First full day of work in two weeks = this day was downright interminable. But I made the time to hang at the cafe for a bit and do some writing in response to Donna’s prompt at Poetry Mix Tape: the idea is to write the confession of a natural object, or to talk about a canonical character’s relationship with a non-human entity. Being an overachiever like I sometimes try to be, I tried to fuse the two together, and actually ended up with two different poems. This first one leans heavily on Camus’s interpretation of the myth of Sisyphus: the heroism of struggling against fate, and the antiheroism of struggling against what you deserve (thereby digging your own hole deeper, perhaps). I think the rock gets kind of a bad rap though.
Speaking of struggling against heavy weights, I rewrote this one about six times, which is why it took almost the full week to post. Then, of course, I had the second idea and got it down within the last hour. Go figure.
The Rock Murmurs to Sisyphus
You don’t begin to know a man until you can tell
his sweat from his tears. He is a man of toil, and
you can taste the bitter spark of it, rhubarb blade,
apple seed, all the poisons that are secret kin.
But tears. The first salt comes from devotion,
the knowledge of your own power; the second comes
when it is wasted. Here is this man compelled limb
by limb to strive, to show off, to conquer, until
his water dries into white flags on his face, mine.
Small surrenders to the almost of victory. And
still he rises again, burned by flickers of hope
deep beneath his brow. Don’t blame me: why
would I want to shatter that? My downhill roll
slaloms around his dreams: I want the sunrise too,
and feel its cold denial. But I bear no grudges.
No judgments. Only the miracle of round rock, all
gravity and equal and opposite reaction. Who else
deserves the curses of a man broken to nothing?
I will take them, keep them next to his strength,
and I have learned how to go on, just go on.