Indelicately sewn intO all my spOken wOrds are the circles I’m always busy running into the flOOr. I see the circles everywhere – like the world is full of dogs endlessly chasing tails. I’ve made it this long, though, but finding microscopic weaknesses from running so many times, the same way the heel of my canvas shoe always breaks all the way through before I get any holes in the sides.

Through these holes I can sometimes position myself just right to take the last turn hard, and come careening out of the head space. The next sensation is like floating weightless.

Sometimes though, the circles wear down equally in all the same places,
I stop noticing the holes because the shadows on the walls are starting to look like faces, and even when I open my eyes there are ghosts, so I squeeze them closed and I pull my hair and sometimes I scream and I just keep going because what else can I do? What else can I really do!?

Once, by accident, when I tripped I got up and my circle changed slightly, just by a single step really, and I learned something important. If you’re prone to circles… you’re much better off finding better circles than you are pursuing straight lines, or the weightlessness of an escape. Escapes normally come with hangovers, and straight lines rob you of all the creative fuel for your soul.

There are circles, I learn, that break down the bad circles, circles that turn circular things into something both comforting and healing. I have hundreds.

One is, when I’m really desperate, I have these tiny playlists. Three songs. Another is only one. I play them LOUD, through noise canceling headphones, and I play them in circles circles circles.

It doesn’t always work right away, Once I listened to the same song 66 times before the bad circle was far enough gone. Other times, it only takes those first few notes to instill in me a stupid grin, knowing the badness will soon go.

Another, is I write these endless lines. Half of my poems go nowhere, you know? Half of them live deep in abandoned notebooks, or in the dusty corners of draft folders and I’m not afraid to have those things stuck on shelves, because lots of circles mean
nothing at all.

Circles, I know, are my nature. I’ve spent a long time trying to break them. The thing is that the harder I struggle the stronger they grip, and circles left to their own devices will wind me up on the floor for weeks and weeks and weeks without even the drive to go on getting up.

So I’m making new circles. I’m taking one step. One step to the left turns the whole circle new and I have a chance to make this one a good one. There’s something freeing about that level of control, after the ways the circles have always held me hostage. Circles are brutal, they’ve been breaking me all my life, and now, circles are starting to make things right.

Ashley Wylde
May 10th, 2015

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