Chasm

Smooth, edging along the chasm
Tripping once, slightly
Then getting a toe caught
Then a cramp

Tipping over the drop,
Wondering, “How deep is it?”
And “How hard will I land,
If I land at all?”

And “How much will it hurt?”
Will I break any bones?”
And maybe “What about my family?”
“They won’t know”
And “What will they do without me?”

Keeping cool, dragging the other toe
Frantically searching for a crevice
A bulge, something to hold on to.
Anything!

Gravity starts to do its work
On the body,
And dread pulls down the soul.
“Will there be a tomorrow?”

And then a slip, and another
It all happens in a second
Head dips below knees,
Then below the feet

Into nothing,
Nowhere,
Emptiness.
Panic.

Suddenly,
The desperate fingers catch
On a bit of rock
Along the cliff wall.

The brisk descent
Starts to slow.
Dangling for a moment,
Then the feet catch.

Seized by relief,
Even if temporary,
Darting a glance
To the left, then the right.

How did I get to this place
In my life?
How did I abandon
Everyone and everything
Around and underneath me?

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In the end

Cast about by tides and whirpools
Of shouts and screams and echoes,
Deep down inside the heart, mind and soul.

Sounds of seemingly endless suffering,
Bursting forth from this bulging edifice.

Bruises on the body are nothing compared
To the tears and scars left by the raging bull
Of the inner need to connect, to find meaning
In the endless routine and monotony of life.

To find someone who understands,
To find something to do that really means something.

What are we left with,
After our life is shattered by the uncaring stares
Of passers-by and tension of a heated argument?

Is there love left in this little world,
Is there faith and hope
In the greater soul?

Where do we turn
When life grabs us by the neck
And drags us out
Of our sheltered habitat?

Who do we call
When no one seems to care,
No one hears our hints,
And no one sees us in our loneliness?

What do we have when it’s all over,
When the end comes around,
When the clock expires,
And we’re all alone?

And then, are we left?

Doubt

Bringing you to a place you never went before,
Discovering new thoughts, new identity, new ideas,
Inspiration for a brighter outlook on life.
Finding out who you really are.

So, what do you really believe?
Not your professed faith, doctrine or philosophy,
But day-to-day, how do your actions bear out
What lies beneath the surface?

In the heart, there are doors
That we keep shut, barred, barricaded.
“Nobody’s gonna get in there,” you tell yourself.
But then it happens.

That crisis.
That worst of all days,
That you never thought would ever come.
He or she leaves, or dies, or rejects you.

You lose your job.
You get a divorce.
You lose a big investment–your car, your house, your reputation.
What is left?

Who are you, now?
What is your purpose in life?
Where are you going?
With whom? And why?

It happens to all of us,
Sooner or later.
That day does come.
But when it does come, and it will,

Are you ready to face it?
Are you ready to say,
“I can do it!”
“I still have me.”

Is that something to stand on?
Do you know who you are?
Are you living that out?
Are you following your dreams?

And, if those dreams don’t come true,
Are you ready to give them up
For another dream?
Hmmmm…

Revealed

Stand! Feel the gusts blow,
Hard against your naked flesh.

Stand! Feel the wind whip
Your hair, chap your lips,
Cramp your toes.

Stand! Feel the ground grow cold,
The grass dry up.

Stand! Feel your head start to ache,
Your stomach start to rumble,
Your legs start to tremble.

Stand! What are you waiting for?
The horn has sounded!
The cry has gone up from the masses!
The general is at the front, ready to fight!
“Wait until you see the whites of their eyes”,
Then… charge, charge like a soldier
With only fear as your strength,
And dignity as your conviction,
Full of fury, full of death,
Full of no tomorrow,
And fight! Fight like
Satan is your only adversary,
And hell is your battleground.

Darkness sweeps you into its
Cradling arms and whisks you away
In a great storm of deceit.

The real enemy has been discovered!
The man, that has betrayed us all along!
The traitor has been dragged,
Kicking and screaming from his secrets,
Hidden in the farthest cave,
The deadliest land.

This most dangerous man has been named,
The scourge of the wasteland,
The disease in the midst
Of a cause so true,
So crucial, so angelic,
The one who ruins it all,
And that man is you!

