I know it is unsightly, this fence,
once strong and upright, freshly painted
every few years, now neglected and left to age
in public, left
to slowly fall apart, nails rusted, paint flaked away.
Rot has set in.
One by one the fence posts have begun to lean,
and here and there a board has come loose
waiting for the other end to likewise fall loose to the ground.
I can not tell you how long this process will last,
how long before the fence becomes a ruin,
when it moves from eyesore to history,
to a place forgotten altogether.
It is a choice to let the fences fall,
a choice to cease the constant shoring up.
Maintenance is hard work,
particularly when it’s sole purpose is to keep out the tourists,
those curious eyeballs looking for titillation or validation,
lives spent seeking stories, making them up even
when facts were not bright a scurrilous enough to satisfy.
And so I have decided to let the fences fall.
Come see the circus. Come see the boring old man I have become,
full of prayer and poetry and desires that hang in my windows
like floral curtains, blowing wild in the wind.
About this poem
I grew up in an alcoholic home, and part of that is secrets. It becomes everyone’s job to keep the secret of the alcoholic, and that often filters into life later on.
Much of the past decade and more has been a slow unraveling of the secrets. A slow opening of the doors and coming outside, of bleeding in public without shame or sorrow, of saying “I have these flaws and there is a journey back from where I am to where I want to be. And I am on that journey. ”
It’s a far better place to live, even as the process unravels. People are remarkably kind.