The Hill

There is a hill that I have seen, in childhood,

through the window of my dreams.

It is a secret, sacred place,

unreal and yet existing.

 

A mystery, hidden by a veil,

too hallowed for a human tread.

And I have longed to run there,

To place my naked feet upon the emerald incline,

find a foothold, climb its sylvan slope,

and solve the secret of its certainty.

To gain the loaf-shaped, sunlit summit,

eternally dominant in the valley of my childhood dreams.

 

Tonight, the hill appeared again,

unsummoned,

and unseen for decades.

I had forgotten its eminence in my nocturnal visions.

Nearer tonight than in memory,

but still beyond reach.

 

An arbutus flourishes near its summit.

A solitary sentinel with roots embraced by stone.

A sight, I had not seen in decades past.

and with it on the slanting crest a structure stands.

White, bright, and lustrous on the sunlit slope,

drawing my starveling spirit to its doorway.

 

Tonight, I comprehend.

 

And oh, tonight was special.

Tonight, the hill drew near.

It called me by my secret name.

It whispered in my sleeping ear.

 

And I shall go there someday,

for some day’s almost here...

Into the Abyss

Alone upon the lofty ledge,

the vast abyss before you.

Your courage quails your blood grows thin,

your trembling hands grow weak.

Your mouth is dry, your lips are chapped.

your quivering voice can’t speak.

You can’t retrace the journey back,

That brought you to this place.

but can you trust the wings you wear,

To bear you down and safe?

 

One final footstep risks it all.

 

It’s here the faithful take their plunge.

It’s here the fearful freeze.

It’s here the faithful make their mark upon the airy breeze.

It’s here the fearful cling and shake upon their watery knees.

 

But if you trust the Holy One,

who led you to this place,

you’ll boldly step on nothingness,

out into empty space.

 

You lean into the abyss.

Gripping your courage tightly with both hands,

 

The wild wind roars and moans and wails in screeches long and sharp.

You carve it like a blade of steel.

It must give way and part.

Your pinions thrum through viscous air and match your pounding heart.

 

You tame the air, you bend the wind, conform it to your will.

Its sweet caress upon your wings,

You soar on down until,

 

you see below you…

far below…

 

the ledge from which you fell.

The Hollow Man (Living with Asperger’s Syndrome)

 

Have you seen the hollow man?

He stands alone computing social variables,

Balancing his drink and his desire for fellowship with desperate skill.

His aching need for intimacy battling his fear of rejection.

The social dance swirls around him while he floats like refuse caught in a whirlpool.

 

When he was young,

 

He sensed there was something wrong.

As he grew older, he knew he suffered from a curious blindness,

A hollow space inside that rendered him imperfect,

A blindness of the heart not the eyes.

He felt his way, blundering into the invisible barriers,

Running numb fingers over the braille bumps of relationships,

Struggling to understand his place in the world.

 

He grew older.

 

A tsunami of destitution,

The tidal wave of yearning for companionship,

Crested and battered him against jagged coral solitude until his heart bled.

He could not see why others floated fulfilled and free.

When he could no longer cope with loneliness...

 

He numbed the pain.

 

Embarking on a grand experiment.

The fellowship of the self-medicating provided respite.

Need lingered on, ghostly and obscured by the haze of the high.

The experiment left him ravaged and alone,

Stranded on a rocky shore.

 

Deep darkness descended.

 

Vortices of misery dragged him downward.

Each day was a battle to survive as madness sapped his strength.

His intellect fought the current of persistent paranoia.

While endless days followed eternal nights,

Until grey dawn broke.

Like a blind man, resolving to perceive the sliding scale of normalcy.

Its marking lines were blurry and indistinct even on his brightest days.

He inhaled deeply of its perfume, but intimacy eluded him.

Dysfunction is only a label people say.

But the gluey back still sticks.

 

He resolved to live a normal life.

 

The label brought relief,

Providing knurls on the barbell that he carried all his life,

A secure place to grip the weight and hoist it heavenward and triumphant.

His intellect staggered under the load of revelation,

The sun broke through. as he hoisted life’s mysteries overhead.

 

Life is an equation with shifting values.

He formulated rules and procedures to solve the variables.

It was arduous effort and exhausting toil.

There was no thought of turning back, with the promised land in sight.

 

So, have you seen the hollow man?

He stands alone computing social variables,

Balancing his drink and his desire, expectant and calculating.

His aching need for intimacy overcoming his fear of rejection.

The communal dance swirls around him.

He surveys the room, and wanders from one encounter to the next,

Doing societal equations in his head.

He interviews, interrogates, and probes you for your interests.

He seeks some common ground, a place you both can stand,

to share the meaning of your lives.

Have you met this man?

The Long Farewell

Strong arms turned frail; ruddy skin grown pale

Your body thin.

Weak, as eggshell, mere moments before the chick breaks forth,

and staggers wet and wobbly into life.

 

Weary; threadbare like an old suit, patched and mended too many times.

Your feeble body; unable to contain your spirit, which longs to leave this world.

Do your misty eyes not glimpse the afterlife approaching?

 

I stare at boney angular features.

Not much remains of the man I feared and loved in unequal measure.

The skeleton lurks beneath the parchment skin, as if waiting to break free.

 

This bright beautiful world dims to your sight.

Don't you see the half-forgotten faces of friends and lovers, beckoning you onward?

It is time to escape your earthly imprisonment?

 

You cling to life, counting out your remaining time, breath by laboured breath.

 

"What binds you here?" I ask as I sit by your bedside.

"What hinders your exodus from bitter bondage into freedom?

 

I pray for your birth into the sun-soaked morning that awaits you.

What is it that makes you cling obstinately to this arduous life?

Is it the same fear of change that has haunted you all these years?

 

If you could clearly see the freedom that awaits you,

you would rush headlong into heaven like a besotted lover, and never linger here.

 

No wet and wobbly birth awaits you there.

The One who made you calls you home.

He awaits a joyous vigorous dance with you.

Farewell Father and Godspeed on your journey home.