From time to time I go back to the well to sip the bitter waters of my past. I don’t know why I do this. I usually come away feeling worse – poisoned again, if just for a moment – but oh, so gloriously alive! Perhaps it’s similar to an addict’s relapse. A bite of the apple from the forbidden tree. A pinch after an impossible kiss. The thrill of a near death experience.
I’m talking about the poetry I wrote before I woke up – before the healing started. I go back and read it again and again. I just have to. It’s like a dead body in the woods behind my house. You know it's out there - rotting - calling you to examine the business of decay. In the middle of the night I put on my coat and creep outside, navigate the tangle of my past, and find the dead corpse of my former life and poke it with a stick. I stare at it agape - at its lifeless form. You would think after all this time, rigor mortis would have set in. I mean, my god, rehab was almost ten years ago! But the body yields to the pressure of the stick – still supple - so much so that I more than half-expect it to rise up and engage me in conversation – I fear it may hug me and tell me how it longs to come back inside my house, for old-time's sake – that it was the only one who ever truly loved me or can.
I read my poem. In my head I hear, “This was you asshole – you pathetic piece of shit! You’re a maniacal, self-loathing, self-centered, ego-maniac, and above all else, you’re incapable of love! You can’t even love!”
And then I read my poem again. I stare at the corpse, watching it convulse and twitch with what little life is left. I place my foot across its neck and try to press its head into the dirt. It's mouth moving now, jaws working - fish-like - in silent protest. My stick finds a soft spot between its ribs and I shove through the heart until I feel the stick pass completely through. I crouch down to its ear and whisper, “You’re forgiven.” I take the hand of the small boy standing next to me – my ever-present companion, and whisk him back to bed. Tucking him in, I bring my face close to his, smelling his innocence and whisper in his ear, “I love you.”
This is my poem - it haunts me still
Forever Nothing ~
A resonance born of existential urgency vibrates deep within me. Each successive wave building upon the next. In crescendo, its biting sting tolls against the walls of my inner-self, revealing in its pure tone an emptiness nourished on a banquet of isolation. A feast of famine fit for the king of nothing. My unsatiated hunger to be un-unique feeds in maddening desperation on my sanity, devouring my desire to be. It consumes my hiding place and all my secrets.
The moments comprising my existence hang in a loosely strung succession like beads on an infinite twine, threading it's way backwards, forever into a shadowy place bordering a magnificently splendid nothing. There, non-existent willows sway in an ethereal breeze, weeping infinity into an empty black pool. At its bank, reflections of what never was stare back at what is not. Emptiness sings its silent hollow song, richly devoid of words and tone, in meter without measure. In a moment, nothingness becomes nothing. Its transitory non-existence was ephemeral after all, as was the moment in which it was perceived.
Perception defines reality, yet mine is unique to my minds eye. Seeing what I see, sets me farther apart from those who share in each other’s comfort, those who are bound together in a common perception forged not of their own experience. Theirs is one passed down to them clandestinely; a bitter pill tucked inside of sweets and washed down with mother’s milk. Independent thought, originality, awareness, present moment mindedness - the blacksmith’s forging tools. Experience, the iron of which my reality was struck.
Moments pass, each folding over upon themselves, doubling and redoubling in length and insignificance, strung in their eternal place on the twine. Frenetic monotony ushers in each moment yet to be wasted. Through my active pursuit of incessant idleness each moment’s infinite potential is squandered. A shrill wail is faintly perceived as I give birth to yet another crippled companion, each the progeny of unexpressed hopes and dreams, the sum of my desire.
This anecdote devoid of prose has offered me a brief repose, from tolling tones which sting and bite, disturb my sleep and lengthen night. Through idleness did I give birth to this account of my self-worth, which as you see indeed is low, the scar of trauma long ago. A gentle child, perfect, kind, long-forgotten, left behind, my life a worthless piece of twine, threading its way backwards forever into nothing.
By dennis tkon copyright 2007