A Polite Dance with Swords
I sip my coffee. I watch people walk by.
It is warm here in the coffee shop.
Outside, March snow lingers.
It is raining. A cold spring rain
with big drops that you can hear
as they hit your head. I am glad to be inside.
This is my waiting time. Where I sit.
I stare into space.
I stare at the little black keyboard, waitng.
Waiting for the emotions to slither in
through the roadblocks of trauma,
though the broken spaces.
They come. They always do. And once they arrive
I wonder what part of me has so long been afraid
I know some of the stories. Some of the whys.
But they are ancient history. How is it they linger,
those walls. Will they ever heal?
I know the answer before I ask the question.
No. And yes. Parts of me will always be broken.
That is the nature of brokenness.
Part of me has healed and become a new thing.
I have learned new ways to release the demons
and wrestle with them, turning the fight into a minuet,
a polite dance with swords.
I sit. I sip a second cup of coffee.
Dark, sweet and bitter. A second home,
shops like this, whereever I travel.
“A man’s got to know his limitations.”
That’s a Dirty Harry quote. A movie platitude
that is true none the less. One of my mantras.
Not a put down. Never that. A statement of fact.
I have found them, those limitations.
And live within them, always with a nudge
About this poem
I write consistently around a dozen or so themes, mostly from my life and faith. At times I get bored with myself. I think about not writing. Surely people are tired of it, I say. How could they not be when I am myself. But emotions are universal and writing is my therapy. I thought it would be an interesting essay about how most of us live in the constraints of a certain group of influences and constraints, and how sometimes, rarely but sometimes, we break loose.
It was going to be an essay. It turned into a poem instead. Always listen to muse. That’s my motto.
PS: The picture was taken at the South Street Cafe, a lovely coffee shop in Bennington, Vermont that no longer exists.