I Fear I Am A Topiary


I fear I am a topiary,
and cut
and shaped by the tools of man.

To imitate his imperfect designs
and decorate his sterile garden.

They fear I am a topiary,
and cut
and shaped by the tools of man.

But they cannot tame the tangled mess of roots
that wind beneath the depths below.

When I was a kid I was taught that I could be anything I wanted to be. My grandma often said "Oh Auzzie just walks to the beat of his own drum". From a young age it was very apparent to everyone and myself that I was "not normal".

But what does that mean? What exactly wasn't normal?

My sister was in an all girl punk band they called "Damn the Man!" She wasn't 'normal' either.

I always grew up with a tension between being myself and being 'normal'. But even though I knew there was a normal, nobody could tell me what it was.

It seemed to me that everyone in my life was not 'normal'. It seemed 'normalcy' was some kind of standard to behold- like perfection of the perfect being of social admirability.

As I grew older I realized that life is messy. Just go out into a field and see how 'normal' it all is. Life grows in all directions; life teems under every rock and it's disgusting and lovely. It seemed the only thing abnormal was all of us.

We are in direct conflict with the natural world.

So I began my quest to understand human nature.

Oh Boy.

There is no human nature. You'll often hear people argue and use 'oh it's just human nature' as an argument. But that's just it- what is human nature? The Lockes and Hobbes called it the state of nature before man organized. But that's just it- that never existed. There is no base human nature- by the very definition of humanity we are conflict incarnate.

That's why I wrote this poem. Because when you begin to question what human nature is you realize that everything we call 'normal' is some ideal not handed down to us from gods or nature but from some faceless and formless 'society'. That sounds pretty edgy- but society provides the shape of our lives and we grow into the forms.

We rarely fit neatly in the box, and sometimes we spill out the sides a little bit. But what is very apparent is that no matter how much they trim and cut and shape our leaves above the surface, our roots run wild. They spread in all directions and show the beautiful mess of our humanity.

We are not some elegant endpoint of human evolution- nay- we are the abberation. Shrubs were not meant to be shaped like cubes or animals- they were supposed to grow free and wild and spread their limbs! We are not the future humans that our ancestors anticipated; we are the future they admonished.

Those of us who are not 'normal'- who claim a banner of anti-normalcy- it is a form of protest. As if we say "we will not be culled! We will grow wild and free!" We will stretch our limbs to the sun and we will stretch our roots to the depths and we will do it with pride!

But those who shape us know we will want to claim some form of otherness- so they give us slightly different shaped boxes to grow into. Will you be a sphere? Maybe a cube? What about a swan?

Existing in direct opposition to what is 'normal' is not just enough. Our words and actions must push people out of their comfort, our words and actions must make people question EVERYTHING. WE MUST QUESTION EVERYTHING.

If we intend to grow we have to always be devouring everything and digesting it and questioning it. We cannot take no for an answer. We must question authority- we must question anything that tries to set us in order.

This article was created by Auzzie Jay