I Ain’t Second To None

By Vince Singer

 

I’m pretty sure I live first with myself
I mean
I’m here
Alone
Standing upon my alabaster podium of pride
Ignorant pride
Of something not understood

Lost in directionless reality

They said I am supposed to breathe easy now
To take off my shoes and put my slippers on
To enjoy the view
To love standing
As yet another descendent to this podium

But the moment my mind comes to settle with the darkness and waves
I notice the cracks that ooze milk blood
Pouring like hot vinegar into the water around me
Looking closer I see that the wound takes the form of a scratch
From the hands beneath my feet

Beneath my podium
Looking to find the grip to stand where I am standing
To enjoy the view

Feeble hands shake like fish on empty shores
And sweat begins to coat my water-glass face
I never enjoyed dark water

But I notice my legs moving from where I have stood so comfortably so long
Dipping feet to be taken, embraced, or exiled
I have nothing else to give
No cloaked service
No aid
No job
No life to be constructed
Not when you’re in the water

You can keep nothing close

All I can do now is step down
Leaving everything I’ve stuffed in my jacket, shirt, or pants pocket
All the lives and livelihoods that hang around me like crimson daisy chains

I must understand what it is to swim in the shadows
To thrash and scream to keep just a portion of my head above
All so I can learn to love, live, and swim again

Both in life
And in death

I must have in my pocket both this pearl-white podium
And the consuming water in consumption

To bring reincarnation of the sunrise
Packaging clarity and direction

And once we can finally see what we have around us
And Direction is restored
We will dump every color of every body into the heart of this podium

Scoot and squeeze
Move and mingle

Until we are wonderfully cramped
All slipping off our shoes
Looking to enjoy the view of humanity’s sunrise

and sunset

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