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You Don’t Get Eyes Like These For Nothing

You don't get eyes like these for nothing;
they've seen despair and homelessness,
skinned knees and broken minds-
Watching too often the good ones die young, leaving this heart to want to believe that everything happens for a reason,
Even though reason will ever usurp the power of a child's smile or the joy felt in a child's laughter-
The kind of laughter that lifts
even the most despondent of souls-
As if they were the ones getting wings.
We are all grounded here,
Tethered to asphalt to bare
witness to the world as it changes landscape.
We watch its people change too.
Lives are taken away as if war
was the equivalent of a subtraction problem.
The borrowing, the taking away.
My eyes have seen violence.
They've become the pounding
waves of a perfect storm,
losing the clarity of a blue sky
They've been sullied
by those who don't clean the
messes that they, themselves, make -
Leaving hearts and shores
worse than they found them,
Littered with trashed emotions-
Never again to return.
As if the shoreline wasn't attached
to an ocean
And the heart
wasn't attached to the mind.
And despite this recklessness
that has only served to teach me
that my good heart is not good
enough to see past a smile of
indifference and disregard,
I still look.
It's not that I disregard my guarded heart
nor marvel at the risk of another's.
I'm not into watching train wrecks
or addicted to seeing it all go down.
Like the tabloid magazines that sit in
perfect view at the grocery store--
Headlines divulging new and shocking details, their bolded titles
The latest announcement of yet
another supposed scandal.
My soul doesn't understand it.
It doesn't understand what is sees  
or how looking at pages of celebrities
at inopportune moments makes me
any better for buying them.
But the sales go on, telling me
that there's an audience fiending for
debacles as long as they are on
someone else's doorstep.
We read.  We watch.
The news anchors flash on our television screens with a this-just-in urgency, announcing a mass killing, train derailment, keeping a tally of fatalities on the screen
as if they were keeping score for game.
We stare; we gawk.
We know there are no winners.
There is no 7th inning stretch.
We become sucked into the grittiness of humanity.     
No, we are not all twisted.
There a Notion here:  death is part of life.
So rare the relationship between
the two, for they are
as antithetical as they are symbiotic.  
We stare at death In awe,
knowing only of the life that it precedes,
Capturing  moments the best we can,
Still finding beauty in the fleeting
moments of our existence.
Like finding life in the places that
we'd thought none exists,
The silver stars of space,
I find silver linings in the most
desolate backgrounds,
amid the most despairing of times-
times when blackness veiled my
eyes until my soul was nearly sold
on the idea that the life I once lived
no longer existed.
I begin to watch memories
In my mind go from familiar to foreign.
What despondency does to a soul,
convincing it that such memories
are not its own from which to derive joy,
This is not the result of a bad day-
Or even a bad year.  
The process of depression
is to strip a painting of its color
and watch the outline of its image
fade into something-rather someone
whom no one can any longer identify.
I've seen my own ghost, a shell wrapped
In a body unable to believe
the in the gold in my eyes still shined,
waiting in the Black Sea of a quiet night,
hoping for a loved one to be my lighthouse-
to help me make sense of my loneliness.
But no lighthouse can provide
the same as your own rising Sun.
When day finally broke,
I saw the the gold of my eyes set afire,
The sunlight sang across undulating waves -
No longer at whim of the current.
The spirit becomes different after
the turbulence of tears,
For Despite the wan and ebb of life
experiences, and better yet,
because of them,
My eyes blazed in the brightest green.
The irony of crying with eyes like these--
how bright they become.
And what have I become?
I've become someone with eyes like these,
Knowing God doesn't take orders.
There is no asking for an extra few
minutes of a golden hour.
There are golden opportunities
and beauty in the world
But not the kind that even my eyes know of.
Sure, beauty exists in the moments
spent watching a child playing at the park or
watching lightbulb moment of understanding,
But A hug from a child feels like sunset.
All the colors of my world coming
together just to say good night.
We hold onto these moments,
But like the photographer who
snaps the shot of the ocean
At the perfect time to marvel
at the essence of its beauty without
having swam the depth of its tides:
We can only understand each other so much.
The world admires the beautiful and the disastrous from afar, and beyond that-
We love others from the confines
of our own bodies, and then we leave...
always wishing we'd taken
more time to View the world
around us and swim amid
the depths of the souls we miss.
I push back the tears in an attempt
to tame the ocean,
knowing of it as an impossibility.
But I still look.
You see, despite the power of the  ocean and the hopelessNess of knowing that there's darkness In the world,
There’s a gold strip here
In the middle of the green waves,
And some days-it shines as bright as the sun
But to see it In its golden hour,
you must have survived the storm of tears.
And if you have,
you now stand face to face with me,
having thrown down your anchor
to bare your soul
despite the chaos of impending storms.
And for that moment...that quiet moment-
The world around us simply doesn't exist.  
And that-
that is why
I still look.
After all, you don't get eyes like these for nothing.

28 Nov 17

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(32 more poems by this author)

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