A Maudlin Shift of Tone

An apology

First of all, thank you for your patience. I understand it has been more than a little bit since I last posted something here, and I don’t doubt that some of you wondered if I had given up already. Allow me to say that life got in my way a bit. Please accept my apologies.

A (short) history lesson

With today’s post, I am skipping ahead a few years. I’m specifically jumping to 1997. When that year began, I had been working at my local grocery retailer for a little over two years. There was a girl who worked there with me that I found very pretty. Somehow, despite my morbid fear of rejection, I asked her out. At first, she declined, citing a need to babysit. However, I persisted and she agreed. I was delighted!

Sometime before our date, I wrote this poem. While trying to create this poem, I realized that I was unhappy with the way I usually wrote my poems. I tried something new: free verse. I wasn’t sure at first what I thought of it, but as I reread it for this post, I was struck by the way it read. Each line adds another piece of the overall mental picture, and when it wraps up, I was left feeling very satisfied with it.

(Not quite) history

This poem is oddly apropos even now, though I’m neither as naïve as that now, nor as hard on myself (in most ways; we all have our demons, though). Still, it gives a glimpse into the mind of a 21-year-old.

Addendum: this is one of the first poems that I had the presence of mind to write the date upon. This particular piece was written at 230am on May 5, 1997.

Here is…

The Breaking

Sitting in a dungeon of my design,
Trying to escape,
while tying the bonds tighter.
I see a pinhole of light
descending above me.

I struggle against my chains
in my effort to reach the ghostly light.
But my jailer is more cunning than I know,
pulling me back down onto the damp earth.
I attempt to speak to this glow,
But the words will not come forth
as my tormentor muffles my cries.

Before I or my foe can react
The glow descends directly into me.
I find myself screaming in agonized pain
And my jailer screams just as loudly.
The pain I feel is searing white fire
burning my very soul.

I close my eyes,
giving up to this new threat.
The impact comes and the flash blinds me.
When my eyes return, I find myself whole
and my hands free.
Of the jailer there is no sign,
but my cell door is open.
That impenetrable barrier ajar.
Drawing on undiscovered strength,
I head swiftly for the portal,
lest it seal itself once more.

Afraid of what I know is there,
yet eager for the unknown,
I walk through and let myself go.
I turn back to my home for time untold,
and see myself sitting there still.

How could this be? Am I not here?
Yet I know that the light had its part in this
and I finally learn what that light really was.

It was what I have denied myself for aeons.
It was what I have not dared hope to possess.
It was what I waited nights uncountable for.
It was my love of her and my courage to pursue it.

And I find I am no longer alone.


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