Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Turning Point

In the grotto, candlelit,
surrounded by fine diners and
their incandescent wines,
you pour out your heart to me
suddenly like a magician’s scarf
materializes out of thin air.
I hear you talking and sometimes
even hear your words:
Your father devastated you;
mortality stared you in the face;
and now you need to need
and need to be needed
possibly by me, but I am distracted.

Upstairs pacing the sidewalk is
my sailor man, tense, possessive,
fortified by good Scotch,
and he waits to fill my ears
with sweet words of love and art
and my face, which he calls beautiful.

Meanwhile you weep a little
and go on speaking words
you should have spoken yesterday
before my head was turned by Sailor Man,
before my heart was hardened
to your cause. I cannot comfort you.
I am about to embark on a dark ship
sailing to purgatory. (If only
I had known what anguish lies ahead
I might have listened harder,
touched your hand and stayed
to offer my undying love.)

This is a true story. It took 30 years for me to realize that my decision at that meal that night was a turning point in my life. I could have taken one of two roads, and I chose the one that led to destruction. I navigated through years of wreckage to come out into the peace of my later life.
Photo credit: Some Portland, Oregon, cafe that I forgot the name of.


Karen said...

...and yet, for all the struggles and hardship and pain, you are who you are because of that choice. We cannot know what lies before us as we choose our paths. It is how gracefully we navigate that matters and whether or not we arrive intact - and how many others we help along the way. Wherever you've been, I think you're one beautiful traveler.

Shadow said...

we're only ready, when we're ready. whatever you did then, you had to do, to become who you are today. *hugs*

Brian Miller said...

a stiring tale, not too far from my own...our decisions shape our lives...this should be enough to give us pause when we make them...should...thank you for sharing...smiles.

Alan Burnett said...

Moving words. I like them a lot.

big Jenn said...

This makes me wonder why we didn't turn and make better choices until we did. I mean, why did we stay on a destructive path for so long?
I know, I couldn't choose differently, until I could.jeNN

Lou said...

Sometimes I wonder "what if?" But I know every step of the journey is meant to be.

I don't like much poetry, but you have an amazing gift.

Nessa said...

We are who we are because of our choices.

Tweet the Meat

lakeviewer said...

It's a lovely picture, to accompany a sad story, a moment in time when...

How you could write songs about this, the theme shared by us all, the tale told and retold....

Syd said...

I would be the one asking you to listen, telling you my life, wanting you to care and fill the hole. And I would sense the distraction and feel the pain because I would know who would be chosen--not me.

Tall Kay said...

I believe the path of destruction would have found us eventually no matter how poor our choices were in the past. No matter where I go, there I am! I was always the problem...and poor choices were all I made until I learned a new way. I'd probably still pick the sailor today...until my sponsor found out! LOL! Beautiful story.

Poetikat said...

This is the line that hit me:

"I hear you talking and sometimes
even hear your words:"

That's it, right there, isn't it? Where you make the choice—to listen or not to listen.

This was a gut-punch, Chris. Wow.

Scott said...

yesterday's choices make us who we are today. today you're pretty special!