30 May 2016

Step One:The Paradox of Powerlessness

Merry-Go-Round by Mark Gertler (1913)

How powerless are we?  I laugh. We’re here
alive and breathing hard; we’ve won this round.
Haha! Maybe tomorrow we can rest.
But that's when I notice the Hamster Wheel
we are caught in.  Don’t malign the beast!
The animal is the best part of us.

Some say the only people we can trust  
with power are those who have journeyed “through
powerlessness.”  Our trust in this idea
fluctuates with Israeli-Palestine
relations, bangs itself in pain among
contradictions:  First fix us, then the rest.

Where to accept our pow-POW-erlessness
first?  Just behind the stiff upper lip-ness
of our material well-being? in
the gardens we tend tearfully alert
to any slights and ready to defend ourselves?
Oh, God!  Help me let go the Royal We.

And love myself, for fierce independence
and fight, for graduating and riding
the academy as long as possible—
bronco busting and roping in closed paddocks
while whispering to wild horses: You can
trust me to know what you are going through.

We can trust me to surrender the thought
that we can use the master’s tools without
harming me, thee or they—that in the end
we can restore humanity without
a trace of addiction to structural
tools that helped make survival possible.

How powerless are we?  I choke.  I’m here
alive but breathless, having lost both trust
and time before realizing success
on these terms impoverished us.  I get
off the merry-go-round  and stop its run
only now that my pension has begun.

And that’s how powerless we wereI am.
How can I preach against the holding pat-
tern that secures our freedom now?  Can you
imagine it is possible to live
otherwise?  No?  Listen.  I burn in Hell
of inequalities that None. Will. Quell.

Suggested by today's meditation with 
My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright.
© 2016 Susan L. Chast

1 comment:

kaykuala said...

How powerless are we? I choke.
I’m here alive but breathless,
having lost both trust
and time before realizing success

That is the asserted process often overlooked. One may well be tested with all the frustrations before success comes slowly by. Great lines Susan!