Kieran Cutting — Fragments

Fragments is a piece that was a long time in the making. I spent some time in Chicago during the summer of 2016 and absolutely loved it. The people I met there were amazing, and got me thinking about a lot of things that had felt pretty established in my life. I'd been trying to write poetry about how transformative that experience was, but to no avail - coming up only with fragments. A recent spot of angsty existentialism happened to coincide with a trip to New York — where I attended an Open Brain! — and the pieces just fell into place.


I

I’ve spent some time attempting to compile
pieces of words, tattered papers lost in
the dust of the past

There is a part of me that hopes to stick it together
like an intentional mosaic, like i didn’t rip it up and
am vainly hoping for some semblance of normality again.

At least eleven thousand feet in the air, 
I’m falling fast, down to earth
back to the soul and the soil
back to clean dirt and
the refreshing embrace of our earth

A friend once told me
she wanted to hear the earth beating
beneath her toes
Sometimes it occurs to me that maybe
maybe I fly too much for that.

II

We move into a mode where the cold
invigorates our soul, flashes our sparks
into fires, blesses us with nights of spirits
breath and cold. Always the cold.

Five years ago, I wrap myself in a coat
and walk. The world is my oyster, 
possibilities swirl and change and
declare themselves necessities. 
I speak of mosaics, and the way we fit together as people.
One month later, I resemble the mosaic.

Five years forward, I am happier. 
My life affirmed. But I dream of spirit nights,
smoke filling my lungs, its own affirmation.
Why do I constantly re-declare the necessity
of that which keeps us down, which strokes our head;
placates us, when we desire change?

Why do I echo nonchalance to the vices
those endlessly changing vices which
not quite ebb, they
not quite break, they
somehow roll and consume the fires of our souls. 

III

Compressing distance with speed
and time with need, i am created again, 
a new self borne from air and lightning and
the intense desire to be something other. 

Three months ago.
Feet coil into stale limbs with an expectant hush
Give way to flickers of life, licks of a touch and sparks of an emotion not yet identified
This seat inhabits me as much as I inhabit the limbs strewn across me
I am every part of this great universe and an atom shrinks into my soul
Its name is doubt. It can do what it likes and refuses to take no for an answer.

I inhabit my seat three months from now with a different state of mind.
The plane flaunts a turn and flirts its view
We are all meerkats sneaking looks at the sky
each carving out ourselves a little slice of American pie. 

We hurtle through the blackened void
and attempt to meet our fates. 
Surrounded by nothing, we wonder
what is it that keeps us whole? 
Who am I? Or you? 
Is it our decisions that makes us, 
Or our thoughts?

We awaken, and feel the cold touch of Wednesday morning stiffen our limbs. 
Half-naked, we stumble to the kitchen and grope blindly for release from this sickening birth. 
Sweet blend of citrus earth and sunshine I do invoke you, bring me the warmth that I require.

IV

the wound opens and festers and
sinking in, it congeals around itself
the bodily experience of pain utters onto
the body politic; i do concede
perhaps it is at least somewhat me.
perhaps we act to create our fates.

a heavy stench hangs thick and sullen
choking with ghost ash and toxic atmosphere
scream to the very end burn in twisted shapes
but pause. breathe. thank. miss. 

Zombie sick limbs move between carriages pleading water water water of life.
I am the ventra and the metra and the oyster
I am lines of flight between then and now and I hurtle down tracks
with swelling purple sky
with endless purple nights
burst into me
burst. I dare you.

She yells, “queer feminist experimental theatre”, and I seize with electric alertness.
Elaborate tracings of former lives and times to come prick my skin like acupuncture.
What healing is this? 
I run toward it, embrace it, but at the end of the night I am stuck
with tradition, with pomp and “honour”. 

V

my lines resonate and reverberate but it’s
never quite complete
they break like the ocean on the shore
like michigan on the chicago
like hudson on my mind
like thames on my lines
of
flight

there is no fresh dawn
just continuation
some non linear experience that travels
from place to time, from time to time
from non existent self to time

I break from the salty lips of
the ocean, this life that is really just a collection of moments.
she swoons in my ear that our layers mean nothing
we mean nothing
and i try to escape her haunting but i come back to it infinitely
it nourishes me, even if there’s no comfort. 

These are my fragments and these
are my accidents and I might kid myself
there’s no relation but when time decays to nothing
I slip between modes of being and not
and ask myself whether fragments make a life.


Kieran Cutting is a Politics and Sustainability student at Cornwall, UK, interested in how the hell we can give our lives meaning in this fast-paced modern environment. So far coming up short, but definitely enjoying the search.

You can follow Kieran's search for meaning here & here.