Poem 3: For as far as I can look back...

For as far as I can look back
I have always been tired.
It is hard to look down the
well if memory and see events
in sequence
as if falling up
through a tunn.
Can't I see outside of shapes?
Even outside the tunn
I am within a wall
of words
and paths entrenched
in my processes.

A distraction.
I fail.
The bricks of the tunn
come apart
piece by piece.
It is a long job to
complete. I give up
every night. Try
again in the morning.
My arms are thin.
In my pursuit of the warren
I am trying to build
I atrophy. Nothing eats at me.
I eat air.  When thirsy I
drink the blood of the beetles
down here (they are the only
visible creatures to accompany me)

What of the open world
that sprawls like the infinite
spokes of a spinning wheel?
People. Creatures. Surfaces.
The very flesh of the world
seems to be fine without me.
It wants nothing but perpetuity.
Which happens to be our opposite.

Forget that. Stay in the tunnel.
Burrow. Pluck the bricks.
Sing unmade songs
tell stories once
make riddles
invent sounds
mold the crumbs of
brick and mortar
into into into...
Sigh. Surrender.

Wake. Work.
Pestle the crumbs with your fingers
read the walls and furrows
know your hand
know your touch.

The beetles are so kind
and gentle. They live only
in the dark. They leave
kisses on your arms,
cuddle your knuckles.
They raise you
to enjoy blindness
down here.
Oh beetles
I love you.
I can scream it.
I can finally scream
below the Earth.
I can finally
swear off clothes
and all possessions
starting with 'my'.

Is that what i came down here for?
Or was that an excuse?
I think so.
A reason to be a refugee.

But i have learned to move bricks.
Water spits out the wall.
A small squirt.
Have i begun
to break the tunn's
Will i drown now?
There is water at my ankles.
Now my knees.
I look up.
The break in the dark sky
Is too far. It is a star.
Inside the star
is the open world.
It doesn't concern itself
with memories
or old bricks
or burrowing.
It is far away
and the water is at
my waist.

I float. I am eight years old again.
This is it. The bricks give way.
Memory unfurnished
and ugly and exactly
as it was in seconds
and minutes and in
shared time
and clock time
and my time.
I laugh and choke
and struggle
under the deluge
Which is mean
and pushes me
down further
the tunn.
I cease to protest
Find the water warm
and benevolent.
Like a reprisal
of my earliest dreams.

---Daniel Glassman