bitter perfection

January 25, 2009
By Gabe Streit, Carbondale, IL

Amidst the sheen of new dawn
God showed me the eternal truth
The perfect model from which all things sprang
Where flowers danced and angels sang
And I was amazed
Said I to he
“Father how can this be?
You could have created us perfectly
Yet you leave us to die in a sinful world.”
Said he,
“Son, you are perfect in every way
But you’ve long to go before you see
That I am you
And you are me.”
And I was perplexed
“How then, can you watch yourself die?
And permit your right arm your left arm kill?
And when you see yourself crying
How can you walk past?”
He simply chuckled, and knowingly said,
“Stop searching for answers where there are none.
Stay here for thirty nights and days
And you will see
That you are my son.”
So I stayed
And oh how glorious!
Never a sorrow or care I knew
And I sat complacent,
With no temptation
For there was neither good nor evil to do.
And I loved it there
But it felt like something was missing
I got home at sunset
But I didn’t care
To watch the noxious gases
In the air
That I once thought beautiful.
And food lost its taste
and flowers their grace
and beautiful women lost their appeal
for it pains me to say
that in each case
I’d become aware of the evil concealed
And I was heartbroken
Everything that had seemed beauteous was a lie
Each imperfection manifest in my eye
Drove me crazy
And I begged god
To let me die
Alas, but I stayed
Frozen in time
like a stone
but devoid of the ignorant bliss

And I couldn’t help but think
with an ironic smile
 ”When I found god
I sure didn’t sign up for this”

But this was a glimpse of sun
through eternal rainfall
and I sat in sadness
tolerating the squall
working up the nerve
to end it all

for I couldn’t live like this.

And when I had drawn
a knife long and slender
and held its silver blade
upon my neck
I noticed
a chip in the blade
which was by all means
an instrument for man to admire
And the noose that hung
over my front steps
was fraying, and dirty
though the rope was strong

The guillotine I’d built, oh how shapely!
though its wood was old
and one leg was too long.

And I moved through the room
noticing things.
Soon Earth became a place
where flowers dance
and people sing.

And though each little part is fraught with mistakes
it magnifies the beauty,
of this planet to know
that the prettiest things someday will break.

and the years grew shorter.

Innumerable days later
god came back to me
and he said “My dear son
its time for you to go.
I’ve saved this place for you
in my paradise.

I looked at him once,
I looked at him twice.
And I said “No”.

Your perfect world bores and scares me.
For what possibilities lie within?
I’ll stay here, and appreciate your mistakes.
Each one as beautiful as your angels

And to this day
I sit, gnarled and frail
and bent and twisted and nearly destroyed.

But still I’ve the power
to cast shade, and give shelter
just like every other broken tree
in my forest.


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