The Difference Between Swimming and Drowning
is the moment when you order an iced coffee at a restaurant knowing full well they don’t carry any almond milk & that you care far too much about this than you’re supposed to because for one thing, Syria; because for another the frantic cooing of the neighbor’s parrots last night that kept you awake until five am like the soundtrack of some panicky premonition, so that the light filtering in through the clouds could make every part of your body blanch, transform, turn some pattern of plumage into a friendly reminder that all love is love in the dark & that insomnia will transform you for so precarious an eternity that even your pride gives way & your prophetic heart turns to rubble, so that each branch of this tree on native soil resembles the tired arm of a retired acrobat who is sad & stiff & tired of waiting for someone to clutch at night to sleep in her once flexible embrace.
On my desk sits a colorful & cheeky ceramic rooster lamp, which was purchased some years ago at some far-flung thrift shop in some out of the way town called Fate, Texas. It reminds me of a time in my life when I was brave enough to stop in a town called Fate, Texas. A time when I thought it was possible to rescue the discarded souvenirs of strangers from far-flung thrift shops.
I’ve only recently come to terms with the fact that my once-treasured rooster, like any souvenir worthy of the name, belongs neither to me nor to anybody else, & that it is little more than some twisted interior designer’s idea of a practical joke: Its light-bearing metaphor is ironic at best, sardonic at worst—roosters by definition crow only in the morning, whereas this rooster lamp is only ever needed at night. Most ceramic roosters are designed for kitchen décor—but who puts a lamp in their kitchen?
To make matters worse, my eternally boastful & sarcastic cock is usually the very last thing I see before going to bed each night. (Sometimes I don’t finish writing until between second or third cock’s crow—which is also the same time, Shakespeare tells us, when Macbeth kills Duncan in cold blood & temporarily gets away with it because he’s been published in a number of online magazines, I mean because he’s been made King).
It is a lamp made by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Moneta Goldsmith's heteronymous works have appeared both online and in print in Sparkle & Blink, Empty Sink, Dum Dum Zine, & a number of others. He was awarded the 2013 Grand Prize in poetry by Spark: A Creative Anthology; and his short story is currently a Finalist for the 2014 Gover Prize in Best New Writing. So far, it hasn't changed him a bit.