To give all I can is all I know. To pour out all I am, my devotion. The mule with its will and its hope to attain the prize that is tied to its head in the end only looks like a fool. But I won't stop running for You. Even if You laugh at me, too. The man with his heart and his hope to grab hold of she who fled to the woods in the end only falls from the sky. But I'll bleed until the day I die. Even if love is a lie. He held me, he held me, he held me when I threw my fist through the wall, and shouted curses at the ceiling. "You taught me of grace," he said, "and pain is its beginning, grace is the burden lifting." And as the devil spat in his chapel, the priest did not stop praying. So I went back to the abbey and saw the three of them dancing. I went back to the castle to find rooms I've never known. I found an old wooden ladder and climbed back up to the sky. I took the dusty book from the shelf and found myself inside. To see one as loved is all I know. To give grace upon grace, I'm open. The man who is obsessed with the fruit on the tree lives in a garden of lies and in the end only falls and dies. The sacred-object cannot save him. He's enslaved by prohibition. The object that glimmers and promises wholeness "til death do us part" in the end is an illusion. Don't trust the institution. Behind every veil is a magician. She held me, she held me, she held me when I screamed into the pillow and punched the bed of my captivity. "You taught me I'm worthy," she said. "Do you know you're worthy? Then don't believe the lies." And as the devil wrecked his house, the priest made room at the table. So I went back to the abbey and felt the breath in my being. I went back to the castle and found grace in the void. I found an old wooden chair and the noose came untied. I tossed the rope down my soul to find the man lost inside. To let my heart stay is all I know. To let my mind roam: it’s torture. The addict who folds to the bottle's glow and its promise of salvation in the end will plead the Fifth. His complex mind, his prison. Justification: his addiction. The victim whose heart prostitutes all its light and empties all four chambers in the end is more of an addict. A heart and mind so eager, so willing to believe her. They held me, They held me, They held me when I threw my fingers in the air and cursed the god of the mule. "Reality is the dance," They said, "Your life is a four-leaf clover, and all We want is you." And the devil entered the priest's soul, but all he heard was music. So I went back to the abbey and found my mind on the shelf. I went back to the castle and found my heart on the page. I found an old wooden cross that bowed when I cried. In unfathomable fullness, I found a universe inside.
By Stephen Copeland
This poem was first published on copelandwrites.com.