Halloween is a night where people put on someone else’s clothes, someone else’s face, someone else’s persona, light up their imagination and walk around begging as if it was there own. Yes, I have celebrated. For years I celebrated until the paint of the mask had burned into my face, until the wings on my back wilted and I could barely walk, until the polyurethane pants with painted on logos that made me look like a cowboy only in my own mind fell to shreds by the wayside. I have worn costumes and masks and carried false weapons. And yes, when you saw me I was laughing. Then one day my legs gave out and I could not see. The batteries on my flashlight had worn down and I found myself out and about in some strange neighborhood.
My dad had dropped me off and now I might never get home. So I threw off these coverings, threw down these clothes and let loose the candy I had collected. It was not night. It was not dark. I was neither out of my neighborhood nor lost. The earth rotates like a lollipop handed to us by a kindly old woman. The clouds swell like a grey towel and then dry. The moon is only a reflection of what is true. In the heart of the sun a fire burns. Thoughts are flung together to be refined and made real. Power is released. It radiates out and cleans all it sees. The clothes we wear, the masks are of our own design. Drama feeds the imagination. Without it we warm and brown in the glory of our real bodies.
We never need be dark and cold. We are touched by the eternal. We never need to die.
Cave troll as corporate bully
To Back A Bully Down
Fists flew every day, pants tugged down. He’d insist
on taking the chance to use some tease-name, tongue
just hard and dumb. He’d entrance the hallways like rust,
still there, crusted on the pipes. To kill
him, that thrust in all of us, the sin
of rage that touches us, we must love
first; fear, lust, admit our worst.
You leave the city by your lover’s side
through rush hour to mansions to highways
pitch nights and projects that holed mountains.
You leave and arrive in darkness
and never see the leaves until morning
nor the streets nor the students mid-making.
You leave late for the union
and the tour of stories that gave light
to off beat sayings and to food and to humor.
You leave the store red
pizza parlor full, the stadium horse,
the streets recognizing names and envy.
The leaves are falling
and you see your lover crying
uncomforted after some thoughtless sin.
The leaves are falling
and you see blushed cheeks
filled for hours with unceasing laughter.
The leaves are falling
and you see kids changing hair color
and dress and dreams and preference.
You leave by your lover’s side
packed up for the long haul home
all day chasing a rising and escaping light.
One time, in reality any one time, I chose to quit something, to change majors, put down an instrument, let time flow by as if it were endless, gave power to the voice in my head that cared more about comfort and protection than the one that wanted to excel and go for it. When I accepted that someone did not, could not, would not love me. When I turned in C work hoping for a B. When I allowed myself to hitch up with someone whose wagon was not headed in the right direction. When I did not return the truly romantic letters. When I was unwilling to sit in the dark and stay there until the heat and pressure turned me fully into something called diamond. I wouldn’t change them all, wouldn’t need to, just one, just one safe and easy moment and the rest would have told me, would have taught me, would have created something wholly different from the person I am here. Somehow I would be stronger.
Hanna furnaces of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation, Detroit, Mich. Coal tower atop coke ovens (LOC)
If you walk from pond wall to pond wall, from bogs of frogs to schools of fish, thinking not about how big or how long your body will hold its longing, you will sound out a truth with the swish of your long limbs dipping in and out of mud, squish of nails and digits into and out of thick moist muck. Prior to finding this truth, you will touch a spot midway from all things, in it you will not sink, you will not want, you will not ask for anything. Only as your limbs lift from this spot and go will you know you stood on this midway. Only by going, by having and living “without”, will this longing inform you that you had it, don’t and must roll on.
Great Blue Heron Looking for Dinner