I’ve honed the heedless years of youth, trudging through the paradox,
Rattling around in caves, honoring dusty hallways
Filled with gross displays of ribbons and homemade tee-shirts testifying loudly
Of what I’d made, where I’d been and what I’d done.
For solitude’s sake, cloistered. For intellect’s sake, bitter.
For trauma’s sake, captured, tossed around, beaten bare,
Naked on the threshing floor of souls with wind-whipped skin
Flogged and baking, flaked and brushed, scraped and satisfied.
The wisdom of each passing change, the seasons and the years
All crashing into sordid heaps of wondrous towered monuments
To ego, pride and ignorance.
The dripping drops. The bamboo nails. The crank of the handle
Echoing through measureless caverns seldom seen by sun.
For suffering’s sake, lonely. For pretension’s sake, a sham.
For pity’s sake, a victim dashed against the rocks, head splayed
For public viewing: art for art’s sake.
Narrowly escaped the noose, live wires, twisted spines and glass,
Headlong plunges into piles of autumn leaves and circumstance.
Ordeals of unlit alleys, graves robbing, sinners sniping.
Cobblestones leading trench-coated misanthropes down daunting stairwells
Into hovels haunted by thinkers, dreamers, poets, thieves.
Three times drowned and thrice arisen,
Clanging pots and pans at midnight,
Chanting spells to gods and
Shouting curses at the moon.
And to think that this is me:
breathing in springtime, enraptured with fate and all the gifts of puritans past
– the water, the soil, the heather.
Austerity’s petals dripping liquid gold on sleeping eyes,
Softly, over feathered bed with
She and she and he and he:
Peaceful and alive.
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