Condemned to Freedom

(with homage to Kierkegaard and brother Aadarsha Battarai)

Believe me, she said,
there is nothing to believe here.
These walls, they cannot hide anything anymore.
We will all come out eventually.
This is the best time.

No other, no others as I sat under a tree.
speaking its red settlement to me,
its constitution with the earth.
Who do you think you are behind those shades
standing in your holy place?
You’ll never know how the morning breaks
how the mourning takes its pictures
whispers the news that few of us hear
we can’t put it down

sand in my shoes
sand in my shoes that never goes away

my bones, a failed addiction

I ask their forgiveness for my lack of memory
they bring me home every day
to my cacophony of desires
sharing our story with each other
without so many words
is the hardest thing we do
in these days of melting snows
there are places I simply cannot go
I don’t care where they are
the avenues, the faces passing by
the bodies unraveling, the sails trimming
against the scripted storm
be still, this won’t hurt a bit, they say
the palaces of greed shored up with
the ashes of our ancestors and the
dreams of the youngwhatever you think you are
you are condemned to freedom
condemned to the wavering courage of your
meandering convictions
your Mother needs your breast now

the nights get longer
the words harder to find
they don’t come easily as they used to
spilling forth with explosive rhyme
if you sense a rising struggle in these lines
its because the hummingbird of poetry
must beat its wings ever faster to taste the
nectar of its truth.

time is the complicated part of empire
the empire of mind, the empire of self
its so easy to forget that it all must end
and while you repair to your fortress hoping
that the gaping maw of endings will pass you by
it’s the embrace of time itself, steady, relentless,
beautiful, unchanging compassion–not you–that holds
all the jewels in your trembling grasp

3 thoughts on “Condemned to Freedom

  1. Thank you so much for this poem, “Condemned to Freedom,” Gary. In places I was moved to tears. Your poem brought vividly before me my memory of studying Kierkegaard. As as a young man of 23, how hard it was to appreciate his insight into our being condemned to be free, yet now as an old man of 77, his insight speaks to me, and, to my surprise, I find it most agreeable. How good to hear your poetry once more.

    Liked by 1 person

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