And so lately

I choose this island
and its freedom from false face.
I select a landfall apart
from the swell and tides of others.

I claim this lone strand
for the Dominion of Self.
Unattended by minions, I live
without the cant of congregations.

Self-governed, yet worthy
I shun the uncentered
fawners for lost pieces
in the shadows of Other.

I pick my comings and goings,
my music and arts.
I cull first flowers
and pitch the weeds of dependence.

My mind sharpens and sculpts itself
in monuments to glory and love
begging naught of another.

I go it alone, unafraid and unperplexed.
Respectful of this reign,
my hopes people this island.

I harvest the metaphors of life
with a timeless abandon
that knows no thought of Other.

Bygone, the grey deep moans,
now distant, unheard.


“I sometimes think I inhabit my own country.”–Tennessee Williams

Where were you in the spring of 1990, when this was written?

The starting points of this poem were Paul Simon’s “I Am a Rock” which I, only child teenager and wanna-be performer, easily and naturally assimilated some 25 years before. And many diverse rebel characters of literature and film such as Brando’s Johnny in  The Wild One, Costner’s character in Dances with Wolves, and Lawrence of Arabia in Lean’s film. There are always risks to being an individual–one is often considered dangerous, “mad” and misunderstood, but it goes with the territory.

The poem is simply a fearless paring down to Self and Other with a declaration of freedom from ‘the pack’. Sometimes it is necessary for a person to leave the group in order to survive, shore up, and move ahead. You, too, may experienced the need to accept and ‘bless’ or ‘coronate’ yourself in a way not unlike Emily Dickinson’s “The soul selects her own society.” There is a heady power, strength, confidence, and zen certainty when one begins to realize what one is capable of as in this issued ‘manifesto’ of sorts. In my case, it was the freedom to “harvest the “metaphors of life” via the arts, writing in particular and the power of brave new inspired words.

Does the poem tell the whole story? Not, of course. What of family, love, etc.? In retrospect, true. but as turning points go in individual growth and freedom, the integrity and spirit of this poem is not a bad place to be, if necessary.


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