Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Dog Scatters

The dog scatters her body in sleep,
paws, finding no ground, whip at air, 
the unseen eyeballs reel deep, within.
And waking––crouches,
tacked to humility all day,
children ride her, stretch,
display the black purple lips,
pull hind legs to dance;
unaware that she
tore bulls apart, loosed 
heads of partridges,
dreamt blood.

- Michael Ondaatje, Biography

* * *

Where truth and fact merge there lies poetry.

* * *

I found myself telling a rather lame story of myself to my beloved nephew. It was the story of the distance been my words and my deeds, of the ratio of the time I spend being myself and the time spent at labor for others, of the ideas unrealized versus those who made it to shore. It is this synapse, this gap, this empty space where we can either toss in fear and doubt, or something made of better stuff. There is no one who does not have to address or cross or somehow deal with this distance. You fuck yourself if you ignore it, or if you believe the distance cannot be closed. What gnaws is the realization that the distance grows larger with inaction, but the larger the gap the less likely you are to venture it and so on.

The answer is not found in the distance you have to cover, but the strength in your metaphoric legs to risk the jump.

* * *

Whither strength? What are its sources? Where the well?

Strength is where truth and fact merge.

There is a truth known only to you. A truth so deep, so pervasive it is cellular, atomic, sub-atomic for christssake. It is written in blood, but you have forgotten it, discarded it, denied it all for the sake of going along to get along, for the promise of love, the gift of a job, a home you could call your own. It gets so far gone that you have convinced yourself this shadow life is the one you always wanted. Like Ondaatje's dog, you are ridden, danced along, made to bear humiliations and taught to like them. You suffer it because there are rewards for doing so and those rewards are the sum of living the life you have.

But there's this truth that does not die, does not disappear because it is inconvenient for you to be reminded of it. It is tattooed in your DNA, your RNA, your PDQ, in the stars and in your dreams. It is the essential animating force of life inside your life. You can run from it. You can die never acknowledging it, but godddamn, it is there and it always will be.

Strength, the necessary strength to carry on, to take another step, to coil for that leap, arrives when this truth meets the facts of your life as they are, in this moment, right the fuck now. You see, that truth is always strong enough to meet the facts of your life. No lie. It mystifies others who have yet to let the two touch, but you, you get it.

You see, you can tear bulls apart, loose heads from partridges, dream blood, for that is who you are. The dog and pony show is just that, a show, and dude, you don't have to do it no more.

* * *

Listen, listen, listen, Ondaatje's dog knows itself when it dreams. Awake she is tacked to her circumstance. The difference between you and that dog is that you can change your circumstance, or at least change your response to it, which in turn changes it and so on. The distance between your self and your life is the distance between your truth and your facts, the distance between strength and poetry, between dreaming and doing.

Enough of being ridden by fear and doubt and circumstance.


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