(1948 / OVER 400 POEMS SERVED! !)

Out Of The Abyss

The trap door opened.
I fell into the pit.

After ten days,
vacation was ending.

You know how it is:
a buffer zone,
stands between you
and the resumption
of mundane responsibilities,

and in that interlude you create
a magical kingdom and endow it with
the illusion of permanence.

Six days across the sea
of time till the boat
reaches the other shore,
it seems like an eternity —

but now, only two days left...
and now, it's tomorrow!

And after a mostly boring
last-hurran outing
to a nearby mountain-top,

the truth comes home:
this kingdom never was,
and now, even as an illusion,
it's about to end.

Mad with grief,
I come home from the mountain-top.
Snakes of conflict raging in my heart,
I go to bed —

The contradictions I wrestle with
render my life impossible.
The shrinking ground I stand on
will be gone tomorrow
like snow in warming sun.

The alternative to my
fortified, dissolving kingdom
is intolerable:
it means I'm a failure!

And yet, as I survey
the situation over and over,
the truth is inescapable:

no one is going
to buy and publish
my stories, art and poems
and make them my livelihood
in the next 24 hours.

I have to be satisfied
to be a creative vehicle
for the sake of the process,
for truth, and beauty
and my own need.

I have no
professional recognition.

But this fact left only
the horror of my 'day job',
latest in a lifetime
of day jobs.

How could I
do it any more?

Does God not care?
Are not all things possible?

I prayed, thankful for the steady
stream of pain
that guaranteed sincerity.
I prayed in a fever of prayer

for a long time, and I looked up
and found myself
still in the pit,
sheer walls all around,

and the numbers on
my digital clock
kept turning over.

I could not go,
I could not face tomorrow —

and then,
I took a step
back, somehow,

and I looked up again,
and I saw a ridiculous man
braying at the mirror!

Who am I
to give ultimatums
about what I will
and will not
accept from life?

That is the way
of madness.

I said to myself,
'God hears my prayers.
This must be
the way He wants it, '

and I said,
'I surrender any desire
to have it any different
than it is.'

Suddenly I was out of the pit,
with no more fevered obsession,
ready to lift my load tomorrow
all in a day's work.

User Rating: 5,0 / 5 ( 4 votes ) 4

Comments (4)

Max, we are not worthy! The struggle to make sense continues. I am 'minded of a quote, the source of which I do not know, 'One should seek to live an ordinary life in an extraordinary fashion.'
reality versus illusion, responsibility to the day and responsibility to sanity...the toil and repreve. wow, this is ultra familiar subject in completely novel style. superb work, Max. -Tailor
Such a personal and sincere expression of something we all struggle with periodically - acceptance. Sometimes we do not recognize the manifestation of our desires as they are not in the form we anticipated them to be. avr
That step back, Max, is the... the 'something'. This is a personal. wonderful piece to read. The ending in particular (well, you know) . I am grateful. t x