One hundred and some lines

Above, Paul Cézanne's Leda and the Swan

Below, a personal reflection that rings true and universal. Especially on this day, an hour before Donald Trump begins his presidency, instead of changing our profile photos, tweeting our loss of hope, crying publicly over Obama and, overall, taking pleasure and indulging in our "despair", these lines reminded me that we can also think about how we got here. To take a gentle, perhaps scary step back rather than run aggressively, blindly forward. Although there are no clear answers, in the lines of this poem or elsewhere, for that matter, there is something to be said about pointing fingers everywhere, equally, indiscriminately and being truthful with ourselves.

One hundred and some lines
by L. Rast

This is what you get in the end
confusing insecurity with sensitivity
oblivion for confidence
the price to pay for lack of awareness
the price for having it.
Lord, make me a child again
or grow up, not old.
I don’t believe in you
Nor, in myself
I must, to stand up to you
Nothing is easy. What chaos!
Little girls, don’t believe everything your mother tells you.
It is time. January is the cruelest month.
Who told us otherwise?
Now is the time.
Have you got some nice advice for yourself?
Find those words, on the tip of your tongue
for everyone else.
Where are they now?
Where are you?
Come out. Come out.
Show yourself, not your portrait.
The door slammed in your face.
You ignored it.
The train left with your foot on the last stair.
Your steam left with it.
Tiredness comes over me.
Hopefully from walking
and not a performance I put on
that I like to call my personality.
When in doubt, I doubt.
Took the wrong track to survive
in the right track, my own.
No one dare like me now
but I must go on.
I am responsible.
The church absorbed all desires and, in return,
gave us only one, false, desire.
Hid the ways, the twists and turns,
in their basements
and offered us one option
to not confuse us
to prevent chaos
as if we can be fulfilled
by listening to another
rather than to our own body.
As we did.
Ah, if we hadn’t.
As if we know how to listen to it, now.
If we hadn’t traveled so far.
We would know what to do.
Too far. Too late to return.
The first lie we accepted
was the fatal one.
The beginning was the end.
Now, anything is possible.
Strong opinions, out of weak chins
loud voices out of silent mouths
lips that have forgotten what to do
and they move, they talk,
they sigh, they frown,
pursed, sure of themselves
taking the shape they deserve
instead of the heart-shape they should have
because they kiss, trembling
but, still too confident,
kissing, yet another function of lips, after all.
Yes, this is what you get when you listen to others
when you forget yourself
and you forget the lies you told yourself
long ago
and, you think, the others
hold you to them
and you look outward, again.
Yes. Yet. Again.
But there’s nothing there
No God, because there is no you.
Ah, Leda. You, like any other.
But, it happened to you.
The strangeness of it all.
What do you do with all this strangeness?
Who can tell us what to do, now?
Where do you hide it
so you can deal with it tomorrow?
What about tomorrow?
What first?
You cannot fight.
Weight of centuries, reveal yourself
but, oh, don’t tire me.
Make me see what you’ve done
to everyone
but let me have hope, I scream.
I pray.
Oh Paris, no Rome, ah New York
Me too, me three, me four!
Journeys that take nowhere
except nowhere to turn to.
Take your influence and shove it
down your own throat.
Or, throw it out the window.
There’s nothing else here.
Just you and I.