"Liberation" is a prose poem from a series I call *Paradoxa*, texts against common beliefs. This one deals with my ambivalence--or waffling--between a failing marriage and a new love. I remember writing it, in 1997, on a bench in the Piazza della Repubblica in Florence, Italy, waiting for one of the two women in question to arrive, trying to work out whether 'twas nobler in the mind to remain true to a vow or better to cast sail upon an uncharted sea of desire. Looking back now, I wish I had considered some unthought-of third option.
Lee Foust is a fiction writer and performer from Oakland, California who
has lived in Florence, Italy since the mid-1990s. He teaches literature and
creative writing for various US universities abroad and is the father of
one. He is the author of *Sojourner*, a collection of short stories and
poems about the mystery of place, and the forthcoming *Poison and Antidote*,
nine Bohemian tales of San Francisco during the Reagan era. Foust's
fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in various journals, magazines,
and newspapers in Europe, Australia, and the U.S.A. "Liberation" is a prose
poem from the *Paradoxa* series, texts against common knowledge.
There is nothing so liberating. Nothing. There's nothing. There is nothing so frustrating as that. There isn't even that. No, nothing's so liberating as the frustration of waiting. There's nothing so frustrating as waiting for liberation. There isn't. Because we forge chains. We forge chains because we're afraid of nothing. Except frustration. Except liberation.
So? So what.
Because alone is not alone, because nothing is just so. Because there's nothing so liberating, or there wasn't once, as a chain. And chains are real. Rings are real links and there's nothing so, no, nothing so real as our own forged link in a chain. Anglo-Saxon tradition even here—and there's nothing as frustrating as that.
When nothing is so, or as it seems. When there's nothing as it should be because of rings and links, because of chains and time—time takes shape in rings, time takes shape in chains. And then there's nothing, nothing but time's image 'round our fingers. Well, there's nothing so frustrating as that. No, nothing. There's no nothing as frustrating as the forced nothing of a liberation, of losing a ring. Because chains and rings are real. Because real rings go 'round and 'round.
Chains and rings are real because chains and rings are forged in time. We forge them in time in time's image—and there's nothing as frustrating as breaking a link, as breaking the round ring of a chain that we ourselves have forged in time. No, nothing's so frustrating as that.
So? So what.
Nothing's so, just so, so liberating as that frustration, as waiting to break a vow, because it breaks up the rings of your time of day.