Swamp Thing Works through the Third Skandha by Jack B. Bedell
My first week living in this swamp I had a hard time admitting I was what I was. The growth formula, the fire, all the violence and loss—these things caused me to be the thing I am, and what was left of the scientist in me made me want to find an antidote of some kind to fix the problem I had become. When that didn’t happen, I had to devote myself to justice, or vengeance, or wherever else the day brought me. What I was, what was left of me, didn’t matter when there were goons to break or demons to round up. Caution was ludicrous in the face of all that stuff. No reason to care if my arm got ripped off in a fight. It would grow back pronto. Self-preservation became a joke quickly. What I was now was a useful tool for anger, so I threw myself into that spite. Threats to me, to this swamp, to anything I actually cared about, came at me from every angle, every day. And being pissed at it all, being tailor made to deal with it, there was nothing to do but act. In the end, in this end, the only path to peace and acceptance passed through indifference, passion, and aggression. Thus sayeth the prophet Trungpa anyway.
Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. Jack’s work has appeared in HAD, Heavy Feather, Pidgeonholes, The Shore, Moist, Autofocus, EcoTheo, The Hopper, Terrain, and other journals. He’s also had pieces included in Best Microfiction and Best Spiritual Literature. His latest collection is Against the Woods’ Dark Trunks (Mercer University Press, 2022). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.