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Tiptoe on the edge of the mountain,
He lives in dismay in the undertow of summer
As the painters splatter the landscape red, orange, and gold,
Flinging acrylic aimlessly through the air rich with debt,
Letting it leak into the rivers and burst into the oceans,
Incarcerating the roots of the trees and forcing its way into the petals of flowers
Already colorful enough.
He stands with shadows gathering in his charcoaled hands;
The chances and opportunities lost in past lifetimes weighing them down
So that he cannot stand but must crouch and mold into child’s pose:
Bowing down to his frustrated mind
And surrendering himself to this great gorge in front of him,
Acting as the bonfire around which four mountains sit in a rectangle.
Trees grow slanted down the mountainsides,
Relying on the one in front of them for support;
Snarling branches intertwining with one another for survival.
But he is without support when he begins to speak:
His voice undulating,
The veins in his neck and forehead corrupting his smooth complexion.
He begins to speak,
For once not worried about evoking anyone’s sympathy
For he is alone;
Alone with God
And all of the other spirits that have migrated here for the purest and freest after-life.
They shoot through the open air,
Twisting and spiraling,
Lengthening themselves so that they stretch from one end of the gorge to the other.
They have served the time that must be spent bound to the Earth,
Navigating its capricious tendencies:
Volcanoes erupting, plates shifting, skies crumbling, winds picking up and dying down,
And this state of liberation is their eternal reward.
Not even the thunderstorm off in the distance-
A mass of angered darkness getting closer to the ecosystem every second-
Not even this thunderstorm
Just waiting to come undone,
Roar in insanity,
Can damper their vitality.
Soon the leaves on the angling trees begin to droop,
For the torrents of rain are dragging them down to meet the sopping grass and dirt.
As he feels the water seeping into the skin on his back,
Caressing the flushed scars and stained pigments,
He decides to look up.
He is not looking up for the first time,
But this time he sees that everything before him is in multiples:
Thousands of spirits and trees and leaves,
Five giant clouds in the sky-
Two clusters of gnats flying past his left eye…
He is still speaking,
Repeating the mantra that has been holding his mind captive;
A collage of words strung together over years of failing in extroversion.
“Is anybody out there?
Is anybody scared like me?”
And his voice shoots daggers through the raindrops
And echoes off the sides of the mountains
While still he crouches with his arms outstretched,
Trying to reach away from this fear inside of him-
This fear of oneness-
Because he doesn’t know who is writing his history anymore.
He doesn’t know who sits at a desk of rotting oak-
Empty pens stuck in the cracks and crevasses-
Jotting down whatever sadistic thing he thinks could happen to a person.
He doesn’t know why they made his highs so rare but his lows so frequent,
He doesn’t understand why they made his skin so pale and fragile
Yet his hair like black satin,
Falling to his ears and curling under there at the tips.
He doesn’t know who is doing this,
But he knows they are writing in selfishness;
Wasting all of their ink on him and only him
So that no other characters will appear in his storybook;
The pages exposed when the painters splattered the landscape red, orange and gold,
Flinging acrylic aimlessly through the air rich with debt.
And then, one day, the sunset sky never turned black or blue again;