Your Trip to Paradise
At three am,
On a black kettle night,
a yen for Paradise awakens you.
Rising, you pack ridiculous
flimsy clothes -
shirts without sleeves,
pants without legs,
shoes without a hint of protection.
This crime is committed in faith,
committed in passion and a desperation
that sends large boulders flying.
You make your bed, carefully.
In case you don’t return.
In case your private domain
is blundered through
by indiscriminate survivors.
Even bent on Paradise,
you want to leave Perdition
in an ordered state
worthy of a benevolent obituary.
Stepping through the door, the night
hits your face and you take note:
this is not a dream.
The sun, swollen with the liquor
of nocturnal recline,
shows no sign of appearing.
Lifting from the sliver of earth,
you are not alone.
In a square of dark sky,
you see her or him or whoever
the beautiful creature is,
because it is the who of you,
it is the yes of you,
the now and then and hope of you,
the love of you
the desire for you,
the transformed you
after you become the creature
you were fashioned to be.
This astonishing you runs at break neck speed.
But you are not out of breath.
Colored in twilight,
your legs drum the delighted sky.
You are outside of you.
The shell of you is strapped inside
waiting to make your acquaintance.
You study you, amazed.
You are ageless.
Empowered by engines not your own,
you run through endearing weakness.
Past storms meant to grow you wings,
you run through sunflowers
facing the moon,
through rivers of ice flowing uphill to fire,
and angst all forgotten.
You run through trees hung fat with
you are not pretending in the slightest.
You dive backwards,
your neck arching,
your legs stretching,
your toes pointed to God.
You are dizzy with balance, giddy with peace.
Leaving a trail of shrinking lights,
you think primordial thoughts.
Thoughts of fire, of flood, of fabulous fate.
You are a river undamned by God.
The current is swift, but it is not against you.
Rejoicing and weeping,
a flock of crystal stars fly beneath you.
With wings of diamonds and bone and
feathers of colored surprise,
they make a wind for the transfiguring mill of you.
For this trip, only children are permitted
to sit in the exit rows.
In case of a crash, only the children
can open the doors.
It has always been this way.
But only now do you dare remember.
To behold yourself as this child
you envision a lime green shirt, or was it red,
or blue or maybe it was a dotted Swiss dress
with a yellow belt.
You remember kid white gloves,
or bare hands or fingers dipped in sugar.
It makes no difference.
The hands are small and the child is you.
You look down.
You want to know this two legged shape.
It is attached to you.
You are attached to it.
But it is not you.
Your body is just a sentence
that carries the noun of you.
You are a fabulous stuttering phrase
that carries the ill stated truth of you.
But it is never, not ever clear enough.
you remember your former bed,
you remember the warmth of it.
How it felt to be in the arms of it,
how it protested with your every turn,
how the covers were never exactly
as you wanted them to be.
You remember God’s smothered voice,
the feel of your hands against your ears.
In this knowledge,
the knowledge of your small hands
you agree to stop apologizing,
to stop making excuses.
This is a story written for you.
But it is not meant to be written alone.
In the story you wrote alone
you were stuck behind a door,
afraid to try the handle,
afraid to risk its turning.
But the nudge to do so was unmistakable.
All along you’ve questioned the nudge.
God himself explains your hesitation,
your resistance to the soft nudging
has to do with God.
You are afraid to encounter God.
Here in Perdition there is much
to overcome, to improve, to remodel,
destroy, amend, excuse, flatter, impress, refute.
But in Paradise, you arrive at an enduring story.
No need of your fixing, of rehearsed achievements.
In Paradise the water brims with tears
nobody needs to cry.
And the birds here?
The birds derive from angels.
The clocks are clowns and you are hour free.
The cutting wind has dropped its blade
and grown a cotton tongue,
and all the words are waterfalls
and all the dots have i’s.
The shredding cloaks of poverty
are gleaming satin gowns
and broken doors set sail as boats
and oars are pulled by skies.
In Paradise your questions beg
and answers grow like alms.
And yes and no are Siamese twins and
Mondays carry songs.
In Paradise you are who
you are supposed to be
and no one thinks to drown.