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Burnt Skin Window, Open as the Sky

by Tom Goss

From the rugged center of ourselves
sometimes we scrape failure from our skin
and being to lose grip;
it is then that sentience hastily paints us
in fluorescent reds and purples.

Insidiously attached,
the slow, sore burn of depression
(and its stumbling oversleep)
implicitly clamors for the redemption
of this human imposition
and its volatile seeds of frailty.

Our placid-selves insinuate
naive cliches about heart-flowering control
as if the elemental crying out
for things that burn us
was simply a dark switch,
awaiting the reversing flick of a modest finger.

Sporadically a thought-bloom opens
and follows the path of the joy-radiant sun.
And in the hearth of such rapid oxidation
we begin to think we can create and maintain
indisputable calm whenever we choose;
as if the contour of our adaptable skin itself
could percolate nuclear fusion.

We tell ourselves that happiness can be collared,
and that we must maintain it like a skillful trainer.

Thus we say:

"When I regretted the photo of her,
I lost control."


"When I revealed in my face disappointment
for living, I lost control."

But heavyheartedness is a force of nature
and though we may rightly seek protection against it,
there is always the chance of summer rain
as well as winter sunlight.

If we reserve compassion for ourselves
perhaps we can hide our splintered heart-top from the rain.

And in those moments when we need to pull face-strings
just to force a smile - let us believe
that we can be as open as the sky
and can grab and hold on to joy
as an infant powerfully grips a finger
with the fresh smallness of their whole hand.

Yet if we fail, and grasp only the blueness of sky
or the strange neutrality of clouds,
let this, too, be accepted and let go
as our words and emotions flow deep like blood:
always leading back to the same human places.


Author's Note: Please check out my new book! ;)>

Posted on 12/17/2004
Copyright © 2024
Tom Goss

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by James Zealy on 12/17/04 at 04:51 PM

I like the flow of this poem, and description of the volatility of human emotion. We can disquise it, but ultimately the heart will have its way.

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