Fire With Fire

A strange thing has been happening with my lips lately. They are swollen and split, segmented into thin cellular clumps like slices of bruised apples. I am dedicating myself, still, to my miserable novel, as well as other elements of quotidian life. Not everything I have been doing has been going beautifully. But when I ask my mother to print a photograph for me at her workplace, she brings home various sizes and angles of the same picture, black and white, vivid hues, subdued tones, in a spring green folder left on my desk: this is the sort of thing that motivates me to move on, to keep grabbing and ripping and yanking at the serpentine vines of my own personal jungle. Oh, please forgive my childish metaphors: these are the only sorts of things that make sense to me, now, nowadays.

This summer, when I wrote my short story, I was extremely enamored of a certain phrase: “to seek, to strive, to find and not to yield.” A line from Tennyson’s “Ulysses” and inscribed on the cairn of snow that marks RF Scott’s place of death. I think of Platyhelminthes, simple, dumb, uncomplicated flat worms composed of a one-two-three body structure and no heart nor lungs. Platyhelminthes, who, when cut in thirds, will regrow the parts they are missing, effectively becoming three organisms from one. Regenerating their heads, those stupid beasts, doing everything I cannot!

The other day on the radio I heard the song “Fire With Fire” by Scissor Sisters. I’d never heard it before, but it melded in with my state of mind and the landscape wonderfully. The twists and gurgles of far-away mountains, slate blue, shady but always new to my infant eyes. Fight fire with fire, fire with fire, fire with fire. Yes. Though not everything I have been doing has been going beautifully, I have weapons at my disposal, sheer gut and gumption, fiendish blaze curdling in my own metalworker’s stomach. I have reasons and mechanisms to ignite. Fire with fire.

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