Manifesto To Myself - Poem by Max Reif
I am a part of this Humanity
caught between the angels and the apes.
In the grid of my own life
all my weaknesses ambush me,
and there is nowhere I can go
where they will not follow.
I trade blow after blow with my surroundings,
like Israeli and Palestinian,
who continue to soak
the ground with their blood
rather than relinquish
their litany of claims
and trail of grievances.
When will I overthrow my history's shadow
and meet the immediate world around me
as the theater and battleground
of my own transformation?
Blame, you have ridden sentinel,
you have had my ear long enough.
Self, cutting your confident path,
turn around and see its tornado wake!
Outward-fixed blindness that mimics sight,
when will you turn and look clearly at yourself?
Dark habits, you think you belong
simply because you are so entrenched!
How long to go on sowing the seeds of pain
in my own environs, and then play victim?
How long contribute to the trickster's brew
whose spell institutionalizes oblivion?
How long? As many blows as it takes
to stop manufacturing new verbal prescriptions
too rosy to apply in the stink of living
as many as necessary to feel
every cell's ultimate weariness
and finally cry, 'Enough'!
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