Atonement

the essence of man is no abstraction inherent in each 
separate individual…it is the ensemble. -Karl Marx

i.
From a distance one does not exist
except as part of the gray
meld where sea, sucking and spitting
claims shore. Woman wanders
the edge—its relentless pressing
and receding
transfixed by the power
of at-onement.
Awed
cowered
she posits proof of
her own essential
Oneness
lifting a single stone
from the sand.

Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching,
thinking, feeling, desiring, acting, loving…
are…the appropriations of human reality.
-Karl Marx

ii.
Stone is never as simple as it feels
in the hand. Each historical epoch
captured existence in it’s own finite form
without consideration for outcome.
Some rocks dazzle.
Some cut.
Some lie
dull and brittle against the living
created when nature knew only itself—
and other existed purely
as predator or prey.
No man watched the first rocks form
neither heard the shrieks
nor smelled the flesh
condemned to steaming wells
of black tar.

Mankind.
Womankind.

They came.
They sensed.
They named It
and each other.
They arrived malleable
in the hand.
But whose?

They will tell you
Eden exists not in the bold face
of one who dares to stir your soul
ablaze against the licking flames
of complacency
but in the congratulatory gold watch
and the security of knowing
checks continue
even after you stop
caring about what you do
who you are
what you dreamt
you’d be.
If hell is the deep black abyss
promised to those who plummet from the grace
of conformity, purgatory must be the slippery slope
of mind wrestling heart’s despair
for those who fail to be transformed.

Alienation is…the equivalent of sin. -Karl Marx

iii.
Illegitimi Non Carborundum.
They will devour everything—
a parade of tired and desperate people
who give minute after consuming minute
to garner mantels of existence
that demand desecration of their own
spirit in the interest of community,
subjugate soul until introspection and thought
have been suppressed long enough to placate
everyone.

Don’t let the bastards get you down.
Walk and talk and breed essence
the way one bright bit of broken glass
churns in the surf to be cast upon shore
then draws the eye in defiance
of where one and all coalesce.

The dark sea batters.
It is hard to brave depth
for the glimmer of such tiny light
in lost and broken bits.
You may choose to batten down the hatches,
weather the storm, but there is no safe harbor
in alienation—
home
work
church
state
all eager to yoke you.

In time, the weight of their need
will force you to lean so close to the ground
they need only clear the debris
in that very spot—
and clergy to offer forgiveness
for your sin—
before tucking you back
into earth’s sodden fold.

We become aware of the void as we fill it. -Antonio Porchia

iv.
Open your hands. Pluck this pebble
from my eye. Tears flow
with its departure; they cannot
erode the gift now proffered.

I challenge you with phantoms
charaded as action; ideas expressed
in electronic blips and ink scrawl
because I am afraid to do
something that might become what we are not.
I fear this fraud has been complicit
in your alienation.

I have lost my way of being
who I am if we are not
sometimes together
where eyes are portal to soul.
I refuse to be the thread
that binds you, even loosely
to an existence that fails to transcend.
So I wander the uncertain edge
of my own seeking, wondering
if the only atonement is solitude,
if ensembles exist at all.

 

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