The Smiling Skull

The problem with boredom:  the burden of guilt.

How can you know how long you’ve got,

whether to react with gratitude or outrage

when you feel yourself falling apart more 

fully than ever before, and the earth appears

to crumble before your uncertain eyes?

 

What do you do with the weather-

beaten map of fading memories

and fuzzy plans of random ways

to pass the time that remains,

as well abandoned as fulfilled?

 

How do you respond when someone

asks:  “What are you doing here?”

(Not that they ever do, but with their 

eyes:  they are too cold to blurt

such a burning question out loud.)

 

All you can do is retreat to a place

beyond those stabbing lances,

deeper than defeat, solid as the grave,

a spot someone else can stand on

with confidence,

 

unlike hollow success

or victories as insecure

and frangible as life itself,

 

this shadow-shaken

windswept strand

between two pounding seas.

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6 thoughts on “The Smiling Skull

  1. Sometimes it’s so hard to comment on your words, Stew. The images are beautiful and so sad. And, as usual, I had to scurry to the dictionary to look up a new word – frangible. Keep writing, even if it is hollow victory.

  2. thanks very much, susanne. sorry for being such a sourpuss. i probably have no right to be. now that spring is finally coming, i should cheer up eventually (at least until summer arrives!). and i hope you’ll keep writing too! (writing does tend to make me feel better, by the way.)

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