I thrust out my hand,
Hold it over a flame.
As though it were a bad thing
To prefer fire
Over numbing ice.
I walk forward
Into an unknown,
Braving for once
To take a chance.
As though maturity meant
Being willing to stay
I come to the shore,
Fling away my clothes,
And walk unhindered into the waving waves.
I delve into the water,
For once fully alive:
Light entwined with darkness,
Life a play thing with death.
You sit dry on the shore
And wonder at my wanting to be cleansed of your
“There is nothing else,”
So I turn away
From colors, from sounds, from eyes that see
To grayness and a blank
Placed for those who are not sated.
“You were wrong,”
(And you’ll never let me forget it),
So I draw out the blade
Over the last of untouched skin.
“You were wrong,” you repeat,
“To offer any sacrifice.”
No sincerely-I-do love,
No level of child’s understanding,
To counter your “This is all there is.”
She went to the bottom because she thought that was the only place to go.
She had climbed to the top and had found sky and wind and light. She had enjoyed it there, with the freshness and expanse and things laid bare. She had lived that top fully and for years had been happy in it.
Then something had changed. The wind had stopped blowing. The clouds had come in low to crowd her space. The air blurred and cast everything in shadows. The top had thrilled and filled her until it didn’t. So now she needed something more. Now she’d look for earth and stillness. Now she’d look for unobscured clarity.
So she went to the bottom.
Everything is clear.
All you tried to give me
I can now accept,
In this state,
In this altered reality.
It’s really not that bad,
To feel more than you thought you could feel,
To feel more than they say you should feel.
Everything is clear
When I can see your face un-obscured,
Untainted by the reality they bring to us as chains.
What I wanted you to give me
I now place before your feet.
I won’t ask
For what I’m not willing to receive.
I am not afraid
To step through
Into the blazing light,
To leave a life of shadows
That taught me to fear day.
But this darkness I called home
Will not fade so easily.
It’ll try to clutch me as its prize,
And stay behind waiting
While I manage to flee.
And sometimes I’ll want to stay
And I’ll seek out the shadows once more,
My home that for so long,
Made up what was me.
But I will kiss its black mouth,
Smooth my hand down its sleek skin,
One last time,
And turn to join night’s sworn enemy.
She walked slowly, carelessly. There was no need to hurry. She had walked down this street endless times, in her childhood, in her youth, and now as an adult. Signs on the buildings had changed. What had once been a Thai restaurant was now a clinic. What had once been the “ghetto” McDonald’s was now a gas station. Some buildings had been torn down; others had been built up. But the street kept its same general face, its same general attitude. She knew that beneath her feet, the ground still knew it was her walking on it, like she had for years and years before.
She came to the corner of her most familiar street the second the lights changed. Stop. Go. A red palm held up and a white figure with legs extended. She stood at the corner where she had stood a thousand times and looked out at her choices.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I — like hopefully all of you — have a lot to be thankful for: There are people in my life who really love me and whom I love. My body is healthy. I have an income. I have no real unmet need of any kind. I have the possibility of tomorrow, and, unlike other times in my life, I’m actually excited about that possibility.
In addition to all these things, this year I am also thankful for this, this blog and what it represents. When I started ToHearLife.com back in June, I had two main goals: to make writing an integral part of my life, and to get over my fear of other people reading what I write. These were for the purpose of the greater goal, which is to one day be a full-time writer. While I’m still millions of words and countless submissions away from that goal, I’m grateful that I have achieved the first two goals of making writing an essential part of my life and being, not only unafraid, but desirous of people reading what I write (cut to me checking my blog stats every night before bed).
But beyond helping me meet my current writing goals, this blog has also been helpful in ways I hadn’t foreseen. It’s pushed me forward, not only in my literary aspirations, but also in the mental, emotional, spiritual, and even social aspects of my life.