Filibustering the Motion to Uphold the Mythical State of Mankind
I stand here before you today to contest certain inalienable falsehoods.
(I am actually far, faraway, and have not been anything resembling upright for quite some time.)
Notably I object to the following premises:
1. Gravity is simply a matter of mass and distance: measurable, observable, understandable.
(We never really agreed—me and gravity—that what goes up must come down. I am floating high up here in the clouds, untethered; a flyaway balloon en route for distant galaxies. Down below, I can still just about see a child crying at the vast expanse of their empty hands, in disbelief that letting go of their end of the string meant losing me forever.)
2. Time moves in a linear way.
(I am living some kind of awful repetition. It is the unkind kind: me, her, the balloon, the never-spoken goodbye on repeat. Clouds rush past, and then stars appear, unbelievable masses of them, twinkling around me as the earth shrinks beneath my feet and my breath becomes cold and thin. It will be the same again tomorrow.)
3. The world would be a better place if we could just forsake our feelings and really trust the
(For what it’s worth, trusting no one hasn’t helped me much either. I have nothing but the series of fleeting connections I have made with strangers as I scroll the endless pages of my phone. It glows, but not enough to keep me warm. Nothing will keep you warm once you leave the upper echelons of the atmosphere and, besides, there’s no WI-FI up here.)
4. Progress is inevitable if we all work hard enough.
(What is enough? There is no such thing, unless, perhaps you consider all the possibilities contained within a seed. They too can float up high, thousands of them set aloft on their feathery wings, defying gravity, spreading far and wide. But who ever cared for the fleeting wisdom of a dandelion?)
5. We are born evil and need the sin hammered out of us.
(As if we don’t start out completely pure and sweet! Just look at that little girl down there still crying for her balloon. As if taking a hammer to anything we can’t fix and smashing it instead could ever make us feel free! Just ask the dandelion. You blew its brains out making a wish and never even stuck around to see if it would come true! But then, neither did I.)
6. We are free.
(I cannot see the bars to this cage, but I sure can feel them now I’m stuck in their thrall. I have blisters all over my limbs as I move one arm in……one arm out……… do the hokey cokey and I shake it all about. Who knew there were cages up here at the edges of the solar system? Who knew you could do the hokey cokey in zero gravity? Or that a balloon could have limbs, thoughts, breath, feelings, a phone? The metaphor is wearing thin at this point, I know.)
7. Logic and reason are king. Long live the king!
(The king is dead, long live wild abandon, long live passion and excitement, long live my deepest fears! Long live all the grey areas, all the palest pallors of uncertainty! Long live moon dust! Long live chaos in its infinite wisdom even as the algorithm organises it all! I am light years beyond its reach now.)
I am not here to bring civilisation to its knees; I just can’t live in the myth of it anymore.
(It is lonely out here in space. Not one single astronaut has waved back as I float past their spaceships. And as for the little girl, she is sitting in the playground staring at the sky, left behind and alone. Even the seeds can’t find suitable soil to sprout in, and I fear that the hammer will win out. Not that such force is even necessary: one pinprick would be enough to obliterate me. I am no king, no match for iron bars, and no fit companion for the stars, which don’t so much twinkle as glare the closer I get. I am a faint shadow, an ephemeral entity with nothing but words and words and yet more words......
Do you know that I love you?)
Thank you for your time.
(As if it ever belonged to you. Please see above, and whilst you’re back up there, please take extra care to notice the love. It may be all that matters.
SARA COLLIE (she/her) is a writer, language tutor, and wandering soul living in Cambridge, England. She has a PhD in French Literature and a lifelong fascination with the way that words and stories shape and define us. Her writing explores the wild, uncertain forces of nature, the complexities of mental health, and the mysteries of the creative process. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Neon Door, The Selkie, Confluence, Synkroniciti, Stonecrop Review and elsewhere. You can read more of her writing via her website : https://saracollie.wordpress.com/writing/