Doubt and Despair
This is the day we go into ourselves
to work out who we really are.
It is the teeter-totter day
when the world balances on a knife-edge:
Yesterday, the dark deed was done.
Today the body is in the morgue,
far from the crime scene
where black and yellow ticker-tapes,
keep sight-seers seeking thrills at bay.
Today, there is no centre to hold.
Things gyre and gimble in the wake
of troubling scenes misinterpreted,
called fake, and deliberately misunderstood.
The unfortunate lie chained so they can’t
escape. Take these chains from our hearts,
the watchers say. Take these irons from
our wrists, your knees from our necks.
Forsake your vicious choke holds.
Go away and leave us alone.
A birch tree lies on my power lines,
and I am powerless.
No phone, no radio, no tv,
and all because of a snow-laden tree.
Why did this happen to me?
“It’s a day, man, a day.
It’s nothing but a day.”
“Imagine,” says my wife, “being
without power all your life.”
I clench my fist and pump the air.
Nobody sees me. No one seems to care.
A ghost’s voice echoes in my head:
“Stop moaning, bro,
at least you ain’t dead.”
Sun, wind, melting snow.
The lame tree rising, slow.
Then, at last, the lines are free.
Power is back again.
I breathe more easily.
For forty days
I have wandered in this wilderness,
walking from room to room,
descending to the basement,
sitting at the computer,
sitting at the table,
writing in my journal.
I have watched the minutes
as they turn into hours,
the hours turning into days,
days into weeks, then months.
How long, I ask, oh lord, how long
before peace and love, friendship and joy,
return to this world
where they used to belong?
A turkey-vulture flew
over the house this afternoon,
hungering for who knows what,
as I too hunger for things
I have forgotten
and no longer know.
Freedom to walk
in now forbidden places,
freedom to shop for groceries,
to stop at the liquor store,
to buy wine and beer,
other things that I adore.
For forty days
I have sailed in this Noah’s
Ark of a house.
Like John the Baptist
I have lingered here for forty days.
Strange and wonderful are thy ways,
oh lord, in heaven, where souls and angels
admire your beauty and sing your praise.