oppressive breath

I am not suited for concert giving; the public intimidates me, their looks, only stimulated by curiosity, paralyze me, their strange faces oppress me, their breath stifles me. But you —  you are destined for it. For when you do not gain your public, you have the force to assault, to overwhelm, to control, to compel them.
—  Frédéric Chopin to his friend, Franz Liszt
“Rough No. 6 (The Fog)” by Tannar Crossman

You wrote of the fog,
Eternally stuck,
Never ceasing, ever hanging
From the trees and buildings of Portland,
That it was like the love of God.

But I have to object to it:
The fog has nothing to do with God,
It is not of God,
And if it is,
Then God is not God
And we need not be concerned.

The fog hangs like a beautiful prison,
Like the barred windows of a cell,
Locking out sunlight
And restricting our sight.
Like smoke it is heavy and oppressive,
Breathing out breathes in strange vapors,
Like droplets of water,
Slowly filling the lungs.

It is beautiful.
It makes me feel alive,
Dying, one breath at a time,
At least, I felt that way in the smoke.

Either way, the fog is… Complex…

It is beautiful,
Yet it seeps, like Chlorine gas,
Through every crevice and every crack,
And it comes in cold like Death,
Walking more quickly than the wind,
Returning never that which it takes.

…in my dreams the world would come alive, becoming so captivatingly majestic, free and ethereal, that afterwards it would be oppressive to breathe the dust of this painted life.
—  Vladimir Nabokov, Invitation to a Beheading

It was unlike her to complain about the summer here, but she had noted twice recently that we had not remained in our special places where the season is celebrated. We found ourselves instead where suffering was commonplace, if only because the humidity lived and breathed and oppressed us, as though that element of the region had manifested as a playground bully. The insects didn’t hum; they shrieked, egging on that bully.

“October will be here when we wake up in the morning,” I said.

“But this is August,” she said, not quite arguing the case, but leaning in to me as she always did to indicate some great curiosity.

I was too tired to pretend along with her. 

“Don’t put on that you’ve forgotten how this works,” I replied.
“If October is coming to rescue us, then we might just as well be languishing in June. October is tomorrow, because it has always been tomorrow. Just as we have always walked in that early mist, tomorrow, and as we have always lied on the grass under a cloudless sky, that same afternoon. Fall is always with us, and it will be with us again, yesterday. The colors are here now, tomorrow. I know you can hear them rustling.”

“You’re sweet to spell it all out for me again,” she said. Or would have said, if she had been there.

from I Am This House   Green Vincentine