March 24, 2010
The Path Unknown
Infinite beyond the horizon where
The half-circle of blood-red sun hangs suspended,
Neither setting nor rising – no,
Whether it is dusk or dawn I cannot tell –
Casting a soft glow reflecting off the
Dusty road, making it glitter like
A million diamonds free for the taking.
Barefoot and broken, bruised and battered,
I stand at the starting line, shifting restlessly
From one foot to the other in nervous anticipation.
Behind me stretches another path,
Long and winding, serpent-like,
Threatening to coil and spring, swallowing me whole.
I take a step forward, hesitant, then one more.
As the dust settles around my feet,
I look over my shoulder at the path left behind.
From the darkness looms a vision,
A memory – resurrected as a nightmarish scene –
I see my heavy, fragile heart slipping from my chest
And shattering onto the cold, hard concrete.
Vultures emerge from the fog, brutal and mocking,
To steal the shattered remnants of what
Was once alive and beating.
Shivering, I turn back to the glittering path before me.
Another unsteady step, then another, and yet one more –
Further and further from that long night in which
I had grown so pale and weak.
The light from the half-submerged sun burns
Against my skin as I close my eyes to the glare.
Exhaustion overtakes me – I stumble and fall.
Discouraged, frightened, and distracted by my pain,
I draw my knees into my chest with my back to the sun.
Through my tears I look beyond the patch of luminescent road
I had traveled and into the dreary wasteland yet again.
A grand performance has been prepared in my short absence –
Familiar characters and scenes from my past
Are being played out before me –
I cannot shut my eyes to the horror,
And I am once more witness to it all.
In the middle of that stage in the distance stands a girl –
She looks like me, yet, is not me.
Laughing, beckoning, “Return, return –
You know us here. Put on a mask,
Any one you choose, and play with us again.
We will rape your heart and shanghai
Your identity – But is this not the game?
Who can guess to what strange land that
Glistening path will take you –
You do not even know if the sun is coming or going –
Why take such a risk? Come back to us –
Here you can be someone else –
Or no one at all –
Find refuge inside your fears, your insecurities.
At least here in the darkness, you cannot be seen.
At least in this place of pain, you can hide from the
Light that reveals all imperfection –
Come. Come back to what you know.”
Grinning, she turns her back to me, and
Blends into the ensemble of masked mimes,
Despondent clowns, and demons spewing forth
Clawed derisions threatening to tear at the
Fragile fabric of my mind.
Ripping my gaze from the hypnotic chaos before me,
I rise to my feet and consider the scene.
I close my eyes, and breathe in slowly,
And feel the sun’s warmth upon my back.
I turn around, and put one foot forward…