Stonelike

Fears.

With eyes shut tight the heart rides waves of tension in my chest,
squeeze of electric impulses. Tides of resistance swell and recede.

My hero’s gone, and in his place stands but a cheerleader
whose words remind me that his strength is mine, that I am my own bulwark,
symbol of integrity and power. But they feel hollow.

I dive into the resistance, wave of sick hopelessness submerging me.
What if it all stays bad?
What if I look out on the sun and wind one glorious day
and it is still there, inside of me?

What if this never heals.

Then I am damned—so what.
Then I am truly worthless; I will be destroyed.
I will be crushed to thin uncaring dust and all the better for it,
for ever was I pilfering time, pointless, insignificant.

. . . My skull, my teeth, my crushed and decomposing bones.
My countenance, which never really lasted constantly in time,
and my identity will blow away—
this “I,” a piece of earth.

And so as Earth the forces act on me:
the tectonics which raise mountains,
the whipping wind that sweeps their faces raw and bare,
the formless water slowly rushing leaving runnels,

and gravity, forming and cohering all—
contractive, compressing and cementing all,
including me. In my core I feel the sureness of the pull,
and finally relax in comfort.

But the heart, resistant driver, beats again.
My stress, and then my hopeless worries, too,
are surely opposition to this law.
Leaping, fighting, loving, yet constrained,
the fire of life is bound to Earth in obligation and in comfort.
Towards the dark center of the globe, a body;
Towards the soft cushions of my bed, a being.

The role of struggle and of testing nature
is to place one’s self inside this order.
Swimming breathless under ice,
the inner screaming and the pushing
makes you strong.

Here’s the axis—here’s the pillar.
The balance of your fears
and the insistent beating of your heart
will find you whole
when you push through.

Soon I’ll have a sunny windy day wherein
the warmth inside me shines unhindered,
but knowing now the shaping’s to my benefit,
that the struggle makes the man,
helps me place myself inside the mandala;
waking captive in the birdcage of perception—
small home within this spiral arm.

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