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In The Eye Of The Beholder

by Chris Sorrenti

with eyes wide open to the outside womb
until kindergarten we giggled and danced
in a parental induced bliss
protected by the newness of our Disney like world
then fueled by small infractions
of playground bruises and cuts
didn't take us long to recognize the lie
the fleeting of ‘happiness ever after’
as promised in those fairy tales
brought to bear in the drudgery of school
preparing us for the inevitable day
we’d strike out on our own
bring new children into the world

parents gave us religion / the fear of God
love to deaden the pain
lying by omission the flaws of both
afraid we'd discover the truth about life
though already had
beginning to complain of house chores and homework
fear we wouldn't make it past eighth grade
reflected in those older children’s eyes

out of sense of loyalty
most of us went along / played the game
distracted by our genitals and Christmas
it was easy to close our minds to the reality
then Santa Claus turned out also be a myth
mom and dad reassuring us
white lies weren't a sin
but that sex with others was wrong
unless carried out under contract

for some though the truth proves too much
orgasms and wrapping paper insufficient distractions
and despite the clarity of
‘a permanent solution to a temporary problem’
opting for suicide
buoyed by the possibility of something better
on the other side of death
regardless of what God might do to them
soon choose their escapes
the rope / building ledge / blade to the wrists
or the ever quicker gunshot to the head

many more however prefer the slow approach
life made manageable with alcohol and pills
allowing them to maintain some grasp of that lost childhood
to candy coat the obvious around them
no matter how severe the roller coaster ride
the secret being not to come down at all
though in itself producing a new playground of misery

“Why paint such a grim picture?” some will ask
my response, “But I hold no brush”
what sits in my hands is in fact a mirror
an object neither true or false
can only reflect what stands before it

whether that glass is warped
definitely cracked
rests solely in the eye of the beholder

© 2001

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Posted on 11/20/2016
Copyright © 2020 Chris Sorrenti

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