To The Old Men - Poem by Jason Stutz
listening to you speak,
I was showered by the pain of your past
and my sense of myself absorbed
into the depths of your longing
I wished I could tell you the beauty I saw in you
so mixed within your sorrows
as if your beauty was a result of your sorrow,
I had such affection for you then.
But I had to turn away, remember myself,
re-sense my shape, my borders, my name
To separate myself, to forget you.
But you returned to me
and the fear-maligned surfaces
of your beauty reflected in the air
like a charge of hate
sometimes, every time I turned
I turned, like into burning walls, into anger.
I should have wept for you
instead of arguing about the enemies of justice
that lived in your hands.
But to look at you, you were so much 'history'-
like blocks of wood that time recorded your life upon;
household legends whose authors abandoned their common glory;
Tears would only embolden you,
and God only knows what you would do then.
Why didn’t you see the potential for beauty in my eyes?
My heart, still pained, asks this. Why?
At times, yes, you looked, but you could hardly bare it.
But, oh, at times, your eyelids cooled and you turned to the side
to sit with my meaning in your heart,
for a moment, until you started again
A thousand sorrows in those moments, like tears
were wiped away from the face of eternity
the gold of your hearts materializing on your faces
and you enjoyed love, so briefly
despite the demands that threatened you into action each day
Every day those same demands
moved you always...away...
away from danger and away from love
But those demands that moved you away
moved me more urgently to love
and to make companions of all the fickle lions who frightened me.
I can’t see through these dirty clouds of reason-
has God, yet, made me whole?
... my feet still cling to the soil of earth,
but a bridge escalates out before me
into a grand, majestic distance.
Oh, let me die to the world: break my heart- just a little more.
Tell me another blasphemy!
One more dirty joke about how Love has orphaned us
and we must instead waste our time
on pleasurable but empty pursuits!
Oh, but only talk me out, just a little more,
from this barren cliff of impotent reason
for my impregnable brain
shields me from your voice’s beautiful rain! !
It has been decided.
The only way to resolve this matter
is that I am the one who has to die.
I accept this as the only viable solution.
I become pitiless, unsympathetic as stone
even as you plead through tears or violence for me to stay.
I abandon my mind; you dropp from me,
like a limb I wasn’t sure how to use.
You were so beautiful; I loved you.
I think to make toward you, but
there is nothing I have need of anymore
as there is nothing the Universe withholds from me.
A dark distance absorbs us
and Death laughs a coarse whisper in my ear
enunciating my loss.
But I will grab Death like a horse by his throat
and ride him through the gates of eternity
to find you there,
a happy boy, like a sunbeam,
waiting for your bestest friend,
-at the center of all things;
-where the impulse to love gives seed in the heart
before it flowers out into life;
-the unifying substance and common denominator of all hopes, all dreams;
-in each thought that comes from light,
and in those that have a darker caste,
the invisible, gentle filter
that guides you to understand them;
-behind your nerves
like a shadow of light
backdropping all of your actions, the subtlest and most evident
receiving and absorbing the light that gives you impetus
to breathe to act to speak to do anything any part of you does;
-before the mind conceives to reach out into the world for attainment
and all the tiny idles of your hand are laying in wait
as though withholding it’s reach
for the sake of some unnamed special mate
reside before a dream begins
in that pocket of eternity.
Death peers back on me
questioningly and sarcastic, knowing not.
Forms that confused me once are seen whole and simple, now.
Like a young woman’s loud flirtations at a bar
seeming so daring to herself
yet, one step away from her defines her easily;
illusions are discovered;
mysteries are shouting themselves to the world.
Sparking in the tension between material and void,
in the center of all the trillions of images and formulations
that roll into what processes we call “being a man”
(i.e. what he knows and defines himself by
the ways he maneuvers through the world
his social functions, relationships and associations,
what he believes in himself and is believed to be, true or untrue;
in his thoughts that contain light
and in those that have a darker, reflecting caste) ,
O, let it be me your hand waits to reach out for!
I am coming very soon, I am almost there
you can sense my intent for you
“I am as good as looking at you, now.”
I will help guide you
without the blur of anger
and without the fear of losing myself
into the mouths of your heart's-losses.
I am your heart's losses
and I know that I have cried
alone to God in the dark,
only to be saved in the lifeboat of someone’s love.
It is discovered: It is
each other we feared losing this whole time,
and, fearing, lost ourselves for each other’s sake,
and now we have lost so much time together;
how much time lost is according to the fear
and resulting indifference and sarcasm
that we projected upon each second of the ticking clock.
But we can laugh with each other now, bashful, knowing;
a little inside nudge my elbow and a wink between you and me
Through the wheel of your lifetimes,
I will gradually return myself to you, you to myself.
It will not be easy, for you or for me
but such is the way of great romances.
Now, I am at the bridge,
I am ready to walk on, to say goodbye
to dropp my handkerchief for you to find
and the whole world rolls up behind me the instant it touches the grass.
Did it find you? Are you reading this poem?
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