I know weariness.
I can see it at the edges of me, always
Waiting to seep back in like
Chloroform for the soul.
But I am not stupid.
I know it will return.
I know my days are numbered
And that when my time here is up
I will have to make the exhausting choice again
To go on
In a gray, flat world
And blindly wait for something to spark interest in me once more.
It is not faith that keeps me alive in those times.
It is not love.
It is not a feeling, at all-
It is a dull, stolid persistence,
An instinct from an older time
That I am simply too tired to fight against.
I crawl forward,
A machine which has run this long
And continues on with no driver and no destination
Until such time as the fuel runs out.
It is not a youthful thing to know
That gray quiet has touched me in places no lover ever will.
It has permeated my very flesh.
It lives in me like smoke,
And it will,
The knowledge that the one thing to which I will constantly return
Is that bland, cold, mechanical existence.
I tend myself
During those times
And I feel like a farmer who has planted
Stones in the ground
Foolishly watering and weeding,
Do it anyway
A habit that won’t break.
And I am too weary even to search for a reason
And that, I suppose, is a blessing
Because I would not find one if I did.
I go on, always,
And in the mirror during those times
I see the blue-white blindness of the eyes of an old dog
Who has felt the steel tipped toes of too many boots
To care if one more swings at his ribs-
He is too tired to move from his spot on the porch
And would rather endure the pain than endure the
I am like him, and I remain like him
Even when I am full of joy
(I am full of joy in that surprised, flinching way
In the way of something that has been around too long
Not to know that eventually
Something has to give.)
You call me young.
Everybody does, here.
And I suppose they should-
They have never seen that in me.
I hide it well, even when it swallows me
And anyhow they’ve only seen me in love,
The full and complete opposite.
They see my thankfulness
For a reprieve
And mistake it for energy,
Mistake it, even, for innocence
When really it is the stark, clear memory
Of months and years of colorlessness
Of waiting around for something inside to grow
When there are never any seeds nor any sunlight
Of deciding every day to go on,
Even when there is no reason.
It is far away now, that feeling
That awful cold emptiness.
It has rushed from me like the tide receding
And while it’s gone,
I’m not wasting a second
I’ll look stupid,
I’ll look naive,
I’ll look reckless,
But I’ll swallow my pride
And open myself to every feeling that comes my way:
To be anything less than as passionate as I can would be the deepest blasphemy
When I have known hell
Not as torment but as blankness