667: Now That You've Met God, Where to Go From Here

667: Now That You've Met God, Where to Go From Here

667: Now That You've Met God, Where to Go From Here


I’m Ada Limón and this is The Slowdown.

I spend a lot of time alone. For all my talk of good friends and my partner, there are many days and nights when I’m at home or in a hotel room alone. I don’t mind it. There’s something almost devotional about time spent alone. And, it does something to how you operate. After a few days of silence and isolation, I become very aware of the voice in my head. The sometimes benevolent, but mostly chaotic chatter that goes on between the ears. The warnings, the instructions, the admonitions.

Listening to my own voice in my head is often how poems come to me in the first place. There’s the voice in my head, and then the voice underneath the voice. That second deeper voice is where I want to write from, the one more in tune with the ebb and flow of the natural world, of the universe.

But when I’m not writing, or I’m busy working on other projects, that brain chatter is wild. I’ve learned through the years to actually laugh at it, to notice it, and laugh at it, or to just to say, “Oh I see, you want to play it that way today, eh?” I’ve learned to be curious about my own brain activities and on good days I can be aware of its mayhem and on bad days I just surrender to the mess entirely. Still, that awareness of how we talk to ourselves is something I have tried, and continue to try, to cultivate as a writer.

Today’s poem is an homage to the dialogue between the selves, a powerful exploration of the inner world. I love how this poem plays with the speaker and the receiver of the poem.

Now That You’ve Met God, Where to Go From Here
by Anthony Aguero

Do not go to the room
	        with the blinds sewn shut	       [your hands]
The excuses will become inexplicable, and, 
			                       [your hands]
	        You will draw a 
litany of veins across your body
Like a map       [your hands] for anyone who 
			          seeks a river or fresh blood,
[my hands].

Do not speak to the ghost 	         [your ghost]
	        resting outside your head.
He is not real,
he is not real,			                  he is really [your ghost]
A Ziplock of cerulean-dust
		               someone let loose, my ghost
And he is only as real
	         as someone’s weak faith
Has become [my ghost].

Do not follow		            the Man with X’s for eyes,
	        he only relies
On the forgotten	            maps of the world – 
O’		                  My eyes.

Do not stare		            endlessly
	          at your reflection	           [mine]
your pupils		              will only remind you
	        of the time they             [mine]
Kissed your irises	         and	       poisoned their depth
Sending        [mine]	                  you	                 into the deepest rest

Do not smell the white-orchid,
		                 for it is a pheromone
That knows no 
limits to the damage	   it’ll cause
				                                    your sex to do.

Do not look for God with my hands
		               somewhere in the cleanest of carpets,
For you 	     will find him,		               my ghost,
and your		                   running
				                                 will never end. 

"Now That You've Met God, Where to Go From Here" by Anthony Aguero. Used by permission of the poet.