Hippopotamus Rising Photo property of Amanda Szczesny


Hippopotamus Rising


I have stopped by woods, heard a fly buzz, dared to eat a  peach, and sounded my barbaric yawp. I have wondered what I was walling in or walling out, shunned the frumious Bandersnatch, watered my sins in fears night and morning with my tears, and sung with a fearful trill of things unknown.  I have dried up like a raisin in the sun, done a lazy sway, a lazy sway, been an orphan of silence, and buried a syllable in my name. I was even a bride to amazement. But I am tired now. 

The light of wonder in your eyes is gone.  Your own amazement has been stolen by an absorbing blue light and its cheap, digital perfume.  When you are struck by a glimmer of curiosity, you begin to type in your query, but it is algorithmically, automatically completed for you.  Then, almost instantly, before you have even fully realized your actual question, an answer returns to you, and you read its first, easy-to-read-font-type response. The thrill of distraction awakens in your hand—a picture, an almost-thought from a friend, and now even your original wondering is lost in a digital wind. Your inner child is dead, killed by this monster of immediacy.  And I cannot bear to watch it anymore.  

Instead, we will write essays with predictable assertions. We will vary our sentence structures in countable and definable ways.  

But at night, when I am no longer hostage to your chiming hollowness, I will go home and unlock my greatest secret: two souls who look at a gnarled tree trunk and see a rising hippopotamus emerging from a wooden river.  I will wrap my arms around them and inoculate them with fresh peaches and walks in snowy woods.  In them I will seed the syllables of my revolution.  Someday you will see them on the street and hear their words, and the buzzing in your hands and ears will be your own amazement and wonder returning.  

You will know that I am calling you back to yourself, stone by stone.  Someday, the light in your hands will be your own.   

~Amanda Szczesny 



Blank Spaces

They rest in the furnace purrs of a cold day. 

Silence that affords snow sound when it hits the ground. 

They frame the sunset between naked branches. 

Artist’s exercise when in need of new perspective. 

They are the places where air lives. 

Daredevil impulses jump synaptic bridges to create movement, thought and dream. 

They are the clear parts of water that we know to be so full. 

The places where God comes to you. 

They are the lines between guitar strings and all other in betweens. 

Punctuations for the terror of waiting for a call from a teenager and the lonely sighs of relief when it comes. 

They are anything but present and the only way to get to Now. 

Stars, music and poetry make the best maps 

as blank spaces are where the real traveling is done. 

~Liane Quinn