Truthtable's Life Story

My Life Story --
You already know my life story.
Because it's your life story too.

Haven't we both:
Basked in the boiling summer sun,
Tasted the salt sea breeze,
Heard roaring ocean,
Felt surging wave?

Haven't we
Skinned our knees,
Toyed the scab off early,
Burned our fingers despite mother's warning,
Forgotten something vital from our childhood,
Failed, taken the coward's way out, the easy road,
And also taken the dare, met the challenge,
Even through that copper taste of fear, sweaty hands,
Made that perfect play?

Haven't we both
Been knocked splat in the mud,
Felt hot staining tears of shame,
Stirred tornado-fire of fury in our heart,
Pulled ourselves up, chin high,
Strode determined across sandy desert of despair;

Wondered at night's twinkling stars,
Warmed numb hands by the crackling fire,
Stared at glowing ember,
Listened silent to ancient tales,
Snuggled deep into bedroll against winter frost?

Haven't we been delighted by tiger swallowtail,
A newborn's teeny hands,
A toddler's soul-deep smile,
Felt that sudden surprising rush of lust for a passing stranger,
Been slapped dumb by a friend's betrayal,
Closed our lids and shaken our heads at fellow human folly?

Haven't we painstakingly crafted that perfect crystal work
Watched helplessly as bullies smashed it on the rocks;
Loved and lost;
Felt one with the universe --
And absolute in our loneliness,
Learned the clever trick of denying death's power
And glimpsed the pure white brilliance beyond?

You already know my life story.
Because it's your life story too.

The Impossible

(Appearing in Poetry Guild's "Among the Roses", 1997)

That shiny steel flag-pole that spired skyward in our back yard:

It was too high; it was too slippery.
I was too weak; I was too young.
I was just a little boy, barely four years.
It was too thick; I couldn't do it.
There was no way; it was utterly and finally impossible.
I'd tried a thousand times and never got a foot off the ground.

My dad had stayed behind in Portugual (why?).
My mom and I lived alone in Kent (why?).
And, I tried -- tried to climb that pole, tried, and tried.
But some things, some things, you see, are never meant to be.

One day -- I played in the yard alone (where was my mom?)
I could smell, feel, before I saw It charging: --That dog of fangs,
That terrible wolf of the wilderness -- god of tooth and claw
Barking its happy knell of death -- its ruff raised, its snarling snipe,
Black lips baring back those snipping, chattering, yellow teeth --
Close and closer. I clambered and climbed the impossible pole,
Shinnied to the very top and held on for a minute, for a lifetime.

Thank God for challenge; thank God for life in all its fierce forms;
Thank God for courage and -- thank you God for viscious dogs.

My resume

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Last modified: Sun May 18, 1997