Sweetsoft sledge hammer of the hero’s journey (audio poetry)


this sweetsoft sledge hammer will not return to the shelf
until every vestige of illusion has left the theater,
every mask shattered
every encrustation brittled into dust
and a new order set into a holy and luminescent gridwork of existence

freedom does not nibble at your neck in timid invitation
your soul will not liberate itself in a delicate minuet,
the purveyors of bliss and going gentle into that good night
have sold you a bill of goods,
and you have willingly forked over your divinity
in exchange for a superficial peace

you and only you decide how deep you wish to travel
whether (or not) you will resist the call to enter
the intricacies of your bony labyrinth,
there are raw and tender appendages reaching out from within-
consider their disappointment if you rush impolitely to smell only roses

the machinations of your mind roar mightily
plant successive rows of doubt and gnarled self-denial,
keep you spinning in a maelstrom of suspended dissolution:
holding your hands over your ears and folding your arms over your heart
will not slake the fervent urgings of your soul

connection with the higher realms nets you nothing
if you do not embody the earth with equal measure,
wisdom from above carries no weight absent the temporal,
spirit and flesh no longer reside at opposite ends of the pole
and if you like, you can meet them with courage in the center

if your infatuation with the material renders peace and contentment
then rest your golden head on the pillow of productivity
sail into a placid sea of yoked domestication,
leave shuttered the windows into your nature divine
and we will speak no more of the hero’s journey

however, those of us who cannot shirk from the marriage of agony and ecstasy,
who find a fragile revivification in dying to oneself,
recognize that some quickenings are not to be quelled
and discover new birth pangs behind every vale of tears

for us, there is no other way
and so we walk this oft-lonely and isolated path as we are summoned,
brooding the knowing that every upturned stone
reveals jewels that have rested beneath for all time

we would not suggest that our way serve as template for your own –
walking in another’s moccasins is a certain recipe for stumbling imbalance,
but there are balms to be found in the baskets of those who have ventured before
who can tell the unvarnished story with vivid recollection
and with the hopeful promise that you too
can purchase a round-trip ticket,
venture into the belly of the whale,
allow yourself to be horrified by what you see in the mirror
surrender to the enormity of a life marked by dimensionality,
and return home exhausted and pale,
wiser and far more complete

blistered by the unceasing kiss
of an all-embracing god

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