CALEB JOSEPH WARNER
So here we are again. I the wanderer am knocking back on the door of Reality’s Home: my heart.
What is it that I want? What is it that I really want?
I don’t know, so allow me to speak of something else. Let me talk about what I have told other people, or maybe about an encounter with icicles and a moment before going out into the snow shining in the sun. Beyond this, I am unable to place myself. I come back around again and again to the same—
No, I do actually know what I want. I have grown past the point in the walk of life where I keep walking down the same path. This all sounds quite esoteric to you right now, I know, so let me explain.
Back in the day, when I came to a crossroads, when I came to the crossroads of my own heart, not knowing which way to go, I would walk down the path that seemed the lightest. This was the path of doing everything I had done before.
And before I go any further with this, let me briefly explain why it is I come to this crossroad. I come to this crossroad, because for some reason or another, I have lost touch with myself. For some reason or another, I have forgotten who I am.
And so what do I do?
Well, I will have lost my way from home, so I would find myself on this old road. And one path was lighted by the lampposts of all my past decisions. The other was a dark wood. You have been at this place before, reader. You know what I’m talking about, because you have read the poems on your grandma’s refrigerator. You know what I’m talking about, because you have listened to the songs.
Well in order to find my way back home, of course I used to take the lighted path. This was the path back home, I thought. But this path, though it was lighted, was also extremely, woefully lonely. And quite familiar. This was the path of desperately trying to become who I used to think I was. This was the path that made me think, “I must do this! I must do that! I must set my life in order, I have to get this book done, I have to become who I was meant to be, I have to be my own hero.”
This process functioned according to my visions of life or what my life ought to be.
Vain. So vain.
And so instead of being boring, let me describe to you what has now happened.
Life has happened to me, I have walked down the road enough times to know that it brings me right back to the crossroad. I continually lose myself, because I continually try to find myself. And who really cares to find me? Who can find me? Only other people can find me. I am an empty hollow shell, filled only for moments with this love or that peace. I am a vessel. And the reason I feel so hollow in these moments is because I have refused to be the light that lights the path. I have refused those glories of my lord Reality that seek to imbue me with those passions and that peace.
I know now that I cannot pull myself up by my tendons. My bones are broken, my tendons are snapped. I am a hopeless man without a miracle to recover.
And each time I fall back to that crossroads, each time, the cost for choosing the same lighted path grows greater.
So what am I supposed to do, now that I have discovered that the path I know best brings me back to the same place? The place of lampposts and utter confusion?
With this knowledge, I thee move on. I am now in the exciting position of walking down the dark path. And I will only be able to see my way if I allow the light of Reality to fill my arteries, solder my tendons, cauterize my brittle bones.
I have made great progress so far, if even my steps have been tiny and unremarkable. But I recognize a change in myself when it happens. I am not on that old path anymore, hallelujah. Something is happening.
And the only way I am suppose to continue on in this far greater danger of the darkness around me is to hold on tightly to the stars tangled in my hair, to beware the ivy and the distant fair, to plead for the light that lightens the air.
Before, I used to say how I must write, write, write. Writing is walking, that is true. But before, when I wrote, I was seeking to write myself into existence. I know now that when I have been absent from writing, what I am really missing is that love that makes me lighter than the sad evening earth.
I don’t want to go back to me—
I live to go down the dark way, the one lit by lovely reality. Thank you, sweet language for your company, you press down the soft clay of my brain and set the fissures of my skull right. And my heart is lighter than—
—oh, my old frightened mind, hard against the life outside, let the air in through the windows—
my eyes again see the flaking snow
I know how Reality holds me warmly—
he is the one I have a thousand questions for—
questions like cat hair glinting in the sun, floating just barely above the wool carpet!
oh boy, here he, is humor again
and the icicles—one drop at a time!
and the sun—my neck in this scarf, sweating
and God comes back to me again and presses me forward, the dark road—
just a warm winter noon, inside the house, waiting—
the next year (pause (the honking geese (in flocks))) rested a coat on my shoulders, boots on my feet.
We are all getting older and as the elders now we walk this sun-paved street of snow.