Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Door by Tenabah c2011

there was a door
that no one crossed
that lead to a place
that no one went
and to a time
that never was

courageous voyagers
shrank away from this door
subtly attached to the known
and fearing that the door
was a gate to annilation

they roamed everywhere else
to endless places
that they had been before
one by one
they had played every card
until they knew every move
of every game
and every outcome
until nothing was a surprise
and nothing was a risk
and they had nothing
anymore to lose

every war had then been fought
every possession had then been bought
every goal had then been sought
and found
save one

and there the door remained
offering no promises
giving no guarantees
presenting no clues
unwilling to compromise
sharing no hints

no one returned
from the other side
no message
was ever sent back
no prophet spoke
for the other side
no seer reported
the truth of what was there
no holy book
even mentioned
the existence of this door
no scientific probe
ever crossed its threshold
the words of every poet
never touched
its perfect silence
no philosophy
ever deduced anything
about what was behind
this door
or even tried

the humblest philosophers
simply admitted
they did not know
and bowed to this door

ordinary people
rushed by the door
too busy living
their day to day struggles
until the door gathered cobwebs
on the side
of a busy city street

one crazy homeless person
spray painted
some words on this door
"this way to heaven"
and was heard of no more

religious people
read these words
frowned at the sacrilege
and hurried on

very occasionally
a child would be lost
on this street

bereaved parents
would hunt for them
looking everywhere
but at this door

it seemed that
few could even see the door
after a while
and it seemed
to fade away
like an old billboard ad
for a product
that no one ever bought
from a company
that had long gone bankrupt

i was curious
about all these stories
that whirled around this door
of children, of homeless ones,
of insane ones, and downtrodden ones
who opened the door
crossed over
and disappeared
never to be heard of again

and for a while
i rented a room
overlooking the street
where the door was
and for some reason
i could still see it
though i could not tell you why

i would sip tea
go to work
and wonder
what became of them
and look at the fire
in my fireplace
seeing the flames dance
and almost tell me
what happened to them
knowing one day
i would follow them
when i felt ready

one day
i did see a child
open the door
and walk in
and disappear
like the rest

but i caught a glimpse
of the little child's
wide eyes
filled with wonder
and an innocent smile
rise in response
to seeing something
far down some corridor
in another land
that the child could see
but i could not

the child's eyes
glistened like stars
and the body of the child
cast a long shadow
on the dusty street
and the child disappeared
like the rest
never to be seen again

in the dream world
i would wander toward the door
and reach out an aged hand
to grab its door handle
but would never quite reach it
something would make me hesitate
to take the last step
perhaps because of fear
perhaps because it felt so final
and something still held me back
the world would call me back
until whatever it was seemed hollow
and i would return to the door
and reach again for the handle
and something else
would call me back
as if i was looking
for some excuse
and found it
knowing whatever it was
would only distract me
for a short while
and i would be here again

in this dream
or was it reality
i ran out of distractions
and i would be reaching
for the handle
for the very last time
but would be paralyzed
only a few inches away
suspended there
not knowing how
to go further
no longer wanting
to run away

frozen and helpless
suspended between
running away and completion
not caring anymore
and caring too much

paralyzed until
time itself had no meaning
and feeling like
i had been here
for a thousand years
and long ago
stopped counting the years
and only dimly remembering
that i had any experience
at all
save being in front
of this door

a bird made of fire
comes to my rescue
and shows me the way
gently pushing me aside
and taking my place

the bird concentrates
on itself
and generates
an all consuming fire
burning so brightly
that even the door
is burned to nothing
and only a pile
of ashes remains

and a child
emerges from the ashes
and walks
through the open door
or what is now
just a hole
an open vortex
spinning wildly

i find that
there is no need
anymore for effort
i am already
falling in

the vortex pulls me in
and i merely trust
what is happening

my old form lights on fire
turns to ashes
and falls completely away

new eyes rise
from the ashes
and see
obvious and wonderful

i want to come back
and tell others
shout from the roof tops
and tell everyone
that there is nothing to fear
nothing to lose
and everything to gain
but i realize
that I cannot do any better
than the insane homeless one

i realize that
i have already spent
too much time
in the known and familiar
too far away
from my real home
having traded it
for a shadow world

with a quiet smile
and with gratitude
i leave the shadow world
knowing that all others
will come when they are ready

i want to soar
across this shadow world
just one more time
and notice
i have become a bird
and my wings
are on fire