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The Smoldering Dome of Community

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  • The Smoldering Dome of Community

    I hear the people chanting the song of Community.
    Gripping the clammy hand of the person next to them they form an unbreakable bond, a united force.
    Shatterproof. Unshakeable. Unescapable.
    They're standing in a circle like some gaudy ring that Saturn threw off, they sway and chant, chant and sway.
    Sitting in the center of this glaring ring of collective personalities I huddle in, try to keep my identity intact.
    They're in love with the idea of unity, they look for their individuality in everyone else, but I can't.
    I can't let go of what is me.
    I can't mold myself into anything but my own shape.
    They say "I am who I am because of who my neighbor is,"
    while I try to cling to my limbs so that I can stay complete, not lose myself in this creepy mass of melting people.
    They all start to look the same, faces caving, expressions neutral, becoming
    Remember when you were little, and you played with clay-
    using the red to make roses, using the white to make snowmen, the green for leaves-
    It was so interesting, so invigorating.
    You used the contrasting colors to express, used variety to show your emotions,
    And then the colors mixed.
    Your blue got bits of pink in it, your orange became more brown.
    The snowman got infected with yellow flecks, looking like it was diseased.
    The once ruby red rose now had streaks of green dying its petals,
    the leaves looked wilted, contaminated with spots of yellow
    and eventually, in frustration you just lumped all the shapes together,
    creating a giant mass of swirled colors.
    There was no red.
    There was no green.
    Just one monster lump of clay hogging all the colors.
    Hogging all the fun.
    All these people surrounding me are like the dough I used to play with.
    They used to have their own color, their own shape, their own style, but I seem to be the only one who remembers that time of distinctiveness.
    They clay figures that surround me now are so focused on being united they forget everything else.
    Grasping each others hands ferociously, with furrowed brows and laser eyes they continue to move closer, like some force is drawing them to the center,
    and I,
    I'm in the middle of all of them and I can't escape.
    As they keep getting nearer, screaming about love and communion and brotherhood and sisterhood and I want to cover my ears I want to cry I want to breathe
    but they're like claymation dolls from hell,
    melting into one another,
    smoldering, dripping, waxy lumps instead of the crisp figures they once were.
    The reds and greens of my parents,
    the blues and pinks and yellows of my friends all swirl together to make the ugliest color
    and the stench is making me sick, and the smoldering mass that once was my loved ones is repulsive and
    I can't escape.
    I'm abandoned.
    The only frozen figure in this boiling pot.
    The only rigid shape in this gummy lump of "togetherness."
    It's like the worst nightmare I've ever had,
    but I'm not even sleeping.
    I'm wide awake, condemned to spend my lifetime slowly dying under the heat of the "united."
    Cursed with the memory of individuality.
    Damned to suffocate under the mixed fumes of all the people I once loved.
    But not all scents go well together.
    And not all colors go well together.
    And not all people go well together.
    And not everyone knows how to make tasteful selections.
    So in the darkness,
    I remain myself.
    but trapped.
    but suffocating.
    but isolated.

    but alone.

  • #2
    Adeline, I think The Smoldering Dome of Community is a brilliant jewel of a poem! You have articulated that community, for all its positives, likewise has negatives. We MUST retain individuality somehow despite all the usually well-meaning pressures applied to us for conformity. Thank you for having the courage and the guts to post this poem! Monica