without words


on alexithymia, and trying and failing to be understood

I am a man of science for a reason.
studying art is like I am trying
to run software on incompatible
hardware, several years out of date.

like I am seven, outside the church,
and I do not know how to answer
the question my father asked me.

like I am sixteen and my girlfriend
is crying because she misses me, and
I am astounded she feels so deeply.

like I am eighteen and my friend is
rambling to me, and I realize you can
be so passionate you incandesce.

the universe is mostly empty space.
a galaxy, which we see as a vibrant whole,
is full of stars, fragmented, separated on a
scale we cannot comprehend.

you see me, in your full-color vision,
and fail to realize that I am looking
back at you in grayscale.

it took me nineteen years to learn
the word for a dictionary with too few
entries, and too many empty pages.

I now know why I could not answer
my father. I spent four months trying to
find the words to tell you: you were wrong.

our first day, you said all of you
feel such deep and profound
emotions every day of your lives.
I have not forgotten that.

I have tried to tell you. I have
tried to tell you, and so many others,
and never once been heard clearly.

how can I find the words to explain
myself to you? only those who have seen
darkness recognize it as an absence of light.

did you ever notice, in all of
this, I never once used the words
I feel?

let me, for once, speak plain:

depth and profundity of feeling are
not universal constants.