Prayer: Do not let me fall prey

Do not let me fall prey to the mechanical animal in my brain that calls me away from you. It looks and acts the same in me as it does in any caged creature. This beast is always ready to sever links with its human family, being altogether in pieces already, at the mercy of the crashing seas of circumstance. It cannot remain at home on its own shores, nor can it bask for long beneath the strong rays of another’s sun, for it lacks both an anchor to hold it steady, and an ark to take it safely across the river. Hone this loss-addicted, lusterless machine. Release the cold hand from panicked demands for another’s warmth, so the man can remember whose hand holds the key. Though I am eons from any final clarity, let disparity itself become fuel. Do not let the mud of confusion bury the blessing, but let the perishing puddles evaporate into the western wind; and, as the sun begins to set, let the spirit of beauty spearhead my inward evolution.

Confusion and Clarity

Those who feel the most confusion are typically also those who are able to express their souls’ struggle most clearly, while those who are without much confusion have little need or desire to express their own relative lack of struggle. If the latter group, the larger one, were to express their lack of confusion or struggle in a work of art, would-be appreciators would perhaps struggle not to be confused by it; the piece of art would likely lack the clarity the artist feels in life. Creative work is borne more from confusion than from clarity. It is the need to find clarity, to make sense of things, which spurs people to create. If someone is already sure of his life, if he already has a clear and well-constructed identity, then attempting to create will perhaps bring him face-to-face with the confusion he had heretofore avoided, could if he is lucky make him question whether his life is really as clear as he thought, whether looking in the unclear waters might be more in line with his no longer easily discernible purpose.

But that wouldn’t be lucky at all.

“The Long-Awaited Remedy”

He’s out on the road, to break out of the mold
He vows he will never come back
He feels under siege, like his soul has been seized
His very lifeblood is under attack

She rides off into the night, rides on out of sight
A prisoner of longings and dreams
She has to get near to what she can no longer hear
Before it all comes apart at the seams

The truth can’t be heard, it lies beneath the word
The rooster now crows at midday
The grass won’t stay down, it grows while we drown
In all too predictable ways

The wino is out on the curb, he takes another swill
As men full of hate smile broadly and proclaim goodwill
And the sick man’s got no money to pay his hospital bill
He hears the spokesperson shout, ‘Have no fear!
The long-awaited remedy will soon be here!’

Now the market has crashed, the city is being thrashed
By sellers and buyers and thieves
He looks to the east, there’s no sign of the peace
That all the fighting was supposed to achieve

She takes a look inside, where the true war resides
And nothing in there makes any sense
Everything’s gettin’ harder, no one’s any smarter
The inaugural address is being given in past tense

The future can’t be heard, the past is lost in the words
Of a writer who doubts he can last
The strong have long gone, the spectacle drags on
With actors who have all been miscast

The fashion model is fired for the pound she is overweight
While her car gets impounded for the minute she is late
And as the romantic wiles away the time waiting for his soul mate
He hears the spokesperson shout, ‘Have no fear!
The long-awaited remedy will soon be here!’

“Emptiness”

Does nothing satisfy?
I begin the day already frustrated.
My first thought?
Whatever I do today will only leave me empty.
My second?
Nothing I do can give me what I need.
My third?
It is because I need that I stay frustrated.
Finally I ask myself:
What do I need?

I need to do something to relieve this emptiness.
If I do nothing, will this emptiness leave me?

No, whether I do something or nothing,
The emptiness remains.
It remains whether it is hidden or apparent.
Nothing relieves it.
Everything I do either hides it better or makes it clearer,
But nothing takes it away.

I cannot be relieved of it simply by leaving it behind.
What is there to leave behind?
It can’t be left behind because
It’s not even here.
It’s an absence,
One that I feel
More than I feel anyone else’s presence.
It’s a not-here
That makes me feel not-here
And everyone else seem not-there.

Would I need to be someone else to not feel it?
Is who I am formed from what I lack?

If I were not me,
Would I feel less not-here?
If I were not here,
Would I feel more like me?

If I am not even here,
What can my purpose be?
I can do nothing unless I am here,
But nothing I do can take away who I am,
And who I am is not separate from what is not-here.

Who I am is more than what is here,
But what I say means less than what I hear.
I speak of what is not-here,
But I listen for what is here.
I feel an absence,
But I listen for a presence.
What is present here is more than who I am,
It means more than what I feel,
But what can it mean if I can’t hear it?

What do I need?
I need to hear what is here;
I am frustrated when I feel only what is not.
Is there anything here
That can relieve me
Of what is not?
Is there anything not-here
That can help me
Perceive what is?

I begin the day already frustrated,
And I admit that I do not know why.
I also cannot say why
The not-here feeling always seems to linger here.

But here is the not-here.
I feel it now as I do most every day.
The not-here will be here whether I let it or not,
But this once I do not deny it or fight it.
I am here and so is the not-here.
I do nothing.
I can’t think of a single thing I could do
To take away what is not even here.