Where Canterbury Stops

We’ve learned how the modern rite of passage is a unique dilemma; we’re connected so much that we’re isolated, we have so many tools that we’re helpless, the world is more accessible than ever, yet adventure and exploration are more elusive than ever. This crisis has defined my life, and no doubt many others in my millennial generation. That’s why we’ve been dubbed the “Peter Pan Generation,” we just don’t wanna grow up. So I wrote this verse as a means of stamping my feet in an existential tantrum.

my life has been a storybook of unfinished chapters
an undulant path riddled with blunders and laughter
yet if I summon the shadows of every wonder, disaster
I birth versions of myself waiting to publish their answers.
they compete with each other, treading puddles of past words
another Eric trying to surface for each month I’ve meandered.
scientists, teachers, liars and cheaters
different narrators vying for a rung on the ladder
I feel them argue for control over my lungs and my stature
ghosts of moments passed too close to grasp succumb to the cancer
humbled, I grasp for the agency they’ve hunted and gathered –
I fire back with pen and pad to try and muffle the banter
but I’m stuck in relapse, overcome by the clamor
spurts of progress operating like a bunt to a batter
this autonomy I’ve stumbled with and hungered to capture
feels like the childhood stories I read under the covers, enamored.

 

drunken with passwords for my wrinkled derision
this is no “once upon a time” or “in the beginning”
protect myself from myselves, on the brink of addiction
hostage to nostalgia – such an intimate prison
instinctive division we mark as past and present
blurred into a vertigo of masked direction
so I look foolishly for future me to answer questions
like, what happened to the magic of my adolescence?

 

static severance manifesting into massive dependence;
forsake what makes you happy for a vaginal entrance
books used to be my lamp until the shadows ascended
now staying up all night means I’m too trashed for repentance
immaculate sentences allowed dreams to ignite
dreams of Jurassic Parks, Rats of Nimh and Wrinkles in Time
I had romance with the world, full of meaning and life
it gave me sincere belief that whatever I could think could be mine
everything would be fine – nothing is broken or stained
so long as I could hide myself once I opened the page
even the loneliest days weren’t empty, those words were my passport
they were the truest, wisest friends any person could ask for
the hurt didn’t last more than the error of doubt
emotions were there to be understood, not embarrassed about
I learned that nothing is unimportant, every thought is a pearl
and that love was all that I could really offer the world

 

but now Chaucer would hurl at the sight of the bodies
given flesh by the memories that smile and haunt me
I’ve tried to move on, but I still hold to my youth
my life’s a comedy of errors and a porno of truth
stories were windows to new worlds till I closed the panes;
trees never lose their rings – they prefer growth to change
every note that I claim is a temporal stick-up
you’ve grown up once you realize what being a kid was.
so here I am, another rat waiting for trap feed
too lazy to be angry, too afraid to be happy
fascination fades like all imaginary plots
adulthood – I guess this is where Canterbury stops

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3 thoughts on “Where Canterbury Stops

  1. hum…I’m intrigued by :
    “stories were windows to new worlds till I closed the panes;

    trees never lose their rings – they prefer growth to change”
    Your poem is so disenchanted with your coming of age with so much child enchantment.
    I’m glad you allude to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: rare some 10 years after high school (You’re 25, right?). My Chaucer, the existentialist, might tell you that, as a work in progress, you never really come of age. The thing is: you only start to figure as you come of age legally (majority). That’s not adulthood.Forget about adulthood and keep on ‘birth[ing] versions of yourself’ to get answers. That way, the pilgr’ images, the Canterbury shall never stop.

    • I appreciate the insight! The line you quoted was actually an homage to a quote from CS Lewis, where he defended his love of children’s tales by comparing growth to change. I agree with what you’re saying, though, it’s just the angry young man inside that’s frustrated with the journey and expecting an arrival. It’s an ongoing lesson, I suppose! Thanks for reading, it means a lot.

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