How To Be Yourself :: An Empty Map for Soul-Finders Near and Far

begin to draw
any road or tree or key will do
whatever you draw will work
will fit
will find the next path or freeway
from then to now
to never knew it could be like this
heart spinning like slap-happy dizzy stumbling
holy holy moly love!–

or that–
again and again, frozen, lost in your creation
not sure which one or way came first
more like head spinning, ache, cry, whine, why is no one coming?
especially not me?

this much, we guarantee:
you will let yourself down

down, so far into the underworld of optimism
that you’ll wonder why anyone hopes at all
ashes, ashes–
the cool ground a sturdy stillness
of what it’s like to get real
beyond laughter
beyond wailing
beyond it all

really, there is only this
only you, no matter how it shakes out
no matter how you wish you were
there is only this, only you
only this, only you

repeating like a meditation as you lay curled
in the shadowed surrender of coming to terms
until you know the land well enough to crawl your way around
and crawl you will–
the strong bone of your forearm learning how to lean
without collecting so many bruises
the fragile cap of your knee like lite feet dancing across coals of fire
and your soft whispering monologues recited like a Lakota–
knowing every ditch and daffodil between you and the
infinite horizon

you are collecting your secret passageways
you are collecting the language of birds
you are collecting the stars as they shine, shine, shine by the moon
you are collecting lovers and companions and heartbreaks and stories for the grandchildren
you are collecting your own evaporation, body melting in the heat of the truth
you are collecting everything you need
and it will all burn

brightly, with fury
without an ounce of fear
it will burn
and so will you
your map outliving you for just a moment longer
until it, too, floats
like a legacy
like a red balloon into a light blue abyss
up, up, up

everything burns
ever more reason
to throw yourself in

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