Tell me then

20150820121056_00001It’s not all about me.

We look up at the sky, wondering who is looking down.

It’s not all about me.

As we age, moments catch us like snags on

favorite cardigans

mended but never the same

too good for charity, too flawed to sell

value in sentiment and what was once

at first glance, flawless

as if such a thing matters after a while

too late we see this

after years of staring into mirrors thinking

if I were just a little prettier they would … love me, desire me, need me

it’s not all about me

or the holes we mend, attempting to recreate

but you find that out after many errors and so

is it any wonder the old will smile wistfully and proclaim

youth is wasted on the young

just as bras that are uncomfortable

are the domain of insecure girls like I was

clinging to images and totems

rather than digging my heels in and

staring upward at the sky

heavy with impending storm

so we left our youth like a shed skin

and not knowing of this wasteland stumbled

catching glimpses of who we were before

fear made us raw

the taste of elements on your tongue

every superstition a reminder

what you don’t know can harm

and then

letting go because the weight is

crushing you into absorbing mud

drying your scream


what did my ancestors feel? As they walked

witness to the stillness of night and

the unseen murmur of what could and is not

like a giant ships knot

impossible to pick

halts momentum

I stood like an ice princess

poised to act

and turned to fat

turned inside out and back

like a flipping cat will somersault maybe eight times

landing on his feet

my soles are sore

with the burden of myself

all those unlicked envelopes containing

individual tethers to places in time

experiences, terrors, lessons

and the well-worn knees of an ardent repenter

who throws down their sin

and still it sticks to him for one and the same

we become, with our habits and our movement

gliding through the years like ivory comb

will stick in tangled hair and pull

some loose

I dangle

from a mountain of my own making

all the aches, those childish glimmers

reflecting across the lake like

long fingers will create sound

we move to instinctively

tell me then

how to absolve myself of the penchant

for avoiding hard things

tell me then

how we live, in still life, arranged on a table

like hot watermelon, freshly sliced, drips its

sticky insides

tell me then

the exact mixture to eliminate that

terrible awareness you have

mastered easy ways out

only to find yourself

grown over with maze

tell me then

is it too late

when the hour strikes

and your reflection is almost unrecognized

to return and begin again

that clear, straight path

you once believed yourself on

before you lost courage

17 thoughts on “Tell me then

  1. [Breathing a heavy sigh] A line in a song comes to mind, from “Lather” by Jefferson Airplane; “Is it true that I’m no longer young?” But then, another scene, from George Bernard Shaw’s “Don Juan In Hell”:
    DON JUAN For you, perhaps, there are consolations. For instance: how old were you when you changed from time to eternity?

    THE OLD WOMAN Do not ask me how old I was – as if I were a thing of the past. I am 77.

    DON JUAN A ripe age, senora. But in hell old age is not tolerated. It is too real. Here we worship Love and Beauty. Our souls being entirely damned, we cultivate our hearts. As a lady of 77, you would not have a single acquaintance in hell.

    THE OLD WOMAN How can I help my age, man?

    DON JUAN You forget that you have left your age behind you in the realm of time. You are no more 77 than you are 7 or 17 or 27.

    THE OLD WOMAN Nonsense!

    DON JUAN Consider, senora: was not this true even when you lived on earth? When you were 70, were you really older underneath your wrinkles and your grey hairs than when you were 30?

    THE OLD WOMAN No, younger: at 30 I was a fool. But of what use is it to feel younger and look older?
    DON JUAN You see, senora, the look was only an illusion. Your wrinkles lied, just as the plump smooth skin of many a stupid girl of 17, with heavy spirits and decrepit ideas, lies about her age.
    There is an illusion also in thinking we are choosing an easy way. When were any of the forks in the road marked “This way to wisdom, that way to folly?”

    Poetry, like life itself poses the deep questions.

  2. This reads like a poem of reflection, then realizing that the reflection that took place was essential. Favorite lines:

    “my soles are sore

    with the burden of myself

    all those unlicked envelopes containing

    individual tethers to places in time

    experiences, terrors, lessons

    and the well-worn knees of an ardent repenter

    who throws down their sin

    and still it sticks to him for one and the same”

    This is your gift…

  3. “Drying your scream” or me screaming at the top of my lungs when I realize there is no one hearing me. And there never will be. Thank you for sharing your gifts!

  4. Sometimes, it is not too late to rewind and take those paths on which we procrastinated, or passed by in our younger years. But sometimes, we must create new paths, and envision new futures for ourselves that don’t look the same as the ones we once imagined.

  5. I really felt this! It brought tears to my eyes.
    (I just said to a friend the other day that youth is wasted on the young!)
    what a rich path of thought you lead us on, Candice. Your imagery is always amazing. I have similar conversations with people about these things, but I always love the extraordinary way you articulate it.
    Of course, our spiritual thoughts are different. So I hope you don’t mind me saying that you are in my thoughts and prayers. And blessings on your new year, for continued healing! ❤
    Thank you for all of your beautiful, thought provoking writing.

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