Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wonderlost (New Poem)

incessant intellectual exercise
devoid of discourse;
breaking old habits, fearful
of what new ones will step forward
to inhabit those now-empty niches,
praying not for empty rituals
but to be taught new steps for the dance.

i remember when four walls and few meals
sustained me.
i remember writing poetry that thundered
and widened eyes.
i remember when forests had names and trees
spoke, and eyes burned in the darkness,
and every scent was a living thing,
and that was the dance,
and that was enough.

now, i live unchained, but haunted.
something dogs my steps, breathing down my neck.
something pulls me forward like a lodestar.
in between, these myths grow potent,
and these pedlars of banality weary my ears
with their pallid recipes for "reality"
that's no more real than the whispers of the breeze
and insipid as history's repeats.

i've been locked inside my own circles for so long,
and i long to share the dance with others,
but my steps falter, and my ears are attuned
to a rhythm that doesn't belong to this sphere.

i've heard:
i'm too extreme, i'm too emotional, i'm paranoid,
i'm looking for something that isn't there, i'm a
dreamer, i'm an idealist, i'm unable to forgive
my past, i'm scared of success, i'm just
fucking well
and beating my head on a wall, and
i'm not going to change anything.

in one breath, somebody asks me
to be more "tuned in" to my surroundings,
then complains that i tune out sirens
because i became accustomed to hearing them,
and unable to alter their cries.

i'm asked to devolve, to adapt backwards,
to adjust to the rhythm of a railroad town
with an overblown ego based on
making a bigger rut to get stuck in.

new job, advancement, "because i deserve more,"
but deserving more obviously doesn't include
being respected for surviving against the odds
transcribing the history of an urban tribe
trying to represent an alternative
in a World dying of thirst for the Truth
that doesn't trickle down from any empty theories
that the elite deem sweet.

wanderlust aches in my bones,
and winds from other worlds blow around my head,
and sleep is only a temporary respite
from the appetites that gnaw and claw
and have left me leaner than ever . . .

all these stones, they might break my bones
oh, this fire, it might set me alight
c'mon, set me alight . . . .*

*lyrics from The Wild Flowers "Set Me Alight"

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