Today, on my Sweet 16 sobriety date, I am reflecting on a poem I wrote during the throws of my addictions 20 years ago. I had a dream last night that showed me it doesn’t matter how much time you have. Six days, 6 years, 16 years are all call for total celebration. But the further away you move, the more abstract the early struggle becomes, until it can almost dissolve completely. Therefore, I treasure having this tiny piece of writing to remind me what I’ve left so far behind. And believe me, it wants me to forget. It wants me back…
I returned it to its original name, after friends encouraged me to change the title to “The Elephant of Wisdom,” because I like the play on words, like being sentenced to prison, that most people probably won’t get but I recall really worked for me at the time that I wrote it.
A Long Sentence
(c)1996 Nance Broderzen
Living in the blockage of her own true, stuck being, she tries hard to change, rearrange, let go, flow to the new horizon that promises love and joy and freedom, beckoning with an eerie call of peace and laughter to her deeper innermost soul of strength and beauty calling, calling from the deep dark depth of her being for light, pure light and laughter as she hesitates and resists the power within and hangs on to the tears and germs and stiff control of her body, her personality, her ego who has the power now and refuses to relinquish it, feigning protection in his smug, hard core of false promises and immediate impulsive gratification and addictive desires of the flesh and quick fix mentality, all for his own sake and sense of control, seducing and making false promises which she lets herself believe again and again, even though the truth screams out in its soft, sensual voice of gut instincts all to easily ignored or confused or mistaken for deadly dishonest madness by the one in control who loves his power above everything else, loves his true madness, his monotony, his unconsciousness and automatic movement from extreme to extreme to extreme of false glory and psychic sleep, spirit resting in a blur of resentment at the failure to act, failure to move to a life of real experience untouched by fear, as the fear always takes hold with both hands and strangles all efforts outward into relief and nurture, damming the thoughts of alternative action and keeping the self contained, locked up behind the bars of awesome fear-filled warnings to stay put and escape only by means of mind dams, sucking in quick and easy substance to quiet the rage and anger of imprisonment and keep everything nice and tidy, soothing the pain of physical abuse with ideas of another and yet another indulgence into escapism as the ego trap revolves around his own little self and he feels his power, gloating as the true self is gagged and tied up, incapacitated to move out into the fresh air and jungle of rich growth and possibilities, opportunities, tigers of fear and elephants of wisdom, rainfall of tears and mountain springs of cleansing and rejuvenation out of focus and out of reach, so it seems, for ego knows and warns and presages the pain of going there, reminding her that it’s hard to transform, hard to undo the damage done, hard to detoxify and demand a new way of life, hard to be empty and breathe simple air, drink simple water, eat simple fruits and vegetables and grains with no jolt to the system, no escape from that empty well that can never be filled, he coaxes as she tries and loses it again, unable to pull herself out of his well when she’s bombarded by his passionate warnings and longings to hold her in his arms, hold her in his grasp she finally sees and takes a stand, listening ever so deeply to her heart and gut and groin and soul, allowing the jungle to be what it is, allowing herself to be what she is, who she is, hearing finally and believing the empty well is not a well at all, but a spring of joy and laughter, real and tangible, artfully glowing, ready to fill her in ways never felt, fill her with true energy and creative practice, spontaneity and love, sweet, sweet love of the richness of her soul ready to be freed, ready to be human, ready to move her through the jungle safely as it leads her to the fruits and fulfillment, towering playfully over tigers, in the elephant of wisdom.