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We look to the horizon,
we look to the future or past,
we look to the left or right...
It's someone in this country
or someone in a distant country,
perhaps it's pollution or one's father
or one's older sibling, younger sibling,
it's the job promotion we failed to get
or recognition we haven't acquired yet -
it's someone, something outside
that has destroyed us, fed us
BS, has drained or bled us.
Yet I suspect some presence
within has been pretending
to be me, or some shadowy tendency
may have been obscuring me...
Above and beyond what anything, anybody
has done is an unseen enemy
we listen to like a trusted advisor,
we listen to like a close friend.
It's this one within us, yes,
that betrays us in the end.
Once in a while
in a room with nine doors,
walking through one of them,
he'd see a flaming demon
with multiple heads,
a repulsive display
of faces
threatening
to devour him -
and quickly
he'd shut the door,
fleeing through another door,
and by and by
the fear subsiding or hiding away,
he'd give himself over
to the distractions of day...

Another time
he fled this way, that way,
having seen four
demons blazing bigger
than the one before,
perhaps multiplied
through his evasiveness,
through his countless distractions...

But one day
all nine doors trembled, shook,
the light underneath each oozing
a blazing demonic look,
and there was nowhere to flee.
They were about
to break through
and tear him apart.

He had no choice.

Desperation beheaded distraction
with a single stroke -

and he awoke...

He wound up in rarefied air
that wore no cloud,
nine angels accompanying him,
nine angels gladly serving him...
It doesn't ask for one's permission,
it doesn't care.
Of ethics and the proper way
it's unaware.
The storm doesn't strike at the proper time;
it simply strikes when it does.
The storm's masterful voice
stuns the recipient,
the recipient possessed.
The mind is left to measure, to wonder
at the perceived latest blunder,
decides what's improper and what is best.
Love doesn't know respect or lack thereof;
love cannot help but being love.
My love, I cannot restrain the wind
any more than a cloud can be pinned.
Circumstances, our lives' respective stages
are solar systems or realms apart,
even while you're the compass of my heart.
You will haunt and purify me.
Your absence will pain me - and because of you
the world is poetry.
It’s clear I won’t know your touch.
How long has the separation been now?
Your silent nearness has become too much.

Any thought of you will no longer do.
A thought of you is a thought too much.
You’ll be gone soon, and I won’t know your touch.

Like a field where no wind stirs, no tree is,
the mind is without hope, mind doesn’t move.
There is only the silent ache of love.

The ache grows deeper and acuter still,
and is absorbed. There you are, my love,
a faceless silence on the other side
of sorrow, within whose presence abide
clarity and passion intensified.
I couldn't even say why
I love you... I couldn't say
how it all happened, nor did I invite
its happening, its total possession.
I could not have imagined
loving you: we're realms apart
so far as your culture goes,
so far as circumstances and stages go.
Yet thanks to you my pages glow;
you're the self-illuminated heart
as well as some untrodden country where I go,
a distant star that affixes my gaze,
that purifies me and mends my ways.
You're as much the ease and poetic flow,
the eloquent symmetry of what's restrained and clear
as the forest in which I'm lost and that I fear.
You wound and uplift me at the same time;
you're the sky and ocean clothed in rhyme.
Part of me resists you, fiercely desires
the old life back - the calm, balanced soul
steeped in responsibility and self-control.
This feels silly as much as liberating -
a middle-aged man teaching in high school
is reduced to an idiot or fool.
Some brief respite is the gold of deep sleep -
or you showing me affection in my dreams.
When I awake, I sometimes fear I'll weep,
the bedroom resounding with your absence...
You wound and uplift me at the same time,
you the universe, my love, clothed in rhyme.
On the cricket-deepened October night,
her voice of moon poured these words:
your love for me is more tumult than depth,
more foam and wind than spaciousness.
Turbulence is not the measure of love,
suffering in a quiet little corner, not love.
For what have you been doing? Your tears are only
for yourself, you think about how lonely
you are, and you think the image, memory
of me is me! And you remember the pleasure
my company gave you - that's the measure
of your love for me. If my spirit world
is what you want, you will widen your interests,
your eyes multiplied dewdrops on what's unfurled
within, reflecting many other worlds...
You will give up your mistrust of your fellow
men and women, my flower's stem
your longing to be of service to them.
You may never love all - but to glimpse the depths
of me is to steep yourself in humankind,
not weep selfish tears at being left behind.
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