Mortal Complications - Poem by Edwin Xander
“Simplicity is the essence of universality”—Mahatma Gandhi
So, you’re worried.
Worried about the future,
About what he or she will think
Of your name.
About what the world will relinquish
To your pocketbook.
Thousands in debt
To build a bigger log cabin,
Years of labor
To buy a shinier car,
Endless circle of work,
Of education, of hopes, of “dreams deferred”
For a smile, a look in the eye,
A few nights with champagne,
Or the quiet satisfaction
Of earthly domination.
On your mind,
“what do others think? ”
But what do you think?
Can you think any longer?
Two paths, one a peaceful valley,
Good friends, good times, provinciality,
The constant gut chewing anxiety,
The sensitivity, the raw finger on the faint pulse,
The dissonance, the dissatisfaction,
Nausea and hope,
Fear and faint climaxes,
A life of pleasantries, of paychecks, of shoulder-pats,
Of alluring glances, of mirror-worship…
Ambiguity has a face,
And its face will be yours.
The other path, a skyscraper,
Glass, steel, challenge,
The unbearable climb, unendurable desire,
Unspeakable climax, agony of realization.
The body’s strength, the mind’s invulnerability,
Self-mockery, suicidal introspection.
Gasping for breath, screaming raw-throated triumph,
Ritual, Dance, Blood, Power.
Meeting the unflinching gaze of God
And steeling your strength behind a grand façade
Of plagiarized resolve.
For still you shall worship at the other’s altar,
Still you shall smile and whine and beg, pander,
A carbon-copy path, Philip’s Alexander,
And one day you will awaken
To see traced within the wrinkles of your age,
The words of another.
Will you think then?
Perhaps, the answer is disconnection,
Oceanic abandon of comforting ties,
Float like placid seaweed in the tide
And weather storms still, silent beneath the surface.
Alone, adrift, without another’s sanction
Until the sea is arid and you rise.
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