Thursday, May 28, 2015

Beautiful Anyway

When the realization finally hits you
that there are things you can't outrun
you will want to lay your body
on the pavement of a deserted street at midnight.
Splay your broken body like chalk outlines laid
in the line of danger that's already passed.

You will come to know the black sky at midnight.
You will know the warm, black expanse of asphalt under you,
you will know the boundless nothing
and the promise of something,
you will know the way that surrender turns on all the taps.
Will wring you dry.
When you give up the chase, you will know
the ways that soaking in the danger
while lying open to the heavens
will only put a wedge in your heart to keep it open.
Don't run.
No matter the ways you try
you will still only ever feel

It is true that there are things you can't outrun.
Like ocean waves in the middle of the ocean.
Like the way the air carries the atoms of dinosaurs,
of smoke, of gunpowder, of bombs,
into our lungs.
Like the way we let destruction beat our hearts like war drums.
Like the way we smell of babies,
of spring breezes, of beautiful anyway,
there are things you can't outrun, like
this life.
It makes breathlessness an art form.
Makes marathons a way of being
so we keep running,
believing answers will be somewhere in the next mile
until these things will stop you
like cars on I-95, they will stop you
in the middle of the highway
for no fucking reason
except to survey the wreckage.

You stop running when you realize that you are the wreckage.
That you are the traffic
and you are the accident
it will take your breath away.

This poem is not meant as apology.
I keep trying to write it like forgiveness
like moving on
like looking the past in the face and not blinking first,
but the words drop like sorry.
Like secrets, like whispers, like tears,
like no one ever told me the ways feelings
would rise in my body like smoke.
Fill my lungs like I'm burning from the inside out,
this gutted cathedral,
this ransacked temple,
this body that burns into emptiness that envelops,
these words are not apology, but story.
Not apology, or breaking or broken,
it is true that you can't outrun the burning.
That you will want to lay yourself down on the asphalt at midnight
to soak in the warmth left over from the day.
It is true that you can't outrun the blisters
that are forming on your feet.
Can't make your feet strike the pavement more softly.
Can't lose the things
you carry with you.

Stop running.
Let the footsteps you left behind be absorbed
into the unforgiving places,
your power
is here in the standing.
In the not blinking first.
This body
is the home you must always come back to
so we'll stand in the smoke.
We'll touch the ashes.
We will witness the ways we must burn ourselves
to the ground. 

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