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POETRY / Eyes syncing with a white ceiling / Joshua Lindenbaum


I had a discussion with the universe.

The title of desire was Let This Time Be Different
from the previous attempts spired by desperation
where words fall to their knees
proposing an exchange
with phrases that start off with I’ll never
I promise to 

but this conversation was different;
I had empathy for the listener,
or maybe I was just trying to follow some protocol
by not asking for what I wanted.
Rather, I requested “Help me trust you.”

And then I thought why am I looking up?
to which I responded by smiling
—speaking with the universe in all sorts of directions:
over the shoulder
where bubbles in the wall tell stories of water making its way in—
across the room
towards the laptop that froze a guided meditation on its tilted screen—
along the bedding that I laid upon,
the waves of the sheet recording the twists and shifts.
Some of the words travelled out loud.  

I was attempting to not manipulate the universe;
I knew it would be onto me if I did,
but I also really wanted to trust it—
to fully accept that I am not in control
to lay on top of the liquid surface of reality
carrying me where it will:  

the body always tells the truth;
my fingers clasped at the sheets
creating trenches in the fabric
because worry is just control

Joshua Lindenbaum’s poetry has appeared in HEArt Online, Breadcrumbs, Yes Poetry, The Bangalore Review, Five:2:One, 3Elements Review, and several other publications. He works as an adjunct, feeling the full brute force of exploitation and hopes one day to land a full-time gig. The pen has been his companion for quite some time, but it’s still waiting for him “to put a ring on it.” It will even blast Beyoncé songs from time to time from a large boombox.