“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” — C.G. Jung

It’s sad, really, how we don’t grow wise to this.

How we don’t grow wise in this.

How we don’t grow wise in love, and loving.

How we even rob ourselves and others

of a proper letting-go through our senselessness.


How, as people, couples, families, nations, people on either side of a divide,

we just can’t seem to maintain our mindfulness in the face of it;

how the old, unruly archetypes

in all their pain, mischief, messiness, and unrestrained glory

have to keep kicking up through the dust of human souls

just to remind us

by way of our ever-present mindlessness

what great harm we do

if we do not embrace our human fragility

and — duly informed by it — embrace the other.


Without that, we stumble.

Without that, we fall.

We fall down empty wells of memory, grabbing for roots that are no longer there.

Nothing prevents the tumble

or the harsh landing.

It happens every time.


The minute we settle in and say, “I know….!” —

here come the raven beaks hungry for our eyes.

Here come the wolf jaws biting into our hearts while we sleep.

We all wake up exhausted in these times

and wonder: “What the hell did we do last night?”

There will be no clues.


Only a sadness beyond our personal ones.

Only our rapid heartbeats

and our souls on the verge of tears.

The taste of salt from our eyes

having made its way to our tongues,

we fall speechless —

shocked we chose to follow the same road

that cut us all to ribbons the last time around.


And there,

in the quiet of the morning,

many a great and heavy thing will come to us,

and, privately, we will ask:

“How did we come to this, again?”


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I hereby thank the Disheveled God of Holy Clowns

for continuing to kick my ass.

Thank you, to the Spirit of Ikkyu the Rambler,

for showing me the Way Through the Brambles —

to no longer feeling the call to pretend…

to no longer feeling the obligation to sit and abide at the same table as the strategically-hateful…

to no longer feeling the need to hold my tongue.

There is no preventing true Zen speech in the promised land.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Mycelia / Fissures / Robert Rich + Alio Die

image: Annie Spratt

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