Song for my Ten Circles

by christycelia

Inspired by “Song for my Twenty Loves of Desperation” by Carlos Dobal.


Also inspired by a long conversation I had yesterday with a woman who told me it is good to think through which circles each person in your life resides in. First, second, or third? I took it a bit farther, but I definitely learned something about myself.

The center. Is me.
My mother always said
“you think the world
revolves around
Each think the world
revolves around themselves.
And it was the rightest
she’s ever been.

Second are lists.
Scraps and pages piled
that go nowhere
that say everything.
Luke said to me
“stop writing about
writing. No one likes that
but us.”

A tall girl is third.
She stands back to back
with a shaman poet.
They do not know one another
but they know
As much as the first two
circles cannot.

The pieces of me which
are not connected
to my body –
the family of Hicks & Funks.
The three of them
scattered minds.
They are also my third.
Infiltrate the decisions I
make – the risks I
try to take.
A brother who borrows
my words and sets them
to chords.
A father who is a
bird. Hands covered in
grease and washed
away with lava soap.
A mother who I become.

The fourth circle –
sustains. It is bacon
wrapped asparagus
tuna crudo
pork tacos
breakfast in bed
and olive oil.
It is my most simple love.

Extroversion perversion.
Fifth. A disorder.
Lora and I used to pine
over introverts
we thought their solitude
could accomplish more
than our bouncing paths
and talks and interactions.
This is why the fifth
encompasses all loves
big and small
train cars of friends
spanning decades and
space – the whole
country covered with
the empire.
Distractions lead to happiness lead to fatigue.

Sixth. The monkey sphere.
Humans. Some people think
you can make any relationship work.
But not every puzzle piece
can be mashed
Still, the sphere is big,
though cannot be everyone.

Then comes memories.
Then comes the past.
Then comes what I
read over and over
and laugh and despair and
want to burn and want
to feed into a letterpress
that will print these
histories on toilet paper
that can be wrapped
around our world.
At least once.

Eighth is trees. Eighth
is the mountains and
lakes. Eighth is Ada.
Eighth is the double arch
in Utah which the Belgian
man wanted so badly
to photograph for himself
(void of tourists)
even though
you can buy the postcard
in the gift shop
because eighth is the
eighth wonder of the
world which is looking
at the world.
Eighth is the story she
tells with outcrop
rocks on House Mountain.
I try to pick out which
have fallen
out of place and
which just go
down all the way
but Donnie the
geologist says I get it
wrong every time.
Eighth is the rocks I
cannot understand.

Next are hands.
Hands used and hands idle.

Tenth is the other side.
Ten is even and round
and even when death
is neither of these
things – death is ten.