To Myself a Lesson
Closing my eyes, I left my body, only for a little while,
an escape from reality, allowing for temporary denial.
As I walked a path, images of my life were left and right,
hearing every word ever spoken, every picture in my sight.
Like a theater with movies playing at the same time,
watching each tear, each laugh, each mountain I had to climb.
Over here I am a child outside playing ball,
staying until dark, coming home to my mother’s call.
I looked to the left and watched a small moment of my life,
it was my wedding day, so happy, and such a beautiful wife.
Ahead was my family on Thanksgiving Day,
heads bowed down, as they all began to pray.
Their prayer was for peace and health, thanking God that we are free,
before the last amen, they said a prayer for me.
My family was together, but I wasn’t there,
consuming sadness set in , it didn’t seem fair.
On the right there was a man lying face down in the snow,
I stood above him, his life gone, who he was, I did not know.
Behind me I saw myself yelling at those I cared,
They all looked confused, hurt, and even scared.
I tried to close my eyes, to watch this tore me apart,
but I had no eyes, my words caused pain and broke more than one heart.
Turning my head, I saw a man standing threatening to do harm with a knife,
and me with my gun, prepared to end his life.
Next to this was a man on some tracks waiting to die,
wanting a train to kill him as it quickly rumbled by.
Above was a young girl pinned in a car, not moving or speaking,
broken glass and metal scattered over the road made of tar.
To the side was a young soldier standing guard at his post,
calling for help, that scared me the most.
“I am coming to get you, it will be alright”,
my vision blurred with tears as the image faded from my sight.
I tried but couldn’t move, so I looked down,
I had no legs or body, and there was no ground.
What am I, where am I, get me out of the place,
that is when I turned one more time and saw my own face.
It was me I was looking at, standing there with a smile,
a look of peace and calmness, something I had not seen in a while.
I almost didn’t recognize myself, appearing as I once was,
the chaos of each image muted, becoming quiet as an insects buzz.
The other me made a motion to turn around,
this time I was able to move, below me solid ground.
We walked together for some time, not saying a word,
stopping by a door, then my own voice I heard.
“Hey there buddy, I am really you but you haven’t seen me in a while”,
I stared directly at me, my face in denial.
“You look at me like a stranger, but I have always been here,
the hardest times you faced, I was standing near.”
“Your anger tried to push me away, that is no way to live,
but it was me whispering in your ear, move on and forgive.”
“Life has created who you are now, but you were first me,
today you choose your path and the person you deserve to be.”
I stood amazed, and didn’t say a thing,
wishing I was me again, able to accept what life can bring.
Finally, able to speak I asked, “ Hey, am I dead?”
The other me laughed, “No, this is a dream, but not like your others, you are safe in bed.”
“How am I supposed to forgive these things that matter?” hoping he knew,
My other me said, “Forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s really just for you.”
“Let go of the anger and hate that keeps you awake every night,
your war is over and now it’s about us, and no longer our fight.”
With a laugh he said, “let’s go” and knocked on the door,
it opened and inside was my new life, everything that mattered and more.
“Are you coming with, or are you going to stay where you’re at?”
In front of me was a table, my family, and my chair where I always sat.
Before I could answer, my old self was nowhere to be found,
I searched all over, my eyes darting around.
My old me was not gone, realizing I was always him,
the light was bright ahead of me, behind the images became dim.
From the air my own voice called, “There is something you must know,
once you walk through that door, these memories will stay and never go.”
“They will be with you for as long as you live,
but I promise you will get out of your new life, exactly what you give.”
I smiled for the first time in what seemed like in years,
My family greeting me with hugs and cheers.
My voice called and said, “Hey, there is one last thing”,
forever in my ears, these words like a soft song will sing.
“It will better from here, but sometimes your mind will still roam,
your peace and happiness are found, now that you have finally made it home.”
I don’t really know what to say about this, so I won’t. I will let it speak for itself. You may draw your own conclusions.
If you think you know someone, or do know someone that can benefit from it, share it. That is why all of these are here. I feel I can reach more people on a platform like this before it is too late.
I recently had the honor to read some of my work at a Healing Warriors program that emphasized how healing, through art, whatever the form may, is so helpful. I am still speechless at the stories, writings, and artwork created by these amazing veterans. Thank you all so much for your service that allows people like me to write what I do.
I write today because I enjoy it. Is it any good? I have no idea, that is not why I write. I write because these words, much like a painting from an artists brush, come from my mind and end up as typed characters on my computer screen.
Thank you all for reading this very long poem. I still have a tough time reading it out loud.