Worthy Things

Sometimes I look at you, all of you who never thought

To have anything so precious you would stand behind it

No matter what the cost, even if that be your life, your freedom,

Your sacred honor.

Does anyone even know what that last one means these days?

 

I think these things, count the syllables tolling like golden chimes

As big as any god we built, and I wonder what it feels like

To exist half dead, hungry but never knowing it, because

You lack the language to express the concept of such craving.

Is there madness lurking there? Will you wake one day and realize it?

 

I cannot teach you how to see meaning or feel actual passion–

Like sunlight flooding through an open door into a dark room.

I cannot place within you an undefined ache for expression

That haunts you, directs your hand, your eye, your mouth.

I cannot show you the pool of Origins, where once we knew perfection.

 

But I would die for these words, a handful of ill-assorted bits in your view–

Pocket lint, spare change, a broken pencil nub.

You see only what is readily apparent.  But I see a strange path of memory.

I see revolution, and a riot cop’s truncheon where it made contact

With my shoulder and not the face of a stranger.

 

I see her fingers, articulated bones like a divine alphabet in the dim light

As they later traced strange runes of longing upon my skin.

I hold moments that cannot be recaptured–blood, life, death–etched in these

Fragile symbols, these patterns of thought and delicate manipulations of anatomy.

As impermanent and utterly unforgettable as the tangent of a diving hawk after prey.

 

I have traced the shape of my life in these symbols.  I have set them against

A darkness, which is forgetting, which is the impressionless existence they would have me lead.

Memory is power.  The ability to understand, synthesize, and communicate–

Indeed, a dangerous arsenal, worth silencing me with banal baffles.

But I would die for this.  I would put myself between you

 

And the moment when you wake, fierce with hunger and filled with the madness of longing.

 

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