Tamed

Crossed, then crossed again.
A martyrdom of the cause,
Cutting one’s losses.
Levied until sopped dry.

Kept, cornered.
Closed inside
A dark, smelly room,
Alone.

At once a prostitute
Of yearning and desperation.
Caught, sought,
Always, without mercy.

A deception.
Through a tunnel,
Without an entrance,
Or an end.

Underneath the inertia
Of a spinning mound
Of rotting souls.
Tamed.

Nothing

Only air in the fist.

Nothing to grab,
Nothing to save.
Nothing to stand on.

A foundation of sand,
Slipping into oblivion,
Through the shadows.

Hoping beyond hope,
That something comes,
Something changes,
Something reaches out.

Is it a lost cause to hope so?

To dream,
To caste a lot onto the dirt,
Counting on dim luck
To get one through some more.

Is there a chance at all?

Swift as the Wind

stash a sin here and there,
run so fast, you can’t see tomorrow,
or yesterday,
or here,
or there.

when–and where–are you?
do you envision
the consequences?
or just jump in?

a guess, a hunch, a feeling:
it’s all the same in the end,
isn’t it?

but what if it’s not?

what if regret only comes
when you listen to the whisper
in your head,
be it conscience, God, whatever,
and you ignore it?

what if you move so swiftly
you can’t hear the wind
blowing in the trees
as you pass through
the outer rings of the hurricane?

what if you drive your little hot rod,
a corvette on a highway,
or a speed boat in the ocean,
right for the center?

will there be a calm to the storm,
if you arrive in time?

Only A Breath Away

Joy, confounding mystery that it is,
comes at the strangest times:

A breath of fresh air, after a stuffy
Time spent inside all day.

A deep breath, relieving tension
From working under pressure.

Breathing in the scent of a nice perfume,
When a woman passes nearby.

Breathing in the familiar smell
Of my house when I walk through the door.

Breathing in the scent of my wife’s skin,
When she leans close to my face for a kiss.

Breathing, yes, just breathing,
Every day of new life.

Joy is that simple,
Only a breath away.

Be Yourself

Stop. Listen.
What do you hear?

Buzzing, perhaps?
That’s nature.
Enjoy it.

How about a television?
Turn it off, or at least down,
If someone else is watching it,
Or close the door.

How about a stereo?
Hope it is nice music.
Or at least something cool.
Something that moves you.

How about a voice,
On the telephone?
Turn it off, unplug already!
If you’re not on it,
Close the door, if you can.

Distractions, interruptions,
They are everyday.
They consume us.

Sometimes, they are
Our identity.
Sometimes, they are
Our weakness.

Don’t let the distractions
Become you.
Be unique.
Find something about yourself,
Something that nobody else is,
And that will be you.

Then do it.

In, Then Out Again

Jumping into a box,
I closed the lid.
Voices, I could hear,
But none that said

My name, or anything
Related to me.
No, no one was interested
In my identity.

Not my words, nor my actions,
Meant a thing to them.
I was simply a number
To count on one hand.

Just a thing, a machine,
Spitting out babble,
A distraction, a nobody,
Not a goddamned thing.

But do I want to be that?
A thing, a game
For their amusement?
A fun toy, an instrument
To play a tune?

No, not that,
I told myself.
I will just sit here
And be me,
Collect dust on the shelf.

But that wouldn’t do,
It couldn’t last forever.
I needed them, you see,
I needed to be clever.

I needed to woo,
To impress, to call out
“Yes, this is my truth!
This is my song!

I have lived this life,
This constant strife,
This longing,
This fight,
This spring wound tight.

I am something,
I have paid my dues,
I deserve a shot,
Even if to just coo.”

Is it worth it?
I asked, very cautiously
Of myself.
To be ignored?
To be shamed?
To be belittled?
To be sore?

Yes, of course,
I replied.
It’s worth the price.
To be a poet
Is an honor
A virtue, not a vice!

To speak one’s peace
Is a right
Of every man and woman!

No mosquito,
No arrogant,
Pleased with himself,
Will cast a shadow
On my sun,
Shining brightly
For everyone!