophet

  1. I read this once, didn’t comment, went away. Read it again, felt close to commenting, went away. Read it one more time, and here I am. I picture the prophet to be a youngish person, reluctant and fearful of his or her gift. I wonder, is the prophet male or female? I lean toward male, but that might just be a bias (societal) re: the term “prophet.” The language is rich and mysterious, like prophecy. I especially like the words and image of: to know your thoughts before your fingers lift.

    I’m inspired to try a writing exercise of taking on a voice other than my own. I’ll have to think about it.

    Now that you’ve done a couple, how are you liking them as an exercise?

  2. Well that makes me feel good that you found it worth reading over. Good question.. these exercises have been interesting to write, and hard to share. I’m glad I tried it out. I thought this one was probably the one where I felt the most like I was seeing through someone elses eyes, and pasting it up was kinda weird.

    I wonder what it will look like tomorrow. Sometimes it takes a day to have distance enough from a writing to see what you’d want to change, or what might not make sense.

  3. I found this to be very beautiful, and for whatever reason I read it in an entirely non-literal fashion … there are so many ways of “knowing” the future … sometimes we think we know, and so we create what we believe we see.

  4. I think this is quite wonderful. You definitely captured that voice… it made me think of new ideas, like the idea of faith being dependent on not normally knowing the future, and the idea of knowing people’s future being a burden. Beautifully written too.

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