Escape Artists

Escape Artists

I lack the courage of the escape
artists. I could only take a dip
in the cold water autumn abyss,
could only creep along the edge
of the battered, weathered sea wall.
Too few capsules in the cabinet,
wrong combinations,
the quietness of the will.

I only scratch surfaces. I fear the
blood of everything, the meat of
every heart matter. Every red slash
is cowardice. Every inkling of finality
is a nightmare. Yet I yearn.

A thousand faces watch my every
motion. I am thorned, encased in
electric blue webs. I shock myself
the most for every set of eyes on me
are imaginary.      All are blind to me.
          Like the disease, I am unseen.

Each morning I am closer to the
cliff, to its tempting precipice. 
Waiting to terrify the sunlight away
in exchange for a moon chat. The faithful
orb listens, doesn’t speak from its crater
mouth, doesn’t encourage. It simply waits.

So above, yet below, a wilder, freer
kingdom. So big, but a speck in the
infinite. To touch the firmament
is to detach, never look back. 
No one’s left on the ground from
which they’ll scrape you. No one’s
coming around for the final act.

Hands behind my back, submerged,
the key in my mouth, ready to
swallow. The door of all the
unknown floats inches from the
bottom of the ocean floor.
A choir of clocks ticks down.
A crowd of sleepwalking spectators
will forever wonder how it was all
done, both condemning and hypothesizing
out loud.

In death, we return to the nothing
we should already see that we are.
I’ll breathe better then. There will be
no more need to gasp
for a temporary identity.

(May 29, 2022)

Image by JR Korpa from Pixabay

Published by Jennifer Patino


13 thoughts on “Escape Artists

  1. Mesmerizing. Have you ever seen Jean Cocteau’s “Orphée”? This poem evokes for me that vivid, constrained yet vast, submerged feeling of his underworld.

    Liked by 2 people

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