What if…

What if…

(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

What if you can’t keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and it is affecting you,
What if you can’t trust yourself, and think all men doubt you,
and can’t make allowance for their doubting too;
What if you can wait no more and tired by waiting,
And being lied to, won’t believe the lies,
Or being forgotten, after all the waiting,
And so don’t feel too good, nor feel too wise:

What if in your dreams—your past becomes your master;
What if you can think—but all thoughts bring you pain;
What if you meet with Triumph or Disaster
But fear those two impostors just the same;
What if you can’t bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Blanked by apathy and painted you a fool,
Or recall the friendships you gave your life to, broken,
Because all humans, at heart, are vicious, cold, cruel:

What if you can’t make out all your winnings
But feel instead the weight of your own cross,
And wish to start again at your beginnings
And never remember about your loss;
What if you sense your heart and nerve and sinew
Turn against you and remind you, you’re almost done,
You can’t hold on as there is nothing in you
But a voice which says: ‘I can’t go on!’

What if you talk with crowds about that which owned you,
Or talk with strangers about your common touch,
What if neither family nor loving friends can save you,
What if all men count without you, and it becomes too much;
What if all you can fill the unforgiving minute
With is sixty seconds’ worth of life undone,
Yours is the hurt and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be this broken Man, my son!

With apologies to Rudyard Kipling
© Dave Luis 2014. All Rights Reserved.


To Breathe, Or Not To Breathe

hamletimages(with apologies to William Shakespeare, a little reworking of his work I did in 2009, apt now as I find I cannot shake my asthmatic ailments)

To breathe , or not to breathe: that is the question:
whether ’tis easier in the wind to suffer
the slings and arrows of outrageous asthma,
Or to take anti-histamines against a lungful of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To choke: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The lung-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To choke, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep with breath what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause to breathe: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the shortness of breath of time,
The lung compressor’s wrong, the asthmatic’s contumely,
The pangs of undrawn breath, nature’s delay,
The insolence of exercise and the spurns
That patient merit of the unhealthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a ventolin pump? who would air-tents bear,
To grunt and sweat under a noisome cover,
But that the dread of something like no breath,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those breaths we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus exercise does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of respiration
Is sicklied o’er with the exhaled cast of thought,
And aspiration of great pith and moment
With this regard their breathing turns awry,
And lose the name of action. – Soft  breathe you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my breaths remember’d.

with apologies to William Shakespeare – To be, or not to be (from Hamlet 3/1)

© Dave Luis 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Seconds to Infinity

Crystalline dreams/Meth-Head in my madness – screen-shot from the film of my healing journey, shot on location in Hell back in the old days when I was still a meth user. Today marks 125 days clean, but last night I had the most vivid dreams of smoking meth again. I wrote this poem to remind me of the insane and perverse creature I became, and to celebrate my return to humanity…

of the clock in the hall
Hear the familiar call
That once I was sick
That once I did fall
All I need is a hit
to stop me climbing the wall
I don’t need this shit
Don’t want it, at all…
Old ways no longer fit
curled up in a ball –
Fixes aren’t quick,
time drags, slows to a stall.
Make the healing stick,
slow time to a crawl:
seconds to infinity
rise up – never fall!

© Dave Luis 2012. All Rights Reserved.


Image (c) Burger van Dyk 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Sun goes down,
life drains with it
my hope – my love – fades:
crepuscular taint to life’s incandescent rays.

Love goes down –
love’s not worth this shit
and your plaintive rage
kills me in a million different ways.

Life goes down
’til the line runs flat
and silence, like water, cascades
to fill the chasm, to kill my days.

Innocence goes down
and I know in the dark
that follows, silence pays
and peace comes my way.

Night goes down,
dawn brings with it
a new day, unclear, cold – haze
I find solace in the solitude.

I go down, to the depths
of despair, and loneliness
but tomorrow I find strength,
and the will to carry on.

(c) Dave Luis 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Image (c) Burger Van Dyk 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Angel and The First Child

Alone I came,

or so I thought

Alone I walked

and so I fought

Until you brought

me back to where

I stood, astounded –

and, suddenly aware,

flew, yet still so grounded,

found you standing there:

an Angel who

with words, profound,

reached down when few

had stood their ground;

lifted me up

above the crowd.

(c) Dave Luis 2012. All Rights Reserved.