20150820121056_00001It’s not all about me.
We look up at the sky, wondering who is looking down.
It’s not all about me.
As we age, moments catch us like snags on
favorite cardigans
mended but never the same
too good for charity, too flawed to sell
value in sentiment and what was once
at first glance, flawless
as if such a thing matters after a while
too late we see this
after years of staring into mirrors thinking
if I were just a little prettier they would … love me, desire me, need me
it’s not all about me
or the holes we mend, attempting to recreate
but you find that out after many errors and so
is it any wonder the old will smile wistfully and proclaim
youth is wasted on the young
just as bras that are uncomfortable
are the domain of insecure girls like I was
clinging to images and totems
rather than digging my heels in and
staring upward at the sky
heavy with impending storm
so we left our youth like a shed skin
and not knowing of this wasteland stumbled
catching glimpses of who we were before
fear made us raw
the taste of elements on your tongue
every superstition a reminder
what you don’t know can harm
and then
letting go because the weight is
crushing you into absorbing mud
drying your scream
what did my ancestors feel? As they walked
witness to the stillness of night and
the unseen murmur of what could and is not
like a giant ships knot
impossible to pick
halts momentum
I stood like an ice princess
poised to act
and turned to fat
turned inside out and back
like a flipping cat will somersault maybe eight times
landing on his feet
my soles are sore
with the burden of myself
all those unlicked envelopes containing
individual tethers to places in time
experiences, terrors, lessons
and the well-worn knees of an ardent repenter
who throws down their sin
and still it sticks to him for one and the same
we become, with our habits and our movement
gliding through the years like ivory comb
will stick in tangled hair and pull
some loose
I dangle
from a mountain of my own making
all the aches, those childish glimmers
reflecting across the lake like
long fingers will create sound
we move to instinctively
tell me then
how to absolve myself of the penchant
for avoiding hard things
tell me then
how we live, in still life, arranged on a table
like hot watermelon, freshly sliced, drips its
sticky insides
tell me then
the exact mixture to eliminate that
terrible awareness you have
mastered easy ways out
only to find yourself
grown over with maze
tell me then
is it too late
when the hour strikes
and your reflection is almost unrecognized
to return and begin again
that clear, straight path
you once believed yourself on
before you lost courage

0 Replies to “Tell me then”

  1. [Breathing a heavy sigh] A line in a song comes to mind, from “Lather” by Jefferson Airplane; “Is it true that I’m no longer young?” But then, another scene, from George Bernard Shaw’s “Don Juan In Hell”:
    DON JUAN For you, perhaps, there are consolations. For instance: how old were you when you changed from time to eternity?
    THE OLD WOMAN Do not ask me how old I was – as if I were a thing of the past. I am 77.
    DON JUAN A ripe age, senora. But in hell old age is not tolerated. It is too real. Here we worship Love and Beauty. Our souls being entirely damned, we cultivate our hearts. As a lady of 77, you would not have a single acquaintance in hell.
    THE OLD WOMAN How can I help my age, man?
    DON JUAN You forget that you have left your age behind you in the realm of time. You are no more 77 than you are 7 or 17 or 27.
    THE OLD WOMAN Nonsense!
    DON JUAN Consider, senora: was not this true even when you lived on earth? When you were 70, were you really older underneath your wrinkles and your grey hairs than when you were 30?
    THE OLD WOMAN No, younger: at 30 I was a fool. But of what use is it to feel younger and look older?
    DON JUAN You see, senora, the look was only an illusion. Your wrinkles lied, just as the plump smooth skin of many a stupid girl of 17, with heavy spirits and decrepit ideas, lies about her age.
    There is an illusion also in thinking we are choosing an easy way. When were any of the forks in the road marked “This way to wisdom, that way to folly?”
    Poetry, like life itself poses the deep questions.

  2. This reads like a poem of reflection, then realizing that the reflection that took place was essential. Favorite lines:
    “my soles are sore
    with the burden of myself
    all those unlicked envelopes containing
    individual tethers to places in time
    experiences, terrors, lessons
    and the well-worn knees of an ardent repenter
    who throws down their sin
    and still it sticks to him for one and the same”
    This is your gift…

  3. “Drying your scream” or me screaming at the top of my lungs when I realize there is no one hearing me. And there never will be. Thank you for sharing your gifts!

  4. Sometimes, it is not too late to rewind and take those paths on which we procrastinated, or passed by in our younger years. But sometimes, we must create new paths, and envision new futures for ourselves that don’t look the same as the ones we once imagined.

  5. I really felt this! It brought tears to my eyes.
    (I just said to a friend the other day that youth is wasted on the young!)
    what a rich path of thought you lead us on, Candice. Your imagery is always amazing. I have similar conversations with people about these things, but I always love the extraordinary way you articulate it.
    Of course, our spiritual thoughts are different. So I hope you don’t mind me saying that you are in my thoughts and prayers. And blessings on your new year, for continued healing! <3
    Thank you for all of your beautiful, thought provoking writing.

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